Chapel Hill News

American Legion courting $10M deal for Chapel Hill post property

American Legion Post 6 is under contract to sell its 36-acre home at 1714 Legion Road to a high-end apartment developer and operator for up to $10 million, according to a purchase contract recently released by the town.

The property is valued at $2.4 million for tax purposes.

Woodfield Acquisitions LLC, an affiliate of Woodfield Investments, has several complexes in the Triangle, including the Gateway apartments under construction on East Pettigrew Street in Durham. The company has been considering whether to buy the Post 6 land since September.

The company is “very early in the planning process,” according to a statement provided by Amanda Mann, an attorney with Troutman Sanders in Raleigh. Officials are planning a community meeting Jan. 13 at the American Legion post to get feedback and suggestions.

“The Town has a very thorough, transparent process initiated by a concept plan phase, which we will begin shortly after the upcoming meeting,” the statement said. “There will be a number of opportunities throughout the planning process for the community to provide input and ask questions.”

The developer, according to a memorandum of understanding with the town, could ask to build up to 600 apartments, retail and offices if the deal goes through. A project application, if submitted, would face multiple advisory board and Town Council hearings.

The town had the first choice of buying the property under a 2005 agreement negotiated by former Town Manager Cal Horton. The council passed on paying $9 million for the tract in November, Town Manager Roger Stancil said in a Dec. 18 email to the newly seated council.

Woodfield and the town, according to an agreement, have talked about potential uses for the property and whether it might provide some public benefits, such as open and recreation space.

The developer also signed a memorandum of understanding with the town to build a two-lane road and a separate public trail to Ephesus Church Road if the deal closes and the project is approved. The routes would cross town land to reach Ephesus Church Road.

The 8,378-square-foot American Legion headquarters was built in 1961, replacing a log cabin that had served Post 6 since its founding in 1919. The cabin was located on East Rosemary Street behind the current location of the CVS Plaza.

The building needs at least $500,000 in renovations, post officials have said.

Post 6 Commander Bill Munsee could not confirm the buyer’s name, the terms of the deal or what a potential investor might choose to build. Selling the land, he previously has said, could provide money to build another American Legion headquarters in a new location

Post members have been evaluating for more than a year how to best use their resources to serve older veterans and the ones returning from current wars. While veterans still participate in social, community service and fundraising events, Munsee said, a modern American Legion also helps them and their families access jobs, health care and other benefits, while lobbying the government on their behalf.

Chapel Hill’s Post 6 serves more than 200 local members, plus roughly 500 more veterans enrolled at UNC, past commander Lee Heavlin has said.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

What’s next

Woodfield Investments will hold a community meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, in the American Legion Post 6 building at 1714 Legion Road. Development officials will share a potential concept plan, accept public comments and answer questions about the property’s future.