Matrix Development Group, the owner and developer of Echo Farms, submitted a site plan Friday to the city of Wilmington that replaces the Echo Farms golf course with additional housing and new recreation areas.
The plan for The Woodlands at Echo Farms calls for 171 single family homes, 125 townhomes and 240 apartments, according to a fact sheet from Matrix. Submitting the site plans marks an official step for the potential redevelopment, which has sparked controversy and the formation of opposition groups among Echo Farms residents.
In October, a residents' group asked the city to rezone the golf course
from a category that allows apartments to a lower-density designation.
The Matrix fact sheet released Friday via email said, "Over the past several years, recreational amenities like tennis and swimming have become increasingly popular, while the golf component has struggled. These demands mirror national trends towards more active recreation opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Matrix has submitted a proposed design that includes an expansion of these sought-after community recreation areas, and a variety of new home opportunities, with sensitivity towards buffering the areas surrounding the Echo Farms property."
Matrix officials also said in the email that with the submission of the site plan, the company "has begun its outreach to encourage a dialogue about these plans. With community engagement, Echo Farms can continue to be a thriving, lasting staple of the Wilmington community for generations to come."
Matrix submitted the plan to meet deadlines for submitting applications, the company statement said. The plans could be considered by the city's Technical Review Committee on Dec. 22, according to the city's project tracking website.
"Matrix will continue to update the press and public throughout the approvals and development process," the fact sheet says.
The golf course is currently still open. Recreational additions in The Woodlands site plans include enhancing the existing pool and pool area and adding the following amenities: a lawn area for games and gatherings; a playground for small children; fire pit and park space within the existing tree canopy; tennis courts with seating venues for viewing; and pickle ball courts, the fact sheet says.
The plan allows for "the creation of additional turn lanes along Independence Boulevard and Carolina Beach Road, "ensuring that the improvements facilitate easy and efficient access," according to the fact sheet.
The fact sheet also lists the projects development team, saying that Matrix "began working with a variety of experienced local consultants in November 2015. They include:
- Brian Eckel, partner with Cape Fear Commercial, as development consultant
- Bill Schoettelkotte, CF Development Partners, which will develop the proposed multifamily homes
- Jonathon Guy with Kimley Horn, as traffic engineers
- John Tunstall with Norris and Tunstall, as civil engineers
- Josh Mihaly with Mihaly Land Design, as landscape architects, who will also lead amenity redesign and improvements
- Samuel Franck, of Ward and Smith, as counsel for legal/land use entitlements