Topsail residents blocked Pendo founder’s plans to develop land. They’re not done yet.

Topsail Beach residents successfully stopped one of Raleigh’s most prominent multimillionaires from building on the last remaining tract of undeveloped land in town.

Now a land conservation group hopes to buy it.

The N.C. Coastal Land Trust has negotiated and signed a contract to purchase what locals call “The Point” — about 150 acres of pristine coastline at 1 Shore Line Drive in Pender County.

“This is a pivotal step towards its permanent preservation,” trust director Harrison Marks said in a March email to members.

But it comes with a “daunting challenge,” he added.

The group must raise nearly $8 million by March 2025 to complete the acquisition. It’s now set up a website for public donations. “Its protection hinges on community support,” he said.

The trust is also pursuing grants from state and federal programs. Once the purchase is complete, he said, the trust plans to transfer the property to the state to be managed by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s division of coastal management.

Last November, Pendo CEO Todd Olson scrapped plans to purchase the property after failing to secure rezoning approval for a family compound.

Despite strong public pushback, he wanted to build a private estate for his family on 30 acres on the island’s southernmost tip that is currently zoned conservation. In exchange, he promised to permanently conserve the remaining 120 acres with the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, using his own private funds.

He cited the town’s “lack of collaboration” for pulling out of the deal.

The land is owned by the McLeod family. It’s valued at $2.96 million, according to latest county records.