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Real Estate:

Quite simply there’s never been a better time to find that place in the southern sun. Thanks to (still) historically low interest rates, a cooperative lending environment, and many new and unique real estate possibilities, a luxury home in the sun isn’t as far away as you may think.

Of course, many realtors still say that the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, and location. That’s certain true when you start heading south. From South Carolina down to Georgia and Florida--and all the way to the Turks & Caicos--there are certainly some luxurious locations in the southern sun.

But southern destinations offer so much more than sunny year-round weather. Reasons for the region’s popularity when it comes to real estate also include: an array of options on an off many forms of water; everything from new high-rise developments right on the ocean to mature communities with quiet streets; amenities packages that seemingly feature everything; and a wide range of activities right at home or nearby, including golf, boating, swimming, and so much more.

Obviously, low interest rates--though apparently starting to rise--make buying that place in the sun even more possible. Many buyers are finding that they can afford “more” home than they originally thought, upgrading to waterfront or fairway locations, adding designer kitchen appliances, or buying that penthouse suite towering above the Atlantic Ocean.

We’ve found several excellent possibilities throughout the region. It’s the ideal place to begin your search for that luxury lifestyle in the sun!


For more than 100 years, South Carolina’s Palmetto Bluff has been known to a privileged few as one of the wildest and most beautiful places in the southeast U.S. Today, a privileged few now have the opportunity to enjoy living at Palmetto Bluff.

Located 20 miles north of historic Savannah, Georgia, and 10 miles west of historic Beaufort, South Carolina, Palmetto Bluff is a 20,000-acre residential community and conservation preserve that boasts riverfront views on three sides, 32 miles of surrounding waterfront, and nine miles of interior waterways. Palmetto Bluff extends from the headwaters of the May River near the town of Bluffton, skirts the back sides of Bull and Daufuskie Island along the Cooper River to the east, and gives way to the ancient freshwater rice fields of the New River on its western edge. The land mass defined by these three historic rivers is essentially a pristine island awaiting discovery.

The history of Palmetto Bluff includes a connection with Cornelius Vanderbilt III, whose brother-in-law built the private 72-room Palmetto Lodge. After the lodge was destroyed by fire in 1926, Union Camp built an exclusive hunting lodge, which hosted gaming and sporting events for the company’s executives, friends, and dignitaries.

In 2000, Crescent Resources, the real estate management and development subsidiary of Duke Energy, purchased Palmetto Bluff. Over the last three decades, Crescent has developed a reputation for adding value to the land entrusted to it--creating an incomparable community, while preserving an unspoiled place.

Features of Palmetto Bluff already include: several residential neighborhoods ranging from multi-million-dollar legacy family compounds to more traditionally sized upscale single-family homesites and homes; a vibrant Village center; the Jack Nicklaus-designed May River Golf Course; a luxury inn and spa managed by well-respected Auberge Resorts; river access and walking trails; and extensive nature preserves (a 6,500-acre forest will never be developed).

These features have obviously drawn the interest of smart buyers. “The unique concept of Palmetto Bluff, combined with our development plan, has been met with an expanding level of buyer enthusiasm that has exceeded our expectations,” says William Peacher, Palmetto Bluff’s general manager and chief operating officer.

“We have been especially pleased that our purchasers have recognized the care that has gone into the planning of our individual homesites,” continues Peacher. “All are located with views of either the river’s salt marshes, large interior lakes, the Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, or in unique footprints along walking paths in the Village.”

Palmetto Bluff has three distinct neighborhoods: Village homes are now starting at $949,000.  Estate-sized homesites with fairway, marsh and river views from $375,000 to $2.5 million.  Waterfront family compounds (15 to 30 acres) priced from $2.85 million to more than $4.75 million.

The Village is a blend of central community services shopping restaurants, recreation, and homes. It’s a gathering place where diverse Palmetto Bluff residents can converge and connect. At the core of The Village is a park for special events and activities called The Village Square. This diverse neighborhood is made up of homes along the internal waterways, larger riverfront homes, and intimate village homes.

Headwaters offers just ten spectacular family compounds on 435 acres overlooking the upper reaches of the scenic May River. Each site has access to a 3/4-mile-long freshwater lake, each with its own private kayak dock. Within each 14- to 31-acre compound, owners can build up to three residences, plus additional guest cottages and outbuildings. The purpose is to create family enclaves that will become legacies to be passed down to generations. The Headwaters compounds are buffered by a 165-acre conservation area.

May River Forest features 1/2- to eight-acre homesites that provide a link between the expansive family compounds of Headwaters and the intentional closeness and high activity of The Village. Waterfront and marshfront properties offer views across the “big bend” of the May River and large homesites on the Nicklaus layout provide exceptional golf vistas, while remaining inconspicuous from the course itself. Most holes have only one home and even the par fives include no more than five or six homesites. With an overall land area of 750 acres, May River Forest offers a rare combination of low density, privacy, extraordinary golf, marsh, and river views, and easy access to The Village.

Winding past 300-year-old Live Oaks and Palmettos along the high bluffs of the May River, the new Nicklaus layout is a throwback to an earlier era of golf design. The Golden Bear created interesting strategy options, weathered-looking bunker complexes, unique green contours to provide a thinking golfer’s dream course.

The new Inn and Spa at Palmetto Bluff represents the first east coast property operated by Auberge Resorts--responsible for such acclaimed destinations at Auberge du Soleil in the Napa Valley, CordeValle in San Martin, California, and Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. There are 50 guest cottages (including eight suites), a fine dining restaurant, and a world-class European spa.

All of this adds up to one of the most unique real estate opportunities in the entire region. It’s easy to see why there’s so much interest in Palmetto Bluff.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT www.palmetto-bluff.com OR CALL (843) 757-3333.


The ultimate expression of wellness is now within your reach.

World-renowned Canyon Ranch has created the first healthy living community called Canyon Ranch Living in Miami Beach, where residents can enjoy luxury and optimum health. Canyon Ranch Living in Miami Beach residents and guests will have exclusive access to more than 75,000 square feet of leisure and lifestyle space, including a SpaClub with fitness and spa treatment facilities; the Health & Healing Center, offering preventive medicine and wellness services; walking and biking paths; and the Canyon Ranch Café, serving nutritious, gourmet cuisine.

The six-acre oceanfront community is a collaboration between Canyon Ranch and WSG Development Company. Canyon Ranch Living in Miami Beach will be the nation's first community dedicated to healthy living, and will occupy the site of the former Carillon Hotel, a late-1950s historic hotel known for its distinctive mid-century modern style, located at 6801 Collins Avenue. The world-renowned architecture firm of Arquitectonica will preserve the Carillon as part of the development. The firm's design features three buildings containing 151 condo-hotel suites and 467 condominium residences. The high-profile design firm, Rockwell Group, has created the property's interiors.

The property's Sales Pavilion and interactive Experience Center is open on-site. Four interactive kiosks bring to life the essential components that comprise the Canyon Ranch lifestyle: health and healing, movement and fitness, nutrition and abundance, and spa and meditation. A fully furnished model bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen are also available for preview.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT www.canyonranchliving.com OR CALL (888) 987-9876.


The residential and resort community of Grande Dunes, located in Myrtle Beach, has virtually redefined luxurious resort-style living along the East Coast. The splendid South Carolina scenery begins directly on the celebrated Grand Strand's oceanfront in Myrtle Beach and continues through 2,200 acres of lush greenery to the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway.

An unparalleled selection of Mediterranean-inspired homes features elegance in each design--from majestic oceanfront high-rise condominiums to custom estate residences, Intracoastal or golf villas, and single-family homes. Along with the home of your dreams, you'll choose the views--including maritime forests, countryside serenity, sparkling Intracoastal waterway, lush green fairways, shimmering lakes, or the blue Atlantic Ocean.

Grande Dunes' exhilarating golf experience is played out to perfection on an 18-hole championship course that is the longest in South Carolina. Golfers tee off on a high bank overlooking the Intracoastal and play through more waterfront holes that lead into refreshing forest terrain.

If you decide you'd love to live on the links, the Golf Village awaits. Six neighborhoods, including golf course villas at Villa Firenze, feature one and two-story Italian-inspired single-family homes and villas.

The Members Club at Grande Dunes will be the site of Grande Dunes' second golf course--a design by PGA Hall of Fame player Nick Price and award-winning architect Craig Schreine.

Just east of the Intracoastal, across from the Golf Village, Grande Dunes is planning one of its most exciting amenities yet: the Marina Village, including a full-service marina scheduled to open late-fall. Plus, nearby, the Tennis Club features ten Har-Tru courts, dramatic views of the Intracoastal, a pool, and Fitness Center. Villa Marbella, an Intracoastal tennis condominium neighborhood, is nearby.

Oceanside, one discovers a wondrous world of sand and surf activities--majestic high-rise condominium living at Vista del Mar and the Ocean Club, where each resident of Grande Dunes automatically enjoys membership in this prestigious club.

Just one block from the ocean, the new gated neighborhood of Calais offers tree-lined streetscapes and single-family home designs recalling Old World charm. If you favor a soothing, natural countryside ambiance, Siena Park will capture your fancy with its park-like setting and pine trees. Finally, Bal Harbor is a gated Intracoastal enclave of stately custom homes, including a select number of homesites with docks and boat slips.

Grande Dunes is wonderfully private, yet easy to reach. Centrally located on the east coast, Grande Dunes is attracting prospective buyers and residents from all over the U.S., as well as from around the world--and the Myrtle Beach International Airport is just 15 minutes away!

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, VISIT www.grandedunes.com OR CALL (843) 692-2323.


Situated on the Georgia coast at Richmond Hill, only 18 miles from Savannah, The Ford Plantation holds a special place in American history and is currently becoming one of the most unique communities in the region. Ideally located on the banks of the meandering Ogeechee River, the 1,800-acre private family-oriented community will be limited to 400 homesites and centered around an appreciation of nature and a wide variety of year-round sporting activities.

The Ford Plantation has an interesting history to match its future, including time as an antebellum rice plantation and as a winter retreat for Henry and Clara Ford--who purchased the property in the mid-1920s. Today, the Ford's preserved riverfront mansion--now known as the Main House--is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today's members and guests will find four miles of Ogeechee River frontage, more than 400 acres of lakes, wildlife and bird sanctuaries. The private equity Ford Plantation Club is managed by the esteemed Greenbrier Resort and Club Management Company and offers a variety of sporting amenities, including an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Pete Dye, equestrian center, a deepwater marina, bridle and hiking trails, a fully equipped Sports Complex, and so much more.

The two-story Clubhouse sits at the end of an avenue of ancient oaks, offering memorable dining and all of the comfort and elegance you would expect of an American estate home. Additional highlights of The Ford Plantation lifestyle includes fresh and saltwater fishing and boating, wellness treatments at the spa, tennis, canoeing and kayaking along protected waterways, and sporting clays and upland wing shooting.

Of the golf course, Pete Dye says, "This is arguably my finest southern design." The front nine is designed around 250 acres of freshwater lakes, while the back nine is a special Scottish-style links layout created within one of the original plantation's rice fields.

The property is divided into neighborhoods, each offering its own individual character. McAllister Point features free-standing, Charleston-style garden homes centered around a shady commons area, while Cherry Hill Village is reminiscent of a typical Southeast village once found in nearby Savannah or Beaufort, South Carolina. Silk Hope Harbour is a coastal village modeled after fishing villages of the east coast, including clapboard cottages with two-story porches overlooking the marina and lakefront Captain's Row houses recalling the homes of indigo and cotton merchants and seamen. Silk Hope Plantation offers a peaceful village of winding natural walkways and equestrian trails that meander through a 250-year-old live oak forest.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, VISIT www.fordplantation.com OR CALL (877) 735-8367.


There's a unique opportunity now available to live on an undisturbed private island just 575 miles off the coast of Florida. It's called the Turks & Caicos Sporting Club at Ambergris Cay, British West Indies.

Located just below the southern end of The Bahamas, the Turks & Caicos provide an ideal climate, pristine beaches and waters, political stability, a friendly tax environment, and much more. Ambergris Cay is located near Providenciales, which offers direct flights from Miami, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Atlanta, Toronto, and London.

Ambergris Cay is an 1,100-acre private residential island at the southeastern end of the Caicos Banks. With eight miles of waterfront, the island is nearly 3.3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. It rises to 100 feet, providing the highest elevations on any cay in the Turks & Caicos. Approximately 30 percent of the island will be preserved to maintain its archaeological ruins and natural landscape.

Named for its once plentiful deposits of ambergris, which was produced by the sperm whale and used to make fine perfumes, Ambergris Cay has remained largely uninhabited since the Taino Indians departed in the late 15th century. Although the island had many visitors, a group of investors purchased the cay in 1995 and began their vision of the Turks & Caicos Sporting Club at Ambergris Cay.

Only members and their guests will be able to enjoy the planned amenities and exclusive lifestyle that will make Ambergris Cay one of the Caribbean's most desirable residential communities. Proposed amenities include a Members' Lodge and spa, guest accommodations and concierge service, fitness center with tennis and squash courts, 5,200-foot paved jet strip and customs house, deepwater marina that accommodates boats of 200+ feet, world-class sportfishing and diving, 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, naturalist center and staff naturalist, equestrian center and bridle trails, and a marina village with shops.

The Greenbrier Resort & Club Management Company, a proven leader in the management of premier sporting clubs, will manage club operations. Their expertise and dedication to excellent service will extend to every aspect of the Turks & Caicos Sporting Club at Ambergris Cay.

Ambergris Cay will offer a limited number of seascape homesites. Of course, some of the most stunning sites are located on high bluffs with spectacular sea views.

This is your chance to live among the pleasures of an undisturbed world, a private island in the British West Indies, reserved for an exclusive few. Reservations are now being accepted for waterfront homesites and private equity sporting club memberships. Homesites range from $500,000 to $3.5 million.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, VISIT www.tc-sportingclub.com OR CALL (877) 815-1300.


Setting a new standard of luxury is a daunting task on Fisher Island, a private island community known for a ferry system that operates like a Swiss clock, deep-water marinas housing 200-foot yachts, spectacular oceanfront mansions in the sky, and the distinction as America's wealthiest community by the 2000 Census.

With the introduction of Palazzo del Mare - the most palatial residential tower ever to rise on the 216-acre enclave - Fisher Island is breaking its own "luxury ceiling." Located on the island's north end, Palazzo del Mare will offer residents an unprecedented amenity and service-rich lifestyle on exclusive Fisher Island, which boasts its own golf course designed by P.B. Dye, world-class spa, gourmet restaurants, beauty salon, new day school, and tennis center.

Privacy, visual perfection, and the ultimate in personal service will be the hallmarks of Palazzo del Mare's 34 dazzling oceanfront residences. "Palazzo del Mare was born from the shared ideas and experiences of our sophisticated residents who travel around the globe in a quest for the ultimate sybaritic experience," says Phyllis Winick, President of Fisher Island Realty Sales.

Private, air-conditioned elevators will whisk residents to their spacious homes, where panoramic windows and expansive terraces provide spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay, the glittering Miami skyline and the Fisher Island golf course.

A private concierge will handle any personal requests while residents are at home or away. Palazzo del Mare residents will also will enjoy valet service, individual garages, guest suites, a Pilates studio, private steam and massage rooms, a movie theater and much more.

Palazzo del Mare will provide residents with a carefree lifestyle in a spectacular setting. Floor plans range in size from three bedrooms with three-and-a-half baths to a five-bedroom and five-and-a-half bath model, with square footage ranging from 3,500 to more than 7,000 square feet. The largest units include a den and library, as well as staff quarters.

The kitchens will be among the most lavish found anywhere, with the finest custom cabinetry, gas stoves and built-in cappuccino machines. Appliances from premier names like Gaggenau and SubZero will be de rigueur. Palazzo del Mare is scheduled for completion in 2006 and offers residences starting at $2.25 million.

Once the private winter retreat of William K. Vanderbilt II, Fisher Island is home to 650 of the world's leading families, representing 40 nations. Fisher Island is accessible only by air or water. The private 216-acre residential and club community is located just south of Miami Beach, and offers Mediterranean-style condominium residences starting at 2,000 square feet. Prices range from $900,000 to more than $6.5 million.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, VISIT www.fisherisland.com, EMAIL pwinick@fisherisland.com OR CALL (305) 535-6071.