WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A houseboat neighborhood will be a reality by the end of August.
According to Greg Marchi with Atlantic Houseboats, which is partnering with the Port City Marina for the project, there will be 100 houseboats in the south end of the marina by summer 2019.
There will be one-, two- and three-bedroom models. The one-bedroom, one-bathroom model is called The Southport and will be about 1,164 square feet. According to Marchi, it will be listed at $259,900 for the basic design. Owners can upgrade the interior for an added price.
The two bedroom is called The Masonboro and will have two bathrooms. It will be about 1,175 square feet.
The three bedroom is called The Cape Fear and will have two bathrooms at 1,223 square feet. Marchi said two- and three-bedroom models haven't been fully priced yet, but they will be from $260,000 to $399,000.
Homeowners will also have to either pay $200,000 for a boat slip or lease the slip for $1,400 per month in addition to the home's cost.
According to Marchi, three houseboats have been sold, and 150 more people are interested.
"People are more into wanting to live minimalist, wanting to live small, but also, more importantly, wanting to have a second place to live," Marchi said. "As Wilmington grows, obviously real estate, the demand for real estate goes up and more importantly, the demand for river space and slips. We just think people are excited about it."
About 25 percent of those people will live there permanently, 25 percent will rent it out after they buy it, 25 percent will use it as an investment and 25 percent will use the houseboats as a second home.
"We want to create this like a neighborhood," Marchi said. "It's not going to be your typical pier and dock. The docks are going to be named as streets. We're going to have street lights up along the way.
"Each one is going to have a mailbox. We're going to create a community here and while it may be a little crowded, and it's not really going to be crowded, they've got the whole downtown Wilmington as their backyard as well as the river."
As far as weather creating a safety risk for the houseboats and the people living in them, Marchi said they can take the houses out of the water if needed. He said residents should leave the homes in the water during a storm because there will be more damage if they're on land.
They are also adding barriers around that part of the marina to minimize the surge.
The neighborhood will be called The Strands and is one of the first houseboat communities on the east coast.