Wegmans supermarket to anchor Cary's version of North Hills

Posted April 24, 2017 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated April 25, 2017 6:05 p.m. EDT

— A South Carolina-based developer on Monday submitted plans to Cary officials to transform 92 acres near Cary Towne Center to a North Hills-style mix of shops, apartments, hotels and offices.

The project, currently dubbed East Cary Gateway, would fill one of the last undeveloped sites in Cary, at the intersection of Trinity Road and Cary Towne Boulevard, between WakeMed Soccer Park and Cary Towne Center, which is undergoing its own redevelopment.

"This area has traditionally been more suburban in nature, and what we’ll provide is a more urban environment," said Abbitt Goodwin, a partner in Columbia Development.

Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and other Cary officials said they don't want the project to become a collection of big-box stores and parking decks.

"We will be carefully considering this rezoning request to make sure that what is a proposed will inspire and support high-end office and retail," Town Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson said.

Columbia Development took those concerns to heart during the planning process, Goodwin said.

"We went around the country and looked at the top 20 mixed-use destinations," he said, noting North Hills was on that list. "We picked elements from each one that we liked and tried to incorporate them into this project."

Renderings show a village-type development with two main streets and office space and apartments atop ground-floor retail in numerous buildings. The project would include two eight-story office buildings and two hotels and would be anchored by a Wegmans supermarket. The New York-based chain, which has consistently ranked among the top nationwide for customer satisfaction, also has plans for stores in Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

"The highway’s pretty easy to get to and from, so hopefully the traffic wouldn’t get too bad," Cary resident Jennifer Craig said of nearby Interstate 40.

Cary resident Tamara Jones said she wants a fresh influx of development.

"I’ve been here since '78, and I don’t want to see, it was Cary Village Mall then Cary Towne Center, and I don’t want to see it go away," Jones said.

Town planners said they expect the approval process, which includes reviews by Cary staff and public input before the Town Council makes a final decision, to last about 10 months.