Since the 1990s, North Carolina’s North Mecklenburg County has become a fertile testing ground for the principles of the New Urbanism. The town of Huntersville, in particular, has been the nucleus of several innovative New Urbanist projects, including the new neighborhood of Vermillion and the redevelopment of Anchor Mill.
On 400 acres adjoining the downtown of Huntersville, the Bowman Development Group is building Vermillion with a DPZ-designed master plan that integrates the new community with the historic town. The rolling Piedmont terrain inspired a picturesque neighborhood and streetscape design. A creekway running through Vermillion is a central organizing element and connects to a countywide greenway system. Public space along the creek forms a 1/2-mile-long park ranging from 250 to 1,000 feet in width.
The layout of the first 35-acre section focuses on William Bowman Square, a formally planned square lined with townhouses, live/work units, a development office, and a pizza pub. A more casually designed triangular close is bounded by single-family houses and a community church. This first phase of 180 residential units includes affordable apartments and houses sponsored by Habitat for Humanity. Every resident is within a five-minute walk of a stop on a jitney bus loop that will connect to a planned regional rail system. Development plans include construction of a school, a neighborhood swimming and recreation club, a small inn, offices, and additional retail.