Orange County

Hillsborough auto dealer wants to join Sheetz, future hotel, stores at NC 86 site

Hillsborough car dealership moving

The owners of Hillsborough Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Ram want to build a new dealership and service center on NC 86 near I-85 and the Hampton Pointe shopping center. The business would get more room and be the first of several shops and restaurants.
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The owners of Hillsborough Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Ram want to build a new dealership and service center on NC 86 near I-85 and the Hampton Pointe shopping center. The business would get more room and be the first of several shops and restaurants.

A local auto dealership is planning a move to the southeastern corner of Interstate 85 and N.C. 86 across from Walmart.

It’s the only new business proposed right now, although there have been inquiries about several lots on the 25-acre site, said landowner James Paliouras, with Paliouras Enterprises LLC.

Hillsborough Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram (CDJR) wants to build a 24,600-square-foot auto dealership and service center behind the Sheetz gas station that opened last year. The dealership would cover 5.39 acres adjacent to Interstate 85 and have 349 parking and car storage spaces.

The project application asks the town to waive about two dozen requirements, including a buffer along the interstate. A 128-foot Duke Power utility easement along that property line means nothing can be built there and landscaping is limited, Assistant Town Manager and Planning Director Margaret Hauth said. The dealership wants to use that space for parking, she said.

An existing driveway would connect the dealership and other future businesses to N.C. 86.

Hillsborough CDJR will return to the Town Board for another public hearing Aug. 12, and the Planning Board will meet Aug. 15 to discuss and make a recommendation on the project. The Town Board could make a final decision Sept. 9.

Shops, restaurants and a hotel

The current dealership is at 259 S. Churton St., beside Duke Primary Care. The move will give it more space, said Tony Fisher, owner of Capital Ford in Hillsborough.

“It’s first class. It’s something that we think our customers here in Hillsborough deserve, to give them the ownership experience they want,” Fisher said.

The Town Board annexed the 25-acre Paliouras tract in June — required to get town water and sewer service to the site. Paliouras Enterprises LLC also submitted a master plan for the site’s future development, which was approved, and the land was rezoned as “entranceway special use.” That is the same zoning for the Hampton Pointe shopping center across the street.

Paliouras Enterprises master site plan
Contributed Paliouras Enterprises LLC

Each project built on the site will need its own special-use permit with specific building and landscaping plans, as well as public input and advisory and Town Board meetings.

The master plan shows six retail lots, other than the dealership, and an additional, eight-acre lot designated for a hotel and stores. A driveway is possible off Old N.C. 10, just west of its intersection with N.C. 86.

Paliouras said he’s excited about the dealership and open to signing a variety of tenants, from restaurants to a pharmacy, auto parts store or grocer. Previous inquiries about Cracker Barrel, Walgreen’s and Lowe’s didn’t work out, he said.

“We’re optimistic that we can get some good tenants in the area, something that will help the area create jobs,” Paliouras said. “The advantage to that area is whatever we’re going to get is mostly highway related. It’s not going to have a huge impact on the schools. It will provide a heck of a lot of revenue for the county and for the town.”

One challenge to future construction could be the N.C. Department of Transportation’s plans to widen Interstate 85 to six lanes and build a new N.C. 86 interchange and bridge at I-85. Both projects are still being planned.

Hauth noted a certain amount of traffic can be added to N.C. 86, based on a study done when Sheetz and Walgreen’s were proposed. If a proposed store exceeds those numbers, the NCDOT could require a new study or require the landowner to wait, she said.

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Tammy Grubb has written about Orange County’s politics, people and government since 2010. She is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumna and has lived and worked in the Triangle for over 25 years.
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