Daniel Island has approximately 12,629 residents as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 estimates. That’s an uptick of over 2,000 residents since 2010. Located in Berkeley County between the Cooper River and Wando River, the first homes sprang up about 20 years ago. Since then, the master-planned community has added more homes, parks, walking trails and amenities for residents that rival (and surpass) similar communities throughout the U.S.
Daniel Island has been recognized for its innovative master plan by developers all over the country and has received top honors including Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence; Outstanding Project Award by the South Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association; Community Design – Best of State; Best in American Living (BALA) award for smart growth by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); and a host of mentions in national publications.
This lovely island town, in evidence of its increasing population and economic growth, is the best place to live in Charleston County, according to those who call it home. Town homes, single-family homes and expansive estate-like homes make up the diverse community.
“People of all ages come from all over the country, and from around the world, to make Daniel Island their home,” said Csilla Sztankovics of Carolina One Real Estate. “I’ve met people from New York, LA, Iran and India, to name a few. People are drawn to the loveliness of this island, the many amenities and conveniences it offers.”
According to Sztankovics, the island’s original master plan was approved by the City of Charleston for a total of 7,500 housing units. Its popularity has realized such tremendous growth – the actual build out number is currently at 6,300. Most likely, demand will continue and home values will continue to increase.
According to the Daniel Island Park Association, the concept of the neighborhood is one that embraces the environment – the wetlands, vegetation and natural features – while evoking a strong sense of place in terms of architecture. Deriving inspiration from Lowcountry villages and towns, “the elegance and gracious quality,” from small attached homes in the center of town to the larger homes built with fabulous water views; there should be a consistency in “vocabulary, materials and form.” The simplicity of form – pitched roofs, porches, high ceilings and dominate rooflines – is a distinct characteristic of all homes on Daniel Island.
Within the whole are intimate neighborhoods that have access to beautiful green spaces, trails, bike paths, parks and activities. Daniel Island’s ambiance is one of a suburban neighborhood of the 1920s and 30s, but the scale is more in keeping with an island town or village. The understated elegance of the architecture and park-like setting combines to create a serene and harmonious living space, with streets interconnecting one neighborhood area to another. Daniel Island’s design is modeled after Frederick Law Olmsted’s architectural and landscape artistry – ensuring the cohesiveness between nature and manmade environments appear as if they have always been there.
“We love to say that Daniel Island attracts buyers in all stages of life,” said Terry and Tim Haas of Century 21 Properties Plus. “As parents and homeowners in this community, we are so lucky to live in a place that gives us so much pride and we are so grateful to have made friends here who we ‘do life’ with now and for years to come.” Terry Haas, a former “featured expert” on HGTV’s Designed to Sell commented that there is “literally something for everyone and one can find something to do with people who have similar interests.”
The town center is the hub of Daniel Island where residents and visitors can mingle, and those living near it, can walk to varied and plentiful shops and dining options. The homes and area located on the Wando River have a “low-key village atmosphere similar to Georgetown or McClellanville and other coastal villages in the region,” while the commercial district near I-526 and Seven Farms Road is “similar to the downtown areas of many of the small towns in South Carolina.” The result is that the two districts come together as a “dynamic functioning town center for Daniel Island.”
Each neighborhood has its own park and DITRAILS (Daniel Island’s trail system) has 23 trail loops and trail markers to ensure residents and visitors can navigate through them, via walking, jogging or cycling. Yes, there’s an app for that, “DiTRAILS,” so that navigation and monitoring of fitness goals are seamless.
“Residents have access to Bellinger Island,” said Holly Buceti of Island Park Properties. “Many will rent paddleboards and explore the beauty of this nature preserve.”
With over 23 miles of rivers and creeks, 25 miles of trails, two golf courses and a host of fitness centers, residents have access to numerous healthy-lifestyle options.
Single family homes begin in the high $500,000 and large homes with private docks and water views are priced at over $4 million. Smaller (about 640 square feet) attached dwellings – one bedroom, one bath – are priced at $132,500.
“The median sales price of a home on Daniel Island is around $700,000,” said Sztankovics. “The median condo sales price is about $280,000; however, there are upscale condos with river views that can go up to $1.39 million.”
Sztankovics stated that townhomes are in high demand and prices for these can range anywhere from $350,000 to $650,000.
“I’ve lived on Daniel Island for some time,” said Buceti. “You pretty much don’t have to leave the island unless you want to. We have everything here – our own fire department, library, doctors’ offices, restaurants and shopping. We love that you can jump on a golf cart and go anywhere – or walk anywhere and leave your car. Residents here are of all age groups – from 20s to their 80s. Many older active adults choose Daniel Island as opposed to a specific older-living community.”
Buceti also mentioned that several waterfront homes – including estate-like homes on Ralston Creek -- have their own private dock.
“You can get on your boat and be in Shem Creek in 20 minutes or take a day trip to Hilton Head,” she said.
The businesses, schools & other island amenities
Businesses on the island are varied and plentiful – physicians, dentists, legal, home improvement, interior design, developers, art studios, technology, fitness centers, pet care, marketing, banking, salons, retail, real estate, landscaping and more – any and everything that makes daily living that much more amenable.
The Volvo Car Open hosts the annual World Tennis Association (WTA) professional women’s tennis tournament, along with several other tournaments throughout the year. MUSC Health Stadium is Charleston’s soccer team’s home and The Daniel Island Country Club has nationally-recognized golf courses. Several sports and concerts events are hosted in these venues.
“Business growth was very noticeable in the past few years,” Sztankovics said. “When Blackbaud decided to move its headquarters here and build a state of art facility to accommodate them, that most likely triggered other developments that have sprung up over the past few years. A wine shop opened its doors that uses the latest technology, several new apartments, commercial spaces and a resort style senior living facility is slated to open this fall. A restaurant with an on-site brewery opened up recently. One of the new apartments called Central Island Square apartments has a commercial component, called Central Island Park Retail, where six of the eight available spaces already have been leased.”
Blackbaud is the world’s leading software company and Benefitfocus, a multi-million-dollar tech company founded nearly two decades ago, chose Daniel Island as home to their headquarters.
“There are also many new developments in the making,” Sztankovics added. “A butcher shop, a performing arts center, an extension of Publix grocery – which will nearly double in size – and a new church and a new recreation center are all coming to Daniel Island.”
Daniel Island has three schools; The Daniel Island School, the public elementary and middle school; Bishop England, a private school; and Daniel Island Academy, an early education childcare center.
“One of my favorite things about Daniel Island is that many children ride their bikes to school every morning,” Sztankovics said. “It’s promising to see how a community can grow so rapidly yet remain small enough so that its residents can enjoy everyday life to the fullest.”
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Daniel Island Facts
• Daniel Island was once occupied by the Eitiwan tribe of Native Americans and was originally known as “Ittiwan Island.”
• Daniel Island was named after Robert Daniell, a wealthy captain that sailed between Bermuda, Barbadoes and Charleston. Daniell became Deputy Governor of South Carolina in 1716 at the age of 70.
• The Daniel Island site has served as a cattle ranch, a farm and a hunting preserve.
• The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation “planted the first seeds” of Daniel Island’s award winning community in the 1990s.
• Daniel Island is comprised of 4,000 acres.
• The Post and Courier published an article in November of 1992 entitled, “Blueprint for Daniel Island unveiled,” that revealed what the community would eventually become.
• The internationally acclaimed and award-winning chocolatier, Phyllis Farzam, lives on Daniel Island.