New project proposed for Chapel Hill’s Edge

03/04/2014 12:00 AM

03/02/2014 3:49 PM

A Durham developer submitted a new application Friday for the Edge, a 53.8-acre, high-density residential and commercial project on Eubanks Road, along the town’s northern border.

Developer Northwood Ravin will hold an hourlong public information meeting March 18 at the Chapel Hill Public Library. The land is north of Eubanks Road, across from the Northwoods subdivision, between the town’s park-and-ride lot and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

It is zoned for a mix of uses and is mostly wooded, with a few houses. This is the fourth proposal for the Edge, and it addresses public comments from a 2011 concept plan, the developers say in their application. They are asking for 18 to 24 new buildings, up to five stories, or 44 feet, along Eubanks Road and seven stories, or 90 feet, in the property’s core. There’s a potential for up to seven drive-thrus, documents state.

The final mix of housing, commercial and office space would depend on who the tenants are, officials said. The developers envision up to several hundred market-rate, senior and affordable apartments, plus restaurants, stores, a hotel and offices. The project’s modern, cohesive “look” would rely on common materials and colors, but the final design would reflect the tenants, officials said.

The plan also could include different outdoor spaces – a minimum of roughly 34,000 is required – including two bike and pedestrian paths. Stormwater ponds could be incorporated into streams on the eastern and northwestern ends of the project.

Having a large enough sign to be visible from MLK Boulevard is critical, the developers say. An artistic sign could identify the Edge and its businesses, while serving as a gateway to Chapel Hill, they said.

The developer wants the Town Council to approve the project’s overall design, leaving minor details to a staff compliance review as different parts of the project are designed and built. Flexibility in how things are built makes it easier to meet changes in market and tenant demands, they said.

The town and N.C. Department of Transportation officials also have identified several road improvements: a wider Eubanks Road, new bike lanes, more turn lanes at the MLK-Eubanks intersection, and new traffic signals at the park-and-ride lot and at Northwood Drive and Eubanks Road.

Northwood Ravin’s vice president of development, Adam Golden, has requested the town’s help in paying for up to $3.5 million for the road projects. Without the help, the project might not happen, he said.

The area has been one of the town’s future development areas since a 2007 task force report, the developers note. One lot is in the town limits, while the rest are in the joint planning area with Orange County and would be voluntarily annexed. Utilities are available, the application states.

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