New Bern Sun Journal
By Julia Masters, August 24, 2021

West New Bern’s first two neighborhoods underwent significant progress this summer and could welcome over 300 new families to the area by the end of 2022.

The Weyerhaeuser development, located six miles from downtown New Bern, was announced as Craven Thirty in 2012. At this time, over 300 acres of the property were set aside for restaurant, retail, hotel and light industry use.

In 2017, 388 acres were rezoned to be used for residential and commercial use, rather than industrial.

“We took the time when we were planning West New Bern that it took planning principles from the City of New Bern, so even though it is new, it should feel familiar,” said Rose Fagler, economic development manager for Weyerhaeuser. “It should feel inviting and charming and be a compliment to New Bern itself.”

From the way the roads are laid out to the street-facing porches, the community is meant to be reminiscent of historic downtown New Bern, Fagler said.

West New Bern hopes to be a community that offers multiple housing types at varying price points so that it meets the housing needs of everyone coming to the area whether it be for a job at the industrial park or retirement.

West New Bern will help support and sustain New Bern’s continued growth and provide quality housing to employees that want to live close to their surrounding jobs, Fagler said.

“It was a long time in the making, but it will be well worth it.” Fagler said. “This is not just your typical development where a developer is going to come in and just develop something, we want to make sure that it actually represents the community that we’re in, and it also represents the company that we are.”

Phase 1 construction kicked off in the summer of 2019 and includes the development of 540-acres, 1,500 residences and opportunities for retailers and office space.

The first two West New Bern neighborhoods that will be ready to offer residents the “Next Direction of Carolina Living” are Comet West New Bern and a D.R. Horton single-family home development.

Comet West New Bern

Comet West New Bern sits at the entrance of the property and is a 224-unit apartment community with its own 24-hour clubhouse.

In late July, leasing applications opened for a November 1 move-in date. Online construction tours and sneak peeks will be available soon.

There are a variety of both one and two-bedroom floorplans. One-bedrooms range from 689 to 819 square feet and $997 to $1,070 a month. Prices depend on apartment features, move-in dates and lease length. Those prices are for a 12-month lease.

Two bedrooms start at 1,038 square feet and cap at 1,327. They come at a price tag of $1,215 to $1,440.

All apartments come equipped with granite countertops, walk-in closets, nine-foot ceilings, screened patios, stainless steel appliances and walk-in showers.

The community clubhouse has a fitness studio, yoga room, resort-style pool with lap lanes, a sundeck and an optional concierge package. It will open its doors in September.

Other Comet West Bern common amenities include a grilling station, outdoor fire pit, resident lounge, valet trash service, java bar, complimentary draft beer, billiards table and a pet park.

D.R. Horton neighborhood

D.R. Horton builders got to work on the first five of 63 planned single-family homes for the West New Bern neighborhood which is located northeast of Comet.

The model homes will be ready in the tail end of 2021 with more construction projected to start soon.

The homes will have an open floor plan and are all two-story residences. They will all feature smart home product packages and range in square footage from 2,164 to 2,824.

Looking ahead at the West New Bern development

Phase 1 of West New Bern has more than 47-acres of land, parceled in different lots, available for retail development.

Based on resources, residential capacity and location, West New Bern could support the following services: gas station, movie complex, grocery store, sporting goods store, bank, doctors’ office, restaurant or bar and others.

Fagler said that they are working on planning retail and commercial development and would like to see it happen sooner rather than later.

“We don’t want to repeat what’s already in the greater New Bern area. We want to make sure that it does complement it,” Fagler said.

Businesses that develop in West New Bern will be unique and add something new to the larger area of New Bern.

By the end of next year West New Bern could be home to more than 300 new families, as Comet fills up and more single-family homes are built.

West New Bern plans to be a destination within itself, while still allowing residents to enjoy downtown New Bern in such close proximity.

“Everything that’s charming and welcoming, and vibrant about New Bern and Weyerhaeuser’s presence in the area for so long, that’s what we looked to West New Bern bringing to the area.”

(originally published in the New Bern Sun Journal)