Real Estate - Commercial

Major Project Would Impact Southport

By Cece Nunn, posted Aug 7, 2020
A conceptual plan for Project Indigo shows its mix of residential and commercial uses. (Conceptual Plan c/o Bald Head Island Limited)
The developer of River Place in downtown Wilmington is partnering with Bald Head Island Limited on a nearly 400-acre development dubbed Project Indigo.
The $565 million project by Bald Head Island Limited and East West Partners, the River Place develop­er, would incorporate single-family homes, apartments, townhomes, duplexes and some commercial space for what would be considered ameni­ties for the residents: medical offices, restaurants and other users.
Project Indigo is a culmination of the vision that Bald Head Island Limited and the Mitchell family, which bought Bald Head Island in the 1980s, have had for the future of the property just west of downtown Southport.
“Our goal has been always to make it a legacy Southport commu­nity,” said Chad Paul, CEO of Bald Head Island Limited, during a pre­sentation last month to the South­port Board of Aldermen.
Paul said the development would be a “10- to 15-year transaction.”
He said 15% of nearly 400 acres is within Southport’s city limits while the rest is in extra-jurisdictional territory [ETJ] and unincorporated Brunswick County. The idea would be for the city to annex, via a vol­untary annexation, the rest of the property, Paul said.
The new community would incor­porate Indigo Plantation Marina, home to Indigo Plantation Yacht Club, on the Intracoastal Waterway close to the Cape Fear River. The marina previously held the ferry landing and ferry terminal for Bald Head Island.
The concept development plan for the property where Project Indigo would be built is a much less inten­sive use than what would be allowed by current and previously approved development rights, Paul said.
“We have pre-existing devel­opment rights associated with the current PUD in place, which we will alter.  It’s really going to be downscal­ing the current PUD intensity and downscaling of what was previously approved for the land tracts that currently reside in the county, which is a good thing in terms of creating a legacy Southport community,” he said.
Project Indigo will have as much connectivity as possible and empha­size walkability, with sidewalks on both sides of the streets.
Keeping natural features will be key, Paul said.
“We’re not mass grading; we’re not mass clearing,” he said.
He added, “We’re going to lay out lots just like we do on Bald Head … there will be no cutting of 200-year-old oak trees.”
Paul said if a street might run into the path of an ancient oak, the street will be moved. The plan is for 30% of the community to consist of greens­pace.
“It’s all going to be about ecology, and it’s all going to be about stew­ardship development,” Paul said.
The portions of the site located within Brunswick County were culled together by Bald Head Island Lim­ited LLC from 13 different parcels that were part of a previous planned development that went bankrupt. The portion of the site located near Indigo Plantation Marina is part of a pre-existing PUD that already has water and sewer availability via the city of Southport.
Paul said Bald Head Island Limited has a 35-year relationship with the city “in terms of bringing on good, ecologically friendly and considerate development to include Indigo Plantation and Marina in the 1980s-1990s and the Deep Point Bald Head Island Ferry Terminal facilities in 2009.”
That relationship is expected to continue, members of the Project Indigo team said.
“We’re not coming here to tell you how we’re going to do our development; we’re coming here in a collaborative spirit,” said Lucien Ellison, senior partner with East West Partners in Wilmington, during the presentation. “We want to have a collaborative relationship with the city of Southport and the Board of Aldermen and the city staff … to come up with something that works for everybody.”
One of the specific tasks the proj­ect team also wants to accomplish is to form a relationship with Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport, Ellison said, adding that the project might offer an opportunity to take some pressure off of the hospital.
Paul said Dosher Memorial Hos­pital is an essential facility to south­ern Brunswick County and needs room to expand.
That’s one reason why the plan for Project Indigo includes about 80,000 square feet of mixed-use facilities to include medical office space.
“The idea is some of the mixed use will be the ancillary doctors’ offices, the ancillary outpatient services that we can do and work with the hospi­tal on their expansion needs,” Paul said.
In addition, Project Indigo could also have a first-rate, state-of-the-art assisted living facility with 150 to 200 beds, he said.
“That’s something that if the city wants to do it, we’ll do it,” Paul said. “It’s trying to work with the pieces we have to really support Southport and the hospital.”
Southport Mayor Joe Pat Hatem said after the presentation in July that Project Indigo is “probably one of the most exciting projects” for the city’s future, pointing out the ability of residents there to age in place because of the different types of housing, including senior living units, in the plan.
Hatem also said at the end of July that the next step in the governmen­tal process includes the project team working with the city staff and city planner Thomas Lloyd, after which the plans would eventually be part of a Southport Planning Board agenda.

River Place Update
In addition to partnering with Bald Head Island Limited on Project Indigo, East West Partners has been working with the city of Wilmington on River Place, a 13-story, mixed-use structure in downtown Wilmington that includes apartment, condomini­ums, a parking deck and commercial space.
Upcoming River Place residents have begun finalizing their purchase of some of the condos in the development, and apartment residents are expected to soon move into the apartment section, The Overlook at River Place. Tenants coming to the commercial space include Mellow Mushroom, Axis Fitness, high-end urban market DGX and a branch of Bank of America.
Founded in 1976, East West Part­ners is based in Chapel Hill and has a Wilmington office.
Ico insights


Mcwhorter 0005

So, You Have an Idea for an Amazing, Life-Changing Company... Now What?

Heather McWhorter - UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Navigating the Road to Retirement: The Indispensable Benefits of a Well-Crafted Financial Plan

Jason Wheeler - Pathfinder Wealth Consulting
Untitleddesign2 4523114356

Cybersecurity and Productivity: Striking the Perfect Balance for Business Success

Barrett Earney - EarneyIT

Trending News

City Of Wilmington Hires Carson As DEI Director

Staff Reports - May 21, 2024

A Topsail Island Estate Fetches Record-setting $4.5M

Cece Nunn - May 21, 2024

Noodles & Company Opens First Wilmington Location This Week

Emma Dill - May 21, 2024

Martin Named Executive Director Of Battleship North Carolina

Staff Reports - May 21, 2024

Wilmington, Myrtle Beach Top PODS List Of Most Moved-to Cities For Second Year

Emma Dill - May 20, 2024

In The Current Issue

Area YMCA Continues To Expand

The YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina has about 13,000 members; approximately 11,000 live in the greater New Hanover County area....

Topsail Island Museum Offers New Exhibit On Black Heritage

Ocean City Beach was established in 1949 and became the first community in the state where Black people could purchase oceanfront property....

MADE: Bean Counters By The Sea

Marine Bean is a family-owned and -operated business that buys all of its materials in the U.S., makes its marine-grade bean bags in Wilming...

Book On Business

The 2024 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



2024 Power Breakfast: The Next Season