Sea Trail Convention Center on Track to Re-Open
Sea Trail Investments, sister company of Riptide Builders, completes acquisition of Sea Trail Convention Center and additional properties within the community.
Sea Trail Investments, LLC, a sister company of Riptide Builders, recently closed on the purchase of the currently dormant Sea Trail Convention Center, located at 75A Clubhouse Drive in Sunset Beach. Sea Trail Investments also purchased the Village Activity Center, a private, fee-based clubhouse and amenity center available to the general public for memberships, and a 15-acre tract of land adjacent to the convention center. Plans for the 15-acre tract include a 150-room resort-style hotel, a state-of-the-art driving range featuring top tracer technology for the avid golfer, and a brand-new practice and entertainment facility.
Sea Trail Investments, LLC is co-owned by Robert Hill and Donald Bean, who are co-owners of Riptide Builders, and Parker Smith, owner of Golf Trek. Riptide Builders, a residential and commercial builder and developer based in Sunset Beach, purchased the remaining undeveloped land in Sea Trail on July 31, 2020. Chinaway Corporate Development, LLC, which previously owned the convention center, amenity center and undeveloped land, currently maintains ownership of the golf courses.
“We live in Sunset Beach, and our company made a major investment in the future of our community when we purchased the remaining undeveloped land in Sea Trail nearly three years ago,” says Robert Hill, co-owner of both Riptide Builders and Sea Trail Investments. “The purchase of the convention center, future hotel site and the amenity center is the next phase in our effort to revitalize Sea Trail. We are in what should be the final phase of a development agreement and conditional zoning with the town, and we are ready to partner with them to continue revitalizing Sea Trail.”
Donald Bean, co-owner of Riptide Builders, says over the past year, they have pumped more than $50 million into revitalizing Sea Trail and that investment will continue with the acquisition of the convention center, future hotel site and activity center.
“After sitting dormant for several years, the convention center will receive an overhaul of all major components of the facility as well as major upgrades to the parking lots, outdoor reception areas, lighting and signage,” Bean says. “These improvements will optimize the convention center’s potential to be a source of pride for Sea Trail and an economic engine for Sunset Beach.”
Parker Smith, co-owner of Sea Trail Investments, LLC and owner of Golf Trek says the entire Sea Trail Golf Resort has an amazing future thanks to their partnership with Riptide Builders and the cooperation of the Town of Sunset Beach. Golf Trek, which is the largest area provider for Myrtle Beach golf packages, re-started the short-term rental program within Sea Trail in 2018. Additionally, Golf Trek operates Sea Trail Investments’ newly acquired amenity center in Sea Trail, which features House’s Place at the Beach, a local’s favorite restaurant and catering business offering food, drinks and indoor, outdoor and poolside accommodations.
Sea Trail residents have voiced strong support for these new investments planned for their community.
“After living in Sea Trail for more than 19 years, we are so excited to finally see the advancement of the future plans for our community,” says Sea Trail resident Candy Fowler. “With the recent purchase of the convention center, adjacent land and activity center, Riptide Builders will finally be able to make their vision for the future of Sea Trail a reality. We are so thankful that they have worked diligently with the Town of Sunset Beach and the Sea Trail Master Association to make positive things happen. They have recruited willing investors and built an amazing team, who are waiting in the wings for final approval by the Town. We look forward, hopefully within the next few months, to seeing the start of the long overdue reawakening of our little piece of paradise!”
Sea Trail resident Roz Dahlen says the golf courses are a fundamental part of Sea Trail.
“The three golf courses are the reason my husband and I chose Sea Trail,” Dahlen says. “Riptide has repeatedly stated their commitment to not only preserving, but enhancing, the golf courses in Sea Trail to their full potential. For the golf courses and the convention center to succeed, our community must have quality practice facilities, golf courses and lodging opportunities, which I believe Riptide will bring to Sea Trail. They’ve got us on the right track.”
Since acquiring the undeveloped land in Sea Trail in July 2020, Riptide and the Sea Trail Master Association have made a number of investments in infrastructure and amenities within the community, including:
• Remodeling the interior of the Maples Activity Center and adding a new commercial elevator to the facility
• Renovating, modernizing and beautifying every entry wall to Sea Trail
• Completing a grounds and landscape enhancement to the community’s chapel
• Installing new ornamental street signs and posts throughout Sea Trail
• Numerous landscape enhancements throughout common areas, with more planned
• Hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in stormwater repairs, with more in process and planned
• A major renovation of Sea Trail’s largest amenity center’s pool and pool deck, known as the “pink palace,” is underway and will include the addition of a new 10 to 15 person in-ground spa, a completely overhauled and remodeled pool, a stunning three-piece paver pool deck, new landscaping and entertainment facilities and new furniture and shade structures.
In addition to the infrastructure and amenity investments, Riptide is working to add new, quality development to Sea Trail, including:
• Byrd Watch, a 49-lot single-family home subdivision, is a few weeks away from completion.
• The Townhomes on Eastwood Bluff, an 88-unit luxury townhome and amenity project, is over halfway complete.
• Riptide is launching Sawmill Townhomes, a 27-unit townhome project in the heart of Sea Trail, later this month
• Riptide will begin development of Gulls Landing, a 93-site single-family home project, in April.
• Riptide is in the final engineering and state permitting phase of Pelican Reserve, a single-family home project which will bring additional amenities to Sea Trail residents, including a large new beautiful clubhouse and pool, pickle ball courts, a sizable dog park with agility and training facilities, a community dock and nature overlook and green space areas featuring gazebos and terraces.
All upcoming Riptide development within Sea Trail includes new sidewalks and street trees. Additionally, Pelican Reserve will give residents a new entry to Sea Trail from Angels Trace Road, which offers access to downtown Sunset Beach.
“Our vision is for Sea Trail to thrive as a resort community that caters to both year-round residents and visitors,” Hill adds. “We have a vision centered around quality residential and commercial development and amenities. We are committed to Sea Trail, and with the Town of Sunset Beach’s partnership and cooperation we will make our vision to revitalize Sea Trail a reality.”
Robert Hill and Donald Bean, both of whom reside in Sunset Beach, co-founded Riptide Builders in 2009. The company maintains both an operations office and a design center in Sunset Beach and has staffed model homes in several parts of Sea Trail including The Townhomes on Eastwood Bluff its premier Townhome Project. The company currently builds between 80 to 100 new construction homes each year. Riptide supports community and civic causes, including those benefitting veterans, autism, cancer (multiple myeloma) and education. The company maintains a staff of between 20 to 30 people in Sunset Beach. For more information, visit https://riptidebuilders.com.
Prior to co-founding Riptide, Robert Hill worked in real estate and owned and managed a Century 21 office. His experience in real estate provided a keen understanding of what buyers want and strengthened his ability to work with developers and builders. He sold the agency prior to the great recession in 2007 and pursued his unlimited building contractors’ license. Hill is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who saw action in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He lives in Sunset Beach with his wife, Jessica, a former second grade teacher at Virginia Williamson Elementary in Bolivia, who is now a stay-at-home mom with their two children.
Prior to co-founding Riptide, Donald Bean held licenses as a Master Plumber and Heating Contractor as well as a Hoisting and Engineering license. Bean lives in Sunset Beach with his wife, Leah, who is in senior management with Butterfly Effects, a company that specializes in the treatment of autism. Donald and Leah have two children.