10/16/2014 From The Washington Daily News, by Vail Stewart Rumley There’s a vision of a lively neighborhood — the kind where people sit in rocking chairs on their front porches, watching the sunset over the river. It’s a walkable place, where people stroll along the boardwalk or downtown to eat dinner at one of several restaurants. It has a historic feel with all the amenities of a new place, yet blends with the hundreds of years of history that surrounds it.
This is Jim Wiley’s vision of Moss Landing Harbor Homes.
Once the site of industry, the land between Water Street to the north and the Pamlico River to the south, between the North Carolina Estuarium to the east and the Moss Landing condominiums to the west, has been repurposed for residential living — ultimately, 29 historically inspired houses. A crescent of land, carved out between the existing condominiums and the river, will eventually be populated by another nine homes.
The first of these Moss Landing Harbor Homes is being built now; soon, two more spec homes will go up. But the ultimate goal is to create a thriving neighborhood filled with young families, retirees, empty nesters, all of whom have gravitated towards waterfront living in the very heart of historic Washington, according to Wiley.
“I would go back to what our goal is, really, as a company, which is to build great walkable, lively neighborhoods,” Wiley said.
Wiley is no newcomer to Washington — his family has been an embedded part of this community for generations and he spent every holiday and summer visiting grandparents and a large extended family. Like most locals, he has an innate appreciation for the history of Washington. He said he’s been interested in the Moss Landing property since the city first put it up for sale many years ago, and takes his role in its development very seriously.
“For us, it’s really an incredible privilege to be able to have our hand in this property. It’s a huge responsibility,” Wiley said. “One thing about neighborhoods is they last for a long, long time and this is a particularly special piece of property.”
Wiley said his ultimate goal is to create homes that blend seamlessly with the historic district, yet have all the amenities of new construction, and facilitate a space that ties residential living to the boardwalk and downtown Washington waterfront, to the North Carolina Estuarium and the restaurants and shopping to found in the Harbor District.
“That’s our vision — to, quite frankly, build one of the best neighborhoods you could imagine living in,” Wiley said.
Had the property not been the site of planing mills in the past, it would have been an extension of the historic neighborhood across the street, Wiley contends. While the Charleston-based architect working with Wiley is wholly focused on exterior historical details, once inside, the designs give way to the modern era: open floor plans, lots of light and windows, with the required energy efficiency not found in the older homes nearby. If not waterfront, each home will have a water view of some sort, as all living areas and outdoor spaces will be oriented towards the river.
It would be easy to create a neighborhood full of cookie-cutter homes, with little to no variation in design, but not for Wiley. No two Harbor Homes will be alike — the homeowners themselves will be part of the design process, shaping details to their liking.
“Our goal is to have every one of them be unique,” Wiley said.
The first home, sold to Washington resident Jayne Meisell, will be completed in February. For more information about Moss Landing Harbor Homes, contact me, Scott Campbell REALTOR at 252.362.1569