Council OKs 5401 North development

The project combines residential, retail and commercial development at U.S. 401 and Interstate 540. Construction is expected to start next month

Staff WriterJanuary 10, 2007 

  • Some told the City Council on Tuesday night that the city's tree conservation ordinance is a burden and saves the wrong trees. Other said it needs to be strengthened to protect more.

    The council agreed to address the ordinance at its Jan. 23 meeting.

    The council approved the controversial ordinance two years ago. It protects trees on lots two acres or larger that are either undeveloped or in the process of being developed. It protects 10 percent of trees on a tract in most zoning districts. Developers are allowed to remove the rest.

— The City Council unanimously approved plans Tuesday for 5401 North, the major development planned just north of Interstate 540 and U.S. 401.

The project will combine more than 1,100 houses, condominiums and apartments, and 1.6 million square feet of space for offices, shops, restaurants and hotels.

Wake County schools plan to build an elementary school, scheduled to open in fall 2008, on the site. The project's Louisiana-based developer also has set aside 15 acres for a park and has offered to help the city build meeting space for the area.

Construction for the school and infrastructure is expected to start next month.

Council members praised the project because it mixes housing, office space and shops and sits near existing infrastructure -- the interchange of I-540 and U.S. 401. The newest stretch of I-540, running east of Triangle Town Center, including the interchange with U.S. 401, is slated to open this month.

"It meets so many of our goals," said council member Russ Stephenson.

In other action, the council:

* Approved a seven-story building with 7,300 square feet of restaurants and shops; 208 condominiums; and a six-level parking garage for the northwest corner of Hargett and Dawson streets. The project, with the working name of The Nash, will have a contemporary design, with yellow and blue on the exterior.

Trammell Crow Residential and York Ventures are working together on the project. Construction could start this summer.

* Put off a vote on roundabouts for Hillsborough Street for at least another two weeks.

Questions persisted among members about how well roundabouts would manage vehicle and foot traffic.

But Mayor Charles Meeker said he is still searching for a fifth vote needed for passage, and he suggested the council take extra time. Council members Thomas Crowder, James West and Stephenson have backed roundabouts along with Meeker.

* Agreed to hold a public hearing in March on whether to free developers from parking space requirements on new downtown projects.

(Staff writer Josh Shaffer contributed to this report.)

Staff writer Sarah Lindenfeld Hall can be reached at 829-8983 or slindenf@newsobserver.com.

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