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Development: Pawleys Plaza seeks approval for roof design

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

While construction is under way on a new supermarket on Highway 17 at the South Causeway, work on a project one traffic light away that started a year earlier is still in the planning stage.

Sunbelt Ventures, which bought Pawleys Island Plaza last year, will present plans for a 60,000-square-foot retail building to the county’s Architectural Review Board this fall. The building is the centerpiece of a redevelopment of the aging shopping center near the North Causeway/Waverly Road intersection.

The center was the focus of debate last fall when Sunbelt proposed a 119,000-square-foot building that was intended to be a Walmart. Georgetown County limited the size of the building to 60,000 to comply with the commercial design standards in place along the Highway 17 corridor.

Those standards also require buildings have a roof with a 6-12 pitch that covers at least half the structure. Sunbelt has proposed a pitched roof for the front of the new building, the portion visible from Highway 17, said Boyd Johnson, the county planning director.

“That’s about 30 percent rather than 50,” he said.

In exchange, Sunbelt has proposed replacing the flat roof on an existing building that backs onto Petigru Drive with a pitched roof. “It would be so much more visible on that building,” Johnson said, but he added that it isn’t a decision the planning staff can make.

The Architectural Review Board will consider the plan. This will be the first time the board has met in 10 years, Johnson said.

Sunbelt is preparing a computer animation that will show how the proposed building will look from all angles, he said.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Dusty Wiederhold, a partner in Sunbelt Ventures. No documents have been presented to the county and he said he didn’t have a timetable for the appeal to the review board.

Meanwhile, work has started on a 45,000-square-foot Lowes Foods store on Highway 17 at the South Causeway. The site was once proposed for a 136,000-square-foot Lowe’s Home Improvement store, a plan that was rejected by Georgetown County in 2005 after residents organized opposition to big-box stores.

The 18-acre tract was subject of a foreclosure that ended up in court last year. First South Bank took over the property and sold it last month to Pawleys Market LLC for $5 million.

“They’re about ready for a building permit,” Johnson said. The design for the grocery store features a large glass front anchored by a glass silo. It’s the first store with that design built by the North Carolina-based grocery chain. The store is planned to open in May 2014.

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