Thursday, February 20, 2014
A makeover is in progress at the Island Shops.
While the necessary mess is unnerving to a handful of onlookers, sources assert the changes will make the complex of shops and food venues a safer and more enjoyable destination.
Island Shops, owned by Pobuckra Properties, is located just south and across U.S. Highway 17 from the Hammock Shops. It is known for its location beneath cypress trees and oaks where a clutch of small ponds and a web of wooden walkways unite different shops and boutiques.
A friendly population of ducks call Island Shops’ swimming hole their Lowcountry “home” and graciously accept tasty tidbits from shoppers.
Necessity has dictated a major overhaul.
Over many years, the pond became clogged with silt. Old drainage systems choked, existing pumps became inadequate and some shops flood after every heavy rain. Pobuckra made the decision to dig out the silt and deepen the pond, remove trees already dying from a lightning strike, install new aeration systems, stabilize shifting soil that was causing structural issues and create additional parking in the process.
Those concerned about the ducks should know they have migrated to two nearby ponds. When the Island Shops’ primary pond is restored, they are expected to move back to the habitat as a matter of course.
One tenant, who chose to remain unidentified, did not feel proper notice had been given to tenants about the changes. The same tenant was concerned about cypress knees being sawed off at ground level.
Another tenant, Ken Watts of Lowcountry Jewelers, was quick to defend Pobuckra’s intentions. He said shop owners received a letter outlining the company’s objectives more than a year ago.
“It’s taken that long to secure necessary permits,” he said. “They have had local, state and federal officials advise and approve their plans. Professional arborists were involved too.”
At press time, the Times was unable to get a direct comment from Pobuckra since the partner-in-charge of Island Shops project is traveling.
A few of the businesses located in Island Shops include Lowcountry Jewelers, Island Knits, Pawleys Pantry, Lemon Drops, Earthly Treasures, and Island Deli.