Here are few updates that were sent to Chamber members from Chamber President:
1) Visitor Season – blooming spring flowers bring folks to the Beaufort region, but our visitor economy is far less seasonal than you might think. Robb Wells, president of Visit Beaufort-Port Royal-Sea Islands, shared the latest visitor stats with the Chamber Board. A more diverse visitor base means monthly overnight occupancy is pretty consistent from late February through early November. Events like BAHA’s Oyster Festival in January help even out our midwinter slump. Savannah and Charleston generate the most visitors to our region, but their spending is dwarfed by visitors from the Upstate and Midlands.
2) Downtown Investment – following thirteen public meetings, two dozen newspaper articles, hundreds of social media posts, a lawsuit and an appeal, construction will finally begin next month on expansion of the Beaufort Inn and Tabby Place along Port Republic Street and a parking garage accessible from Charles Street. The hotel expansion will be a three-story structure with a rooftop bar and courtyard pool on the former gravel parking lot at the corner of Scott and Port Republic Streets. The parking garage will be open to the public.
Once completed, these investments by 303 Associates/Beaufort Inn will generate millions in additional tax revenues, create 80+ new jobs, and help the region compete for corporate events and meetings to further diversify our visitor base and support downtown businesses. Misinformation abounds online about this project. A recorded information session from 303 Associates shares facts, plans and renderings. The Chamber will share updates relevant to local businesses throughout the construction process.
3) Code Update – the City of Beaufort this week outlined a process and timeline to update their form based development code. The code regulates everything about what gets built from zoning to engineering standards and landscaping requirements. This will be the first comprehensive review and update since the code was adopted in June 2017. The City will add a 2 hour work session each month between April and October to discuss proposed changes. The Chamber is committed to participate fully and advocate for business throughout the process.
4) Installation Goals – last month, the Marine Corps released their Installation and Logistics 2030 strategy report. It is primarily focused on supply chain modernization, but includes a section on installations. It highlights resiliency, bases’ contributions to force readiness, and touches on improved quality of life in areas surrounding bases to support talent retention. Most folks will need an acronym cheat sheet to digest the report, but the Military Times recorded a video recap focused on the implications for installations.