Military Cutoff Extension attracts bid for townhomes, commercial hub and more at future growth node

Ongoing roadway improvements in northern New Hanover County have spurned interest from developers, who seek to establish a staple piece mixed-use project bisected by the Military Cutoff extension. (Port City Daily/Courtesy New Hanover County)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Developers seeking to create a flagship commercial and residential hub situated along the future route of the Military Cutoff Road extension project are back on the scene with their latest regulatory bid. 

Hanover Reserve is designed to serve as a commercial core for northern New Hanover County, capitalizing on N.C. Department of Transportation plans to connect Military Cutoff into a bypass that will unburden traffic blockage on Highway 17.

Exact specifications on the residential products are still up in the air, but a rezoning request submitted for Hanover Reserve, if approved, would allow for 473 units max. This will likely be spread among townhomes and apartments; plans also indicate a hotel, restaurant, convenience store, gas station, mini-storage facility and more are on the table.


“Our proposed project’s timing aligns well with the anticipated completion of the Military Cutoff Extension,” according to the application. “Commercial and higher density portions of the project would not be online until after completion of the new highway’s connection to Military Cutoff.” 

The land is reportedly owned by TDR-HL, LLC, according to property records; while that company lists a local attorney and tax preparer as its officers, it’s presently unclear who the central stakeholders of Hanover Reserve are. 

Paramounte Engineering is the planning consultant for the applicant. Former New Hanover County senior planner Brad Schuler recently left his county role for a job at Paramounte.

Murrayville Road, an east-west route that factors heavily into long-term planning goals, would see an upgrade if this project were to come to fruition. Following negotiations with NCDOT, the Hanover Reserve developers have agreed to extend Murrayville from its current dead-end to an intersection with the Military Cutoff Extension. Eventually, the vision is for Murrayville to function as a thoroughfare between the new Military Cutoff and Castle Hayne Road.  

An illustration of the Murrayville Road extension, which the developer will pay for, and its relationship with the ongoing Military Cutoff extension project. (Port City Daily/Courtesy New Hanover County)

This junction would be the crux of the commercial hotspot the builders are vying for, and has “real potential to alleviate traffic congestion from the Murrayville/Ogden area,” the application stated. 

“We propose encircling the proposed commercial core with a variety of residential units to create a well-orchestrated transition from the busier commercial center to medium-dense residential to lower density single family/existing neighborhoods,” according to the application. 

Hanover Reserve received an earlier approval from county leaders in 2015 to build 377 units at the site. In October 2019, the developers for this project — then represented by prominent Wilmington real estate attorney Matt Nichols — indefinitely tabled a request to build townhomes on a small portion of Hanover Reserve land. That portion was then reintroduced and later approved by the board of commissioners in Jan. 2020. The latest rezoning application, in which the smaller components are embraced under the umbrella of the planned development proposal, will be considered by the New Hanover County Planning Board in July. 


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