Local News

I-540 Speeds Growth in Knightdale

Posted June 19, 2007 5:56 p.m. EDT
Updated November 6, 2008 3:28 p.m. EST

— Growth has accelerated in Knightdale since the newest leg of Interstate 540 opened earlier this year, with new buildings overlooking newer buildings throughout the town.

Commercial building permits have nearly quadrupled in the last two years, from 38 to 121, while permits for new homes have nearly doubled, Knightdale Planning Director Mike Frangos said.

"The market has followed the opening of the highway, and it has opened eastern Wake County," Frangos said. "Knightdale is now the doorway to eastern Wake. You have to pass through us in order to get anywhere else east, and we want to capitalize on that."

I-540 now runs from Interstate 40 near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport to U.S. Highway 64 Bypass in Knightdale.

The two biggest commercial developments in town history are on the way on either side of I-540. Mid Town Commons will feature stores like Best Buy, Old Navy and Pier One, and Legacy Oaks will boast its own medical center.

Even Knightdale's historic downtown is booming.

"With the new 540 and everything, people still come right down Smithfield Road, take that right, and (come to) all of the businesses down here. Everybody you talk to, business is just great," merchant Donna Garner said.

But some longtime residents, like Ava Straughn, said they prefer the old days, when Knightdale was a crossroads community.

"It's so heartbreaking. We don't have any good neighbors anymore," said Straughn, who has lived in Knightdale since 1930.

Town officials said they feel for residents like Straughn, but Knightdale's future is riding on the highway.