Planned development may finally move forward after being put on hold for 15 years

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:21 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Developers are making a new push to get the Rice Creek project moving forward, adding over 600 new units to the original plan approved in 2006.

“Given the real estate market now, it’s not surprising to see it back up again,” said the county’s principle planner Marc Pages. Pages predicts other pre-2008 developments that never came to fruition may follow suit.

Rice Creek has a massive site plan: 1,999 single-family homes, 60 duplexes, 641 townhomes and 700 multi-family units all in one community. Together, the residential site would include 3,400 units along Highway 17.

“[Multiple types of housing] can attract, from a socio-economic standpoint, multiple potential buyers,” said Pages.

The project was originally proposed to have 2,736 units back in 2006. As part of an agreement with the county, developers secured a site for a new middle and elementary school, built a traffic circle and installed the needed infrastructure for the area, but that’s about all that happened before 2008. When the housing market crashed with the recession, plans for Rice Creek went down with it.

Fifteen years later, things are looking up. Developers applied for a modification to the plan last month, adding 664 residential units to the site. Plans also call for residential space and a golf course.

“There’s water and sewer available to the site. It’s on a major corridor on the intersection of major corridors. It’s not too far from I-140,” said Pages. “Given the amount of demand for housing right now in the area, no, it’s not surprising at all [that plans are in motion.]”

Things aren’t set in stone yet. if developers want to move forward with their plans for Rice Creek, there are a few more boxes to check off their to-do list.

“Wetlands, there’s sedimentation, erosion control-- a lot of permits they have to get in place.”

But with the county planning board’s approval in hand, Rice Creek’s developers are slowly paving the way to finish what they started.

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