Historic Plantation to Become Resort Community

When King George II granted 1,000 acres in 1742 to the Camp family, the English monarch had no idea that two-and-a-half centuries later the White Oak Plantation built by the Camps would become an upscale resort community. But that’s what’s happening to the historic parcel near the intersection of Pea Ridge and Coxe Ridge roads in Green Creek, N.C.

Just under 940 acres of the remaining land were purchased from descendants of the Camp family in mid-October 2003 by White Oak Development Partners LLC. The price tag was $3.25 million. Led by managing partner, Michael W. Savidge, the group plans to utilize the plantation’s theme in its resort. Also called White Oak Plantation, the resort will use an “Old South plantation” feeling with the architecture.

The original Camp’s house, built in 1743, will be restored and include four VIP rental rooms, each with its own bath. In discussing the other aspects of the project, Savidge told the Tryon (N.C.) Daily Bulletin, “We propose constructing a world-class resort featuring 18 holes of championship golf by Arnold Palmer, a 200-room resort hotel and spa with conference and tennis facilities, an equestrian center with scenic riding trails, an upscale restaurant at the Old Mill site, retail shops showcasing local crafters and artisans, and a fly fishing school with its own two-acre lake.”

Savidge said the golf course site involves a creek in a valley, and that the property rises up on all sides “stadium style,” hinting that the new layout may host professional golf tournaments. “We’ll probably start being a venue for a Champions Tour event,” Savidge said. The course will ultimately be for the private use of residents and hotel guests, though it will be open to the public for its first few years.

In addition to the $50-million resort and recreational amenities, White Oak Plantation involves 600 single-family homesites, four 24-unit “golf village” sites, and as many as 800 condominiums to be developed over a 10-year period. Savidge believes the resort community will draw buyers looking for second homes, with Charlotte – 55 minutes away by U.S. 74 – the prime market.

The hotel will be situated within a village center and be built in the plantation style, with gas lights, columns and porte cochere, Savidge said. The front porch of the lodge will take in mountain views, while the back porch will look over the golf course. Since several of the development partners are Irish, the plans also include an Irish pub in the hotel.

White Oak Development Partners LLC has received preliminary approval for the project from Polk County. Palmer Design is now finishing up its design. Work is expected to begin on the course by the end of the year, with first golfers plying the fairways in late 2004 or early ’05.