|By Gareth McGrath, Star-News, Wilmington,
N.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 3, 2010 --The owners of Beau Rivage want to spruce up their resort in southern New Hanover County.
They've submitted plans to the county planning department to tear down most of the resort's existing building and replace it with, among other things, an 80-room hotel and 350-seat banquet area.
Also proposed to be upgraded would be the members' clubhouse, pool and tennis courts.
"We're excited about it," said Charlie Walker, one of the resort's owners. "It needs it."
Walker added that the resort's partners have been working on the estimated $10 million project for four years, basically ever since they bought the golf course, and expansion was always in their plans.
"The existing building is more than 20 years old and worn down," he said. "It's outdated."
Upgrading Beau Rivage's facilities also would allow it to stay competitive with other area resorts -- among them the nearby Cape Golf and Racquet Club -- that have recently done their own renovation and expansion projects.
Plans call for a central resort center with flanking three-story wings for the hotel rooms. The building's design would be "low country."
According to the conditional-use rezoning request, which the Planning Board will consider on Thursday, Beau Rivage wants to get the resort area rezoned from residential to highway business. That's the same zoning classification used for shopping centers.
While the county doesn't normally allow business zones within residential areas, county planner Jane Daughtridge said that in this case the rezoning wouldn't really change what's already there and the resort's access road off Carolina Beach Road doesn't go through any neighborhoods.
The project also has the support of a majority of Beau Rivage's nearly 350 residents.
"We feel this would be a good project for the community and that's why we support it," said Mike Leonard, vice president of the Beau Rivage Homeowner's Association.
He added that the association had initially expected quite a few people to oppose the proposal.
But the resort owners did a good job of reaching out and trying to address the neighbors' concerns, such as when construction work would take place.
The resort's owners would also make some road improvements along Carolina Beach Road as part of the project.
Gareth McGrath: 343-2384
On Twitter.com: @Gman2000
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