A proposed shopping center along Knightdale Boulevard that first came before the Town Council almost 10 years ago hit another snag Wednesday, March 16.
The developer of Village Park Commons, Widewaters SE Real Estate Investors, has decided that its plan is not economically feasible as originally envisioned, as a big-box-store-anchored shopping center, and that it wants to add multifamily residential on part of the acreage.
The development, located between Widewaters Parkway and Parkside Commons Drive, would still incorporate retail along Knightdale Boulevard, with the residential development behind it.
Widewaters’ attorney, Mike King of K&L Gates, said his client had been in discussions to possibly bring a movie theater and hotel to the development, as well as upscale restaurants.
The Town Council had approved a conditional district rezoning for the plan in 2006, including 29 exceptions, which was to have expired March 19 without action from the Town Council.
Widewaters was applying for an extension to keep the rezoning in place for another year, but the council voted unanimously to deny the extension. Councilor Dustin Tripp was absent.
After King had taken questions from the council on the project for about 15 minutes at Wednesday’s meeting, Widewaters Director of Development Brian Long took the microphone himself to urge the council to pass the extension, saying he didn’t know if he could keep potential commercial tenants interested if delays occur.
“Time kills deals,” Long said. “Hopefully we can move in an expedient fashion, but I can’t tell the future.”
Councilor Pete Mangum expressed concern over the 29 exceptions from almost 10 years ago that the developer wanted to carry over.
“I just think that for that significant a change being made, we just need to go through the full process,” Mangum said. “There are plenty of good things about this project, but to short-circuit that process because of the changes that you’re making, I’m not supportive of that.”
The property in question is 52.8 acres south of Knightdale Boulevard. The original plan called for 430,650 square feet of retail and commercial development. An August 2006 lawsuit over the rezoning stalled development for several years, according to the town.
In 2010, Long told the town he was trying to bring the plan back to life. No building permits were ever obtained for the project.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826