From national news stories and local headlines to intimate conversations with friends and family, one continuous theme seems to emerge these days—the slumping economy. The real estate market, especially resort and amenity-based communities, has been hit the hardest, and many developments across the country are struggling financially. Fortunately, throughout the downturn and in spite of the hardships of other communities, Kiawah Island has remained strong and is continuing to thrive.
It is unique in the resort and residential development world to have a financially stable developer, a resort owner involved in investing in the community’s long-term future, and a Town and Community Association that operate in the black. Kiawah’s community association has been extra diligent in maintaining infrastructure and has a $14-million surplus. The Town has a $13 million funds balance.
Sales and visitor activity are other testaments to Kiawah’s success in 2009. The Island experienced an increase in the number of Resort guests in the last quarter of 2009 and are forecasting an increase throughout next year. Kiawah Island Real Estate closed nearly $170 million in property sales this year, mostly from current Kiawah property owners. This achievement bested all other resort communities in the southeastern United States, and we expect significant improvement this year.
Kiawah’s exceptional facilities, amenities, and services will continue to create value for owners and visitors. The Resort’s Sanctuary Hotel once again earned a Five-Star rating in the Forbes Travel Guide and a Five-Diamond designation with AAA. The Resort was recently named the #1 Resort in the mainland United States by Condé Nast Traveler and has received several other #1 rankings for its golf courses and tennis centers.
The developer, Kiawah Partners (KP), continues to uphold the values that won it an Urban Land Institute national award for outstanding community development. Over the last several years the Kiawah Island Club has completed a major renovation of The River Course and upgrades to Sasanqua Spa, as well as the addition of a state-of-the-art Sports Pavilion and the Cassique Golf Cottages. Within a few years, the last large-scale neighborhood on Kiawah will be carefully planned, and development will be underway on Cougar Island at the Island’s east end. It will be readied in anticipation of the 2012 PGA Championship. Freshfields Village continues to attract both residents and visitors with convenient additions such as The Station, the new general store and gas station. The Lodge at Doonbeg was recently named the top golf resort in Europe by the world’s leading tour operators.
And the Town’s $2.7-million revitalization of the Kiawah Island Parkway has immensely improved the beauty, safety, and convenience of the gateway to Kiawah.
These premier on-Island amenities and services, coupled with close proximity to historic Charleston—named many times as the #1 tourist destination in the United States, a “must see” in the world, and America’s most “polite” and “friendly” city—draw people to the Island year after year.
The original Kiawah Island master plan called for a careful blending of man with nature. The fact that owners and visitors today can marvel at our “wildlife sanctuary,” our beach, and Kiawah’s overall natural beauty, is a tribute to the fine community we continue to build and enjoy. With this combination of financial stability, environmentally-sensitive master planning, and high-quality amenities and service, Kiawah is well positioned for the coming the imminent economic recovery.
For more information about Kiawah Island, visit www.Kiawah.com.
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