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Kiawah River’s Butterfly Garden Cottages Exude the Lowcountry Lifestyle

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In the new South Carolina master plan situated on Johns Island, the homes reflect the region.

Situated in South Carolina’s renowned low country with stunning marsh and river vistas, Kiawah River is a new master plan community that encompasses over 2,000 acres and 20 miles of shoreline on Johns Island, a piece of land just roughly 15 miles from the Charleston city center and across the river from Kiawah Island.

The local developer behind the project, The Beach Co., aims to create a green, conservation community, employing principles of sustainability. Only half of the property’s 2,000 acres will be developed, with the remaining 1,000 acres existing as open space with a system of trails connecting the distinct pocket neighborhoods.

Since its inception, The Beach Co. wanted to embrace the site’s long agricultural past. Before it was considered for development, the land had been farmed for hundreds of years from Native Americans to fourth-generation local farmers, and, as a result, Kiawah River upholds the tradition and is now one of the area’s first agrihoods—a growing trend in which a working farm is an integral part of a residential community.

“The property that we own now—and our company has owned for over 25 years—was farmland,” says Chris Drury, Kiawah River’s broker in charge. “We tried to hold true to that heritage by maintaining the farm as a part of who we are.”

Still in the early stages, the development cycle is in its fifth year and in its third year from a real estate sales perspective. Drury says the community has entitlements to construct 1,168 dwelling units and has additional capacity for hotel rooms and villas as needed. He predicts the neighborhood will have 1,200 to 1,300 units at full build-out, with sales determining the completion year.

The community recently reported an unprecedented sales record in the first quarter of 2021. The sales team reported 49 homes and homesites sold or under contract since Jan. 1, 2021, surpassing their overall sales total for the previous year.

With an increased demand for new construction with a waterfront location, Kiawah River is attracting buyers from the Charleston region and beyond, including North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Colorado.

“We are certainly trying to attract everything from families to retirees,” says Drury regarding the community’s target buyer demographic. “I think the general area of Johns Island has predominantly attracted the second-home and retirement markets because of its proximity to Charleston, but Johns Island is growing so rapidly that it is changing. While Kiawah Island might lean more toward second-home owners, we are leaning more toward primary owners.”

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