Shelter Cove asks a crowd for ideas

Shelter Cove Towne Centre

Hilton Head Island, S.C. -- Shelter Cove Towne Centre, an outdoor mall now under construction, has taken a bold step to engage the surrounding Hilton Head Island community — both residents and visitors. It has set up shop on a crowdsourcing website called Popularise and asked Hilton Head residents to suggest tenants for the 290,000-sq.-ft. property.

The community has responded. Wayne J. suggested Ben Ham Images, commenting: “An amazing artist, with a world class product. One of his galleries would be a great addition to the Centre.”

Wayne also suggested an Apple Store, an idea that attracted positive comments. In fact, an online crowd has begun to form around the idea. Patricia S., also a Hilton Head resident, gave a thumbs-up to Apple as well. When Kathe G. proposed an Apple Store, and Patti K. commented: “Definitely need an Apple Store here!!”

So far, 64 residents and visitors have endorsed the suggestion.

Restaurant recommendations so far include Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s, Chipotle, Maggiano’s, a rooftop restaurant and perhaps a half dozen other national names.

The Centre will include a 100,000-sq.-ft Kroger, the first Kroger on Hilton Head, and a 100,000-sq.-ft. Belk as anchors. Another 90,000 sq. ft. will be available for inline and pad retailers, perhaps a number recommended by the community.

“We want to know which retailers, restaurants and services residents and visitors would like to see … so we decided to eliminate the guesswork and just ask,” said Don Barnett, Kroger’s corporate real estate manager.

Traditionally, community members must attend town meetings to have their opinions hears. Each meeting might attract five to ten people. Crowd sourcing through a social media site like Popularise can draw thousands of people, says Brandon Jenkins, the site’s co-founder.

The project is a $40 million joint venture between Kroger Real Estate and Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial Corp., who will manage the property, which promotional materials describe as an “upscale walking village.”

Construction got underway in early April and will occur in two phases. Phase I will build out the Kroger and the northeastern section of the mall, work expected to be completed in the fall. Phase II will focus on the southeastern half and continue through the spring or summer of 2014.

The project also includes two upscale residential buildings.

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