Sandestin: FACT vs FICTION

Posted by Wendy Morton on Monday, July 2nd, 2018 at 8:15am.

Are you hearing stories flying around Sandestin about things such as a condo on Jolee Island, The Beach House restaurant coming down to make room for a high-rise, and The Village of Baytowne Wharf closing down? Kitty Whitney, SRE Executive Director, separates FACT from FICTION here. Have a question YOU want answered? Send it directly to Kitty at:



Section of Village closing and condos to be built.


The Village is alive and well. Nothing in the Village is being closed. (see map and directory with new establishments from most recent Shop, Dine, Play)

The adjacent Baytowne Conference Center expansion starts soon and it will take the foot print of the current service parking lot near the loading dock and Grand Sandestin. This does not affect any of the Village footprint.

This will allow Sandestin to target larger more sophisticated group conferences due to conference center size. The expansion will include a hotel above the conference center, specifically for this purpose.

Our leisure travel and smaller conference group guests will still select from the current pool of rental units through the current system. The hotel will be managed separately and geared to larger conferences and the hotel type guests.



Are we building on Jolee Island?


In last year’s “settlement” of the clarification of the rights contained in the DRI (Development of Regional Impact), the residential entitlements were penciled in as to where prospective development could be built throughout the resort. In the non-protected/non-wetlands area of Jolee Island is an area where residential units could be built.

The building process requires a development order. If any plans were ever drawn for Jolee Island, all county, state and federal requirements would have to be met and all approvals obtained. One part to this process is a public hearing which means the public are made aware well ahead of time to propose objections or issues.

Currently, SDI is underway on a few projects which will likely consume both years of time and market appetite, pushing any further development into the distant future. Underway, or prospectively underway, depending on market:

     Osprey Pointe

     443, Burnt Pine Villas

     Baytowne conference center expansion and hotel

     Linkside conference center renovation (done)

No other developments/plans, even conceptual ideas, have been done.



Sign on Hwy 98, “Village of Baytowne Wharf” refers to a neighborhood and not a village.

The Village is inside the Sandestin gates and not open to the public.


Sandestin has 72 unique neighborhoods all covered by the master owners’ association, SOA, and are collectively referred to as the neighborhoods in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf is a pedestrian village of shops, restaurants, entertainment and activities. Vacation guests, homeowners, and area guests (PUBLIC) are welcome. Parking is unique so read ahead to ensure knowledge of parking options including: the transportation system, Sandestin Tram, Village garage, Village surface parking, Valet, Grand Sandestin, Inspiration overflow parking and special arrangement on holidays.

There is no other area establishment as quaint and exciting as the Village of Baytowne Wharf.   There's something for every age and we welcome you to stay all day and all evening!



OBCD homeowner is adamant that a building is being built next to OBCD in the next year or so.


The NOPC approved by the county (last year) and finally accepted by all parties (SDI, SOA), defines the number and sites of future development both north and south of Hwy 98.

Specifically, the three potential sites south of Hwy 98 are noted in red and their proximity and relation to the existing buildings is also demonstrated in the attachment. (attach map)

The only planned developments at this time are north of Hwy 98 and include

  •              Osprey Pointe, on Heron Walk
  •              443 in Burnt Pine
  •              Marina boat slips and
  •              Conference center expansion at Baytowne Conference center

Even these developments are dependent on the market appetite and will carry out over the next few years.

There are currently NO drawings, renderings, plans or intentions for beach development.

In the event that SDI would opt to build on the south side of Hwy 98, these are only options:

  •              Not to exceed total of 200 units in the three sites listed (Other beach sites have been withdrawn)
  •              Must go through the required processes of:

o             Architect, engineering, then on to the

o             Development order process which includes evaluation of traffic, drainage, storm water, parking and public notice

  •              Time table for any of these is extensive and dependent on market appetite and real estate cycles, so many years out, if at all.



Osprey Pointe is being built on Jolee Island


Osprey Pointe map demonstrates it is being built on Heron Walk Drive between Heron Walk and Bay Pine.



“Issues with housekeeping staff due to new immigration laws”


With or without changes in the immigration laws, SDI always uses our human capital team and legally licensed brokers to establish a method to bring in the appropriate number of H2Bs, J1s, etc. to meet the needs of housekeeping and various other business units throughout the resort. There is always an art to getting the right people, the right number, the right skill set and coordinate employee housing. Thank goodness our SDI team always manages this very well.



Realtors have left Sandestin (SRE).


This is not a myth. In fact, this is a situation that happens year over year in every real estate firm in the nation.

SRE is a unique platform where agents become employees, most expenses paid, all benefits provided (including health insurance), payroll taxes paid by SDI, support staff and marketing team available to agents, now four in-resort offices for agents, and more. This unique platform allows your agent to list and sell, with all marketing and admin support to make them more successful for you.

Many firms seek agents as experienced as ours. They offer different benefits and actively recruit, with “the grass is greener”. So, for those agents who are attempting greener grass, we wish them the best.

SRE agents are privy to all details of the resort, ownership, intricacies of SOA/HOA, access to amenities and clubs and ongoing development updates. Make sure your agent is an SRE agent!

We are proud of our loyal and successful agents and support team who make Sandestin the place it is today.

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