Business

Wegmans coming to Raleigh

Wegmans may add grocery stores in Chapel Hill, Cary, Raleigh

News and Observer reporter Kathryn Trogdon discusses how Wegmans Food Markets is looking to open its first North Carolina stores in Cary. Video by Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
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News and Observer reporter Kathryn Trogdon discusses how Wegmans Food Markets is looking to open its first North Carolina stores in Cary. Video by Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

Add Wegmans to the growing list of grocery chains coming to Raleigh.

The New York-based grocer plans to open a 120,000-square-foot store on Wake Forest Road between Six Forks Road and Interstate 440, next to Trader Joe’s.

The Raleigh store would be Wegmans’ third foray into the Triangle market. The company has also committed to sites in Cary and Chapel Hill.

“In addition to these, Wegmans is considering other sites in the Raleigh/Durham market, but until there are firm deals for each site, we are unable to share the locations or other details,” Jo Natale, Wegmans’ vice president of media relations, wrote in an email.

Wegmans adds to the growing list of grocers entering an area that for years was dominated by Harris Teeter and Food Lion. This year alone, Raleigh council members approved plans for the city’s first Publix at the intersection of Leesville and Strickland roads, and German franchise Lidl announced plans to open a store at the corner of Wake Forest Road and Ronald Drive.

Wegmans will anchor a shopping center planned for a 22-acre site the developer is calling Midtown East. Development partners Regency Centers and ITB Holdings on Tuesday announced plans for Wegmans and the center simultaneously.

“We have been working with ITB Holdings for more than a year to bring Wegmans to the former Alcatel site,” Chris Widmayer, a vice president with Regency Centers, said in a statement. “Midtown East will enhance the Wake Forest Road corridor into a shopping destination that will attract a more diverse and upscale level of merchants to serve Raleigh.”

Developers have eyed the old Alcatel site ever since the French telecommunications company closed its facility there in 2002. Regency Centers’ plans complete the area’s transformation from industrial to retail. A Keebler plant once stood on the corner of Wake Forest and Six Forks Road that’s now home to an Applebee’s, and Costco is on the the site of a former Pepsi bottling plant.

Regency Centers is a national company that owns Cameron Village, Glenwood Village and Holly Park Shopping Center, just north of the Midtown East project site.

Developers hope to close on the deal and start construction on Midtown East in the spring if their plans are approved by city staff. Their plans comply with the city’s broad land-use goals, so they won’t need to ask the City Council to be rezoned, Widmayer said.

In addition to Wegmans, the project is expected to include 42,000 square feet of shopping space and two tenant buildings. Developers plan to extend Wake Town Drive from Wake Forest Road to Industrial Drive, connecting the project to the Holly Park Shopping Center to the north.

There’s no time set for opening the center, Widmayer said. But if all goes well, his company says Midtown East would be the first new development on the inner-Beltline side of Wake Forest Road since Costco opened in 2006.

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht

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