Brier Creek is in a growth spurt.
The northwest Raleigh area is adding new apartments, office space and a shopping center anchored by a Harris Teeter grocery store.
Raleigh has been targeting growth at Brier Creek for decades, and developers have been eager to take advantage of the the area’s proximity to Durham County, the Research Triangle Park and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Now developers say the area is ideal for people who want to live and work in a suburban setting that features stores, restaurants and nightlife. Brier Creek is about 7.5 miles from downtown Raleigh and 15 miles from downtown Durham.
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Construction began last year on The Corners at Brier Creek, a mixed-use development at the northwest corner of T.W. Alexander Drive and Glenwood Avenue, across the street from a Residence Inn and a Courtyard by Marriott hotel. The first phase is expected to be finished in 2017, but it’s unclear when Harris Teeter will open or what the other tenants will be.
The property is across from the WakeMed Brier Creek Healthplex, which opened in 2012 and offers outpatient services, and less than four miles away from a Lowes Foods, Food Lion, Walmart Supercenter and organic supermarket Earth Fare.
Less than two miles away, construction is also underway on a four-story office building, called Legacy at Brier Creek, at the southeast corner of T.W. Alexander Drive and Brier Creek Parkway. Developed by Baltimore-based real estate firm Heritage Properties, the 115,000-square-foot space is set to be finished in July.
“We looked at the area and really liked the population of the surrounding area, the size of the lot and the apartments, retail and food options nearby,” said Ryan Blair, vice president of development and acquisitions at Heritage. “We’ve seen a major pickup in the (Triangle) over the last two years. This area’s expanding faster than other regions in the country.”
On the southwest corner of Brier Creek Parkway and T.W. Alexander, across the street from Legacy, Raleigh-based real estate company Oliver Development plans to open a senior-living facility in 2018.The company has independent-living communities in Apex and Wilmington and an assisted-living facility in Roxboro.
Carolina Arbors by Del Webb, a popular active-adult community that opened three years ago, is less than two miles north.
Greensboro-based Signature Property Group wants to build a 224-unit, four-story apartment complex at 10701 Globe Road in Brier Creek. It was approved on Nov. 8, and after the appeal period ends on Dec. 8, the company can move forward to obtain infrastructure permits for the property, said Justin Rametta, a city planner for Raleigh.
‘Akin to a new downtown’
In the late 1980s, Raleigh leaders identified three areas for future growth: downtown, the area near Triangle Town Center in North Raleigh and the area that would become Brier Creek.
Planners floated ideas for the space, including a rail transit system with a loop to the airport and Brier Creek linking to a main line between Raleigh and Durham.
A steady flow of development plans and rezoning requests for the area quickly followed. In 1996, a group affiliated with Eastern Airlines requested to rezone part of the space now known as Brier Creek, hoping to spur dense development.
“It was to be something akin to a new downtown,” said Stacy Barbour, a Raleigh senior planner who previously managed some of the approvals for the Brier Creek area in its early stages.
Pennsylvania-based real estate company Toll Brothers focused on residential development, including the first major subdivision, Brier Creek Country Club, which placed upscale homes around a golf course. The first homes were occupied in 2000.
Several apartment complexes opened shortly after the club’s launch. American Asset Corp., another real estate company, developed a major retail component, Brier Creek Commons, and later added Brierdale Shopping Center, Shoppes at Brier Creek and a large corporate center.
Three years ago, Raleigh leaders proposed extending T.W. Alexander, a main road through Research Triangle Park, east to Leesville Road. Eventually the city hopes to extend the major thoroughfare farther east, and while doing so is part of the comprehensive plan, there are no specifics available yet, Rametta said.
Page Farms, a fourth-generation family-owned farm purchased in 1922, lies in the path of extending T.W. Alexander east. Danny Page, one of the owners, said the city has not asked him to sell.
“We’re not in the giving business,” Page said. “I’m not interested in selling.”
The influx of new residents and buildings in the area has increased business, he said.
“The development has actually helped us,” Page said. “More people have been coming in.”
The market for residential, retail and office uses has continued to grow. Brier Creek now has more than a dozen apartment complexes.
To have a good mixture of all ages, it has to cater to everyone. To see all of this development, it’s just the best place to be.
Suzette Harrington, Northwest Citizens Advisory Council secretary
In August, two real estate firms took over both The Crossings at Alexander Place apartments on Windwill Harbor Way in Raleigh and the Bridges at Wind River apartments on Wind River Parkway in Morrisville for a combined value of more than $93 million, according to real estate records.
Companies and businesses coming to the Triangle want locations within walking distance of apartments, restaurants and stores for employees, Blair said, citing a future Harris Teeter grocery store and new living space in the area. Two tenants have already signed leases at Legacy, comprising about 32 percent of the space.
Suzette Harrington, secretary of the Northwest Citizens Advisory Council, has lived in Brier Creek for 10 years. She said the influx of new development will help the neighborhood attract people of all ages and walks of life.
“To have a good mixture of all ages, it has to cater to everyone,” she said. “To see all of this development, it’s just the best place to be.”
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler