New development enhances Brunswick’s rank as fastest-growing county in NC

sjones@thesunnews.comMay 2, 2014 

The Myrtle Beach metro area’s new northern arm – Brunswick County – has achieved a distinction that make it a cozier cousin to the Grand Strand than many locals may realize.

It is now the fastest-growing county in North Carolina, said Jim Bradshaw, director of the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission.

And a 2,100-acre development announced this week can do nothing but enhance that position as it promises to create 3,500 construction and permanent jobs as it goes up near Southport at the intersection of N.C. 211 and Midway Road.

The development, named The Charles, will have as many a 2,250 single-family and multi-family residences at build-out, according to the developers, and Bradshaw said that would make it about the same size as the nearby St. James development, Brunswick County’s largest.

The Charles is to center around senior residents looking for a continuum of care without a large, upfront deposit that similar developments often require. Rather, residents will buy or rent their homes and select among a menu of on-site medical services that they will pay for individually.

The developers, two of whom are residents of southeast North Carolina, say the first thing to go up on the site will be commercial space for the medical service providers and retail shops along the 211 front of the development. Large tracts of the interior land are to be deeded to the state of North Carolina and will enhance The Charles for its residents as well as help protect the area’s environment.

Bradshaw said The Charles will be the kind of development the county likes best as the homeowners and businesses will pay property taxes but likely won’t increase the size of the Brunswick school system, which gets a large chunk of the property tax revenue.

The jobs, Bradshaw said, will add to Brunswick’s rebound from the recession. He said that new construction jobs created with a better economy and real estate market have played a significant part in the county’s unemployment rate dropping from 13 percent to 8 percent over the last year.

The Charles is to have bike and walking trails as well as other amenities for active seniors and further will have services such as in-home healthcare and medical equipment providers, senior medical offices, skilled nursing, assisted living and other things geared to growing older.

As good as is the news of such a development, Bradshaw said development will be in phases spread over 10 years or more, meaning that its full economic impact won’t be felt right away.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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