San Diego-based Newland Communities has acquired the long-stalled Wendell Falls residential and commercial project in eastern Wake County. The NewsObserver reports that the developer paid $34 million for more than 1,100 acres of land that Wells Fargo foreclosed upon in 2010.
Mercury Development and Burroughs & Chapin Co. of Myrtle Beach were the original developers of the project, which was suspended in 2008 because of the financial crisis. Initial plans called for the construction of more than 4,000 homes, about 2 million square feet of retail and commercial space, a 160-acre county park and an elementary school. The investors had borrowed $69 million for the project and spent more than $100 million before development stopped. Completed work includes water and sewer lines, a new interchange on U.S. 64/264, as well as the elementary school, which opened in 2009.
According to the Triangle Business Journal, the restarted master-planned community could more than double Wendell’s current population of 6,000 residents and add about $1 billion in taxable property to the town.
“This project isn’t just a Wendell project; this is a project that will impact eastern Wake County as a whole,” Wendell Town Manager Teresa Piner told the newspaper. “It’s going to set the tone not only for the community, but for those visiting, whether they’re from eastern Wake County or those coming in from D.C on (Interstate) 95. This is going to be the entranceway into Wake County.”
Newland Communities is currently in the process of finalizing the project’s details, which could be similar to the original plans. Construction is expected to span over more than 10 years.
The company is also the developer of Briar Chapel community (pictured), a 1,589-acre, mixed-use master-planned development in Chapel Hill. The property opened in September 2008 and offers more than 900 acres of open space.
Photo credits: briarchapelnc.com