My English teacher always told me to start with a good line. While we are in fact beginning 4 new home builds in Palmetto Bluff, in truth, we are building 2 + 2, being two structures on each of two lots.  One project, a home designed to replicate a modern-style barn conversion is on a lot adjoining our own home, our most recently completed build. The other, slated for a Beaufort-style cottage and adjoining boathouse, is riverfront in Moreland Village. They are both at the planning stage, with the smaller two cottages roughly 3 months behind the main barn.  We begin this series of posts with our financial justification and overall reasoning for undertaking two simultaneous new projects in Palmetto Bluff. Much which comes from the success of our own home, offered for rental part of the year in our Luxury Simplified Retreats portfolio.

The rental market in Palmetto Bluff does not seemingly follow the laws of economics and is indeed a universe of its own created and curated carefully over the last 30 years or so. It’s exclusive in its offering and the clientele are similarly so, demanding, articulate, seeking experience. Any investor in this market had best understand the appertaining economic dynamics and not merely go by evidence from “similar” developments. Here is a simple example showing the growth in demand over the last 4 years. We have much more on record, much of what we share in a previous post HERE. The corollary is, our development should provide for “in demand but not available” rather than “already here.” That’s a tall order. That it be exceptional, is a given.

So let’s start with the land adjoining our existing home. This is a large lot, so it will take a good-sized house with an eye to eventual resale. As we would also like to retain river views on our existing home, it needs to be sited sensitively. As rental, walk-in closets have no real use, neither do garages, so we went for a 4500 sq. ft., 5-bedroom rental that could be converted to a 4-bedroom home with large closets, plus a carport for parking rather than a garage to keep build costs down. For the aesthetics, a barn conversion would fit with the overall location plan. As the lot adjoins our own home, we then have two, 5-bedroom homes in close proximity each with a private pool, or two 4+5 bedroom homes with a caretaker’s apartment. All in, this totals a 9 or 10 bedroom offering with 2 pools. Nothing exists like this currently in Palmetto Bluff, so we should be well placed for large parties with the additional knowledge that 5 bedroom individual homes rent very well throughout the seasons. Barn conversions are also a simple shape being the primary “A-Frame” configuration. Funds will be spared to add the “eye candy” that may otherwise be sacrificed to preserve a budget. The illustrations BELOW shows our approved result, stucco and black Sho Sugi Ban siding, weathered galvalume corrugated iron roof with timber-frame features as the eye candy. The garden plan is non-conformist, harking back to an agricultural heritage completing the vision.

Front Right Elevation

Front Left Elevation
Rear Left Elevation
Rear Right Elevation

Our second offering will take a different angle. There are very few weekend cottages on the riverfront, and none privately rented or with a pool. We know the demand for these is steady throughout the year, with seasonal renters, and Palmetto Bluff owners visiting their own ongoing builds. The total revenue is lower than a large house, but the costs are also considerably reduced, so cash/cash return is preserved. We are designing a 2-bedroom Beaufort-style cottage with a river-facing pool. We also need boat storage and a caretaker’s cottage when other Palmetto Bluff properties in our portfolio are rented. So this will be a small boathouse with a single apartment over, again river facing. This allows us optionality for 2 or 2+1 bedrooms, plus pool, and/or 2 plus a caretaker cottage for when we are not in town. Total construction being about 2500 sq. ft. and a swift build, perhaps 5 months or so.

There you have it. As shared above, designs on the barn already have preliminary approval, and the cottage designs will start this week.  Construction financing is under negotiation.  We will cover the design philosophy in our next blog then report on construction as time progresses.

Stay safe and stay well in these strange times and check back often to follow our progress. We invite you to follow our previous development in Palmetto Bluff here where you’ll find the links to all the posts in that series.

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