The Town Council could vote next month on a development agreement for a new fire station and four-story office building near the Aloft Hotel and East 54.
The town and developer East West Partners are negotiating the Station at East 54 to include a roughly 11,000-square-foot, three-bay fire station and roughly 60,000 square feet of office space at the corner of Hamilton and Prestwick roads.
The fire station, expected to cost $3 million, would replace the aging Fire Station No. 2 now at that location.
The council voted to move ahead with negotiations in March and will consider approving at its June 13 meeting a development agreement and a separate business agreement that is still being written, interim Fire Chief Matt Sullivan said. The council also will have to approve rezoning the property to its development agreement-1 zoning designation.
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This would be the town’s fourth development agreement, but only the first under new state rules that allows towns to use the process for projects on less than 25 acres and with a shorter construction timeline. It gives the town more say over how the project is built, outlines developer and town responsibilities and requires annual reports.
The proposed deal gives the town’s land – appraised at $665,000 – to East West Partners. The developer, in return, would pay $1.75 million toward building the $3 million fire station.
The town also would pay up to $750,000 toward the fire station's construction and lease back the land at $1 a year for up to 500 years. The county commissioners could consider chipping in another $500,000 to move an ambulance crew from UNC's campus into the station.
Sullivan said the deal, which puts the land on the tax rolls, is good for the town, its employees and its ability to protect public safety in the future.
“It also involves the first attempt with a formal co-location with county Emergency Management Services, which I think has all sorts of benefits not only for our citizens, but for our employees and development,” he said, “and as we’re successful with this, I think it gives us an interesting way to look at how we develop our fire station facilities.”
East West Partners is courting tenants now, development director Bryson Powell said. The town’s Community Design Commission will review the design on Tuesday, May 24.
The project – a mix of masonry, glass and metal panel siding – features energy-efficient windows over nearly 100 percent of the office building and on the fire station doors. It would include other environmentally-friendly features, Powell said, although a green roof is not possible. Solar power structures might be added in the future, town staff said.
Roughly 140 parking spaces would be included in a two-level parking deck, a surface lot and along Prestwick Road, Powell said. The parking deck would stretch from under the office building to behind the fire station and have dedicated spaces for emergency workers.
Drivers would access the first parking level from Hamilton Road; access to the second parking level would be on Prestwick Road.