Cullowhee River Club provides housing, recreation

In Cullowhee’s strip mall a new and mysterious building has popped up, which has piqued most people’s curiosity, called the Cullowhee River Club.

A front office for the new residential community of homes takes up over 125 acres along the Tuckasegee River.

Tim Newell, development partner, primary investor and a capital partner, whose in the front sales office of the Cullowhee River Club, stated the community is a mountain haven designed for a variety of different individuals and families. This new planned community will have 282 total units that will consist of a combination of single family homes as cottages, town homes, condominiums and cabins. The community will also consist of a Grand River Lodge, which hosts the condominiums and will provide guests accommodations as well.

As listed in The Founders Program booklet, residents of this new community will also have a chance to experience some of the amenities provided by the Grand River Lodge, such as a restaurant, swimming pool, clay tennis courts and concierge services. Outside, there will be a riverside pavilion, boat house, volleyball court and a playground.

Do not be fooled by the name. The Cullowhee River Club is not actually a club. The residents can enjoy the club-style amenities usually limited to private club communities. The only difference is that there are no club initiation fees or club dues owed.

“It says club, we call it a club because it has club amenities,” said Newell, “but there is no club membership and no club dues. It’s not a gated community, you can come and dine in the restaurant.”

This new community is close to home for Western Carolina University students. Aside from the building located in the campus strip mall, its entrance is along Old Cullowhee Road located within 600 feet of the southeast end of the university. The Cullowhee River Club will also be noticed by those who travel along the Tuckasegee River a lot, since the community will take up more than 1.3 miles of frontage along the river.

The location is perfect for the Cullowhee River Club’s development and targeted markets.

“The university is a tremendous asset for those who would like to relocate near a major university for all the opportunities for cultural activities and sports activities,” said Newell.

Primary residents for the community are going to be the faculty and staff of Western Carolina. Secondary home markets include alumni that wish to settle down close to WCU as well as fly fishing and paddling enthusiasts. The community will attract these enthusiasts being so close to the river. A third market targets retirees, primarily from the northeast, looking to relax in the southeast.

The Cullowhee River Club also has links to the university. They have sponsored major events such as the Catamounts Unit Tour last spring and are currently sponsoring the Chancellor’s Tour. They are also a sports program sponsor for football, basketball, and they sponsored the home game against Elon.

“We will continue to be supporters of the university for sure, and we look forward to a long-term relationship with the school” said Newell.

Walking into the front office, you will meet Tim Newell and Joni Newell. Both are from North Carolina and have lived in Sylva for the past two years. Soon, they plan to move and stay in Cullowhee. Tim Newell is a landscape architect and had a big part in designing the landscape and homes. He also has a lot of history in designing in oriented communities. Joni Newell also works with the Cullowhee River Club, working with marking mostly but has also designed the front sales office.

They are also working with Jackson County to put in county greenway. The greenway is a paved walking, jogging and biking trail along the Tuckasegee River open to everyone. Though the community takes up 125 acres, 60 percent of it will be open space. Tim Newell plans to get in a conservation easement so it is protected.

“We’re trying to work with the land, not fight the land,” said Newell.

For more information about it, you can stop at the Cullowhee River Club office on 784 Centennial Drive, go to their website at or contact Newell at 828-606-7795 or