Realtor Kathy Merlow and her husband, Tony, moved to the Rivlites two years ago, to their 38-acre lakefront Trusst Builder Group home.
Even since then, Riverlights has continued to grow, with the latest development of a single-family home in the 1,400-acre community opening to buyers this summer.
“There will be a lot of homes; there will be a lot of opportunity in a lot of different ways. I think one of the concerns of residents is just traffic and how all of that is going to be handled and managed. But, you know, frankly, the River Lights is like having our little town,” Merlo said. “I mean, we have everything close at hand.”
As of early May, buyers have purchased nearly 800 homes in Riverlights, which is owned by a North American subsidiary of Sekisui House LLC and operated by Brookfield Properties. The master planned community along River Road has over 2,000 residents, not including the occupants of Oasis at Riverlights, a 250-unit condominium.
Built by Wilmington-based PBC Design + Build, 52 homes are adjacent to Riverlights’ current commercial and residential center, called Marina Village, and the last sale sold for more than $700,000.
The fifth and sixth residential phases of the project are scheduled for release this year, officials said, and they represent Riverlight’s first significant real estate launch since 2019. Phases include 360 new homes.
Meanwhile, the Del Webb neighborhood of 55 or older is expected to be sold in Riverlights by the end of this year.
“Del Webb has had an exceptional five years at RiverLights,” said Nick Casala, Vice President of Operations at Riverlight. “In the last couple of years their product and offerings have become more and more popular, and any time you’re near the end of a phase, there’s usually a surge of interest. They’ve certainly been managing that surge of interest nicely for the past 12 to 18 months.”
Portions of Riverlight contain space for luxury homes, including River Row, where six of the 10 lots have sold and an average of $1.1 million condominium homes, and Hamps Landing, where six of 19 home locations are available. The median home price for Hamps Landing is $1.4 million.
Riverlights’ residential growth bolsters efforts to recruit more commercial development.
“The story we can share with commercial developers today is a lot different than it was two or three years ago, and what differs from it is that we are now halfway in that development with almost five years left. We have reached a critical mass of the population,” said Casala. “We have over 1,000 residences in Riverlights, and that number will be 2,000 before you know it. This becomes a really compelling story regarding a service area for retailers and even potential office users.”
On May 6, the developers revealed some of their plans for 7Bridge, a 37-acre commercial village in Riverlights.
With parcels for retail, entertainment, service trade and offices, 7Bridge is part of a 120-acre mixed-use village that will anchor the Riverlights’ south entrance with a variety of residential developments, including Argento, a luxury condominium, and The Cottages, a single-family neighborhood For rent, according to a press release.
Argento in Riverlights, on River Road and Quigley Boulevard, is expected to bring 286 luxury apartments to the mixed-use village by 2024. Officials said Riverlights is already home to about 2,000 residents, not including those who reside in existing apartments in the community.
The bridge is named after the seven lighthouses that directed ships into port during wartime.
“We are developing this as a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle and convenient mall that elevates the daily life of our Riverlight community and surrounding area,” said Casala. “This is the only site designated for mixed-use development along River Road. The businesses located here will potentially serve up to 14,000 existing residences within a 3-mile radius.”
Merlo said she is looking forward to the new commercial space. Marina Village currently offers the services that Riverlights residents enjoy.
“You don’t have to go up major roads to get there, which is very convenient for people whether they are driving, cycling or golfing,” Merlo said. “It is a fun place with Smoke on the Water and other businesses. It offers the opportunity to witness the most beautiful sunsets in the world over the Cape Fear River.”