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High-end oceanfront development project coming to Kiawah Island

Timbers Resorts

The beachfront Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences is scheduled to open in summer of 2018. Provided/Timber Resorts 

A Colorado company that paid nearly $11 million for a oceanfront lot on Kiawah Island last month will build a luxury vacation getaway similar to a timeshare development.

Timbers Resorts said Friday that it hopes to open its Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences in mid-2018. The upscale getaway will include 21 units in three buildings on about 3.5 acres in the West Beach area of the resort island.

It will be the first multifamily-style private vacation club on Kiawah, where travel companies previously have offered so-called fractional ownership stakes in single-family homes.

"Kiawah Island is a destination we've had our eye on for many years,” Timbers CEO David Burden said in a written statement. “It's an established location that has it all — the best beach on the East Coast, access to retail and restaurants, and an incomparable lifestyle — and we are excited to introduce a fresh, contemporary residential offering into the mix."

Timbers is based in Carbondale, Colo., and is partly owned by the Los Angeles investment firm Oaktree Capital Partners.

The resort developer lined up $50 million in financing for its latest project when it acquired the site for $10.9 million from an affiliate of Kiawah Partners in early February, Charleston County property records show.

The proposed complex will include a private beach club with an oceanfront pool, bar and grill, and valet service. Other amenities for unit owners include temperature-controlled wine storage and a fitness center.

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The pricing details for Kiawah Ocean Club & Residences were not available Friday, but the buy-in fee is expected to start around $500,000, which would give purchasers a set amount of time to stay at the property.

Timbers plans to market mainly to high-income U.S. buyers looking for a vacation home near golf, tennis and the beach. 

"It's definitely an affluent buyer who's into outdoor activities," a spokeswoman said Friday.

According to its website, Timbers has built and operates hotels, resorts and residence clubs in about 15 "high-end destinations" around the world. The company handles all of its own development work and real estate sales. 

The approval process for the Kiawah deal started last year. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said the three state permits that the project required were issued Dec. 20.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which owns The Sanctuary hotel, said the Timbers club is unrelated to its business but otherwise had no comment.

Timeshares, as defined by South Carolina, are illegal on Kiawah, Mayor Craig Weaver said. The Timbers project is allowable because each of the 21 residences will have no more than nine buyers. Under state law, a property is not considered a timeshare unless it has at least 13 owners per unit.

Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott

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