Development Plan Presented to Town on Knollwood Tract
A conceptual plan for what could become a major development in Southern Pines is now under the town’s review and could be ready for consideration later this summer.
Pine Needles/Mid Pines CEO Kelly Miller said that the Bell family, owners of a 550-acre tract adjacent to the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, wants to rezone the undeveloped property from Planned Development-Conditional District (PD-CD) to Planned Unit Development (PUD).
Temporarily named the Knollwood Tract, 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.
Miller said the family saw the development as “a marketing opportunity.”
“Retail is coming, and the key is how to do this,” he said. “Southern Pines is a neat, vibrant community, but 30 years ago it wasn’t. Growth helped downtown, and I would love to work with the merchants to the benefit of all. We want to do something nice that will enhance our project and the community.”
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 said that until the plan becomes more detailed, many options for the tract are possible.
“We don’t have a developer at this point,” Miller said. “If we see in three or four years that a hotel is not going to be a part of this, then it may be more residential.”
Miller recently submitted his plan to the town of Southern Pines, where it is currently under review.
“Mr. Miller and a representative presented their information about the development to the Town Coard at a work session,” said Southern Pines Town Manager Reagan Parsons. “It is currently undergoing an internal completeness review, and when this is completed it will be sent to other entities such as the school board for their consideration. If there are any questions, they will be forwarded to Mr. Miller’s representatives for comment.”
Miller said the PUD designation would allow for flexibility in whatever decisions the family chooses to make as the plan progresses.
“It was pointed out to us that Pine Needles Village did not have a long range, master plan,” Miller said. “We agreed, and came back with a mixed-use concept that can be altered as we move ahead. The current plan is less residential, and I thought Pine Needles Village was a good plan, but I would really like to see golf attached to the Knollwood Tract.
“I feel that with our long range plan attached, this is a wonderful project.”
Miller said a neighborhood meeting was held about the development.
“For those who want nothing done to the property, I guess there can be no dialogue, but if you have thoughts about how this can be made better, then I’m willing to listen,” he said. “It’s pretty opinionated to say that this will ruin downtown. Did Walmart or Kohl’s ruin downtown? Using that argument, I guess you can say anything.”
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 retails stores.
“We don’t have anything to hide,” Miller said. “The challenge is in making sure everyone knows what what this is.”
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or email@example.com.
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