DURHAM — When Southpoint Mall is built in Durham, shoppers will come, but two developers have proposed some new projects on top of what is already in the works.
Opponents fought the Southpoint project because they thought it would bring unchecked sprawl, and even more traffic to the busy Interstate 40 corridor. Just like they feared, the new Durham mall has become the catalyst for more development.
Crews are already clearing the way for the 1.3 million square foot Southpoint Mall, but residents are bracing for another battle over two new proposals in south Durham.
The company that's building Southpoint has its eye on 52 acres off Fayetteville Road, just across from the mall. Plans include a hotel, apartments, and retail space.
Across I-40, at Highway 751, a Texas developer wants to build a hotel, offices and 1,400 apartments.
Pat Bocckino, spokeswoman for Citizens Against Sprawl, opposes the developers' plans, and says it was just a matter of time before the sprawling mall project attracted more growth.
"What they are proposing for this area of Durham is obscene," Bocckino said. "It's the bombardment of south Durham. It will be traffic, it will be congestion, and it will be the loss of open space."
County planners say they will take a hard look at traffic congestion, and the environmental impact of the projects. They are already studying traffic patterns around Southpoint.
The two new proposals are so big, the county will conduct traffic studies for each of them.
"That will absolutely come in for a lot of attention and detailed traffic analyses will be submitted on both sides," said Dick Hails, planning manager. "Different on- and off-site road improvements will be considered.
There will be public hearings on the two new projects, but they probably will not be held for another six months.
Residents of south Durham say they will be there every step of the way, fighting for projects they think are more appropriate for this area.