Carolina Orchards, as the development will be called, is planned for a site off Interstate 77 at Gold Hill Road. The community will feature 722 single-family houses, and is expected to hold a grand opening in spring 2016.
Jon Cherry, the company’s division president, said Carolina Orchards will appeal to older residents. “We have had a lot of success catering to the lifestyle and housing needs of the active Baby Boomer generation in the area,” Cherry said in a statement.
Carolina Orchards will have amenities for residents, including a clubhouse, pool, pickleball courts, tennis, plots for gardens and a dog park. The development will also be within walking distance of the Anne Springs Close Greenway.
Del Webb is a division of home builder PulteGroup. The company opened Sun City Carolina Lakes, a 3,100-unit development in Indian Land in 2006.
Chuck Epps, superintendent of schools in Fort Mill – one of the fastest-growing districts in South Carolina – said he was glad to hear about a residential development that won’t stress local schools.
In May, voters approved a $226 million bond package to pay for a third high school, a new middle school, an aquatics center, a training facility, land for future schools, new buses, technology upgrades and other growth-related expenses.
“It’s nice that it’s not just a community of young families with young children (to educate) moving in,” Epps said.
As each of the planned 722 units at Carolina Orchards is occupied, the Fort Mill School District will benefit by the $2,500 impact fee it collects on all new homes. That revenue can be spent only on capital projects, not operating expenses, such as salaries and benefits.
There are other benefits to welcoming a new senior community, Epps said.
“It adds to the diversity of the area,” he said. “They pay their way with the impact fees, I'm sure we'll get some new volunteers with a lot to offer. It's a good thing.”
Fort Mill town officials are pleased as well.
“One of the goals of the town's comprehensive plan is to promote a greater diversity in housing options, including housing that meets the needs of older adults,” town spokesperson Kimberly Starnes said.
“Del Webb is a national leader in developing neighborhoods that meets the needs of seniors, from amenity rich communities to floor plans that accommodate the lifestyles of older adults. The Carolina Orchards project will also be a boon for current and future businesses along the Springfield Parkway corridor, including the new Harris Teeter and surrounding shops and restaurants at Springfield Town Center.”
Editor Michael Harrison of the Fort Mill Times contributed.