Artist's rendition

An artist’s rendition shows a planned mixed-use development on Islander Drive in Emerald Isle. (Town of Emerald Isle graphic)

EMERALD ISLE — The town hopes to begin work relatively soon on a project to improve the aesthetics and lighting and add parking spaces along Islander Drive, but officials are still waiting on engineers’ final designs.

“We’re working on (getting ready for) it every day,” Town Manager Matt Zapp said Friday by phone. “We’re trying to coordinate it all with A-Team (Enterprises).”

A-Team is a Morehead City firm planning a major development on property it bought from the town on Islander Drive in April 2018.

“To date, the A-Team has done an exceptional job of working with the town,” Mr. Zapp said. “They have developed site plans and provided drawings to the planning office.”

Work was supposed to have begun on both projects in January but was delayed by Hurricane Florence, which struck in September 2018.

A-Team had another property, the Bask Hotel in Morehead City, that was severely damaged, and company officials requested and received a delay in the start date for its Emerald Isle project.

The town also was worried about cash flow in the wake of the hurricane, as a massive and costly cleanup of debris was necessary.

Town commissioners during their Aug. 13 regular meeting approved a $76,000 engineering services contract with Ark Consulting of Greenville for the design work on its street project.

In addition, Mr. Zapp said, utility easements are still needed from some property owners to move forward with underground power service in the area to improve aesthetics and increase service reliability. The town is working with Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative.

The town is also working with A-Team on a plan for the shared public parking spaces that will be installed on Islander Drive and Louise Avenue.

“Roadway improvements along Islander and Louise Drives are also being designed,” Mr. Zapp said in an email. “Conceptually, a section of Islander (between Reed and Louise) looks best suited to adopt a one-way traffic pattern. This shift allows for greater on-street vehicular parking and can also accommodate much needed golf cart parking. Louise Drive will remain a two-way road.

“We’re working to complete as much of the infrastructure work as possible during the 2019-2020 offseason,” he added, with the goal to have the powerline burial and road work complete before the start of the 2020 tourism season.

Concepts and designs will need to be discussed and approved by commissioners during upcoming public meetings, most likely in November, December and January.

It’s all part of a long-term effort to revitalize the area, which was once a town hub.

A-Team is planning a residential and retail condominium project on the 1.85-acre tract the town sold the company, as well as on an adjoining larger tract it bought from a private owner.

The original plan calls for 28 buildings, 11 for multi-use efforts on the smaller tract and 17 for residential use on the larger, 2.63-acre tract. All buildings are to be a maximum of 40 feet tall, which is slightly lower than the 40-foot “mean” allowed in the town’s Unified Development Ordinance.

The town bought the smaller tract in June 2017 to develop an events center, but the idea proved controversial and the town sold it instead.

The sale left the town with a profit, which officials plan to reinvest in its improvements along the street. The town also has $100,000 in state grant money to use.

A-Team has said it will make an $8 million investment in the areas. Managers of the limited liability corporation are listed with the state as William Brown, Adrian Holler and Curtis Struyk, all of Morehead City.

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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