If everything goes as planned, Morganton will get some high-end apartments near Broughton Hospital and Enola Road.
Western Piedmont Community College President Michael Helmick said a company in South Carolina, Homes Urban, has an intent to purchase 15 acres the college owns with the option to purchase an additional 5 acres to build at least 200 Class A apartments. The property sits across the road from K Building of the Jim A. Richardson Complex on the campus.
Helmick said the college board of trustees declared 20 acres of property the college owns as surplus property. The North Carolina Board of Community Colleges followed suit, declaring the property surplus in June, he said.
The company offered to buy the property and the college went through the upset bid process, which is required. Homes Urban came back with intent to purchase the property, Helmick said. He said the college and company are in the final process of doing the sales contract.
The sales price is $1.5 million for the first 15 acres and then $500,000 for the additional 5 acres, Helmick said.
Russ Davis, one of the co-founders of Homes Urban, said if things go as planned, the company plans to build between 200 and 240 luxury apartments. Each apartment building will be three stories, and the outside would likely be brick and siding, he said.
“But we are way early in this process,” Davis said.
He said the apartments will be highly amenitized with things such as a swimming pool and fitness center, outdoor kitchen and a package center that would receive online purchases for tenants.
The apartments would have high-end finishes including wood floors and 9-foot ceilings. A full-time staff of maintenance, management and marketing will be on site as well, Davis said.
Davis has plans to preserve and use the silo barn and another barn that is on the property. One of the barns will be repurposed for a clubhouse and leasing office, he said.
“We believe, without question, Morganton needs this housing,” Davis said.
He said it’s a great site and that he loves the close proximity to Broughton Hospital, the future North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and Western Piedmont Community College, and he thinks there will be more people moving to the area.
“We think there’s just a lot of general growth that’s going to come to Morganton,” Davis said.
While the project is still about a year away, Davis said both parties are committed to wrapping up the property purchase and moving forward.
The company has built apartments in Asheville, Greenville, S.C.; Georgia; Virginia; and Alabama, according to its website, https://davispg.com. The one in Asheville, Verde Vista, is the most similar to what the company is looking to build in Morganton, Davis said.
Helmick said the project will help address a critical housing need in the area and that the college doesn’t use the property so the sale will get the property back on the tax rolls. He said the college doesn’t have the money to restore and reuse the barns.
Currently, the college uses one of the barns for its construction program lab.
The college has plans for a new building for a lab for its trade programs, including construction, carpentry, heating and air, electrical and plumbing, Helmick said. The building will be metal with 20-to 30-foot ceilings and roughly 42,500 square feet, he said.
But the new building is two to three years out, he said. The college needs to raise funds for the project, Helmick said.
Helmick said the money from the sale of the land to Homes Urban will go back into college facilities.