Wake County

North Hills expansion plans get OK from citizens advisory council

Construction crews work last year on 113 acres at North Hills, including the Park Central High and Mid Rise Apartments. They are among the buildings under construction that are being developed by Kane Realty Corporation.
Construction crews work last year on 113 acres at North Hills, including the Park Central High and Mid Rise Apartments. They are among the buildings under construction that are being developed by Kane Realty Corporation. clowenst@newsobserver.com

Despite early concerns from neighbors about traffic and bright lights, two rezoning projects that would further expand North Hills have won approval from the Midtown Citizens Advisory Council.

In a 109-37 vote Monday, the advisory council approved Kane Realty Corporation’s plans to increase its North Hills footprint by buying or leasing about 34 wooded acres extending east toward Wake Forest Road. The company filed a rezoning request for the mixed-use project in September. Plans call for more retail, office space and apartments.

If the city approves Kane’s plans, the developer could build up to 1.3 million square feet of office space, 125,000 square feet of retail space, 2,100 residential units, 950 hotel rooms and 450 senior-living units.

The site is “very pedestrian-oriented,” said Kane CEO John Kane. About 30 percent of it will be open-air green space, including features such as parks, exercise equipment, walking trails and a one-mile fitness loop, he said. In the future, Kane Realty hopes to connect a nearby greenway to the project.

“As a team that lives here and a team that works here, we worked hard to be a good neighbor,” Kane said. “We’re not a developer that comes in and develops and leaves town.”

A subcommittee of members from the advisory council met with the developer to go over plans and additional conditions in the weeks leading up to Monday’s meeting. Subcommittee spokesperson Will Yadusky said the vote by residents centered on “the degree to which you trust Kane Realty to develop this piece of property based on what you’ve seen in North Hills.”

“Who’s better at it? Is John Kane better at it or is our CAC subcommittee more shrewd? I kind of have to leave that one up in the air,” Yadusky said.

Developers Todd Saieed and Ven Poole, who developed the six-story One Renaissance Centre, also plan to continue adding to the North Hills area. Saieed’s company, Dewitt Carolinas, submitted a rezoning request asking the city to allow up to 20 stories on a roughly 21-acre site between Kane’s property and the North Raleigh Hilton off Wake Forest Road.

The majority of residents in the advisory council voted to approve the request with conditions, asking Dewitt Carolinas to push taller buildings farther back and better streamline “how quickly heights transition,” Yadusky said. Sixty-six people voted in favor of the request with conditions, 63 approved the request without conditions and 26 voted against the request.

Neighbors have expressed concerns about traffic in residential areas near North Hills. Some created a petition calling for the city to install speed bumps on Hardimont Road as a traffic-calming measure, while others have cited concerns about stormwater and tree preservation.

In 2009, the Raleigh City Council specified certain areas for dense growth, including Brier Creek, Triangle Town Center, Crabtree Valley Mall and North Hills.

Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler

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