Port City Community Church building 400-seat worship center in Leland

After nearly a decade of gathering at nearby schools and rented rooms, the Port City Community Church will soon begin building a 25,000 square foot worship center in Leland.

The church has become a mainstay of Wilmington since its founding in 1999 and has since expanded with satellite campuses in New Bern, Leland and previously Jacksonville. However, they never had their own church in Brunswick County, instead operating out of Belville Elementary.

Stay logged in: Like the Brunswick Today Facebook page for all the latest Brunswick County news.

When the pandemic hit, the church could no longer book a venue for meetings and had to fast-track plans to find a permanent home in Leland.

“We’ve been here about 10 years and we meet weekly, we just haven’t had a church building,” Leland campus pastor Don Brown said. “Now we will be a more visible and important part of the community.”

Port City Community Church, PC3, has announced plans to expand its presence in Brunswick County since 2011. In 2015, they purchased 29 acres of land between Mount Misery Road and Village Road,

But Brown said it was only through a random act of generosity that their expansion plans fell into place. A developer offered PC3 88 acres of land between US 74/76 North and Old Fayetteville Road South, near the old Grace Point Community Church building. They intended to clear the wooded land and raise money to build a new church there, until they got another unexpected break.

Fay Fieldcrest LLC owned property on both sides of the new church location. Brown said the LLC offered to buy about 70 donated acres and swap property, essentially moving the site one address further away.

“We couldn’t believe it because we were going to ask them if they would buy it, since we don’t need all that land,” he said.

Now, the $8.5 million church project will be funded primarily by the sale of the 70 acres originally donated.

The exact designs for the building are still being discussed with Leland’s technical review board, but initial plans call for a 400-seat auditorium, several “lounge” group spaces, and a separate wing for children and teens.

After: Massive rezoning of 3,100 acres near Carolina Shores pulled amid backlash from neighborhood

After: A Shallotte weather radar has been jammed for years. What are officials doing about it?

After: The Brunswick County Section 8 housing program is insufficient. What can be done?

According to Brown, the multi-phase project could expand up to 50,000 square feet with an additional building planned to the east. The current building on the 11-acre site, which was once Grace Point Community Church, will be demolished.

Once plans are finalized, Brown estimates construction will begin in 2-3 months and expects construction to be complete by next Christmas.

Brown said it was important to find the right location for them to be an integral part of the community as it continues to grow. The site is between Leland City Hall and North Brunswick High School on Old Fayetteville Road, right in the heart of Leland’s new growth.

“It’s appropriate,” he said. “We want to serve people and be a pillar of the community, so (the location of the church) is actually symbolic of where we want to be positioned in Leland.”

Reporter John Orona can be reached at 910-343-2327 or [email protected]

Norma P. Rex