Real Deals

Big, really big, goings on in Apex

Staff WriterJune 4, 2009 

Plans for a massive, eco-friendly mixed-use development are taking form in Apex -- so massive that they're in danger of jamming inboxes and fax machines across the region. Or so town officials say.

An announcement may come as early as today from developer Tom Hendrickson, who has been snapping up land west of N.C. 55 and south of U.S. 1 in this booming section of western Wake County for the better part of two years.

He has been mum about the project. But hints have already been leaking out.

It started Wednesday with an ominous e-mail message advising of a Town Hall news conference scheduled for 3 p.m. today, hosted by Mayor Keith Weatherly and "developers," to discuss a "major economic development announcement" and "a major sustainable, mixed-use, urban development."

Yes, this is still Apex we're talking about. And in this economic climate, it had better be sustainable.

More details emerged throughout the day from people who have seen the plans.

The project, tentatively called Veridea, is expected to include more than 700 acres of offices, shops and residences with a healthy dose of green design. And, word is, a financier may be ready to sign a blessing.

Homes, offices and shops

Hendrickson has already spent at least $50 million on land and has more under contract. Much of it is part of the so-called Trinity plan, which was assembled and zoned to include as many as 4,000 homes, 500,000 square feet of offices and 2.2 million square feet of commercial space, including shops and a hotel.

Hendrickson has made a rezoning request. Town officials, however, were reluctant to -- or incapable of -- sharing.

When pressed, Apex Town Manager Bruce Radford offered: "I would tell you that it is extremely extensive."

How extensive?

So extensive that it's expected to test the town's planning staff and town officials. "The codes that the town will have to look at in order to have to be able to gain approval for this will be something the council will have to take measure of," Radford said.

So extensive that "we're talking about something that has billions of dollars worth of value," he added.

So extensive that town planners were worried that a digital copy of Hendrickson's rezoning request was so big that it wouldn't make it through e-mail.

So extensive that Radford refused to send a 90-page plan that the developers submitted to the town.

"It's larger than I choose to fax," he said.

Must be some project.

Stay tuned.

jack.hagel@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8917

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