Local News

Fayetteville Development Flows Toward Cape Fear River

Posted May 1, 2007 6:03 p.m. EDT
Updated May 1, 2007 10:01 p.m. EDT

— The Cape Fear River is becoming more popular for development, with a local park proposed on one bank and residential and retail projects under construction on the other.

Fayetteville owes its existence to the river, but area residents now mostly view it from highway bridges.

The city hopes to change that, acquiring a 20-acre plot between Grove and Person streets for a park where people can have picnics and fish. Officials are still trying to secure funding for the project.

Residential development along the Cape Fear River has been hindered in the past by flood-prone areas and steep river bluffs. But that isn't deterring the developers of RiverBluff, a $40 million project going up on the east side of the river about five minutes from downtown.

"We have planned 90 condominiums, which will all face the river," said Mark Stout, a partner in the project. "We also have 75 residential living units that are single-family homes."

Menno Pennink, a partner in RiverBluff, said he's casting his hopes on the river after years of working for downtown development.

"It's about time to do that. I think people will love it. Just look at the ambiance that you have," Pennink said.

Sol Rose recently opened Lord's Mill Restaurant on Person Street, where he dishes up river lore. Rose, 81, said he had loved the Cape Fear River since he fished in it as a boy.

The restaurant floor is crafted with wood pulled from the bottom of the river, and the old Person Street Bridge rail serves as the bar.

"The whole object is to have people learn about the Cape Fear River," Rose said. "I've always said that, if Charlotte had this river, there's no telling what they would have done with it."