Dare County affordable housing partners still looking for potential sites  

By on November 4, 2023

Woda Cooper eyeing former Kelly’s restaurant location in Nags Head

Woda Cooper is looking at the site of the former Kelly’s restaurant. (Google maps)

As Dare County turns to the affordable housing task force in the hopes of creating consensus and advancing efforts to build more affordable housing, its two development partners are continuing to search for viable sites, according to Dare County Manager Bobby Outten.

The creation of the task force was approved at an Oct. 2 Dare County Commissioners meeting, and it came in the wake of failed efforts to build housing developments in Manteo, Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills. It will be comprised of officials from each of the county’s six towns as well as representatives of such organizations as the Outer Banks Restaurant Association, the Outer Banks Hotel/Motel Association and the Outer Banks Home Builders Association.

Dare County Commissioner Chairman Bob Woodard has said the task force will not convene its first meeting until after the Nov. 7 municipal elections, and Outten characterized its mission as broader than just building a few housing projects.

“This task force means collaboratively; we’ve got to find a way to solve this problem in the long term. And it’s not just a Dare County problem…we have to get everybody on board and then come up with common ground and common ways to figure out how to solve what everybody I think has agreed is a problem,” he said.

The effort to build such housing was recently complicated by a special provision dropped into the state budget that restricts municipalities’ ability to regulate affordable housing projects in their communities that would be funded with $35 million the state has awarded the county. Municipal leaders were both surprised and angered by that provision and all six towns have signed onto an Oct. 6 lawsuit challenging that provision. Both Woodard and Outten have declined to comment on that litigation.

In the meantime, Outten said that the county’s development partners, Woda Cooper and Coastal Affordable Housing, “have been looking at sites continuously and as one site gets ruled out by a town, then they look at other sites. Both groups are doing that as we speak with various sites…and then they have to have dialogue with whatever community they’re going to do it in to make sure they can do it.”

Woda Cooper has a pot of $12 million in county funding to work with. The $35 million in state funding at the heart of the controversial budget provision has been earmarked for the Coastal Affordable Housing group.

Asked about how far these efforts to find new potential housing locations have advanced, Outten noted that “I think there have been some conversations” between the developers and some municipal leaders. But he called it “a feeling out process,” that has not reached a “formal” stage.

Outten declined to mention specific sites under consideration, but in an email to the Voice, Woda Cooper Senior Vice President for Development Denis Blackburne said the vacant Nags Head site that once housed Mike Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern “is a potential site we are considering.” Kelly sold the property to German grocer Lidl in 2017, which never built a store there, and it was subsequently sold again in 2022.

Both Blackburne and Nags Head Town Manager Andy Garman indicated that the two parties have not discussed any location for a new housing proposal.

Asked how long the county will continue to work with Woda Cooper and Coastal Affordable Housing, Outten said the clock is not ticking in a “legal” sense. “As long as we’re making progress and as long as we’re seeing eye to eye on the deal, then we’ll keep working.”

As for how long it might take to finally launch a housing project, the county manager offered that “I’d like to think that within the next year, we have a site selected. Whether you can get it designed, engineered and start breaking ground within a year, I don’t know.”



Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


Sussex Development is soliciting bids to turnkey supply and install FF&E for the new Tulls Creek Elementary School, 125 Campus Drive, Moyock, NC27929. This project is a new ground-up 2-story, Pre-K thru 5th grade school, approximately 118,000 square feet. Bid documents may be obtained through Christopher West Interiors LLC. Request bid documents via email to interiors@cwiusa.com. Pre-Bid RFIs will be accepted via email until Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 5:00PM EST. Pricing proposals are due Wednesday, August 14, 2024 by 5:00PM EST. All bids and inquires to be sent to interiors@cwiusa.com. Certified NC Hub, MBE, WBE, DBE, SBE are highly encouraged to participate. Sussex Development is an EOE and maintains a drug-free workplace.



  • Yoda Cooper

    Yoda Cooper we are. Take your money we will.

    Monday, Nov 6 @ 5:04 pm