It's the kind of response a developer dreams of: The Weldon, a 17-unit condominium complex under construction in Wilmington, N.C., saw its pre-sells snapped up fast and for about $100,000 more per unit than expected.

"We have five buyers for every unit," says Dave Spetrino Jr., president of Wilmington-based Plantation Building Corp., which developed the one- and two-bedroom units starting at $300,000. They are set to open in the spring of 2007.

Plantation Building Corp.

Spetrino says he originally purchased land in the city's former ship-building area for office buildings, but after one project, he turned to residential options.

It was a good move. Spetrino's first residential project sold quickly, and he found himself with a waiting list for the next one. Spetrino says an influx of new companies is creating demand for the housing, with the most common buyers being single women of all ages. The Weldon is Spetrino's fifth residential project, and no two look alike, he says.

The Weldon's subtle Art Deco look was designed by Michael Ross Kersting Architecture, based in Wilmington. Project manager Ellis B. Vestal Jr. says its style was inspired by Wilmington's past architecture.

Plantation Building Corp.

"I took a cue from the history of buildings that we had lost," he says. "I wanted to bring back that Art Deco feeling and do something different."

He said the city's planning department initially worried it might be too flashy, but he explains the Art Deco is a more subdued version of a place like South Beach, Fla.

"It's not neon," Vestal says. "It's very subtle."

–Erin Massey