CARRBORO — The Board of Aldermen appeared to favor early plans for a mixed-use retail development on North Greensboro Street, although they did have concerns about the potential effect on traffic and neighbors.
Chris Bostic, an engineer with Kimley-Horne and Associates of Raleigh, told the board that developer Hart-Redd has made an effort to fit the proposed design into the towns Vision 2020 plan. The developer will meet with neighbors before drawing up a detailed proposal, possibly as early as January, he said.
Town attorney Mike Brough said the developer has not filed a formal rezoning request or land-use permit application yet. Town officials and CVS representatives met in August to discuss potential issues surrounding the site.
Bostic presented preliminary plans Tuesday night that showed a roughly 24,000-square-foot, two-story building with retail on the ground floor and offices above. The buildings exterior would be brick, similar to neighboring Carr Mill Mall, he said.
Parking would be available in the existing parking lot on Weaver Street and in a larger one planned along the length of Short Street.
Mayor Mark Chilton suggested changing the plan to eliminate Short Street and align the developments southern entrance with the Carr Mill Mall entrance across the street, creating a four-way intersection. The project would have to share an entrance with Fitch Lumber Co., and pedestrian access between the businesses would be good, too, he said.
That also would ease some concerns about traffic being rerouted through the Center Street residential area. Other concerns include leaving space for North Greensboro Street bike lanes, possible operating hours and delivery times, and lighting for the parking lots.
I think theres a concern about the shielding, particularly on the Center Street side, that it be developed in a way that maintains the neighborhood feel of those residents, Alderman Dan Coleman said. We have people who put a lot of work into homes to really keep them up as part of the historic fabric of downtown Carrboro.
Revco, a subsidiary of the CVS Caremark Corp., purchased three properties from Weaver Street Market in June near the corner of Weaver and Greensboro streets. The tracts include a small building and parking lot at 201 N. Greensboro St. (formerly community radio station WCOM and Community Realty) and a house at 104 Center St.
The purchase price for all three was roughly $1.35 million, according to county tax documents. The sale allowed Weaver Street Market to retire $1 million in debt this year.
Both the North Greensboro Street property and the adjacent parking lot are already zoned for commercial development. However, the 104 Center St. property is zoned residential, which means the town would have to approve a commercial rezoning. The height, setback and design of new buildings on the North Greensboro Street property also are restricted by the Downtown Neighborhood Protection Overlay District.
Bostic said letters of intent have been sent to property owners of three remaining parcels on the block. The development would wrap around a fourth property a mill house at 102 Center St. whose owners do not want to sell.
Peter deLeeuw, one of several owners of 102 Center St., said the private investors formed the Center Street Preservation Trust LLC to manage the property with a goal of preserving Carrboros historic character.
We could see what was brewing, that the corner lot was going to be sold for some kind of commercial enterprise, and we didnt want this house to just get torn down for some office building or something, deLeeuw said.
Weaver Street Market bought the Revco properties in 2002 to build a community-minded, mixed-use project, market General Manager Ruffin Slater wrote in a newsletter this year. Slater said zoning changes, the sour economy and what he called a lack of interest from nearby property owners made the idea unfeasible.
Tom Raynor, chief executive officer of locally owned Fleet Feet, said in a letter this week that no one from Weaver Street Market or its real estate agents indicated the property was for sale before making the deal with Revco.
Fleet Feet is eager and financially qualified to purchase the property, develop it for a community minded and mixed use project and keep local business in Carrboro, he wrote.