LAKE WYLIE -- For a dozen businesses at River Hills Marina Club Conference and Business Center, an upcoming vote could mean they'll soon be looking for new homes. But for River Hills Marina Club, the vote could be an opportunity to serve every River Hills resident at no cost to them.
Residents will vote May 8 on whether to build a three-story, 23-unit condominium complex at the site of the current business center beside the marina. Two-thirds of at least 500 residents are needed for the plan to pass.
Charles Wood, president of the marina club, calls the new plan a "win, win, win" in which residents, the marina and the River Hills Country Club all benefit. At the marina, about $900,000 from the property sale would go toward rebuilding the seawall, boardwalk and bridge to the condominiums, as well as adding rip rap. The country club would have lighting installed on four currently unlit tennis courts at developer The Colville Co.'s expense.
Most importantly, Wood said, residents would see $400,000 worth of community improvements including $150,000 for road impact fees, a restroom at the Hamilton's Ferry Road playground, continuation of the community walking paths to within 300 feet of the marina and the repaving of Marina Road once construction is complete.
"The bottom line is if the community approves adding 23 condominiums to the River Hills Marina property, there will be $2 million worth of intrastructure work at no cost to any River Hills property owner," Wood said.
So far, public response is "quite favorable," he said. The River Hills Community Association, country club and community architectural review committee have already shown support for preliminary plans, Wood said.
For the 12 businesses currently using the business center, the new plan would mean moving out to make room for the condominiums.
"We will have to move," said Steve Kelly, president of The Kelly Group at 54 Marina Road, who added Fort Mill would be a likely location. "Our plan was to use the club, tennis courts, golf course, boating and the conference room for training of facilities managers all across the country."
Wood, however, says the businesses would not suffer too much. Tenants work on a month-to-month lease, he said, and the project likely would not start until the following year. Also, he said, there are more office space options in Lake Wylie so companies could remain local.
"There are a lot of options for small businesses in Lake Wylie that are not two-and-a- half miles within a gated community," Wood said.
One local business, Research Resources International Development, recently made the move from the River Hills business center to its new location at Lake Wylie Business Centre on Latitude Lane.
"It was a smooth transition for us," said Greg Maguire, president of RRI Development. "We didn't really have any problems. It's really a nice space, and everything works."
Wood expects construction would begin in May 2010 and take another year to complete. Twelve condo units must be sold before the groundbreaking of the building that will peak at 50 feet, Wood said.
The design would include nine first-level and nine second-level units, with five loft units on the third level. Underground parking would be available for 56 spots.
Want to know more?
The River Hills Marina Club is planning 11 public meetings before the May 8 vote:
• March 2: 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the River Hills Country Club ballroom
• March 28: 10 a.m. at River Hills Community Church Life Center
• March 30: 7 p.m. at the country club ballroom
• April 2: 7 p.m. at the life center
• April 4: 10 a.m. at the life center
• April 20: 10 a.m. at the River Hills Community Church chapel
• April 21: 10 a.m. at the country club ballroom
• May 4: 10 a.m. at the chapel and 7 p.m. at the country club ballroom
• May 7: 7 p.m. at the life center
For more information, call 803-831-1802.