The Savannah Lakes lodge grounds.
By Greg Deal
Savannah Lakes Village
Want to hear a secret? Sure you do. We all love secrets.
Why do we love them so much? For some, it’s about knowing someone has told them something that no one else knows. For others, it’s about sharing that secret with another person – then begging that person not to tell anyone else.
We know how that goes. The secret is out.
Well, Joe Todd knows a secret, and it’s one you can feel good about sharing. The vice president of land development and new homes for Better Homes & Gardens Executive Partners – which is a development partner with Savannah Lakes Village – channeled his inner Matthew McConaughey to share a story with those who attended the McCormick County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.
McConaughey, playing Mississippi defense lawyer Jake Brigance in the 1996 film “A Time to Kill,” asked in his summation for an all-white jury to close their eyes and listen to a story. Brigance wanted the jury to see something in a new light – and eventually render a favorable verdict for a black man charged with murder. Brigance’s story, with the jury’s eyes closed, allowed them to reimagine things they had taken for granted.
Joe Todd wants people who know about Savannah Lakes Village to reimagine it and not take it for granted. He hopes those who don’t know about SLV will find out a tremendous secret – and share it.
It’s time for this secret to go viral. There’s something unique happening here.
Here is how Joe told the story at the Chamber meeting:
“I want you to think about everything you’ve ever known about Savannah Lakes Village, and I want you to forget it.
“Now I want to ask you to close your eyes.
“I want to tell you a story about a place that’s located on a lake with 72,000 acres that has 1,200 miles of shoreline, approximately 90 miles of interiors roads, and dozens of miles of hiking, biking, kayaking and walking trails.
“I want to tell you about a place that borders three state parks with close to a million visitors a year, has three lakefront golf courses inside and adjacent to community, and a recreation center that includes indoor and outdoor swimming and a tennis facility.
“I also want to tell you about a community that is managed as professionally as anyone I’ve ever been around. This community will also be able to deliver a gigabit of data to every doorstep, which is an exciting and enormous partnership (with WCTEL) in its own regard.
“I want to tell you about a place that is in the process of having a new lodge being built and developed, which will include the opening of a restaurant, the reinvigoration of a convention center, and also the master planning of 150 acres of property adjacent to the peninsula.
“I want to tell you about a place that has new programs that promote healthy living and an outdoor recreation-based lifestyle.
“Now, I want you to open your eyes and realize you’ve all been told about one of the most exciting opportunities in the Southeast.
“You’ve been told a big secret. Now go share the secret.”
Say it IS so, Joe!
Joe and his team form BH&G presented their plan to a full house at the Chamber meeting. Joe says, “Every business is a people business.” While he talked about a lot of statistics and numbers, his primary focus is on working with SLV to plan a path of progression and growth that will allow more people to enjoy a life current residents already experience. In other words, he wants others to know the secret. He and his team are planning small pockets of themed neighborhoods in the community. They also are under contract to purchase the lodge, conference center and restaurant, along with lots within the community.
One of the most exciting aspects is the investment of $15 million by BH&G to tear down the old lodge and build a new 50-unit facility that will serve as part of “stay and play” packages for prospects considering making SLV their home.
For every 100 homes constructed, Joe estimates a $20 million increase in the tax base, which is a major boost for the economy.
“We want to do what’s best for the county – and for the long term,” Joe told Chamber members. “We want a sustainable program that will finish SLV.”
Joe said he wants to see a “bustling and exciting place again.”
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.
And it’s one opportunity people need to know about. You are the messenger.
Share the secret! I promise that no one will call you a tattletale.