“We would like to open a store at the intersection of Davis Drive and Airport Boulevard in Cary, N.C., and have signed a letter of intent,” Wegmans spokeswoman Jo Natale said in an email.
The confirmation comes nearly 10 months after the popular grocery store chain announced it wanted to bring its first North Carolina store to a 90-acre site across from Cary Towne Center in the town’s eastern gateway.
It would be the fourth Triangle site. Last week, the New York-based grocer announced it would open a 120,000-square foot store in Raleigh on Wake Forest Road between Six Forks Road and Interstate 440. Meanwhile, the Chapel Hill Town Council and Orange County Commissioners agreed to move ahead with a $4 million incentive for a store that would replace the 14-acre Performance AutoMall dealership on U.S. 15-501.
Natale said Wegmans also is considering other sites in the Raleigh/Durham market but she was unable to share the locations.
Plans filed with the town in October show the Twin Lakes Center would be built on about 34 acres between Davis Drive and the Twin Lakes subdivision. The entire project would run alongside Hatches Pond.
McAdams Company, an engineering design company based in Durham, is listed as the project engineer. Leyland Twin Lakes LLC, a subsidiary of Leyland Allaince, a New York-based real estate development company, is listed as the property owner.
Natale said the Wegmans is working through lease negotiations with Leyland Twin Lakes LLC and hopes to reach a final agreement by the end of the year.
“We are very pleased that Wegmans has selected this location,” said Jason Hess, a partner with Leyland Twin Lakes LLC. “We believe them to be the top grocer in the United States, and we are excited to bring them to west Cary.”
Hess said the Twin Lakes project would be submitted in two phases. The first phase, which would be on about 22 acres, would contain a 130,000-square-foot Wegmans, as well as 43,000 square feet of additional retail, office and restaurant space.
Hess said the second phase has yet to be determined but would likely have a residential component. He said there is no timeline on when construction could begin for either phase.
Although Wegmans wouldn’t confirm the location when preliminary plans were submitted this summer, the plans named Wegmans as the proposed grocer, giving town officials hope that a second location could come to the area.
“We’re excited they’re coming and that they’re moving forward with their plans,” Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said Wednesday. “We think they’re a great fit in Cary. We have the perfect demographics for their chain and look forward to them being a corporate citizen.”
Debra Grannan, a senior planner with the town, said town staff now will review the plan, send comments to the applicant and then review it again.
“It’s not uncommon for a large development project to go through three or more review cycles before it is ready for administrative approval, or – if a quasi-judicial public hearing is required – ready for Town Council review,” she said in an email.
Wegmans, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., has a fervent fan base. Its 89 grocery stores – scattered throughout New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts – boast a “European open-air market feel.” Stores feature a pharmacy, ready-made meals, a pizza shop and a coffee shop, as well as groceries.
In January, the company announced it had signed a letter of intent with South Carolina-based developer Columbia Development Group to bring a Wegmans to a site just north of Cary Towne Center.
Columbia Development Group has contracted to buy the land from the state for $21.15 million to build a mixed-use development with residential, retail and office space. The Cary Town Council would have to approve rezoning the property before the project could move forward, but the developer has yet to submit a rezoning application to the town.
The proposed Wegmans stores would join a growing number of grocers in the area.
Publix, another popular chain that began its North Carolina presence in the Triangle, already has two sites in Cary – in the Bradford shopping center in west Cary and at Millpond Village in a former Lowes Foods building on Kildaire Farm Road. A third is set for a new shopping center, known as Amberly Village, that was approved in May for the northwest corner of the intersection of Carpenter Fire Station and Green Level Church roads.