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Raleigh City Council Approves 5/401 Development

Members of the Raleigh City Council approved major changes Tuesday, which could create potential growth concerns.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday approved a 260-acre development project that is widely expected to bring major changes, and possibly growth concerns, to the area where a soon-to-open I-540 section and U.S. Highway 401 cross.

The proposal includes more than 1,100 homes, apartments, condos, offices, shops, restaurants, a park and a hotel. The developer plans 1.6 million square feet of floor space.

The council's approval requires Commercial Properties Development, the project's developer, to make some road improvements.

Mack Paul,  an attorney representing Commercial Properties Development of Baton Rouge, La., admitted when the city planning commission reviewed the proposal Jan. 2 that traffic will increase in the busy northeast section of the city, but added that the proposed mixed-use development will ease the impact.

"People will walk, people will use their cars less than they would otherwise," Paul said. "So, in comparing ours to the type of development that could occur under the existing zoning, our plan could actually have a positive improvement on this corridor."

Transportation planners say traffic is heavy and getting worse along Highway 401 through Northeast Raleigh. In five years, the average rush-hour speeds could slow to 9 mph, according to a study that was done before the I-5/401 proposal.

The newest section of I-540 from Capital Boulevard to U.S. Highway 64 in Knightdale is scheduled to open next Tuesday.

Commercial Properties is also backing a proposed commercial development at Capital Boulevard and I-540.

The 5/401 project should be complete in 2012.

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