The road to somewhere

By Chris Berendt

June 26, 2014

A small turning lane built five years ago off Sunset Avenue, which many deemed “a road to nowhere,” will soon connect to a destination Clinton’s mayor called “one of the greatest endeavors” in residential housing the city has ever offered.

Ground was broken this week on what will be a 29-lot, adult single family home community called The Village on Sunset, located on 10.2 acres owned by George E. Wilson Family Enterprises LLC of Clinton.

The turning of dirt was an event years in the making.

“In 2009, we purchased this property and we were going to start this project. We felt we needed to get a turning lane, which we paid for and put in there. Then everybody knows what happened in 2008 and 2009. The bottom fell out and the housing market went downhill,” said George Wilson, owner and developer of the property, as he stood in front of massive trees on the Sunset Avenue property, which sits across from Sampson Community College adjacent to Coharie Country Club.

“So our little road out there — everyone asked where it went it — well it goes nowhere,” he said with a laugh.

It remained that way for years, but that is about to change.

“We put it on hold until last year, when we decided to reactivate that dream and that vision,” Wilson remarked. “We’ve been working over a year to get our plans developed and all (permit) approvals we need to get.”

That included getting the property rezoned by the City Council to R-8 Residential District in October 2013, and receiving the Council’s approval of the 29-lot preliminary subdivision plat in May.

Engineers with Triangle Civil Works of Smithfield have been working for about a year with Clinton Public Works and Utilities personnel. A 30-foot utility easement on Forest Drive will connect The Village on Sunset development to city sewer and water service and there will be no physical connection with Coharie Country Club. Once the N.C. 24 work comes in to Clinton, The Village on Sunset will hook onto the relocated utilities.

At Tuesday’s groundbreaking, Wilson thanked city officials including Clinton mayor Lew Starling, city manager Shawn Purvis, Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose and Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil, for their assistance. He also recognized Gene Cobb, president of Triangle Civil Works, and David Byrd, chief estimator for Highland Paving of Fayetteville, who have already done a great deal of work and have much more ahead of them.

“This is the single greatest endeavor we’ve had in the city for residential housing in years, and that says a lot,” Starling said. “We’re very pleased with the investment here. Thank you all for this wonderful, wonderful investment and we look forward to the city and the citizens reaping the benefits of this for many years.”

The project is owned and being developed by George Wilson Family Enterprises and it will be managed and sold by G. Wilson Realty, which consists of Wilson, his oldest daughter, Sharlene, his youngest daughter Regina, and grandson Aaron, as well as Geraldine Carr.

“We’ve known there has been a need for this type of project for years,” Wilson said. “We know people like ourselves, me and my wife Nadine, who have a large home. All of our children are gone and we need to downsize.”

Wilson noted that, while The Village is being designed as a 55-plus adult community, “it is not restrictive.”

The Village on Sunset wil be its own entity, with the main and only entrance being off N.C. 24.

Homes will be between 1,400-2,200 square feet, depending on the size of the lots, most of which are about one-fourth an acre, with a couple close to half an acre. They will be primarily 3 and 4-bedroom homes with two baths. All will have two-car garages, and most of them will also have a bonus room over the garage depending on the particular plan. Most of the homes will be built on a slab, so they will be ground level.

Along with the 29 lots designated for homes, there will be several open green spaces with big oak trees.

“We’re going to have some nice open space that we plan to maintain for the homeowners to come out to spend some time in nice weather like this, and hopefully have a fountain,” said Aaron Wilson. “We just want to create a unique environment. There is a need here in town. We feel like we have a beautiful property back here and we’re going to work closely with David and Highland to try and keep as many of those as we can. The land behind us is a beautiful place and we’re really excited about this.”

Wilson Enterprises will be working closely with Piedmont Natural Gas, Duke Energy and Star Telephone to provide all necessary utilities and service to the comunity.

Additionally, Tew said The Village on Sunset will have a homeowners association, through which a fee will be assessed to maintain every homeowner’s lawn, as well as those open space and common areas. Tew said the maintenance of individual yards is “unheard of” and homeowners will “never have to cut grass again.”

Following road construction and the installation of utilities, a model home will be built for tours to be given. Lot and house packages will be sold, with plans that can be chosen — there will be a list of builders to pick from as well — to fit those particular lots.

Prices of those packages are estimated from $190,000 to $290,000 depending on the size of the lot, the size and style of the house and what type of upgrades or modifications are made to existing plans.

“I am really excited about this project and I’m really excited about how the Village on Sunset is going to impact the City of Clinton,” Tew remarked. “I think it’s going to do great things for Clinton and really help with Clinton’s reputation and really do a lot for the city.”

For more information on the project or to inquire about lot and house packages, contact G. Wilson Realty Inc. at 910-592-9457.

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.