By early 1970, the overall project was well underway. Lewith and his associates were ready to begin selling lots. They approached Pentes Designs and Jerry Smith about developing a marketing program. Smith was so impressed with the potential of the Commodore Club project that he contacted Charles Fraser, the developer of Sea Pines at Hilton Head Island, and suggested that he consider the project for development as the first non-coastal Sea Pines Plantation. Fraser inspected the property and immediately began negotiations to buyout the Commodore group. River Hills Plantation, a Sea Pines Community, was born. By April 1971, Sea Pines Development was in control and the construction of the infrastructure and the amenities of River Hills began in earnest. The Sea Pines golf professionals made some major changes in the original golf course plan. Construction was started on the front gate guardhouse and a combined golf proshop and property sales building. The old Commodore Yacht Club swimming pool was opened to all property owners, and the "Crows Nest" was made available for private meetings and parties.
The Sea Pines planners began to define their goals for " A Way of Life" rather than a subdivision. So while the plans for roads, utilities and security were being developed, other planners were working on community amenities such as golf and tennis facilities, a marina, a game room, a general store and restaurants. On June 10, 1972, with a great deal of fanfare, Sea Pines held the Grand Opening of the River Club. All current property owners were invited to come and bring their friends.
A $1.25 million plan for Moore's Landing was unveiled. It called for the removal of the old Commodore Yacht Club docks on Commodore Point. Moore's Landing, named for Dr. Moore, was to be the site of a marina with covered boat slips and a gas dock…now the River Hills Marina. Also included in the plan were a racquet club with seven lighted clay tennis courts and a pro shack. Completing the Moore's Landing complex were three buildings: a convenience store with a bar and sandwich shop, a shower and locker room for boaters and a Recreation/Club Room for community meetings, classes, and general socializing.
In late 1972, at the request of the River Hills Plantation Company, The River Club membership elected an Advisory Board of Directors to facilitate communication between the Club and the Company. By 1975 the River Club had over 300 members. As provided for in the Property Buyers Guide, the membership made an offer to the Company to buy the Clubhouse, the golf facilities and the tennis complex. This offer set off a long-term negotiation between Sea Pines, their lender GMI, and at least two separate groups of club members. By the end of 1976, these negotiations were still unproductive. An economic downturn had left the River Hills Plantation Company with no equity. GMI officials wanted to sell their interest to the members if an acceptable price could be negotiated. The members were able to arrange the necessary financing to satisfy GMI's final offer and the operational turnover of the club was finalized on June 14, 1977. By-Laws were adopted by the membership and the name was changed from the River Club to the River Hills Country Club, Inc.