RiverLights, Wilmington’s 2,300 unit development plans its grand opening (photos)

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RiverLights' mix-use building has space for retail at the bottow and lofts at the top. (Photo by Christina Haley)
RiverLights has in development, a mix-use building with space at its lower level for retail and lofts at the top. (photos by Christina Haley)

WILMINGTON — Just months ahead of its grand opening, Wilmington’s newest large-scale master-plan community is taking shape with several model homes currently under construction.

RiverLights, a 1,400-acre community nestled along 3 miles of Cape Fear River waterfront, just off River Road, has been a years-in-the-making development for Newland Communities, the master developer of the community. On Dec. 3, the development will host a grand opening and holiday-themed festival that will feature several model homes open for tours.

Seventeen model homes are currently under construction and are slated to be completed and ready for tours during the grand opening, according to Vice President for Newland Communities Jim Henry. Seven of the eight builders selected for the entire development project are local.

Phase 1 of RiverLights is underway with several amenities in development that will not only be available to residents but the entire greater-Wilmington community. The development is built on the theme of “connectivity,” that aims to connect people, nature and the community within all aspects of the RiverLights’ design, Henry said.

RiverLights will include 2,300 housing units, mix-use components within its Marina Village, a marina for boat storage, a 38-acre freshwater lake, miles of walking and nature trails, and parks. A marina house restaurant, riverwalk, oyster roasting area and mix-use builds now anchor Marina Village.

A local business is set to take over the restaurant space in the marina house, but Henry said the announcement of that business is pending completion of a lease agreement. Also in Marina Village, plans call for 110 boat slips, a day dock for additional boat access and a crab dock.

The home being built by Plantation Building Corp. is one of several model homes under construction. (Photo by Christina Haley)
The home being built by Plantation Building Corp. is one of several model homes under construction. (Photo by Christina Haley)

Living in the RiverLights community has been designed for a wide-variety of potential home buyers and includes lofts, townhomes, single-family homes and an age-qualified community, Henry said. Now in development with new constructions and model homes is Del Webb at RiverLights, which is “an active adult community” for residents age 55 and older.

Homes in RiverLights start in the low $230,000’s and go up into $650,000’s, with an average home price about around $360,000.

“We want to provide a product for everybody so it’s important to us to be inclusive,” Henry said. “At the end … we will have over 5,000 people living in RiverLights.”

There are 10 phases of development, Henry said, adding that full build-out could take anywhere from seven to 10 years, depending on the home market.

In 2015, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo touted RiverLights as the “largest neighborhood in the city.”

Development of the community included the relocation of River Road, completed in December 2015. Then in March, city officials and developers broke ground on the RiverLights Lake House. Still under construction, the clubhouse stands next to a developing swimming pool with lap lanes at the front of the residential development.

So far, there have been 24 pre-sale tracks, Henry said, with hundreds of people coming out for their pre-sale events. Another is scheduled in the near future, he said.

“We’re really excited about what’s coming in 2017 and beyond,” Henry said. “It’s important to note … the public is invited to come to RiverLights. We all want to be a part of one community.”

Henry invites the entire community to the Dec. 3 holiday grand opening, which will include a large festival in Marina Village with vendors, live music, a 5K and other activities.

For more information about RiverLights, including homes and the developments Del Webb community, visit the website.

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