Real Deals

Real Deals: More apartments planned for Wake Forest's Heritage

dbracken@newsobserver.comOctober 31, 2012 

For all the success that the residential community Heritage in Wake Forest has had in recent years, there’s one thing that has remained scarce inside the development: apartments.

Heritage has only one apartment complex, Bexley at Heritage, but that will soon change. Two new projects are expected to break ground in the coming months that will place more than 500 units inside the sprawling community.

“We always identified four areas that were good spots for them, and this was three of the four,” said Andy Ammons, Heritage’s developer.

Plenty of developers have contacted Ammons about building apartments in Heritage, but he said a lot of them proposed lower-end projects that didn’t fit with the single-family homes being built. He said the reason more apartments haven’t been built in Heritage to date is because of the community’s close proximity to Wakefield, where there are more than a thousand units.

“With Raleigh you had better zoning categories and you get more density over there,” Ammons said. “We had to kind of wait on Wakefield to fill up, and they’re just about filled up.”

Capital Creek, one of the new projects, is being developed by Atlanta-based TWO Capital Partners. The 315-unit complex is to be built on 26 acres next to Heritage Middle School. Ammons said he expects TWO Capital Partners to close on the land in February and possibly open as early as the fall of next year.

The developer behind the second project, Greensboro-based Certus Properties, closed on its land last week, paying $1.74 million for a 17-acre parcel. Certus plans to build a 260-unit apartment complex called Heritage Gardens that is scheduled to open late next year.

It will be the company’s first project in the Triangle.

“There are great schools and entertainment options nearby, convenient access to employers throughout the Triangle, and to put it simply, a very high overall quality of life in Wake Forest,” said Certus principal Brantley White in an email.

Northeast Wake County has been among the best performing apartment markets in the Triangle, according to data from Karnes Research and the Triangle Apartment Association.

The vacancy rate for the area was 4.9 percent in September, down from 7.6 percent a year ago. And rent growth in Wake County over that same period was 4.6 percent, outpacing all other counties and the Triangle as a whole.

Still, even in a place as desirable as Heritage there are concerns about the explosion in new apartment construction. There are now 678 apartment units under construction in northeast Wake, and another 1,945 are proposed.

“Overbuilding is a concern,” White said, “but we feel that our location and the quality of our finished product will allow Heritage Gardens to succeed even in the event of excess supply in the overall market.”

The 228 units at Bexley were 98 percent leased as of September. The complex has surely benefited from the sheer number of new homes being constructed in Heritage in recent years.

The development is consistently ranked as the Triangle’s top selling community. Heritage recorded 98 closings in the third quarter, or more than double the amount of the next closest development, Triangle Multiple Listing Services data show.

Many of the people moving into Heritage’s new homes arrive before the homes are complete, meaning they need a short-term rental in the same area where their children plan to attend school.

“There’s a lot of that,” Ammons said.

As for the fourth and final apartment project in Heritage, that’s planned for land at the corner of Rogers and Forestville roads.

“There’s a lot of interest in that now,” Ammons said.

Bracken: 919-829-4548

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