Raleigh, N.C. — A bankruptcy court judge on Wednesday approved William Peace University's $20 million bid to purchase the neighboring Seaboard Station retail center.
The owners of Seaboard Station, which is off Halifax Street north of downtown Raleigh, filed for bankruptcy last year, and Peace officials have eyed the center for months as a way to generate revenue and expand.
Community groups and some retailers have expressed concern about the move, fearing Peace would replace shops with dormitories, parking garages and athletic fields.
“We don’t feel that a university’s long-term goals for expansion are necessarily the same of a popular retail shopping center like Seaboard Station,” Philip Bernard, a community advocate, said in June.
School President Debra Townsley told the Raleigh City Council in April that nearby retail is an amenity that the university uses to attract students, so changing the nature of Seaboard Station wasn't planned.
William Peace officials issued a statement Wednesday saying that the sale isn't final with the bankruptcy court's decision and that, if the university completes the deals, it plans to work with the community to enhance Seaboard Station's value.
"We are committed to our neighbors and want the area to be the best place to live, work and go to school," the statement said.
Antwan Marcel, owner of Sola Salons, said he hopes William Peace will expand Seaboard Station over time.
"The parking is pretty tight will all of the new businesses here," Marcel said. "It would be good to have more parking and just not have it so cluttered."