Planned Glenwood Avenue project sparks traffic concerns
Posted December 10, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A plan to turn a group of office buildings along Glenwood Avenue into a mixed-use community is drawing mixed opinions across Raleigh.
Grubb Ventures wants to transform 40 acres just inside Interstate 440 from what developers call a 1970s-style office park into a mix of upscale restaurants, luxury retail shops, apartments and a hotel.
Grubb is expected to submit a rezoning application to Raleigh officials next week, and the developer hopes to start rebuilding by 2016.
Critics already are pointing to traffic congestion in the area, saying adding more retail down the street from Crabtree Valley Mall would only make the situation worse.
"There's a lot of traffic. It's tough to get anywhere," Raleigh resident Ken Parker said.
"Going through all these traffic lights at Crabtree, it's pretty bad," resident Ralph King said.
Resident John Williamson predicted "nightmarish" traffic if the site is redeveloped, but he conceded the plan would be an economic boon to the city.
"If it would bring jobs and raise property values and help the businesses already here, I think that it might be annoying, but I think it might be worth it," Williamson said.
The Raleigh City Council must ultimately approve the rezoning for the project to move forward, and some members have already said they see major hurdles with the traffic issue.
Grubb Ventures President Gordon Grubb said the firm has conducted a traffic study and is willing to pump $2 million into adding extra lanes and stoplights along Glenwood Avenue.
He added, however, that he believes his vision for the site could actually ease traffic congestion in the area.
"Frankly, we think to develop 2 million feet of office (space) would create a bigger hassle than mixed uses," he said.
Apex resident Melissa Naske said handling congestion could simply be a matter of creativity.
"They probably just need to do a little more with widening that road," Naske said. "It's always good to have new things in the area and draw new people here."