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Owning up to opulence

North Beach Plantation is 60 acres of elegant indulgence.

Oceanfront, with amazing architecture, splashing fountains, restaurants, a lavish spa and 15 pools, this development wants for nothing.

Nestled at the south end of North Myrtle Beach, the community is just being discovered by prospective owners in search of an oceanfront resort experience they can call home.

A few are already calling it home. Michael Wilk, a New Jersey resident, commutes to the Grand Strand every other weekend to see his family. His daughter, a Coastal Carolina student, and his wife live in one of the twin towers on the beach. His wife enjoys a membership at Cinzia, the on-site spa.

"I think it's a pretty spectacular project," he said. "We're in the southern corner of the building; we have an unobstructed view of three or four miles of ocean front until you get to the next set of towers. The pools are unmatched over anything I've ever seen."

While the bridged towers on the beach capture most of the attention, North Beach Plantation also has cottages, town homes and estate lots spread throughout 45 acres of land with mature live oak trees.

"Each product is unique in a sense," said Ray Matheny, director of sales and marketing for North Beach Plantation. "We're trying to be more attractive to different types of markets. We don't want it to all look the same, we want every little neighborhood to have its own character.

Two of the six owners of the brand new homes in the Cottages of Margaret mini-neighborhood opted for permanent residences. As The Scalise Group moves ahead with more of the plantation's six distinct neighborhoods, more year-round residents are expected to join them.

The 150 homes slated for development beside the towers include 6,000-square-feet estate homes in a gated community, town homes, attached bungalows and mixed-used units that will allow for coffee shops and other small businesses.

Scalise set their community apart last year with the opening of Beach Fit and an internationally focused spa, Cinzia, in an extraordinarily appointed Plantation House within the resort. The year-old spa has already garnered a customer service award from the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and a Best of the Beach award from The Sun News.

With more than 100 pampering services available, it may be hard to select one treatment at Cinzia. The spa offers a membership program for $99 a month that allows members the daily use of the Hamman, a Turkish-style steam room, meditation room, outdoor whirlpool and access to wine and snacks. Members receive the equivalent of a $120 treatment monthly. Individual appointments can be made or a full slate of manicures, facials, advanced medical spa services and myriad other life-enhancing activities.

The gym offers memberships too, but does not charge property owners for the use of its top of the line equipment. The TechnoGym equipment, unique to the Beach Fit gym, elevates every workout with more than 40 cable television channels and fitness programs on every console.

On the oceanfront, the Indigo and Jasmine towers are joined by two bridges and may remind everyone at first glance of a similar building in a far away resort. A tour will quickly shed any preconceived notions, as these buildings were designed locally by Pegram Associates to reflect traditional Southern architecture.

Combining the best in outdoor, oceanfront relaxation with classically appointed interiors, the towers are more likely to invoke the feeling of gracious historic homes in Charleston. Winchester Development, known locally for more than 25 projects along the Grand Strand, stepped away from the condo-tel sales and architecture model to offer ocean lovers an extraordinary permanent and second home opportunity on the 15-acre North Beach Towers property.

Lavishly complete inside, each unit in the tower is reached through enclosed corridors trimmed with wainscoting, flanked by wall sconces and individually marked with carpet medallions outside each double-door entrance. To increase the sense of place in the corridors and make the unit entrances more intimate, the architect juggled wall placements to bump out sections and eliminate long, narrow hallways. Crystal chandeliers light every corridor.

Personal storage units are on every floor, units have walk-in closets and individual water and electric meters. The result is an atmosphere of permanence met to encourage year-round living. The buildings have passed the scrutiny of Fannie Mae, making it easier for buyers to obtain financing in an economic era when funding an oceanfront vacation condo is nearly impossible. Rentals are allowed, but fewer than half of the currently owned units use an off-site rental management agency. Several owners from Winchester's prior projects followed the development company to North Beach, including Noel Reed, a Virginia resident who owned a unit at South Wind, the company's prior upscale project.

"It actually exceeded my expectations," said Reed who uses his unit exclusively as a second home. "The view is magnificent; when looking down the beach you can see almost to Garden City. There's nothing like the water park in Myrtle Beach."

A 5,000-square-foot penthouse at North Beach towers is available for custom finishing. Flanked by windows on two sides and balconies complete with Roman columns, the penthouse has a vaulted ceiling worthy of a cathedral.

Prices range from $333,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $1.25 million for a five-bedroom unit in the towers.

Owners and guests may breakfast in the classically appointed restaurant in the first tower bridge. The upper tower bridge steps away from traditional Southern architecture to embrace a modern, edgy feel more suited to its late-night tapas and cocktail menu.

Both The Hoffman Group and Century 21 Boling have sales offices in the towers. Scalise Realty's sales offices are housed in the Plantation House at the resort entrance. The price range for homes adjacent to the towers begins at $99,000 for a one-bedroom attached bungalow.

Contact Winchester Development for information on the towers at northbeachtowers.com or call 800-697-8532. The contact for Century 21 Boling for tower sales is 843-449-2121. You can reach the Scalise Group at 843-272-1790 or visit northbeachplantation.com.

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