Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Proposed Gordon Road apartment complex in hot area will target workforce housing

Estrella Landing hopes to bring workforce housing to Gordon Road, following the construction of two major projects that recently brought more than 700 units to the area. (Port City Daily/Courtesy New Hanover County)

OGDEN — A new apartment community might soon come to the western edge of Gordon Road, fitting with the trend of rapid growth in the recently-identified hotspot, marked already by construction approvals for more than 700 units on neighboring parcels. 

Unlike developments next door, the proposed project, Estrella Landing, is designed for workforce housing, according to Stephanie Norris of Terroir Development, LLC. 

“I don’t do market rate deals,” said Norris, who is spearheading the rezoning application for the 5 acres of New Hanover County land adjacent to the I-40 interchange at the end of Gordon Road. 

The parcel is owned by a trust associated with the Clay family. Another developer proposed plans to bring storage units to the site last fall. Those plans were scrapped. Norris said she will be involved in the site’s ownership.

Estrella Landing involves a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom units in three residential buildings. Single bedroom units could be rented for as low as $335 and as high as $1,020 per month, Norris said. The lower end of the scale will be reserved for individuals with disabilities and fixed incomes, she added, while the four-figure rates will target “workforce residents.” 

The site plans include a clubhouse, playground and covered picnic area. A community information meeting for nearby property owners is scheduled for Feb. 22 via Zoom.

Estrella Landing site plans show three different buildings housing a combined 84 units. According to the developer, monthly rental rates could be as low as $335 for certain single bedroom tenants. (Port City Daily/Courtesy New Hanover County

Norris’ company previously developed Artesa Village in Sunset Beach and Bennett Village Apartments in Wilmington’s Myrtle Grove district. Both projects include 72 units and similar architectural styles, and target the same demographics as Estrella Landing will. 

To the north, the parcel is bordered by Hawthorne at Smith Creek, a market rate complex with more than 300 units. Across the street, the Landing at Lewis Creek — backed by the firm of N.C. Senator Michael Lee — continues construction on more than 400 units of various housing options. The Landing drew praise from board of commissioners members for offering affordable price-points on some of its homes.

Previously: Two development projects in the county score wins at board of commissioners meeting

“It’s not a high-end apartment community like the Hawthorne at Smith Creek, which is a lovely property and well-planned,” Norris said about the proposed project. “I feel like this location lends itself well to the workforce component, because of its access to services and jobs, and shopping and pharmacies and things of that nature.” 

Norris hopes the location will garner interest from local residents. The adjacent interchange allows for easy access to North College Road and I-40, which also boosts access to the I-140 interchange further north, Norris said. 

Estrella Landing will be privately developed and no public subsidies will be involved, according to Norris. “We are applying for some funding right now through the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency,” she said. 

She estimates that if the rezoning request is approved, construction could begin in around two years. Meanwhile, the N.C. Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin improvements to Gordon Road — which is largely a two-lane road despite the booming development in the area. 

A lane-widening project on the road was accelerated by the DOT in December, after wide-scale uncertainty over project funding previously caused delays in multiple road improvements around the area. According to a department spokesperson, right-of-way acquisition on the project is expected in June 2022, with construction tentatively scheduled for June 2024. 

Following the community meeting, Norris will present the application to the planning board. Following their analysis, the board of commissioners makes the call on approving rezoning requests.

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