Chapel Hill News

Chapel Hill developer says grocery possible, but no big-box stores

A major project planned for the northern edge of town isn’t expected to include big-box retail stores, such as Costco and Target, the developer says.

The Edge – now in its fourth incarnation – could bring roughly 570,000 square feet of apartments and 295,000 square feet of commercial and retail space to 55 acres on Eubanks Road. Potential tenants could include a small- to mid-size grocery store, said Adam Golden, vice president of development for Northwood Ravin.

A few neighbors attended an information meeting last week hosted by the developer. Their concerns focused largely on what kind of stores could be included and the potential for noise from the new development and from the interstate after the mostly wooded site is cleared for construction.

The property, located beside a town park-and-ride lot between Northwood and I-40, could be covered with roughly 70 percent impervious surfaces, including streets, parking lots and buildings, after development, Golden said.

Northwood Ravin has mapped multiple street layouts, but the project’s final appearance and tenant mix could be developed over time, he said. The plan is for buildings of up to seven stories on land near Interstate 40 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and up to five stories elsewhere on the site.

“What we have is a street grid to get the Main Street we’re looking for, but also the flexibility to get the best plan that we can,” Golden said.

Trees and landscaping would separate buildings at the project’s entrance from Eubanks Road. The buildings also would sit roughly eight feet below the street level, Golden said. The development’s central feature would be a large green community space, he said.

The developer has worked with town and N.C. Department of Transportation staff members to plan for two new stoplights and new travel lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks on Eubanks Road, and additional turn lanes at the Eubanks-MLK Boulevard intersection.

Golden asked the Town Council earlier this year if Chapel Hill would help pay for the required road improvements.