Big Tract Attracts Interest From Developer
A 180-acre undeveloped tract between Morganton Road and U.S. 15-501 has attracted serious interest from a commercial real estate developer who has a recent record of building retail and "lifestyle" communities.
That is according to Southern Pines Town Manager Reagan Parsons, who spoke last week to the Southern Pines Business association.
But plans for a Home Depot store being built on a small part of that tract are still "up in the air," Parsons said. He still expects Home Depot will build a store in the area, if not on the site, "somewhere in the vicinity," because the chain has determined that there is a market here.
Parsons said a commercial real estate developer has put in a bid to purchase the entire tract. He said it would be a lot easier for all concerned to have one developer for the entire site instead of its being done on a piecemeal basis.
The town wants developers to build a road through the property that would connect Morganton Road to U.S. 15-501. The plan calls for extending Henley Street near the present soccer complex on Morganton Road over to the area near the Chamber of Commerce office building.
That will add some expense to any development.
Later in a brief interview, Parsons identified the company as Development Diversified Realty of Beechwood, Ohio, a company that has been named in an Oct. 17 story in The Pilot about possible development in that area and the Henley Street extension.
The same company is apparently the one mentioned in "pending" sales signs posted by Clift Commercial of Southern Pines on Morganton for several weeks.
"The potential developer isn't interested in doing a piecemeal development," Parsons said.
During a question-and-answer session, Parsons said creating a Planned Unit Development District (PUD) "would simply be a new "section of the Unified Development Ordinance that will allow someone who wants to develop master-planned, mixed-use 50-plus acre tracts." It would apply throughout the town and its extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction.
The developers of the proposed Pine Needles Village asked the town to create a PUD zoning district and to rezone nearly 1,000 acres between U.S. 1 and Camp Easter Road to the new category.
Other developers could seek the new zoning for land elsewhere in the town's zoning jurisdiction.
"I know there's a lot of propaganda that this (Pine Needles Village) is a done deal, but I don't know how it (the final plan) will turn out," he said.
The developers of Pine Needles Village agreed to withdraw its rezoning application and plans until the town can come up with a PUD in the zoning ordinance. Its consultant, LandDesign -- which has an office in Southern Pines -- is working with the town to create a PUD. The Town Council must vote to approve it.
The zoning on both sites already allows for commercial and some residential development.
Also during the presentation, George Little, who owns an insurance firm in Southern Pines, expressed an interest in having a native of Southern Pines help work out new commercial architectural development standards.
Parsons replied that the standards had already gone in draft form through the public input process at several meetings. The town hired a consulting firm, Clearscapes of Raleigh, to research and prepare proposed standards.
Parsons discussed several other issues in his presentation:
-- Within the next few weeks, three drawings of exterior designs for the new municipal complex on Broad Street in the downtown will be on public display at the library on West Connecticut Avenue. The drawings could also be available at the planning, inspection and finance office next to the U.S. Postal Service.
The 30,000-square-foot complex will include town administrative offices, council meeting chambers and a police station. It will be built on the site of the old town hall at the corner of Broad Street and East New York Avenue. The 1950s-era building was torn down several weeks ago.
On Dec. 4, the council and HSMM Architects of Charlotte will host a public forum at the Douglass Center to give residents a chance to offer input on the three options.
-- A 140-million-gallon reservoir won't be ready until 2009, "at the earliest," he said.
-- A privately developed corporate park is taking shape on Industrial-zoned property bounded by North May, Street, Yadkin Road and U.S. 1.
Corneal Science has committed to locate a facility in the park one side of the 100-plus acre tract. Another company called Pace will locate a facility in the park.
-- A highway corridor study by three volunteer local designers for undeveloped properties along N.C. 22, U.S. 1 and Morganton Road is under way. The study will update highway overlay district requirements already in effect. These cover setbacks, landscaping and architectural designs.
-- Improvements to the exterior of the old brick freight station the town acquired from CSX Railroad will begin shortly. Bids will be taken Nov. 9, he said.
The town currently has no plans for the future use of the building, Parsons said. The town received a $125,000 state grant to restore the building.
-- About 46 new historically authentic-looking street lights with black poles have been installed in the downtown and will be ready to be lit and decorated for Christmas. Phase three for the 100 block of East Pennsylvania and phases four and five for the 100 block of New Hampshire should be completed in 2008 fiscal year.
-- The local Historic District Commission is inventorying more residential areas adjacent to the historic core downtown. A movement is under way to recommend that the town extend its historic district from the core downtown.
Sara Lindau can be reached at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
More like this story