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Triangle-based Preston Development making large investment in Carteret County

Posted June 10, 2020 5:00 a.m. EDT

This article was written for our sponsor, Crystal Coast Economic Development Foundation.

Carteret County is poised for growth. With the announcement of Interstate 42 drastically cutting down the drive time from the Research Triangle region, the Crystal Coast expects to see a boom in not only tourism traffic, but also residential development. The county has boasted year-over-year population growth for the past two decades, and with a coming influx of residents expected, new housing is a necessity.

Cary-based real estate developer Preston Development has popular projects all across the Triangle region, including Knightdale Station in Knightdale, Preston Walk in Cary, and Chatham Park in Pittsboro. Specializing in large live-work-play communities, Preston Development is now in the midst of developing a large tract of land in Beaufort for their latest project, the Beau Coast community.

The new community offers 458 lots and a variety of properties, including townhomes, cottages and other new construction options. Since the inventory is so diverse, price points range from the $200k’s to just under $500k, and the company plans to introduce new lots around $150k in the near future.

For Preston, the value of the investment lies in its uniqueness.

"We've got a really diverse set of amenities, and we were trying to create something that's not here — and I don't believe the likes of what we're offering is in any coastal community other than perhaps master-planned golf course communities," said Karl Blackley, president of Preston Development. "We have a resort-style swimming pool with a zero entry and fountains and a resort-style clubhouse that is designed after the Watercraft Center, which is part of the Maritime Museum in Beaufort. We decided, intentionally, to get that same Beaufort feel."

In addition to the pool and resort clubhouse, the Beau Coast community also offers a community building complete with an outdoor fire pit, accompanying patio, and TVs and fireplaces inside. To further promote the local connection and "Beaufort feel," Preston Development teamed up with Beaufort Grocery owners Charles and Wendy Park to establish an on-site deli and convenience store, Beau Gro to Go.

The community also has a fully stocked lake, dubbed Trader's Lake, where residents can fish, kayak, paddle board and more. For those looking to branch out to the larger Beaufort community, the downtown stretch is just a short golf cart ride away.

"I can get on my golf cart and run to the grocery store, ACE Hardware, all the restaurants and bars, the pharmacy, my bank at the State Employees Credit Union — most of my errands can be done without even getting in a car," said Glad Atkins, a Beau Coast resident. "And downtown Beaufort is great. It's so pretty, for one thing, and we have amazing restaurants and bars here for the size community that we are. We have nice boutique shopping, as well as the Beaufort Historic Site and the Maritime Museum, so there are a lot of amenities."

After living in both Cary and Raleigh, Atkins relocated to Carteret County several years ago following the passing of her late husband. Atkins already owned a home in Morehead City, but after Hurricane Florence damaged her home, she decided to look for something newer and lower maintenance.

With some encouragement from a few friends already living in the community, Atkins decided to pull the trigger on Beau Coast residency.

"I had two friends living here, and they said, 'You need to do it. This place is great. Everybody's so friendly. We've got a book club, we've got a once-a-month potluck, we've got a ladies wine day on Wednesday, a men's breakfast, yoga classes, and the pool facility here is gorgeous,'" Atkins said.

For Blackley and his colleagues, achieving harmony with the surrounding community has been a priority in every project Preston Development has undertaken, whether in Carteret County or the Triangle. The Town of Beaufort has been a great partner in the development of Beau Coast.

Since the amount of land available in Beaufort is limited due to nature preserves, marshes, and the shoreline, the tract purchased by Preston Development is one of the last large parcels with water proximity. The company still has a portion of the land reserved for future development and plans to build additional affordable housing units on it at a later date.

Moving forward, Blackley hopes to be able to further their development collaborations in Carteret County, especially with new growth on the horizon.

"I think the area in the coming years is going to see significant growth. People are discovering the dynamic opportunities, and in 10 years, new Interstate 42 will be complete and it will be approximately a two-hour trip from Raleigh to Beaufort, Morehead City, and the Bogue Banks beaches," Blackley said. "Beau Coast probably has about seven more years before it is fully built-out, so it's a long-term play for us. We're very glad we chose Carteret County and the Town of Beaufort for this investment, and we look forward to other real estate opportunities on the Crystal Coast in the future."

This article was written for our sponsor, Crystal Coast Economic Development Foundation.

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