9 June 2022
Smithfield, N.C. — Thousands of new homes are coming to Smithfield in Johnston County.
Town council unanimously approved the largest residential development in Smithfield’s history, bringing more than 2,000 homes to a town with a current population of around 12,000.
Town leaders say this project shows how vibrant Smithfield is – and how poised it is for more growth.
It’s wide-open farm country now, sprouting row after row of young soybeans. Running through the middle of it all is Mallard Road, a sleepy two-lane – but in the next couple of years, these acres are set to awaken with a bumper crop of homes.
“It’s going to open up all of the east side of 95 to development –– not just residential, but commercial and whatever other development we can get,” says Stephen Wensman, Smithfield’s planning director.
He says Woodleaf, as the development is called, is expected to boast 2,500 homes, ranging from single-family houses to townhouses to apartments.
NRP Ventures of Chapel Hill, the developer, also plans two clubhouses with fitness centers, meeting rooms, lounges.
To make all this happen, the developer is building water and sewer lines.
“The biggest deal is, we have no sewer on east Smithfield. so this developer is planning to bring the sewer to east Smithfield, which will impact the entire area,” says Wensman.
The project is so big, Wensman says it’s possible the area would need a new fire station and police substation.
“If this development happens, the whole area is gonna grow so there will be more tax base to support whatever infrastructure that is needed,” he says.
In the past two years, Wensman says, the town has approved more than 3,500 new homes, including Woodleaf.
“We’re a great town and we’re growing,” he says.
It’s no wonder, he says, that developers are homing in on Smithfield.
“I think we’re probably more affordable than some of the other towns. We have a nice downtown. We do have some shopping locally. We’ve got amenities. We’ve got growing trails,” he says.
It will be late 2023 — at the earliest — before ground is broken, and a new leaf is turned among these farm fields. Town leaders say the entire development is set to be complete sometime in 2028.