CORRECTION: This article was updated at 1:47 p.m. Thursday, July 9, 2020, to correctly identify the real estate firms working each aspect of the development.
EMERALD ISLE — Emerald Isle officials, developers and representatives of the real estate and tourism industries gathered Tuesday morning for the ceremonial groundbreaking for the multimillion-dollar Village West development off Islander Drive.
The project, years in the planning, was delayed by Hurricane Florence in 2018 and the novel coronavirus this year, but construction is set to start in August, according to Samer Hamad, one of the principals of A-Team Enterprises, the Morehead City-based developer.
Phase one of the project, which will include 11 buildings with retail shops on the bottom and residential condominiums on the second floor, should be complete by spring, Mr. Hamad said at the ceremony. Phase two, which will include 18 townhouses, will follow.
Mr. Hamad said it’s a total $8 to $9 million investment on the site, which is about 2.3 acres, most of which the development firm bought from the town in April 2019. The property is north and east of Queens Court condominiums and north of the town’s Western Ocean Regional Access.
“We’re very excited to get started on the Village West project,” Mr. Hamad said. “We want to thank the town and (Town Manager) Matt Zapp for working with us through the delays.”
The town also worked with the developers to renovate the Islander Drive corridor, including burial of utility lines, repaving the street, adding sidewalks and creating new on-street parking spaces with a new one-way traffic pattern.
“The beautification has done wonders,” Mr. Hamad said.
He said EJW Outdoors of Morehead City has signed on to be an anchor tenant in the retail space and there will be an ice cream/fudge shop, a coffee shop and a craft beer and frozen drink shop, plus more. There will probably be six or seven retail shops on the ground floors of the 11 buildings, since some are buying or leasing more than one space, he said.
The condos and townhomes will be sold by Bluewater Realty, some likely as residences, but others as investments. Hamad Reality will handle the sale of commercial units, Mr. Hamad said.
Coastal Building of Morehead City is constructing the structures. Bill Brown, an A-Team principal who was also on hand Tuesday, is president of that company.
Woody Warren of Bluewater said the company is proud to participate in the project, which he called “a beautiful addition to our community.”
The starting price for the condos, he said, will likely be around $400,000.
Mr. Zapp said he, too, was proud of the public-private partnership between the town and A-Team to improve the area, which has in the past been a hub of the resort town, but had fallen into some disrepair.
The town bought the 1.85 acres it sold to A-Team with the intent of building an events center, but backed off after objections from residents. The town sold the property in an auction.
Emerald Isle made a profit on the sale to A-Team and put that money, plus a $100,000 state economic development grant, into the corridor renovations, which combined with contributions from A-Team, cost about $750,000, the manager said.
The A-Team’s purchase of the property also enabled the town to pay back the economic development the town got from Carteret County commissioner to the purchase of the land.
“Our elected officials are here today … to validate that partnership,” Mr. Zapp said of the venture with A-Team.
Commissioners Jim Normile and Steve Finch attended the ceremony.
Mr. Normile thanked the county and state for financial contributions that eventually made the whole project possible. He also mentioned the town’s bicycle and pedestrian committee and its golf cart committee raised money to help pay for the sidewalks and golf cart parking spaces along Islander Drive. The new spaces on the corner of Louise Avenue and Islander Drive adjoining Village West will be privately managed, but the remaining new spaces on the street will be managed by the town.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.