New Development

Creating a Property with Soul

stan-in-bushThe Shore Club development honors local ecology and cultural history.

By Kathy Borsuk ~ Photos By Jon Nickson, eyeSpice

Going forward sometimes means going back; back to the roots; uncovering the soul of a destination. That reflects the mindset behind the creation of The Shore Club – The Hartling Group’s latest Providenciales resort condominium project. Following the highly successful and popular The Sands and The Regent Palms properties on world-famous Grace Bay Beach, developer Stan Hartling is taking a somewhat out-of-the ordinary approach here.

The Shore Club is nestled in a remote, secluded spot on Long Bay Beach, a sweeping expanse of sand with a wide natural dune and verdant border of indigenous vegetation. Besides making careful efforts to protect and enhance the area’s unique ecology, The Shore Club will also serve to promote a cultural authenticity not usually found on glamorous Grace Bay. As developer Stan Hartling explains, “I’m enthusiastic about creating real estate that is more than just the buildings and amenities. I’ve always felt this Long Bay location has a personality all its own, representing what is genuine and natural – the ‘old Caribbean’ if you will – and I want to share that with the folks who will live at and visit The Shore Club.”

Long Bay Beach stretches the length of Providenciales’ easternmost shore, yet has always retained an air of privacy. Traditionally, access was either by boat or via narrow paths cut into the vegetation, and the beach is mostly used for beachcombing, horseback riding and strolling by owners of the large residential villas well-spaced along the swath. It also serves as a perfect place to spend a lazy beach day with family and friends, your own private “day trip” without leaving Provo.

shore-club-deckThe Shore Club occupies the beach’s northern end, a quiet, sheltered cove that for years served as the ideal spot for the country’s fishermen to “knock” and remove conch from their shells, tossing these now-abandoned homes into the shallow bay. In the lush tropical highlands nearby, Loyalist planters operated large cotton plantations, and remnants of the 200 year old walls still stand.

As a Providenciales resident for over a decade, Stan Hartling absorbed all of this information and lore, turning it over in his mind until the time seemed right. He says, “Because many of our owners buy units in each of our projects, I listen carefully to and respect their opinions. And I felt that many of our buyers were looking for a more remote, less commercial location. Concurrently, they place a higher value on authenticity. They’re looking for a property that has a soul, and I believed I could create that at The Shore Club.”

It took Hartling nearly two years to accumulate the parcels of land, eventually securing a large tract with 820 feet of prime beachfront. And from the beginning, he wanted owners and guests to feel like they were on an island all their own, the kind of place that would feel unchanged from the past and into the future. “We deliberately kept the density low and the building height to five floors so we wouldn’t overwhelm the site’s natural grandeur. The Shore Club’s architecture reflects a Barbadian influence, purposely designed to feel intimate in both size and scale.”

Hartling’s extensive knowledge of his buyers’ desires helped fine-tune the property’s design. “Our owners appreciate that there are many factors that enhance their stay, including the landscaping, views, beach access, placement of pools, dining and bar areas and recreational options – all the little things that make each day an experience to be cherished.”

shore-club-beachOne of Hartling’s most important goals is to protect the property’s pristine beach and dune area during construction, while enhancing and preserving it long-term. Ezekiel Hall, from HallTech Ltd., an independent environmental consulting firm, was called in during the early stages of planning. One of the project’s first steps was to remove decades of broken conch shells that had accumulated in the shallows and washed on shore. Hall explains, “These shells can sometimes act as a barrier to sand accretion, so we used a water jet to gently push away the sand, then the shells were carefully dug out and removed by hand, bringing the beach back to its natural pristine state.”

Because Long Bay Beach’s plant biodiversity is much higher than Grace Bay Beach and the dune itself much larger, Hartling issued a strict edict that the entire dune area be cordoned off during construction. Efforts are being made to save as many indigenous plants as possible throughout the site and appropriate dune grasses will be transplanted to preserve this important buffer zone. Well-marked beach access lanes and wooden planking will help keep guests from disturbing the sensitive area.

In fact, Hartling is proud to say that The Shore Club will be the first TCI resort to maintain their beach under “Blue Flag” status. This international designation symbolizes a commitment to proper beach management, along with providing environmental education and a code of conduct to beach users and maintaining excellent water  quality and safety procedures.

Starting from the approach road off Leeward Highway all the way to the shady paths meandering through The Shore Club property, formal landscaping will be eschewed for a more natural approach, incorporating vignettes of TCI history. Stan Hartling explains, “I envision the paths to have a very organic feel, similar to what you would experience walking along an old plantation road in North Caicos. We’ll use leafy ferns, silver palms and other  native plants to create that sense. We also plan an interpretive  nature trail, incorporating natural history and local lore.”

Hartling has already started the five-year process of  revegetating the corridor leading from Leeward Highway to The Shore Club site, lining the road with fountain grass to soften the edges and planting over 200 trees with the intention of creating the look of a long “plantation-era” lane.

To enhance authenticity, Hartling adds, “We discovered nearby the remains of cotton plantation walls from the Loyalist era, and we thought it would bring the property to life to rescue and incorporate the stones as a natural part of the landscaping.” Dr. Neil Hitch, director of the TCI National Museum, roundly supports this effort, “It’s a good start and we’re happy to see a developer who places value on preserving and integrating history. Doing anything to save local artifacts is better than destroying them with a bulldozer. Each artifact may hold the clue to a new discovery.” Hitch sees this plan as typical of Hartling’s long-term support of museum projects, including the search for the slave ship Trouvadore and assistance in securing a site for the Providenciales branch of national museum.

Besides placing value on the site’s natural attributes, eco-friendly solutions are built into The Shore Club’s  design. The open reception area, dining room and common areas diminish the need for air-conditioning, relying on the tradewinds to do the job. The extensive use of fountains, pools and ponds act as natural cooling areas. Low-key lighting saves energy and diminishes the resort’s beachfront impact. The Shore Club will also utilize lowland near the site to capture and retain rainwater for irrigating landscape and roads. Other areas will be developed into a community park and pillar-spaced hedges have already been planted at the project’s border to help allay construction noise and dust for neighbors.

With an unmatched location from which to savor the sunrise, moonrise and sunset, Shore Club guests may feel as though they are living on an exotic, remote island, unchanged throughout history. However, all of Providenciales’ amenities are within a two-mile radius and  the resort itself will be throughly upscale in its facilities – just executed in a totally different way.

Hartling reports that construction and site development of The Shore Club will progress at a controlled pace, respecting the environment, culture and community every step of the way. “This is not a fast track project. I have such a strong affection for the area and it’s not easily reproducible. I want to make sure we do our best to honor the true soul that exists in this unique site.”

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