The distance is barely a mile, hardly far enough for a cyclist pedaling through the extensive trail system to break a sweat. But that same span between the Brighton Park Village and Midtown neighborhoods of the Nexton master-planned community represents the next step in the development’s continuing growth.
There’s always something new at Nexton, which last year was named as the top master-planned community in the country by the National Association of Home Builders. It might be a new restaurant coming to Nexton Square, the community’s commercial hub. It might be a new amenity center with a resort-style pool. It might be new townhomes that have the master bedroom on the first floor, a new hospital from MUSC, or the opening of an entirely new residential section that will encompass the lion’s share of Nexton’s housing inventory.
Or it can be all of the above. What began as one modest row of homes in 2015 has exploded into a residential and commercial hub adjacent to Summerville that could one day be home to 16,000 people or more. Nexton’s first residential community, 700-home Brighton Park Village, is almost sold out. The first phase of its next neighborhood, 3,000-home Midtown, is underway. Ground was recently broken on Downtown Nexton, a mixed-use district that will include retail, dining, office and apartment units.
“It’s almost as if Nexton is creating their own little town nestled beside Summerville,” said Nora Tanner, an agent with Carolina One Real Estate and a Nexton resident. “People really like it. You have some big-name restaurants that have invested up here, so it gives people options instead of having to go to downtown Charleston.”
So what’s new at Nexton? Everything, really, beginning with the neighborhood that the majority of the development’s residents will eventually call home.
Welcome to Midtown
When developer Newland was first planning Nexton, the company’s research strongly indicated that potential residents did not want cookie-cutter homes. That helped inspire the approach to Brighton Park, where Newland assembled a roster of local and national homebuilders to create a diverse set of residential offerings. With their wide porches and prominent beaming, the homes in Brighton Park Village were unique. As of early May, only four were left.
“They’re cottage-style, or two-story with double porches, more of a craftsman style,” Tanner said. “I have a small yard, and I’m at the point where that suits me just fine. You sit on the front porch and neighbors walk by, and they stop and talk. It makes you feel like you’re in a town. It’s really different and unique.”
When Nexton constructed its row of model homes upon the development’s launch in 2015, it also built out the homes on Brighton Park’s first street. “People were actually able to see what they were buying into,” said Cassie Cataline, director of marketing for Nexton. “I think that really led to our success in Brighton Park. As we added more builders and more product, it just ramped up faster and faster over time.”
Although Nexton also includes a 55-plus Del Webb community and the lower price point neighborhood of North Creek Village, Midtown will become the development’s residential anchor. Nexton is taking the foundation of what worked in Brighton Park and expanding on it in Midtown, Cataline said—which means increasing the number of homebuilders and increasing the type of options that are available to potential buyers.
“We really expanded the architectural palate,” Cataline said. “We have added much smaller homes, we have added much, much, much larger homes. We have a builder who’s doing custom homes. We had our first sale that was $800,000 recently. So as we move into Midtown, we’re really going to push the envelope a little bit. There will be some modern and edgy products. There will be more sleek custom products. We want to make sure that if you live in Nexton, there is a home that will fit your needs from the standpoints of both price and architectural design.”
Midtown features a dizzying array of residential homes, with roughly 60 different options. Some have bold second-story porches, others dramatic gables or transoms, still more courtyard-style backyards. Homes by Dickerson, one of the builders working in Midtown, is offering homes with front-load garages, alley-fed garages, and even townhomes with the master bedroom on the first floor.
“We’ve kind of broadened out our horizons,” said Jonathan Bailey, Charleston division president for Homes by Dickerson, which had previously worked with Newland on two master-planned communities in Raleigh, N.C.
And the result? “We put under contract more homes in the first quarter than we closed as a company last year,” Bailey added. “The reception to our model home plan, as well as a couple of other plans, has been incredible. From a presale standpoint and people wanting to build the model home that we have in Midtown on display, all the way to the last available lots in Midtown, the reception from people has been excellent. At this point, we can’t get a house finished before we’ve sold it.”
In the first phase of Midtown–known as the “Blueway District”–there are about 100 homes which are either occupied or under construction, Cataline said. The area’s amenity center, the Midtown Club, is also under construction. When completed it will feature a sprawling lagoon-style pool, a fitness center, rooms for yoga or even those looking for a change of scenery while working from home, and even a lawn with food truck hook-ups so vendors won’t have to run their noisy generators.