300-home subdivision, 67-acre mixed-use project approved in Brunswick County

Brunswick County has accepted over $530,000 worth of water and sewer infrastructure. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)
Developers have keyed in on Brunswick County and its coveted portfolio of massive, unbuilt tracts. The planning board approved two projects this month. (Port City Daily/File)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Two developments projects scored approval in Brunswick County earlier this week, clearing a path for further construction along the county’s central thoroughfare, Highway 17. 

Brunswick County, with its vast plots of undeveloped land and relative cost-friendliness for homebuyers, has attracted feverish interest from builders this year. The Brunswick County Planning Board has typically seen a handful of considerable project applications in each recent meeting — sometimes four or more — collectively representing hundreds or thousands of acres that get marked for future development each month.

Compared to those in New Hanover County, the tracts in Brunswick can be gargantuan. Some are family-held, amassed and reserved over the generations, while many other 100-acre-plus parcels remain in the portfolios of timber companies and other firms that plow the land for its natural resources. 

The planning board met Monday evening to consider two proposals that would create additional residences near Highway 17. The backers of one project, in possession of more than 750 acres near Bolivia, have visions of an expansive single-family subdivision. While further west, multi-family developers are eyeing a 67-acre parcel with Highway 17 frontage.

Here’s a breakdown of the projects approved at Monday’s planning board meeting. 

Mill Creek Residential Planned Development

Mill Creek
Mill Creek Subdivision. (Port City Daily/Courtesy Brunswick County)
  • Specs: 345 single-family lots; 150 acres
  • Location: East of the fork that splits Highway 17 and 17B, partially in Bolivia’s extraterritorial jurisdiction
  • Owner: SP-HS, LLC (Registered to Wilmington CPA Jon Vincent)
  • Applicant: Vincent/Paramounte Engineering

Fast Facts: Though the applicant intends to develop only 150 acres, this parcel is actually a 764-acre mega-tract with an extensive history. According to planning documents, the developers will place the remaining 615 acres “into a conservation easement or similar.”

In 2007, the land was owned by a handful of limited liability companies. That March, it sold for $11.16 million to a firm associated with N.C. real estate impresario Mark Tipton (A member of the N.C. Housing Hall of Fame, Tipton was previously president of the National Association of Home Builders). 

The next month, Tipton’s “TC Juniper Investments” sold the tract to “Juniper Brunswick Limited Partnership” — also affiliated with Tipton — for $18.4 million, according to property records. Then the recession hit.

In October 2015, the land was purchased by Mill Creek Landholdings, LLC for $2 million. Former N.C. Senator Michael Walters — whose district included Columbus, Robeson and Hoke counties — created the company in August 2015, according to public filings. He had departed the Senate earlier that year in January, after choosing not to run for re-election in 2014. 

Mill Creek Landholdings, LLC sold to the current landowner for $2.84 million in 2019, setting the stage for the current proposal. 

Highway 17 Mixed-Use Planned Development

Highway 17 mixed-use Brunswick
Wayne’s Backhoe Service Tract, Highway 17, Brunswick County. (Port City Daily/Courtesy Brunswick County)
  • Specs: 300 multi-family units; 220 townhomes/single-family lots; 20 acres of commercial space; 67 total acres
  • Location: Intersection of Highway 17 and Ocean Isle Beach Road SW
  • Owner: Wayne’s Backhoe Service
  • Applicant: RHH Land Investors, LLC/Paramounte Engineering

Fast Facts: Currently owned by a backhoe company, this trapezoidal parcel has significant frontage along Highway 17, making it more alluring for a multi-family complex than a single-family subdivision. 

Plans for the unnamed development included in the application packet are ambiguous, with a wide swath of the tract marked in the site plan as “future residential development” and questions apparently remaining about the texture of housing options to be provided. 

The proposed development is estimated to generate 4,100 vehicle trips per weekday. 

The limited liability company behind the project, RHH Land Investors, is affiliated with Fayetteville-based homebuilding company H&H Homes. 

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