Local Politics

Cary Couple Fights Corporation Over Land Sale, Zoning

Posted January 10, 2008

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— A Cary couple's plan to sell their land to finance their retirement has met with stiff opposition from a corporation that neighbors their property.

Tommy and Nancy King want to sell their property at the corner of Richard Drive and Harrison Avenue and use the profits to move into a retirement living community.

The couple said they first offered the land three years ago to Jim Goodnight, the founder of SAS, which has its main campus along Harrison Avenue.

"We just thought it was a simple matter of contacting Dr. Goodnight, and he would probably want it," Nancy King said. "We thought he had the best use for it."

SAS, though, passed on the offer, and the Kings made a deal to sell the property to the Soleil Group for $475,000 an acre. Soleil planned to build a mix of residential and retail properties – including an eight-story hotel – on the property.

However, during the late stages of the approval process, SAS filed with the town of Cary to block the development and submitted an alternative plan.

"We were so excited, and then just shocked out of our wits when SAS protested," Nancy King said. "He (Goodnight) said, 'Sell to whomever you please,' and we thought we had his blessings."

SAS representatives said the computer-software company wants the land next to its campus to be developed in line with its vision for the area. That vision does not include a large residential-retail mix, company officials said.

"The most important thing to realize is that we don't oppose the sale of land. We oppose the rezoning of the land," Dave Thomas, with SAS, said.

SAS' proposal for the land includes several office buildings and a school.

"We just want to make sure that what happens with that land is the best use for the land," Thomas said.

Both plans are before the Cary Town Council, which does not expect to issue any decisions before April. Two council members are SAS employees and will recuse themselves from a vote on the issue.

The Kings said they are willing to put their dreams on hold and try to work out a compromise.

"No, (it's) not a nightmare, but  we're hoping it can be really compatible for everybody," Nancy King said. "As I said before, two great plans. Let's integrate them. Let's let everybody win."


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  • Cary Parker Jan 12, 2008

    Fuquay Resident,
    Just as in the Soleil plan, these kinds of sketch plans don't require that the land be already purchased. The biggest difference between the two plans is that the Soleil plan requires a rezoning (in addition land acquisition) whereas the SAS plan requires land acquisition only. Additionally, at the Jan 10 Cary Town Meeting, SAS indicated that they would bring to the town a new plan on Jan 11 which included only the parcels they already own. The town would have little recourse except to approve development on land already owned by SAS that met current zoning requirements. The likely result is that the competing Soleil plan would have to be scaled back dramatically or scrapped all together.

  • Fuquay Resident Jan 12, 2008

    Cary Parker, I looked at both land use plans. I think both look pretty good. I don't understand how SAS can develop a plan to use land that it doesn't own. Are they expecting someone else to purchase the land and fulfill the plans that SAS has in mind. That's an interesting concept.

  • ncguy Jan 12, 2008

    One more thing- Dave thomas is a puppet - why can't Jim Goodnight speak forhimself??? Another reason to question his charector-

    It's pretty clear they don't want a Hotel competing against theirs- It has nothing to do with anything else they say.

  • ncguy Jan 12, 2008

    It's going to be interesting how this plays out- stay tuned!

    I just hope that the Mayor stays out of this one he has way to big of conflict of interest! Mr Goodnight is his boss...

  • wap424 Jan 11, 2008

    I believe there is more information about this than has been reported. But again truth and facts never make a good news story. It is sad to see such an outstanding company and good people criticized for what they have achieved and what they do for the community.

    Citizens have a right to ask for responsible development. Why do you think the mayor was voted out of office.

    Soleil So-long Stay in Crabtree where you can pour as much concrete as you like and put your iconic mark on Raleigh.

    I do hope the Kings can find a buyer for their property that will have a reasonable development proposal.

  • gottabenc Jan 11, 2008

    Yes, let's keep building and pouring cement over the land. And we will keep asking China to export food over to the US since we won't have any land to farm on anymore. Guess what, they don't make any more land. When we run out of farmland, we ask our foreign markets to feed us.

  • ibuild4u8 Jan 11, 2008

    It is interesting that the realestate broker representing the Kings, Mr Steve Stroud is the chairman of the Trust Atlantic Bank and Sonjay Mundra, the owner of the soleil group and proposed buyer, is on the bank board with Mr. Stroud. How long are they going to string the Kings out when they need the money for retirement. They can buy the land and build on it now with out going to the town or SAS. The property is zoned O&I and you cannot take that away. The buyer should work with the town like any other developer that wants a variance - Buy the land from these people or quit tying it up. Who is poo pooing on who. I don't think it is SAS and I really do not want to see 2 eight story buildings a third 3 story building and multi level parking deck on a 4 acre site. What do people want this earth to look like.

  • Carolina MeerKat Jan 11, 2008

    Nancy - I never said Goodnight can do as he pleases. Making exaggerations like that does not further your argument.

    But fact is, he can do a lot with his resources - and he HAS done a lot of good in Cary, Wake County, and the state.

    He has as much right and responsibility as any citizen to speak out against rezoning that he finds offensive to him.

    Yet most people on this board think that the Kings should just walk away, having dictated the terms of the development without consideration of those around them. Baloney.

    BTW - I make no apologies for having a paycheck from SAS. :-) I am not any less entitled to an opinion because of it.

  • gottabenc Jan 11, 2008

    jrf1957..why does Jim Goodnight have to much? He has earned every cent he has made and given a LOT back to the community, he just doesn't brag about it like all the rest do. It's too bad you and all the rest of these folks don't know the Goodnight's better. As smart as Jim is, there was a good reason why he didn't buy. Just because he is a billionaire doesn't mean he has to write a check for what someone thinks he should.

    Goodnight ROCKS in my book !!

  • ibuild4u8 Jan 11, 2008

    If I do the math 12.5 million dollars for trafic improvements plus the land cost makes the King property cost $3 million per acre. No wonder Goodnight would not buy.
    Just math