Palmetto Bluff
Bluffton, SC
Structural & Marine
Water Resource

Thomas &  Hutton provided engineering design services for a 22,000-acre tract of land in Bluffton, SC. Destined to be known as a “place” and not a project, Palmetto Bluff focuses on preserving the natural beauty, vastness, and richness of its sea island landscape.  The residential community and natural preserve is situated on one of the few remaining tracts of pristine land along the East Coast. The upscale community features The Village, a commercial riverfront area, an Inn & Spa resort area, and extensive forest preserves and miles of wooded trails.

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    In addition to the residential lots, Palmetto Bluff boasts an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Thomas & Hutton has been working on the Palmetto Bluff property for more than 25 years. Phase I includes 732 units on 3,458 acres, the Uplands Tract includes 150 units on 1,830 acres, and Phase II includes 2,035 units on 7,339 acres. Thomas & Hutton’s responsibilities included water system design, wastewater system design, stormwater drainage system design, road design, and marine design. Thomas & Hutton also designed various marine facilities including community floating docks, marina, and dry-stack storage facilities.


    Thomas & Hutton designed and developed geothinQ, a multi-platform GIS web application in which Palmetto Bluff utilizes for its resort development community. The application takes advantage of advancements in mobile technology. Tablets and smart phones’ GPS capability allows the development team to view their property data, relative to their physical position, and push data from the field directly to the application. Users such as development team members and property managers have efficient access to a wealth of public and private land information. These data layers include publicly held data on federal, state, and local levels, such as soil condition, tax parcel data, and topographic information to privately collected data, such as tree surveys, wetland delineations, installed utilities, and aerial photography. The team uses these GIS layers to observe how each site feature relates to the other, fostering better and more informed decisions in property management and future development. These up-to-date plans and layouts are used to visualize development scenarios and bring all stakeholders together onto the same page using the same geography.