By Gregg Bragg, The Island Connection Sr. Staff Writer
Photos by Shawn O’Connor
Overcast skies couldn’t knock the shine off the grand opening of Timbers Kiawah. Fall’s warmth wrapped around a game of bocce ball underway before the start of the Nov. 18 celebration, making “island casual” attire perfectly comfortable. Caterers were already setup, and 35 full-time staff members had the bar and everything else ready to go, including an entire fleet of bikes.
“These are Priority [brand] bikes out of Brooklyn, New York. They’re belt driven,” Shannon Eckhaus told the Island Connection. Instead of a chain, Priority uses the same rubber polymer BMW uses on its motorcycles for a smoother ride, reduced maintenance, and fewer mishaps. Eckhaus has been with Timbers for 10 years and is now the Owner Services Manager on Kiawah. She and her team greet arriving guests outside the newly completed fitness center.
The gym has a wealth of cardio machines, plenty of weights, and a filtered water cooler to eliminate plastic water bottles. However, the best part may be Timbers’ signature “Timbers Tykes” room. The children’s play area is within both eye and earshot of exercise facilities, has a trove of games and toys, and a ruler residents can use to chart their families time together.
Then again, the best part may be the adjacent “gathering” room.
Timbers’ social center hosts breakfast each morning for their property owners on a table as long as the imagination. Drinks and treats are provided every afternoon, and the wall of books and the walk-in fireplace make it an excellent refuge from wet and cold any time. All of this comes complete with unrivaled views of the Atlantic and a slice of Kiawah’s maritime forest. A brief search of the internet provides a window into the rarity of these wildlife havens.
There are roughly 60 million square miles of land on the planet. Barrier islands [like Kiawah] comprise roughly 13 thousand square miles, with the bulk of them located in the arctic. Maritime forests grow in small pockets on these already rare islands, and are gems Timbers Kiawah has endeavored to preserve.
“We wanted an edgy, contemporary feel that functioned as a piece of art,” said David Burden, Founder and Executive Chairman of Timbers Resorts. The Hilton Head native built his first resort at Snowmass, Colorado in 1999. It was a family affair from the beginning but has now grown to 16 properties. He turned Kiawah’s development over to his son, Chris.
Chris Burden is the Managing Director of Development at Timbers Resorts. “We have 180 units and planned to sell 50 by the end of the year. Right now we’re sitting at about 40, which is right about where we wanted to be,” he responded. “Our residents are primarily from the east coast… in their mid to late 50s… we get a lot of interest from Charlotte, New Jersey, New York.
They already own 2.5 homes and aren’t interested in another, so they buy here instead. But we’re not all that worried about sales. We see this as a labor of love, but we’re still close to the mark.”
Spacious three bedroom residences are a comfortably large 2,200 sq. ft., and include 400-foot patios, 3.5 baths, a separate chef’s kitchen, dining room, family room, and walk-in closets. Even the smaller “kids” room has enough space for two queen-sized beds with plenty of space leftover for wrestling. There are a total of 18 of these homes available in 1/9th shares for $490,000, plus $17,000 annual dues.
Penthouse expanses boast 3,780 sq. ft. with four bedrooms (each with closets large enough to get lost in), 4.5 baths, study, entertainment room, and adjoining chef’s kitchen/dining room. The living room is the centerpiece, with ocean views through five sliding glass walls that accordion open onto a 1,600 sq. ft. wrap around patio. The penthouses are available in 1/6th increments for $1.34 million, plus annual dues of $36,000. The budget conscious should be aware a housekeeping fee will also be charged while you stay in your Timbers residence.
Timbers assumes you’re on vacation while staying at the properties, and have enough to do. They clean the house, swap out bedding and towels, and keep the place spotless every single day you’re there.
They even shop for groceries and put them up before you arrive, and will have your favorite wine and/or scotch waiting. All homes come fully furnished and decorated by J Banks Design Group, have multiple (in some cases) gas fireplaces, and are appointed with Wolf, Thermador, Sub-zero, and Bosch appliances.
Governors Club and Kiawah Island Club memberships are available, and membership in Timbers’ reciprocity program is automatic.
This isn’t Timbers first rodeo. They have properties in Maui, Hokuala, Sonoma, Rancho Valencia, Vail, Beaver Creek, Steamboat, Snowmass, Tuscany, St. Thomas, and Cabo San Lucas to name a few. The reciprocity program provides Timbers’ residents with access to a secure website where they can deposit or withdraw weeks from hundreds of listings and stay at any of the Timbers locations without the hassle of an agent.
Asked about plans to expand, Chris Burden said it wasn’t presently on the table, but they may consider it next year. He expressed an interest in the area between the current location and Beachwalker Park, but seemed happy to be done for the moment.
For more information call 843.737.6415, visit TimbersKiawah.com or swing by the Freshfields office on 253 Gardners Circle.