By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

In 2006, backers of a planned community in Goose Creek secured control of a wooded 2,300 acre site, moving forward with sketched renderings and roughed in roads.

Then, in an all-too-common refrain in the Lowcountry and nationwide, they were brought to a halt. The housing downturn hit, and growth stalled for buyers, builders and developers. The planned community, Carnes Crossroads, sat fallow for half a decade.

A year or so ago, the real estate market began to turn, and developers such as The Daniel Island Co. emerged from the sidelines. Carnes Crossroads, at the intersection of U.S. highways 17A and 176, was back on track.

“Lots (of things) will happen over the next 20 years,” says Julie Dombrowski, communications director for Daniel Island Co., which is developing Carnes Crossroads.

By the year 2030 or so, the community could count 3,500 to 4,500 rooftops and 15,000 or more people. About one-third of the property is set aside for retail, offices, eateries and specialized facilities: Harris Teeter has picked out a grocery store site and Roper Hospital has staked claim to a spot off of Highway 17A.

“One thing we focus on is all the growth in the region,” including Daniel Island, says Chuck Buck, a new-homebuilder veteran and broker-in-charge of Carnes Crossroads Real Estate.

At the same time, “The last community (in the greater Goose Creek area) who tried a master use plan was Crowfield Plantation,” he says. The Crowfield development dates to the 1980s.

Carnes Crossroads framed its sales office earlier this year, and a trio of builders raised model homes to give the property a streetscape. Work is underway on a handful of residences, although no one has moved in as of yet, Dombrowski says.

Move up families, empty nesters, downsizers and maybe a few retirees are expected to be buyers, Buck says. They could be professionals employed at Boeing, doctors at MUSC or civilians with SPAWAR, he says.

In one early sign of growth, Northwood Assembly two years ago established a non-denominational church at Carnes Crossroads and intends to relocate its private, kindergarten-through-12th-grade Northwood Academy there in the next few years.

Simultaneously, contractors will start efforts to preserve a semi-historic green barn moved from its original spot at the highway 17A-176 crossing. It will be turned into a clubhouse while doubling as a community landmark.

“Daniel Island has parks,” Buck says. With Carnes Crossroads, the identifying marker will be large lakes built throughout the sprawling residential section to the north and west of the intersection.

“It’s a very impressive project,” he says.

The first neighborhood phase is St. Thomas Park, to include about 250 homes, Buck says. Carnes Crossroads Real Estate is handling the marketing for all the builders.

“Centralized sales help us sell the community,” Dombrowski says.

Three home builders are signed on, with their houses expected to be intermingled along streets instead of all in one section or another. As of now, 22 home plans are available from $241,100 to $369,900.

“We just started pre-sales,” Buck says.

Energy efficient Lowcountry styled houses will be priced from the mid-$200,000s to $500,000s and sized from 1,700 to 3,500 square feet. Garages are detached with alleys behind homes or recessed so that the front porches are what people see first. Some plans come with optional fireplaces, third floors and marble kitchen countertops. Home plans can be adjusted, Buck says. “These guys are very flexible.”

Builders and their designs are:

• Houston-based David Weekley Homes. Models include the Dalehaven, Edgemore, Bellington, Ridgebrook, Lenwood and Province.

• Charlotte-headquartered Eastwood Homes. Floor plans are the Legare, Huger, Elliot, Haygood, Elizabeth and Hassell.

• Mount Pleasant domiciled Sabal Homes. Plans are the King Street cottage, Rutledge, Radcliffe and Beaufain.

Another two or three homebuilders are likely to join the initial group in the next few months, Buck says. “We are really builder friendly,” he says.

The plethora of ranch and two-story homes with wide porches and open layouts offer “more of a real feel,” Dombrowski adds. “They have something different for this marketplace.”

To reach Carnes Crossroads from downtown Charleston, head west on Interstate 26 to exit 209A for Highway 52. Follow Highway 52 into Goose Creek and at the traffic light, steer left on St. James Avenue (Highway 176). Proceed on the highway for about five miles to the intersection with U.S. Highway 17A. Turn left and proceed about one mile. Make a right at the Carnes Crossroads marker. Ahead is Carnes Crossroads. An alternate route is to stay on Interstate 26 to exit 199B at Summerville. Follow the exit to Highway 17A and proceed about six miles. On the left is the neighborhood entrance.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.

CARNES CROSSROADS AT A GLANCE:

Location: Goose Creek

Number of homes: 3,500 (eventually)

Square footage: 1,700-3,400

Look & feel: Changes will take place gradually, but the now fledgling master-planned community is expected to emerge as an active village in 15 years or so. Early sights will be crews transforming the iconic green barn into a clubhouse surrounded by pool and other amenities, and the carving out of an extensive lake system. Northwood Assembly has built a church and intends to relocate its private Northwood Academy school nearby. The first phase of homes are rising now in what’s called St. Thomas Park and will continue outwards from the sales center, located toward the front of the 2,300-acre property. Sections lining U.S. highways 17A and 176 are reserved for commercial/retail such as shops, restaurants, offices, banks and medical centers. Most of the residences will be on the property’s middle to western wing closer to Summerville. Upscale homes will include many two-story designs, Lowcountry style with front porches, recessed or detached garages and back alleys. Expect plenty of move-up families, empty nesters and downsizers.

Homes on market: 12

List prices: $240,000-$500,000

Schools: Cane Bay Elementary, Cane Bay Middle, Cane Bay High, Northwood Academy (K-12)

Fun facts: According to the developers, Carnes Crossroads is named after Dallas V. Carnes, an early 20th-century property owner who farmed this tract of land; the community is within the Goose Creek city limits but is considered in a Summerville zip code.