CARRBORO Residents can learn more about a new shopping center, apartments and townhomes planned for the Lloyd Farm property across from Carrboro Plaza at 7 p.m. Wednesday night in Carrboro Town Hall.
Argus Development Group and its planner, The Design Response, want to build a $90 million to $100 million project that includes a Harris Teeter supermarket, 15 townhomes and a four-story apartment building wrapped around a parking deck.
The project preserves 30 percent of the 40-acre site, or 12 acres, as green space and would manage stormwater with ponds and pipes that hold, slow and filter runoff. Motorists would get in an out via Old Fayetteville Road and N.C. 54. A paved greenway would run east to west across the entire site.
“It’s very unique,” Jack Smyre of The Design Response said Monday. “When you look at (the site plan), that’s what a lot of people say: ‘It’s a lot of green.’ It’s a beauty.”
The plan has been through four rounds of staff review since developers filed for the required rezoning and conditional use permit last year. The developers expect the project to return to the town’s advisory boards for a final review this fall before reaching a public hearing with the Board of Aldermen, possibly in January. If all goes as they hope, Smyre said they could break ground in 2016.
Some town residents remain unhappy with the project, which they see as out of character with the surrounding Plantation Acres neighborhood.
“It looks like a conventional strip mall with heavily paved areas,” Lorraine Aragon said Monday.
Neighbors recognize the need for commercial development, she said. But the property, with cows grazing on pasture, stands of 100-year-old hardwoods and ponds, has been a a special place for many Carrboro residents.
“The Lloyd Farm property is a beautiful environment, a beautiful park-like piece of property,” she said. “To pave over 50 percent of the property will change the character of the neighborhood drastically.”
Others worry about the number of apartments or say they had hoped to see more retail, instead of residential, activity on the site to improve the tax base.
But Smyre said the town’s advisory boards encouraged intense, mixed-use development in order to enhance its vitality. The apartment building alone will likely cost $50 million, generating more tax revenue than the retail use previously considered for that spot, he said, and the restaurants will attract residents living in and outside the site.
Most of the 293 apartments, 209, will be one-bedroom and studio units, with the remaining 84 two-bedroom units. They will be aimed at Baby Boomers and Generation Y, or Millennials, entering the workforce. Their small size would probably mean few families with school-age children, he said.
Carrboro has a goal of making 15 percent of new housing units affordable. In this case, the developers have offered a $1.1 million payment in lieu of affordable units that town planner Marty Roupe said meets the guideline.
Roupe also confirmed that the Lloyd Farm project meets the town’s open-space requirement of preserving at least 40 percent of residential parcels. The green space on the apartments and townhomes parcels meets or exceeds 40 percent, in addition to the overall project leaving 30 percent of the property undeveloped.
“I think they did a pretty good job of preserving lots of green space,” he said. “I think that’s a pretty fair judgment.”