Miller, Developer at Odds on Knollwood Partnership Claim
Kelly Miller found himself defending the Bell family again last week after a California developer told another media outlet that a proposed upscale outlet center was still in play on their land.
Bob Sonnenblick, owner of Sonnenblick Industries in Pacific Palisades, Calif., has been touting a 350,000-square-foot center for Moore County since last fall, when he initially said it was going on land owned by the Van Camp family along Morganton Road.
After a falling out with the Van Camps, Sonnenblick targeted a portion of the Bell family land and told another media outlet last week that Miller “is going to handle all of the approvals.”
“Then we look forward to getting back involved in the project,” Sonnenblick told The Pilot on Friday.
But Miller, president and CEO of Pine Needles and Mid Pines, reiterated Friday that the Bell family has “no agreement with Mr. Sonnenblick, written or implied.”
“We’re not doing this for Mr. Sonnenblick,” Miller said. “We’re doing this for ourselves. In fact, we do not have a relationship with any developer. We’ve had calls, but have told everyone that we’re not interested in discussing specifics until the rezoning process is complete.”
Sonnenblick did not refute Miller’s assessment.
“We have no contractual agreement with the family at all, and we’ve not said recently that we do,” Sonnenblick said. “We do not have the property under contract. We’re waiting for them to get the zoning completed. That’s as clear as I can make our situation.”
Miller submitted a conceptual plan for what is currently being called the Knollwood Tract on June 25.
The plan was required as part of the Bell family’s application to rezone the undeveloped 550 acres from Planned Development-Conditional District (PD-CD) to Planned Unit Development (PUD).
Town Manager Reagan Parsons said town staff has already reviewed the application for completeness.
“The application fits with the town’s PUD text within the Unified Development Ordinance,” Parsons said. “The application has been sent to external agencies such as the school board and regional planning organizations for further review.
“The specific plan will come somewhere down the road, but the rezoning would give the developer and the town more flexibility.”
Parsons said the rezoning request will likely be considered by the Southern Pines Planning Board in August.
The land is located near the intersection of U.S. 1 and N.C. 2. It is the same tract that was the center of a major confrontation five years ago when the proposed Pine Needles Village development was defeated.
The tract is currently envisioned to include a 300- to 400-room hotel, an 18-hole golf course, up to 350,000 square feet of retail space, up to 100,000 square feet of office and commercial space, as many as 300 assisted living units, and up to 300 residential units.
In addition to the golf course, recreation areas would include walking trails, horse riding trails and golfing practice areas.
Miller has said the PUD designation would allow for flexibility in whatever decisions the family chooses to make as the plan progresses.
A group of downtown merchants have expressed an interest in having Miller conduct an economic impact study to determine how a large retail component might affect downtown retail stores.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the
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