Pittsboro, a town known for its small-town charm, but lacks soft infrastructure. Preston Development creates The Chatham Park Project- a Live, Work, Play, Learn community.
When you think of Chatham County North Carolina, what comes to mind? Fishing at Jordan Lake, the historic buildings, or perhaps the many farms. For the longest time, people have come to Pittsboro and Chatham County North Carolina to enjoy its fascinating landscape, rustic scenery, and small-town charm. However, major upgrades are in progress to take what once was a quaint town, to an upscale community with uptown flair- thanks to the Chatham Park Project.
The Chatham Park Project, which is managed by the Preston Development Company, is a thirty-year project that broke ground in 2014. The project will cover 7100 acres of Chatham County, and is zoned for 22,000 residential homes, and twenty-two million square feet of other.
The Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) is ranked as the number two place to live in the country however, Chatham County, which is just west of the Triangle, is projected to have the most growth within the next forty years, according to Preston Development Company’s Vice President, Vanessa Jenkins.
So, what exactly is The Chatham Park Project and how will it affect the people of Pittsboro and Chatham County? I spoke with Vice President of Preston Development, Vanessa Jenkins, and she had this to say- “Chatham Park is a live, work, play, learn, community, and it is North Carolina’s first true, live, work, play, learn community.
We have five pillars we stand for, but we focus on these three: innovation, technology, and wellness. We provide parks, open space, and trails.”
Chatham Park has an art element, where art is used into the development of Chatham Park, and every commercial project must have an art statement. There is a water recovery center that treats water through hydroponics. There are larger buffers on streams, a tree protection policy, and Jenkins says, “We have a storm water system that is more robust than anyone has seen in the Chatham County area.”
There’s also a 10 acre park that Chatham Park dedicated to the town of Pittsboro.
Preston Development is working with the town of Pittsboro and developers to get affordable housing started in Chatham Park, within the next couple of years.
The Chatham Park Project has brought several businesses to the area, providing shopping and jobs to locals, but there’s more to come.
Jenkins says, “In five to six years, Chatham Park will bring in more people, than people currently living in the town of Pittsboro.” That’s 4000 to 4500 people. In the next twenty years, Jenkins says, it will be home to 50,000 to 60,000 people.
With all the growth that is coming to the area, I wanted to get another perspective on just what the Chatham Park project means for the people of Pittsboro and Chatham County. I spoke with John Bonitz, a Pittsboro Commissioner and Clean Transportation Specialist, and he had this to say- “The town is overwhelmed with growth and all these other responsibilities that we can barely respond to the immediate needs of the people.”
“Mostly I hear a lot of complaints. Traffic is a big problem,” Bonitz said.
Bonitz also said, that the people of Pittsboro have longed for a place to shop locally, and the Chatham Park project will provide that, along with places for people to work.
“We need houses desperately.” However, Bonitz says that he struggles over the question of affordable housing. “There will be very little subsidized housing and affordable rentals,” he says.
Jenkins said that affordable housing is based on the area’s median income. HUD establishes what the affordable housing rate will be.
Bonitz said that small houses in Chatham Park will be between $400,000.00 to $500,000.00 and up. Larger homes will be between $600,000.00 to $700,000.00. Apartments/Single family rentals will be about $1300.00 a month.
Overall, he says, “I will credit the Chatham Park investors for their vision- live, work, play community.”
“I am very pleased that the fact that the town of Pittsboro has planned our growth so well, it will assure that companies like VIN-FAST (a Vietnamese electric vehicle/battery company coming soon to Moncure, NC), that if they drop their new factory and headquarters here, that people will have a place to live and nice places to shop,” Bonitz said.