Project History

The Buckwalter Place concept has been around for some time, building momentum from its inception.  Local approvals of the concept and site plan have continuously proceeded as the need to diversify the economic base for the rapidly growing Town of Bluffton became more and more obvious and other successful models nationwide began to appear.

While the economy on nearby Hilton Head Island boomed over the past 40 years, Bluffton took pride in a bumper sticker, which read “Bluffton is a State of Mind”.  No one ever really defined what that state of mind was, but essentially, it was “this is such an incredible place, let’s pray nobody notices on their way to Hilton Head!”

Well, they have noticed and Bluffton’s subsequent expansion was driven by a desire to wisely manage the resulting surge in growth.  The story of Buckwalter Place goes back to the original Buckwalter Development Agreement in January 2000, in which the Town of Bluffton embraced the “village” design theme. 

Since that time, the Town started the Tech Park located within Buckwalter Place and Beaufort County has purchased property with the possibility of a regional office.  The site’s central location to the majority of Bluffton’s new residential, commercial, entrepreneurial, and educational development that has occurred in recent years is no accident.  Buckwalter Place was intended from its earliest concept to become an interconnected hub of activity and gatherings.

Buckwalter Place is quickly becoming the focal point and the nucleus of the Greater Bluffton/Hilton Head/Beaufort area.  Buckwalter Place and CareCore National (our healthcare/IT anchor in the Technology Park at Buckwalter Place) are taking everything from technology to lifestyle into account when creating every inch of this knowledge-based, economically sustainable Buckwalter Place.  CareCore National, one of the country’s leading specialty benefit management companies, manages quality and utilization of outpatient diagnostic and cardiac imaging services, cardiac implantable devices, oncology drugs and therapeutic agents, radiation therapy delivery, sleep management, pain management and lab services.  It is are recognized as an industry leader and innovator providing its customers state-of-the-art web-based utilization and claim management services, a robust data management and analytical capability, and nationally recognized clinical expertise.  In addition, CareCore has experienced exponential growth to a current size of 1000 nationwide employees, with more than 600 based in South Carolina, making CareCore National one of the fastest-growing and largest employers in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

In 2005, CareCore National chose to relocate its corporate headquarters from New York to Buckwalter Place, and in 2010 the company finished a 35,000 SF expansion adjacent to its original 50,000 SF building.  In 2011, the Town of Bluffton opened its police headquarters.  In 2012, a high-tech family entertainment center, Station 300, opened its doors.  The Publix grocery store has been open since 2008 and additional retail space adjacent to the store is almost fully leased.

With CareCore’s expansion and its rapid growth in healthcare and IT, a knowledge-based mixed use village environment with retail, restaurants, housing, and entertainment/hospitality is the only way to proceed in order to achieve long term success and sustainability, not only in this market, but in all markets.

Timeline

2000

  • Property in the Buckwalter PUD acquired by RRZ, LLC from Union Camp, as part of a 4,300 acre staged purchase.

2001

  • Most of Buckwalter Place conveyed to Buckwalter Commercial, Inc.
  • Strategic alliance to include “creation of possible high tech park” with Palmetto Electric

2005

  • CareCore National commits to Buckwalter Place
  • Exchange of 22 acres in Buckwalter Place to Town of Bluffton
  • Beaufort County votes 12-0 to join in providing assistance to the Tech Park
  • SC and US Government grants for CareCore infrastructure also put in place

2006

  • Private piece of Buckwalter Place conveyed to Parcel 6, LLC & Buckwalter Place becomes project name

2007

  • Unanimous consent of Planning Commission & Town Council received for Initial Master Plan
  • Designated as MCIP (Multi-County Business and Industrial Park) by Town of Bluffton and Beaufort County
  • Acquisition by Regency Centers of 13.2 acres for Publix anchored marketplace
  • CareCore National opens Building #1
  • Additional 392 residential units entitled

2008

  • Publix opens
  • Buckwalter Place finalizes Design Guidelines for the project

2009

  • Island West votes for interconnectivity to Buckwalter Place
  • Buckwalter Place confirms 11 strategic partners
  • Buckwalter Place receives grant from South Carolina PRT for the Buckwalter Greenway Trail

2010

  • CareCore National opens Building #2

2011

  • Town of Bluffton Law Enforcement Center opens
  • Buckwalter Place Greenway Trail opens

2012

  • Station 300 opens
  • The Don Ryan Center for Innovation opens; partnership with Clemson University established
  • Sitework begins on the new Bluewater Convenience Store, Exxon Gas Station, and McDonald’s
  • Buckwalter Place confirms 27 strategic partners