Being Bruce -: October 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Afternoon Meetings Go Better with Ice Cream and Pizza

This afternoon was beautiful. Prior to getting ready to go out or get home to receive trick or treaters, Four of us met late this afternoon at Flavors Ice Cream in Leland to network and discuss marketing strategies. Michelle Morris of Flavors Ice Cream (wearing an appropriate pumpkin colored top), Marge Brown of Fat City Cards, Chris Houseknecht of Southport Shutter and Closet, and Bruce Brown (that would be me) of the Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty Leland office got together to share ideas and eat some great ice cream (thanks, Michelle). For the record only the guys had ice cream (Chris had pumpkin ice cream and Bruce had vanilla).

After ice cream what better place to go than our favorite area pizza place, Antonio's Pizza and Pasta in Leland. Michelle didn't come along, but Marge, Chris, and I did. I could only take this shot of the patio (we sat inside) before Marge told me to put the camera away already, so I did, and we ate and laughed and had a great time.

Next Thursday November 6th in front of the Leland Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty office at 1018 Grandiflora Drive the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce is having a Business After Hours from 5:30 till 7:30PM or something like that. Catering will be by Antonio's, with a carving station and adult libations, and a dessert area with ice cream sundaes by Flavors. Local entertainer David Bohn will bring his guitar, microphone, and singing voice for everyone's enjoyment. If you're looking for a great time to meet active business folks in Leland next Thursday, some on over to our place.

Seared Scallops on Polenta - Can Food Get Any Better?

Last evening Marge and I had dinner with our friends Naomi and Ophard Willis at Caffe Phoenix on 9 S. Front Street in Downtown Wilmington, NC. Three of us had the only announced special for the night, Seared Scallops on Polenta (the description was actually a lot longer than that but who can remember all the add-ons and sauces and herbs waitstaff recite in most any restaurant where you aren't urged to super-size or add more sticky sauce on top?).

When the entrees were served our table quieted right down for a while as we got to work. I'm not a foodie nor a food critic, but fer shure, Mr. Flay, you could serve this dish as prepared and presented at Bolo in Manhattan and feel right proud.

I had my camera but didn't think to photograph the dish before eating but wish I did (the photo above is a non-attributed royalty-free stock photo). From now on I'll try to remember to shoot before I eat. The scallops were prepared just as most of us like them, not rubbery or hard, but nice and chewy with just the right searing. What had us all talking, however, was the polenta. Wow. The polenta had a tad-thicker-than-thin crust and a great texture. Excellent excellent excellent.

We had a great time talking and laughing and waving to the people riding the horse-drawn trolley down the street (another photo missed), but the scallops, and especially the polenta were fabulous.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Embrace Change In Your Business

Face it. Change, in life and in business, is not only inevitable, it's the natural state. You can't avoid it, you can't fight it and win, and you can only ignore change at peril to your personal serenity and business success.

Change is constant. Change is healthy. Change is opportunity. Change is your chance to excel.

The NASA photo in this post shows the Helix Nebula (the photo is a composite taken via the Hubble Space Telescope). Think exploding star. Now there's change for you. According to NASA astronomers the distance from the front to the back of the image is approximately one trillion miles (and I don't care what you've got in your Mustang, THATS a long distance). As you can see, even during the nebula's time of great change, it is amazing and beautiful - this photo, btw, is often referred as the "Eye of God". All that's changing in this photo, however, is the state of the matter and energy that made up the nebula, they still exist, but in a different state and form.

You, too, can be amazing and beautiful during times of change. It's a choice.

Many speak of postive attitude. When faced with change, positive attitude is healthy, in fact it's imperative for survival, but even more important is positive action. Start by thinking positively about change in your business - that enables you to "feel" postive, but the greatest benefit comes when you take positive action.

I will write more about change in business and how to predict and plan for it. The first step is to accept and surrender to change. That surrender enables you go forward boldly. The better you predict, plan, and take action the more success you will enjoy. But do not think you'll rest in your success, that you'll "finally get there" - because change won't stop.

You can resist change and fail, or at best have a miserable time. You also have the choice to accept change and excel, profit, and have a great time. The choice is yours.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ashton Place Grand Re-Opening in Leland - A Real Estate Success Story!!

Paige Robinson of Brookside Homes and good friend Landon Barker stood in the chilly air and welcomed visitors to Paige's Grand Re-Opening Event today. In less than a year after opening Ashton Place on Old Fayetteville Road in Leland, Paige held a Grand Re-Opening luncheon for REALTORS(tm) today. The old model home used to be right by the entrance but the new model home, a design called the Bradley Creek(see photo below), is halfway back in the community. REALTORs like to eat, a lot, and Middle of the Island caterers did their usual fine job, this time under a tent - it was a bit brisk to say the least today, temperatures were still in the low 50's at midday (yeah yeah, we know you Northeners are snickering - but hey, we expect and usually get GREAT WEATHER year round, so snicker at that!).

The three biggest factors in Ashton Place's success in this time when many are bewailing the real estate market? That's easy: price; design; and build quality. Oh yeah, and there are three more: location; location; and location. The convenient Ashton Place placement is pretty much smack in the middle of Leland, close to schools, post office, library, both the older and rapidly expanding newer retail areas, and don't forget its great access to major highways.

In all there are seven home plans at Ashton Place priced under $200,000! How cool is that? No wonder that in this time when mortgage money is still a bargain and plentifully available for folks who qualify Ashton Place is a poster community for success. The price is right. If you'd like to tour Ashton Place and would like a buyer's agent to represent you, I'd be honored to assist you - please call my cell phone at 910-297-8753 or e-mail me at You can also look for other homes via my website.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday PM - A Walk Around Downtown Wilmington

This afternoon was gorgeous! After our morning on the beach with surfers (and a few bikers), we were ready for some laid back strolling. Marge, Pepper, and I ambled along the Riverwalk for a bit but decided that, as beautiful as the Cape Fear River was today, we wanted to explore the downtown shops a bit. So we turned up from the river at Market Street and went to Kilwins for chocolate-covered pretzels to fuel our exploration. While Pepper and I were waiting outside the totally awesome chocolate and ice cream store for Marge to buy the pretzels, she and I decided to check out the horse trolley parked in the center island. I tried to take a photo of the horses alone but, as you can see, Pepper moved into the center of the shot - just can't take the ham out of the dog.

Anyway, with chocolate pretzels in hand (only very temporarily, they were gone by the time we reached Front Street - all of maybe 80 feet away), we headed east. We took a right on S. Front Street and almost immediately found a cool little shop we'd not noticed before. The Italian Gourmet Market as 22 S. Front Street has been open for nine years, and we've been here for five years, but we just didn't notice it before. I'll tell ya we will for sure be back often. Proprietor Frank Delia and Sunday helper extraordinaire Anita were friendly, knowledgeable, gracious, and, this is the best part for me, totally passionate about their store and their wares. We bought some roasted fava beans and a nifty Italian spice to try tonight when we cook some fresh shrimp - can't wait. This store stocks Italian appetizers and snacks, desserts, pastas (they have a pasta club we will check out), wines, and ceramics. Frank just got back from a trip to Italy and has a selection of great-smelling handmade soap bars if you're into bath items that look, feel, and smell good.
It was a full, beautiful day today in Wilmington. We're truly blessed with a splendid variety of quality places, activities, and people. The weather helps, too.

Sunday AM at Wrightsville Beach - Surfers, Bikers, and Pepper!

What a great time we had at Wrightsville Beach this morning. Dogs on leash are allowed on the beach October through April, so Marge and I put Pepper, our 8-year old female Giant Schnauzer, in the car and headed out early.

Those who don't live around here may not know that Wrightsville Beach has the best surfing on the East Coast, but truly year round, in almost any weather, you can find surfers on WB. So it wasn't unusual when Pepper made her first new friends of the day fresh out of the surf.

As we walked further down the beach we realized something was up, however, as the number of photographers with long lenses outnumbered everyone but the surfers. Turns out this weekend was the occasion of a surfing competition hosted by the SurfRiding Foundation.

Pepper enjoyed hanging out in front of the judge's stand for a while - she particularly liked the music.

Like most people, however, her eyes were glued on the 10s and 10s of surfers in the water. My camera isn't right for capturing images out that far, but the water was popping with wet-suited surfers, and many were waaaay much better than the usual Sunday morning crowd.

Pepper also met a young guy who took a break from competing to ride a blow up shark.

Here's the same guy with some friends in the water.

As we were leaving Pepper spied some folks on bikes and, well, she just can't stay away from motorcycles. So, the next thing we knew she wanted her picture taken with the bikers. Fortunately they were happy to oblige.

We left the beach to go home for lunch and to do a few chores. Pepper didn't want to leave at first, but we promised we'd take her downtown later.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wilmington NC Bloggers In the Flesh!

Saturday morning at Connections Cafe on Racine in Wilmington, North Carolina, a scant score of area bloggers met for coffee, conversation, and shared convivial consciousness around social media. Called to meet IRL ("in real life" not in Ireland) by Star News Executive Editor Robyn Tomlin, the group crossed lines of gender, hue, age, physical ability, employment status, blogging experience, and consensual texting preferences.

In short, it was a hoot. Two and a half hours of sit down talking passed quickly and most hung in the whole time - fully half stayed after and chatted standing up - not sure everyone has left even now, 4 hours later, (actually, I think there's one guy who lives at Connections, but that's another story).

What did we talk about? Well . . . how about commercial versus personal uses of social media? We focused on Twitter, blogging, and Facebook but another eighty gazillion or so sites, services, gidgets or wadgits received at least quick mention. We also discussed online stalking and safety, the spirit and practice of giving, community versus national sites, and how news is gathered, handled, and presented in these days of instant communication everywhere by pretty much everyone.

We may meet again in a month or so - likely in the same location, but in the meantime agreed to tag our local-focused Twitter and blog entries with #ILM so they can be harvested or fed to a central site. News at 11 on where and how.

What's Right With This Picture?

I'm in a great mood this morning and wanted to share a fav pic from the past year. One Sunday in early Spring Marge and I went to preview some houses (that's what I do, gimme a break!) and then stopped by to see some friends and their new puppies. Puppies sure do bond quickly - and I don't think it's just because I had apple fritter crumbs on my sweater.
p.s. - If when you see this photo you try to figure out what kind of phone is on my belt, you pass the geek test, but just might want to check your priorities!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Raspberry Cat Presents a Purrfect Venue for the Arts

Plans are moving forward rapidly for Mary Ann Sauer's (aka The Frame Lady) Raspberry Cat Gallery & Gift Shop in Cross Creek Commons in Leland. On Thursday evening, October 23rd, approximately 35 artists and artisans from our region met to hear Mary Ann and guests speak about both the potential of the North Brunswick area centered in Leland and the reality of the great opportunity it presents today!

Rhonda Norris, Executive Director of the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce spoke about the many businesses opened and coming to our area. Bruce Brown, Managing Broker of the Leland office of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty (hey, that's me I'm writing about) started by assuring people that he is not and never was Henry Winkler and then talked about population growth, demographics, and "playing to win" as opposed to "playing not to lose". The final speaker, Decorator Theresa Sholey (in the photo above during her presentation), who is working with Mary Ann to design and decorate the display areas and pieces, talked about displaying gallery members' arts and works. Mary Ann followed up with a presentation of her vision of the gallery, the history of the the project, and the support she's already received from the artisan community. At the end of the evening there was a great deal of excitement about Raspberry Cat and an impressive number (I'm not telling because I don't want to jinx it) indicated their immediate willingness to sign on. We'll keep you posted on what promises to be a very cool custom gift shop in the heart of Leland's Route 17 shopping area. For more info, call Mary Ann Sauer at 910-383-1343.

Countdown to the HoeDown - 7 Days to Go!

OK, folks, get yer costume ready, slap on some monster makeup, and party on the river on Halloween Eve. October 31st, Riverfront Wilmington, North Carolina. It's called the Halloween HoeDown and part of the Downtown Sundown Concert Series. Featured groups include The BarnRaisers with Woodwork Roadshow. Special guest appearances by the Cape Fear River, lots of cool folks, and you! So you've got to be there, we're counting on you.
Produced and sponsored by the Downtown Business Alliance with a lot of help from a bunch of other folks. Here's the official list:
Sponsors of the 2008 Downtown Sundown Concert Series: Part 2 include Coors Beer, Waterford of the Carolinas, Dish Network, MADD, 106.7 The Penguin, encore, 103.7 The Bone, The Star News, Slice of Life, Loose Lucy's, Wilmington Downtown, Inc., and Blu Zeus Interactive Marketing. Support services provided by the City of Wilmington.
Costume prizes, door prizes (which since there's no door might be hard to win), and the chance to be silly and have fun in public.
The usual rules apply: no outside booze or beverages, no coolers, no pets, no pets in coolers, like that. You can bet everything but coolers and pets will be available for purchase, so don't let that stop you.
Questions? Call Katie Lucas of DBA Wilmington at 910-343-4114 or e-mail .

REALTOR Booty Call ! Steel Band Entertains at Stevens Fine Homes Design Center Grand Opening

Thursday afternoon 150-200 REALTORS gathered outside in the parking lot and inside Stevens Fine Homes Design Center on Oleander Drive in Wilmington, North Carolina. Entertained by Pantastic Steel, fueled by food and legal libations, and glued to the spot by near- continuous giveaways, including the big booty, a gorgeous blue topaz David Yurman ring, a great time was had by all. Stevens Fine Homes, with neighborhoods under development in Wilmington and Leland, now has a central facility at 5710 Oleander Drive, space formerly occupied by Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty.

Land of Abundance Group Shot

Check out this shot of the staff and agents of the Leland, North Carolina office of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty wearing our L.A. hats. L.A. stands for Land of Abundance and we welcome you to give us a call or stop by at 1018 Grandiflora Drive, Suite E in front of Magnolia Greens.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

George Is Looking for a Home

George the Peacock really needs a forever home. There's a lot more to this story than I'd reasonably expect anyone to read, so here's the short version. I'm happy to fill in more for anyone interested. The bottom line is this bird needs a home, but catching him is not easy - not at all. Several peacock-experienced individuals and groups have tried multiple times with no luck, so don't just think you'll walk up with some peacock chow and he'll jump in your arms.

A family across Futch Creek (where we live) used to have four peacocks. For various peacock reasons they've left (the birds, not the people). The family isn't interested in getting them back. So this guy, and he is a male named George, had been hanging around our neighborhood since the summer of 2007. The photo above was taken in March of this year. He's still around but his tail feathers have molted (they're gone) - but they'll be back next spring (it's a mating season thing).

Anyway, George can fly and if you try to catch him he does just that - up on the roof of the nearest house. He isn't too much problem and he's really a gorgeous bird, but he drives the dogs crazy - seems like he knows it and prances back and forth in full view of dogs (our dog Pepper anyway) and the dogs go nuts. Twice Pepper got loose and tried to catch him and as soon as George realized he couldn't waddle faster than Pepper can run he went airborne.

Another issue with George is that we live on a corner of a winding road and sometimes George wanders into the middle - he's likely to get hit sometime and could cause an accident. Fortunately neither has happened yet.

Below are two more shots of George from March 2008, in full display, taunting Pepper on our back deck. One from the front, and the other from the back (I think George was intentionally mooning Pepper).

If you are interested in catching (and preferably owning and keeping) George, give me a call at 910-297-8753 or e-mail me at
Please realize that catching George won't be easy. It also could be dangerous as they get pretty vicious (I'm told) when cornered and caught. I'm also told safe catching (for the bird and for the catcher) involves heavy blankets, eye protection, heavy gloves, and probably a heavy jacket as well. The jury is still out if
tranquilizer darts would work and be safe for George. If so, that would be a snap because he only runs away if you chase him. If someone did catch him there are any number of folks who'd like him to live at their place, but none of those folks, several of them who already own peacocks locally, have been able to catch poor George.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pepper Loves Downtown Wilmington

Sunday was such a glorious day! Marge, Pepper and I took advantage of the great weather to hang out in downtown Wilmington for a few hours. As usual Pepper made lots of friends. Marge and I pretty much gravitate toward Kilwins at 16 Market Street whenever we're in downtown Wilmington. Yesterday I had an excellent (and generous-portioned) single scoop cup of Turtle ice cream - my only complaint was the plastic spoon was kinda flimsy which slowed my progress. We also bought some of their nifty chocolate-covered stick pretzels to fuel our progress around town. Spent some time in Native Soul Indigena at 25 Market Street and Marge bought some very pretty pink shell earrings.

Pepper loves to pose for the camera. Ever since she was a puppy she learned to sit and stay when I would take her picture, and she still is great about that. Even though there were a lot of people around the river front river walk I put Pepper on the walkway and told her to stay while I took her picture with the river in the background and she was great about it. Pepper is a strong people magnet.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Home Community Show at Coastline Convention Center

Today at Wilmington's Coastline Convention Center, the Home Builders Association Sales and Marketing Council put on a new home community show. We went in the morning during the REALTORS(tm)-only hours to see the booths, to visit with friends (and meet new people), and to check out the booths.

The most dramatic booth was easily the one put up by Ashton Place a development in Leland. The theme was "Come see what's POPPIN' at Ashton Place" and on-site rep Brad Hunter was getting ready to rev up a popcorn maker when we left.

Meg Taiclet of Blue Ridge Companies was doing double duty
at the show, representing two condominium communities: Bellingham Park in Wilmington and Topsail Landing in Surf City.

K.C. Billings who formerly was on the sales staff of Waterford of the Carolinas, was working at the Compass Pointe booth when we stopped by. Compass Pointe opened a sales center at 108 Market Street in Downtown Wilmington this week, but the development itself, which will eventually consist of 4,000+ homes on approximately 2,200 acres, is located in Leland off Routes 74-76, just past the Industrial Park and the Leland branch of Brunswick Community College.

We chatted for a while with H. Thomas Davis III of South Eastern Real Estate, who was working at the booth for Marmalade at City Block, urban condos located at 814 North 4th Street in Wilmington. Located in the center of the Brooklyn Arts District, Marmalade's spread includes one and two bedroom condos ranging in size from 709 to 1492 square feet and in price from $184,340 t0o $432,680.

Palmetto Creek's Chris Dedrick didn't pose for the photo, but she was there talking about the finished amenities in the Supply, North Carolina community.

Laura Heal was at the impressive Signature Homes booth, with literature and information about SeaBrooke in Leland, NC off Lanvale Road and Stones Edge in northern Wilmington.

Community Specialist Jason James worked the Waterford of the Carolinas booth.

Jo Anne Britt was at the Wedgewood at Lanvale table, with literature for four builders: Liberty Homes, Logan Homes, Savannah Home Builders, and Veranda Homes. Located off Lanvale Road in Leland, Wedgewood at Lanvale has patio homes from the $150s, garden homes from the $190s, and brick homes starting around $235,000.

There's a New Kid in Town - Ava Grace Williams

Kristy and Justin Williams are the proud new parents of their first child, Ava Grace Williams born yesterday, October 17th, at 5:44 PM EST. Ava weighed in at 6.5 pounds and and measured 19 inches long. Congratulations to the Williams family.

We're sure to see and hear more of Ava around the Leland, NC as her ever-busy Mom and Dad continue to build The NBM, North Brunswick county's premier magazine (Justin asked me to add that part - OK, not really, but I think it's true anyway). Welcome, Ava, we're glad you're here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Where Would We Be Without Free Event Food?

This blog entry is really about a ribbon-cutting at a local bank, but it's lunchtime so I'm thinking about food. Yesterday they had great food at the ribbon-cutting of the new Leland branch of East Carolina Bank. I've worked in several professions, including teaching, counseling, high-tech freelance writing, and now real estate. One thing all those fields have in common is plenty of good food at hand, either because someone likes to bake cookies, or the office manager decides it's time for some calorie-fueled staff bonding, or, the best ever, when food is involved with public relations events. In the high tech journalism world fancy meals and parties abound, and we kept our journalistic integrity by eating with everyone, not singling out just one vendor. Real estate agents also have lots of food around - do you really think the cookies at open houses are for visitors? I've witnessed open houses with only three visitors where 2 dozen chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies disappeared (and yes, I do prefer home-made, but store bought are generally fine, too). OK, so anyway, with the final comment that therapist office food is usually pretty sparse (as I recall we'd get all worked up over a box of donuts!) and make sure you feel some sympathy for radio jocks, because radio stations have nothing to offer but very old, very thick, but still hot, black sludgy coffee.

Recently, however, I've found a whole new way to indulge my urges for carbs, protein, and fat (it's called the Equal Opportunity Eating Diet). Attending ribbon-cuttings and Business After Hours events held by members of the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce is a great excuse to sample homemade and restaurant food in abundance, and yesterday's ECB ribbon-cutting, catered by Charlie Macgrooder's restaurant in Leland, was no exception.

But enough about food! Here's the serious business announcement. Local notables and ECB executives and staff were on hand for the official ribbon-cutting of East Carolina's newest branch. The Leland location is ECB's the 24th office - not bad for a bank that started in a former barber shop in Engelhard, NC.

The nicest thing about the ribbon cutting was that the ribbon was stuck with $20 bills that after the ceremony were donated to Lynn Carlson, Executive Director of Hope Harbor Home Domestic Violence Shelter in Brunswick County. This charitable gesture is a super tradition with ECB, so hat's off to whoever started it and to those who continue the generosity. (I counted 32 $20 bills in the photo, but there may be a few more, so that's a bunch of bucks!).

Here's the lineup of the cast of characters in the photo above (not counting two or three people whose faces we can't see but were probably just getting in position to be the first at the buffet table anyway). From left to right: Miriam Lee, ECB Teller; Victor Pearsall, North Brunswick Chamber VP, and banker with Security Savings Bank; Jerry Brett, Regional Honcho and all-round good guy with ECB; Lynn Carlson, Executive Director, Hope Harbor Home; Debra Gill-Mason, Volunter Extraordinaire, NBCC; Susan Cruse, Branch Manager, ECB; Tony Vlach, Nationwide Insurance; Art Keeney, ECB President and CEO; Dorson White, ECB Executive VP and CFO; Brian Hartzell, ECB Business Banking; and Ashley Sander, ECB Senior Teller.

Staying true to their roots, ECB has a great name for their Automatic Teller Machines. They don't even point it out to people, so they must take it for granted, but I think it's hilarious that they call their outside ATM machines their "Outer Banker".

Leland's growing fast and it's great to have businesses that have a sense of giving and community support, that have a sense of humor, and also that serve great food at P.R. events.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Grayson Park Clubhouse and Pool, Leland, NC

In 1968 Burt Lancaster starred in The Swimmer, a movie in which his character travels through a suburb by swimming through residents' pools. I was reminded of the movie concept Wednesday afternoon when I re-visited the new clubhouse and pool at Grayson Park. This fine community, developed by Stevens Fine Homes, is located off US Route 87 north of US Highway 17 is in Leland, North Carolina, about 8 miles west of Downtown Wilmington. (Note to movie producers and other film industry folks: if you decide to do a re-make of The Swimmer based on someone swimming his or her way across a country via subdivision pools, you heard it here first, and I'm NOT the Bruce Brown who made The Endless Summer, the original surfing flick, also in the 1960s.)

Grayson Park has existing and pre-sale homes and townhomes for sale, but whenever I visit this fine neighborhood lately I'm drawn to the clubhouse and more particularly to the pool. I'm not actually much of a swimmer, but my wife Marge is. Marge loves to swim and I like to sit by the pool and read - sometimes my total exercise-oriented activity for the day is counting laps as Marge churns the water back and forth. Grayson Park's pool is, in a word, gorgeous. There are six swimming lanes plus a blocked off shallow area for non-lane swimmers. There's also an adjacent spa and plenty of undercover space at the back of the clubhouse for people who'd rather sit out of the sun but still enjoy the pool area.

The clubhouse itself has a full kitchen, a comfortable seating/lounging members area, shower facilities, and two offices currently used by the Grayson Park sales staff. A new section of homes called Parkside will soon be open with what sounds like an appealing combination of high-end features and aggressive pricing. If you're in the market for a new home and haven't yet seen Grayson Park, and would like to, give me a call at 910-297-8753 or e-mail I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised at how much you can get for your money by traveling a few minutes west of Wilmington. I'd be very happy to show you Grayson Park and other communities in the Leland and Wilmington areas. In the meantime, I may talk to Marge about doing our own version of The Swimmer - if we can convince the neighborhood people to let us do it, she'll test the lap swimming and I'll practice counting.

SeaBrooke in Leland, North Carolina

Because I'm a REALTOR, and particulary because my office is in Leland, NC, I try to keep up with newly developing neighborhoods in the area. It's part of my job, which is cool, because I also think it's a lot of fun. My main purpose is to stay current with area neighborhoods so I can assist potential buyers in our area. I may spin off this content into a separate blog dedicated solely to neighborhoods I visit in Leland and Wilmington, but for now will keep the content in this, my primary blog.

Yesterday afternoon I took a ride to two of our newer local Leland neighborhoods. The first is SeaBrooke. The following reads a bit like a press release, I realize, but, hey, I was a journalist for 18 years and many of my best friends still are in public relations, so a little of what they do rubbed off. The following isn't a product review like the 1000's I wrote for PC Magazine (Google "PC Magazine Bruce Brown" if reading old computer and printer reviews is your thing) and it isn't an ad. The neighborhood info isn't an endorsement, either, but I did attempt to succinctly capture the major features and the builder/developer conceptual goals.

SeaBrooke, a new community opening in Leland, North Carolina, combines NAHB Green Building Program standards and an intentional "village" feel. Single story garden homes and two-story village homes in SeaBrooke are priced in the mid to high $200s and include a long list of energy-saving and environmentally-friendly attributes. Homes in SeaBrooke include many "must-have", check-list features such as hardwood floors, 42" kitchen cabinets, solid surface countertops, stainless steel appliances, and ceramic tile baths. In addition to the garden homes and village homes SeaBrooke will also have a section of townhomes with prices starting in the $180s.

Located off Lanvale Road in Leland, across Route 17 from the newly rising Villages of Brunswick Forest retail and office complex, SeaBrooke's 200 acre site is within natural forests and with ponds, fountains, and walking trails. Neighborhood amenities will include a pool, playground, and community pavilion.

If you're from the Leland/Wilmington area you'll know that SeaBrooke is close to the fast-growing "New Leland" area and about a 10-minute drive to downtown Wilmington's riverfront and historic district. If you're not local, SeaBrooke is about 45 minutes from North Myrtle Beach, and within 20-30 minutes of a great selection of North Carolina's beautiful beaches and yet is still conveniently located for shopping, entertainment, health services, commuting to major employers, and of course within minutes of golf courses (which pretty much applies to all of Southeastern North Carolina).

If you're interested in more information about SeaBrooke, just give me a call at 910-297-8753 or e-mail me at I'd be honored to assist you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Key West Band Downtown Sundown Concert - Wilmington Riverfront, Friday Oct. 17th

Great fun is available for free Friday late afternoon and early evening at Riverfront Park in downtown Wilmington. The Key West Band , a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, will be playing from 5:30 - 10PM. It's sponsored by the Downtown Business Alliance and a bunch of other I'm sure fine folks. You can bring a lawn chair or beach chair but no coolers or pets, which also means no pets in coolers, I'm sure, so don't get sneaky. They also ask that you don't bring "outside" beverages, which I'm pretty sure means they want to be sure that if you show up you support local merchants who have sponsored this free event rather than carry in your own beer or whatever. For more details on this free concert, check out this Facebook event link. To keep up with other events including the Downtown Sundown Concert series, make the Downtown Business Alliance a favored link. Please note, the photo on this blog post was blatantly borrowed from The Key West Band's web page.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Compass Pointe Sales Office Grand Opening Today at 108 Market Street

This morning I was the first to show up for coffee and bagels at the grand opening of the brand new sales office for the Compass Pointe neighborhood in Leland. The sales center, at 108 Market Street in downtown Wilmington, will be open today (October 14th) from 10am-8pm for REALTORs and others who'd like a sneak preview of this exciting new community.

Located off routes 74-76 on 2,200 acres of what are described as the highest point in Brunswick Country, North Carolina, Compass Pointe is a huge undertaking that, like Brunswick Forest, Waterford of the Carolinas, and Magnolia Greens will be developed over 10+ years. First phases will include townhomes, patio homes, tropical-style homes, and custom home lots with townhome prices starting in the $150's and home and land prices starting in the $200's.

Planned amenities, in addition to a village-style shopping area, will eventually include a 27-hole golf course, a tennis complex, swimming pools, fitness center, canoe and kayak launch, soccer field, many walking trails, a dog park, and an amphitheater. Compass Pointe has aready been named an Audubon International Gold Signature Community and will have at least two Audubon bird sanctuaries. Golf cart lanes on both sides of community roads will encourage alternative transportation use.

Community sales representatives will be on hand all day during the grand opening and will include some familiar faces, including K.C. Billings (pictured with the community map), Todd Garrett, John Matoska, and John Avera.

Monday, October 13, 2008

First Steel for New Hotel

This morning when I drove to the Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty office in Leland there were four trucks in a row lined up in the middle of the parking lot. I didn't pay much attention because I was in a hurry to get inside and fire up the Starbucks coffee machine in our office so I could moderate the blood level in my caffeine system. After I had a sip or two of Breakfast Blend (which is a bit light for my taste but we're out of Sumatra Dark till later today), I realized what those four trucks meant. First steel!!!

Yep, last week I posted a photo of the completed slab for the Comfort Suites hotel that's going up next to our office. These trucks are bringing the first structural steel components. Some time in 2009, by summer we're told, there's going to be a 106-room hotel close by our office, with two meeting rooms, an indoor pool and possibly an adjacent restaurant. Some of the agents in our office are having a great year this year (despite all the complaints in national media and by some local real estate companies, pundits, and pundit wannabes) and there's been talk that a few of us may want to get on the meal plan at the new hotel, not to mention the pool plan, the meeting room plan, and the place to recommend to our out-of-town clients plan.

Leland is truly on the rise. "Our" hotel will be the first of four going up within a half mile in the next two years, each with roughly 100 rooms. It's a lot of fun to be part of this growth.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Anne Boysen at Spectrum Gallery

There was a nice turnout Friday at Star Sosa's Spectrum Gallery in the Landfall Forum. Featured Philadelphia artist Anne Boysen's works were displayed and enjoyed.

Star and Anne indulged me for a minute to pose in front of one of Anne's larger works, while Nicole Wilkinson (Brunswick Community College Art Professor and Marketing Director & Web Designer for Spectrum) filmed entertaining guitar player Galen Hunsaker.