Local News

Wake Forest Considers Regional Shopping Center

Posted December 21, 2007 12:00 a.m. EST

— Wake Forest town leaders hope that a new shopping center could become a regional hub, but some homeowners object to the large development going up behind their backyards.

Developers plan to build the town's biggest shopping center on the 68-acre site of a former automotive parts supplier. Behind the proposed site lies St. Ives, a subdivision homeowners say is a genuine community.

"It's real quiet. It's a small neighborhood," resident Maury Taylor said. "Everyone knows everyone else. We're real tight."

The neighborhood, however, is divided on the possibility of a regional shopping hub moving in near them. Taylor said residents' concerns center on the potential impact of such a large development.

"I think the thought of the unknown is the greatest concern for homeowners," Taylor said.

The project would locate one large department store – such as JC Penny's or Belk's – to anchor other smaller stores on Wake Union Church Road, near the intersection of Capital Boulevard and N.C. Highway 98. Parker Hannifin closed its manufacturing plant on the site five years ago.

Preliminary plans show that Wake Union Place would come very close to St. Ives.

"Fifty feet, yeah. ... There's a 50-foot buffer between the neighborhood lot line and the development," Taylor said.

Many residents expressed worries that shoppers drawn from throughout the region would follow Capital Boulevard into their neighborhood. Others said they fear the increased traffic and noise would drive down property values.

"(For) a lot of us, our homes are our biggest investments," resident Anna Faatiliga said. "And especially in today's economy, the housing market, anything that could adversely affect that is concerning."

Other homeowners said having a shopping center behind their houses beats a rundown industrial site.

"My personal opinion is that it will increase the property values, because it's an upgrade from where we are," Taylor said.

Town planners will submit the project proposal in January, and town commissioners are expected to vote on it during the spring.