Developer, DOT remain in litigation over Hampstead Bypass

PENDER COUNTY -- Plans for a massive mixed-use development in Hampstead appear to remain stalled more than a decade after "The Preserve" was first proposed.

According to a spokesperson from Atlanta-based Jamestown LP, the company is still in litigation with the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding the future of a nearly 700-acre plot that, according to the current scheme, will be split by the Hampstead Bypass when construction on the new highway gets underway within the next couple years.

Pender County approved a large mixed-use development for the site in 2006, but that approval has long expired, according to county Planning Director Kyle Breuer. The plan included some 250,000 square feet of commercial space and nearly 900 single-family homes on the land, which is zoned planned-use development.

“There is no activity on the site, and this is no longer an approved project from Pender County’s perspective,” Breuer said last week.

Should Jamestown LP get relief from the courts, the company would have to start the planning approval process over again in order to start developing the site, which is just northwest of Topsail High School.

Breuer said he hadn't heard of any plans to resuscitate the development any time soon, adding that the project has been on the back burner for years while Jamestown LP and the DOT attempt to resolve their differences in court.

“They have been tied up with NCDOT” for quite some time, Breuer said, and a resolution between the parties is necessary before anything can go forward.

The court battle involves whether state and local officials can block development on part of the parcel -- to protect it from development for the long-planned bypass -- without paying compensation for the "taking" of the land.

The Hampstead Bypass is envisioned to help alleviate traffic along Pender's fast-growing coastal plain. The highway, to be called N.C. 417, will largely parallel U.S. 17 before joining Interstate 140 in New Hanover County, where it will also link up with the under-construction Military Cutoff Road extension. Together, the two road projects are expected to cost $314 million to design and build.

That nothing concrete is happening or about to happen with "The Preserve" is her understanding, as well, said Fallon McLoughlin, communications manager for Jamestown.

“We cannot comment,” she said about the property. “We are still in litigation, and that is really all I can say. As far as I know, there are no updates to report. We are still in active legal discussions.”

According to its website, “Jamestown LP was established in 1983 as an investment and management company focused on income-producing real estate in the United States. Over the past 35 years, Jamestown has expanded into a national, vertically integrated real estate operator with approximately $10.3 billion of assets under management as of June 30, 2018."

The website also shows an aerial map of "The Preserve" site, but doesn't include any other information.

Contact the Metro desk at 910-343-2384 or Breakingnews@StarNewsOnline.com.