LAKE WYLIE -- J.R. Pettus hopes that someday all groundbreaking ceremonies will be like the one held Wednesday. Because the project started with four shovels was as much about protecting dirt as turning it -- along with trees, the lake and nature all around it.
"We're hoping to lead by example," said Pettus, co-managing partner of Handsmill Enterprises, developer of Handsmill on Lake Wylie. "We want to inspire other builders to come out and see what we're doing."
Construction officially began Thursday on the Aqua Club, an 8,000-square foot community clubhouse on three acres within the Handsmill project. The club is set to be a key feature within the 12,000-acre, 300-lot development off of Handsmill Hwy. at Beaverdam Creek.
"It's going to be something everybody can be proud of," Pettus said.
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Billed as "estate of the art," the Aqua Club features an "all-green" design builders believe is completely unique to the Carolinas. Elements such as rainwater recycling and low-water landscaping should make the clubhouse as environmentally friendly as a building can be.
"We're not allowed to say we will be (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified at this point, but it's our goal to be LEED certified," said David Simonini, operations manager for Wingfoot Building Group.
The club will include 5,000 square feet of unheated space on the lower of two levels, as well as vaulted ceilings within a stone and cedar design. Cork flooring and all recycled job materials, along with the most energy-efficient appliances available, are also planned.
The Aqua Club should be complete and open for use by Spring of 2009. For more on Handsmill on Lake Wylie or the Aqua Club, visit handsmill.com.