Riptide Builders Newsletter – January 2021

January 25, 2021

Welcome to the Riptide Builders Newsletter! First and foremost, we want to wish all of you a Happy New Year! May 2021 bring you joy and happiness.

Moving forward, this newsletter will serve as one of the primary sources of current information from Riptide Builders and the Sea Trail Master Association (STMA) board about what is going on within the Sea Trail community. Future newsletters will include details on upcoming projects, key information from the STMA board, and details on how we intend to best serve the community.

We know that many people have questions, and our goal is to provide as many answers as we can in a timely manner. Below are the best points of contact for you to reach out to should you have questions that are not addressed in this newsletter. Again, our goal is to keep you as informed as possible.

Background
As many of you know, in late August of last year Riptide Builders acquired the remaining undeveloped land in Sea Trail with the purchase of Sunrise Corporate Development Holdings. We are actively collaborating and developing plans with the homeowner’s association to bring tremendous new features and improvements to the current Sea Trail community. We are also working with the STMA board and various committees on features we can include in future development property. We are focusing on features that can be assets to existing Sea Trail residents as well as the future residents. The collaboration and teamwork with the present STMA board members has been wonderful. We believe it is vital to have a board that understands how working together, problem-solving together, and most importantly communicating together, will form the best possible Sea Trail for us all. We are confident in the current STMA board and we are extremely excited to achieve great things for Sea Trail together.

About Riptide
As a bit of background for those that are just learning about us, Riptide Builders started building custom homes in the southern portion of Brunswick County in 2009, and our expertise has steadily grown during the twelve years since our inception. Our customers’ satisfaction is important, and we work diligently to exceed expectations and deliver high-quality work through precise attention to detail and premier customer service. We strive to bring first-class materials, leading-edge design, outstanding finish details, luxury features, and exceptional quality to every home we construct. Riptide was founded with a guiding philosophy to develop and to build innovative homes in prime locations which meet and exceed the needs of today’s clients. We hold this philosophy as true today as we did on day one.

As local business owners who live, work and employ people here in Sunset Beach, we are committed to investing our time, resources, and passion into creating luxury homes and development plans for Sea Trail, which many of our families, staff, and friends are proud to call home. Riptide has historically pushed the envelope in achieving high market values, and bringing high-quality land development and luxury residential construction into the community will further enhance existing property values.

Plans for the Future – and the Convention Center
We are excited about our plans for 2021 and beyond. In our upcoming newsletters, we will continuously be communicating and sharing information with you.

An important piece we can share now is that Riptide and Chinaway Corporation are actively collaborating for various improvements to the golf courses, the clubhouses, and restaurants. We are also collaborating and discussing the re-opening of the Convention Center.

It is important to understand that the planned development for the remainder of Sea Trail is vital to the future success of all these advancements. Ownership and staff have met and spoken with numerous residents in the community who would love nothing more than for the Convention Center to be re-opened, the golf course to be enhanced and to prosper, and the food and beverage and clubhouses to be improved with new designs and appointments to better serve the community and guests.

The Big Picture 
Sea Trail is its own ecosystem. In recent years we have seen the convention center close and the rental program close and subsequently re-open with less than 90 short-term rentals available today. Sea Trail is home to some exceptionally large facilities that require significant cash flow to thrive. Conventions, golf packages and accommodations are the life blood of these facilities within the community we have all invested in and come to love. We whole-heartedly believe that it would be a tragedy for the golf courses, clubhouses and restaurants to wither away due to insufficient funding and support. However, these key amenities can hardly survive, much less thrive without business — and accommodations are a critical driver of that business. Simply put, conventions are impossible without accommodations, and there can be no accommodations available without future development.

As a bit of historical reference, there were previously over 400 short term rentals in Sea Trail available for convention accommodations and golf packages. We are committed to improving all facilities within Sea Trail to enable them to bloom to their fullest potential. Our plans for the community do not stop with short term development and construction; we are here to invest in the facilities and business that make Sea Trail so unique and desirable. However, we cannot do it alone — we need the support of the community and town to achieve this.

It’s human nature to zero in on the negatives, and we can always find something to criticize. However, to move forward we must all see the big picture. We are committed to having a dialogue with our residents and the town to ensure that the big picture for Sea Trail is a positive one for the entire community.

Pulling it All Together: Our Vision
Sea Trail has been dormant for well over a decade, but things are now happening. We understand the many benefits of quality, diverse development allows. That’s why our plans include re-opening and revitalizing facilities; sidewalks throughout all future development property and some existing developed areas; diverse amenities throughout Sea Trail; greenspace areas; a future entry and exit from Angels Trace Road; tremendous additional funding to the HOA from new development and increased capital contributions; and funding which allows for dues to stay low and our budgets to increase. These improvements will benefit Sunset Beach by growing the tax base and therefore increasing the town’s tax revenue, ABC revenues and accommodations tax revenues. This will benefit all Sunset Beach residents, regardless of whether they live in Sea Trail, by allowing the town to generate additional revenues at the current tax rate.

Our vision for Sea Trail is to become the premier resort in our region. We have made an extremely large investment in Sea Trail, and no one is more committed than us to ensuring that Sea Trail reaches its full potential and continues to be one of the most attractive places to live and visit in our region. This is a team effort; we are in this together. Our team at Riptide is excited to bring these enhancements and improvements to our community. We are overjoyed to be working with the great STMA board and look forward to meeting any residents that we have not already met.

We all know how powerful the rumor mill can be, especially when those rumors make it to Facebook and NextDoor. If you have questions about our plans, please reach out to us! We’ll be honest and transparent and give you the full story.  All we ask is that you keep an open mind until you hear all of the facts.  If you have questions or concerns, please communicate with the board or us directly. We will always do our best to listen and accommodate when and where we can!

We highly encourage you all to review the Second Amended Master Declaration and Development plan if you have not done so already. This document outlines the declarant rights, property rights, and more. The Second Amended Master Declaration can be viewed on the STMA website or by clicking here.

Below is a map of Sea Trail to outline tract locations/names, future development areas, roads, and current amenity locations.

Official Point of Contact

Todd Rademacher 

Community Planner/Public Relations

For questions or information pertaining to general community development or future planning, please contact Todd.

Work: 910.579.7778
Cell: 910.880.3228
Email: todd@riptidebuilders.com

Todd has 21 years of local government experience as a planning director in North Carolina.  He has spent many years in Sunset Beach and is familiar with subdivision planning and development and is a key member of Riptide Builders. Todd is well versed in wetlands, stormwater, natural habitat planning and is excited to be a part of the upcoming Sea Trail development.

Projects Underway in Sea Trail

South Entry Sales Office
One of the projects currently underway is the remodeling of the South Entry Sales Office. Previously upon entering the south entrance of Sea Trail, your eyes were met with the old sales office — which was a bit of an eyesore. Below are “before” images of the sales center before and our plans for what it will look like when remodeling is complete with community and town support, this type of revitalization could happen with many commercial structures within Sea Trail in the not-so-distant future.

The new sales office will be the primary hub for both the Riptide Builders Sales Team and Sea Trail Realty. Sea Trail Realty is a new company comprised of several seasoned general real estate brokers and property managers. This team of experts will sell and focus exclusively on Sea Trail real estate in order to directly serve the current residents of the Sea Trail market with their listing, sales or property management needs.

The South Entry Sales Office is making great progress and is expected to be complete by the end of February!

Sales Office Before Remodel

Sales Office Remodel Plan

Upcoming Projects in Sea Trail

In the near future, we will provide an elaborate overview of the Townhomes on Eastwood Bluff at Sea Trail, Byrd Watch and Crooked Gulley Pointe. In the meantime, below are some details on what to expect.

Townhomes on Eastwood Bluff at Sea Trail

The Eastwood Bluff Townhome community project began before Sea Trail Corporation went into bankruptcy many years ago. Due to the circumstances, the project became dormant and was never completed, and has been an eyesore for the community. However, all of the underground infrastructures were installed for this project to include all of the water, sewer, and stormwater systems and many state permits were still active. The community has an active HOA and recorded declarations and by-laws. The infrastructure installed underground was extremely costly and something that could not be easily removed. Our engineering team and design staff collaborated and made dramatic improvements to the exteriors, floor plans and, most importantly, the amenities that were originally designed for this project. Work on the Townhomes on Eastwood Bluff at Sea Trail will begin in the upcoming months. When completed, the project will include 22 total buildings, with four units per building. Additionally, the Townhomes on Eastwood Bluff at Sea Trail will feature a brand-new pool, a beautiful pool/clubhouse, pergola dining areas with fire pits, benches, grilling stations, lush landscaping, and more. A detailed site map along with pricing will be available soon. Sidewalks with an abundance of street trees will be installed along Eastwood Park Road bordering Eastwood Bluff all the way to Clubhouse Road. Sidewalks will then adjoin from the Byrd Watch project where they will run down both sides of Clubhouse Road to the boundaries of Byrd Watch, which is approximately the current location of the Convention Center parking lot and the entry to Pelican Reserve (formerly known as tract 6) at Mill Pond Road on the other side. Sidewalks with more lush street trees will continue into Crooked Gulley circle and terminate at the end of the Byrd Watch boundary on Crooked Gulley Circle.

Byrd Watch

Lots and homes within Byrd Watch are now available for purchase. Survey markers have been placed throughout the area to indicate rough lot lines. We anticipate breaking ground on this project in late spring/early summer of 2021. When completed, the Byrd Watch community will consist of 49 single-family homes with premier golf course and water views.  As noted above, sidewalks and street trees will be installed down Clubhouse Road on both sides of this project and into Crooked Gulley Circle. Sidewalks will connect all down Eastwood Park Road and will eventually continue to the north entry of Sea Trail by Discovery Lake (formerly known as tract 1) and will continue out all the way through Pelican Reserve (formerly known as tract 6) and connect to a new entry and exit point for Sea Trail at Angels Trace Road. Our design team is looking at several unique amenities to include within some of the common areas of these properties. One point of focus is to create a bird viewing area with some platforms and commercial grade viewfinders. We are also going to do our very best with the engineers and surveyors to preserve trees where allowable for birds that we all love to watch and admire.

Below is an image of the Byrd Watch site map:

 

Crooked Gulley Pointe

This array of five single-family homes is also now available for purchase. These homes will be listed in the low 400’s and feature stunning golf course views. Vertical construction on these five homes will take place in the first quarter of this year.

If you are interested in more details such as pricing, timeline, features or the purchase of any of the above projects, please reach out to the Riptide Sales Team. They are always available to answer any questions you may have!

Office: 910.579.7778
Email: sales@riptidebuilders.com

Below is an image of our Sales Team listed from left to right: Julie Chortanoff, Britney McCarthy, and Lauren Gembe.

Smaller Upcoming Projects

Riptide is working with the STMA and Landscape Committee on enhancing the chapel landscape, and we are seeking to beat the current estimates so we can save money and invest those savings into additional projects within Sea Trail such as landscape enhancements along Clubhouse Road.
Riptide is also working with the STMA and will be involving the long-range planning committee on various greenspace areas in the community where gazebos, pergolas, picnic areas, benches and bike racks could be installed for the use of the residents. These are some projects that we can construct quickly, while we need additional permits and planning time for the others.

Additionally, we are looking to create more court-type amenities (like pickle ball) that are close to the existing tennis courts and club house. We also want to make the community a better place for your four-legged friends by creating a location for a dog park. We are working with the STMA board on various options that we have with Sunrise property and various common areas within Sea Trail. There are many more projects that we are planning and working on to enhance Sea Trail, but we will save some for future newsletters.

Riptide Builders is devoted to bringing positive change to Sea Trail while making it one of the most sought-after communities in the area. We look forward to working with you to make it happen.

President’s Update – 8/27/2020 – Answers to Questions Related to Changes in Ownership

Good afternoon Sea Trail!  Aren’t we fortunate that Hurricane Laura didn’t come our way.  Let’s keep everyone in Louisiana and Texas in our thoughts and prayers.

Many Sea Trail Master Association (STMA) members may have questions about the recent changes in ownership in Sea Trail.  The following is a brief summary to help dissuade rumors and assist members in understanding what has occurred.

Prior to August 1, 2020, other than individual residential STMA members, there were three entities owning real property in Sea Trail.  They are as follows:

  1. The Maples, Byrd and Jones golf courses, the Maples Club House, the Jones/Byrd Club House and Convention Center, the business offices located on Mill Pond Road (across Club House Road from the Jones/Byrd Club House), the parking lot for the old rental office (opposite the Maples Club House), the former sales center located at the south entrance to Sea Trail (on the southwest corner of Clubhouse Road and Shoreline Drive), the Village Activity Center (VAC), which is under an 8 year lease to a third party, the maintenance tract on Clubhouse Road (opposite Sea Horse Estates) and undeveloped Tract #2 located between the convention center and Champions are owned by China Way Corporate Development LLC (CHINA WAY) which is controlled by Mr. Pan;
  2. With the exception of Tracts #2 & #16, all undeveloped real property, consisting of 18 numbered tax parcels of varying sizes from .77 acres up to 58.37 acres, along with a number of isolated undevelopable buffer areas and platted undeveloped lots located both within and without Sea Trail were owned by Sunrise Corporate Development Holdings, LLC (SUNRISE), an entity controlled by Mr. Pan.  SUNRISE was the declarant under the master declaration documents; and
  3. ST Class 15 LLC, an entity owned by some of the shareholders of Sea Trail Corporation as creditors out of the bankruptcy of Sea Trail Corporation having no known affiliation with any entity owned by Mr. Pan, had title to Tract #16, a parcel consisting of 19.53 acres beginning on Rice Mill Circle at Cane Break Road and the tees for Jones #7, running along the south side of Jones hole #7 to the sewer treatment plant on Angel’s Trace Road. That entity continues to own Tract #16.

On or about August 1, 2020, Riptide Builders Development Inc. (RBD) purchased SUNRISE.  RBD is a corporation, the exact ownership of which has not been disclosed, is not controlled by Mr. Pan but controlled by Robert Hill, a principal in Riptide Builders LLC, an entity which has been constructing homes both in and out of Sea Trail.  Following the purchase, SUNRISE is the same entity which existed prior to August 1, 2020, with the exception that it is now owned by RBD rather than Mr. Pan.  Before the sale, SUNRISE was the declarant under the declaration documents and continues to be the declarant, although SUNRISE is now owned and controlled by RBD.  SUNRISE remains in the identical position as to STMA and the ownership of real property in Sea Trail as it was prior to the sale to RBD.  The only change in SUNRISE relative to the STMA is in who now owns that entity.  In addition to the undeveloped real estate, SUNRISE remains the declarant with all of the rights and obligations of the declarant under the master declaration documents and continues to be the holder of all existing stormwater permits.

CHINA WAY continues to own the three golf courses and parcels identified above and continues to be responsible for the operation of what has become known as Sea Trail Golf Resort.  Undeveloped Tract #7 adjacent to the Jones/Byrd Club House containing the golf driving range belongs, as it always has, to SUNRISE.  We have been advised that CHINA WAY has an 18 month lease for operation of the driving range.  The Jones/Byrd Club House, Convention Center and undeveloped tract #2 of 15.11 acres remains titled in CHINA WAY.  There may be other leases and/or agreements between RBD, SUNRISE and CHINA WAY establishing interests in the assets or facilities of the other of which STMA has not been made aware.

In an earlier message, I advised of the passage of Town Ordinance 93.06 requiring residents to bundle storm debris and cut it into 4 foot lengths.  On August 18, 2020, the Town Council rescinded that ordinance and it is no longer applicable.

BEWARE – The President’s email account has been hacked so please ignore strange messages requesting money or gift cards if received.

Stay safe,
Jack Phillabaum, STMA President