Craven Thirty, the planned mixed-use community off N.C. 43 and U.S. 70, has taken on a new name, and possibly a new lease on life.

The project, which was touted by former Gov. Bev Perdue in 2012 and then stalled by an economic slump and a changing retail landscape, has been renamed West New Bern. The site is now planned as a primarily residential development.

According to a West New Bern website launched Tuesday by Weyerhaeuser, the company designing the site, Phase 1 of the project spans approximately 540 acres and will include residence capacity of approximately 1,500. A variety of home types and homesite sizes are planned, including single-family homes, townhomes, custom homesites and multi-family residences.

A proposed 35-plus acre lake chain is also planned for Phase 1, with walking paths, relaxation points and green spaces.

According to the website, electric, water, and telecommunications utilities are currently available on-site.

The website describes West New Bern as a “mixed use destination community, with residential, Main Street, and outparcel retail, office, dining and commerce opportunities, plus plans for a K-9 school site.”

When the Craven Thirty project was introduced to the community in 2012, plans called for the 550-acre tract to be divided into residential and commercial areas, with a state-of-the-art cinema and community bike trails. Twenty acres were to be used for restaurants and approximately 42 acres for apartment living. Additionally, 10 acres were to be set aside for hotels and 40 acres for a large retail site, with 75 acres for smaller retail and about 200 acres for light industrial use.

During their July 11 meeting, the New Bern Board of Aldermen voted to rezone a 388-acre portion of the existing West New Bern site from industrial to residential and commercial use.

Kellie Hawkins, N.C. project manager for Weyerhaeuser Real Estate division, told the aldermen that the project had run into a number of problems since its announcement five years ago.

“We started this project with commercial brokers in place, we had a commitment for a large box (store), we had a commitment for a movie production studio. In a matter of months the 43 South leg was pulled off of the state transportation plan, within weeks of that the state Department of Revenue stopped all their credit for the movie production industry. …So it was a strong blow to us, because as you can tell there’s quite a bit of infrastructure already in the ground.”

Hawkins said a store originally planned to anchor a 75 acre retail site decided instead to invest in a Canadian project. She admitted that studies that showed a low traffic count in the area also played a part in deterring retail interest in the site.

“This has not happened to Weyerhaeuser in our other projects; it was a shock,” said Hawkins.

According to Hawkins, Weyerhaeuser recently completed a new marketing study for the site. She said the study recommended the development of additional residential neighborhoods and additional areas for retail offices, with significant open space and community amenities.

“We’ve learned a lot and because of that we’ve changed our vision of what we think this property should look like,” she said. “We believe this type of community will provide exciting new opportunities for the residents of New Bern.”

Hawkins said the plan would continue to focus on the north side of the project due to its water and sewer capacity.

“But we have every intention to go southward and to continue to grow New Bern,” she said.

Ken Jackson, director of real estate development for Weyerhaeuser, said the next step would be to launch a marketing initiative to homebuilders in the area and the region.

“There’s nobody more interested in having vertical development here than Weyerhaeuser, because we’ve invested a lot of money,” said Jackson. “We’re working as hard and as fast as we can to get to a point where homes can be built.”

Weyerhaeuser also developed the Taberna and Greenbrier communities in New Bern, and sold land for Carolina Colours.