The City Council has given the go-ahead for a developer to build a shopping center anchored by a Publix grocery store in northwest Raleigh, although neighbors are worried about increased traffic.
The council on Tuesday agreed to rezone a 7.7-acre parcel at the intersection of Leesville and Strickland roads. Halpern Enterprises, an Atlanta development and management company, submitted the request.
Councilman David Cox, who cast the lone dissenting vote on the project, said he sympathized with residents who don’t want the added traffic.
Although neighbors have voiced some concerns, the plan didn’t generate nearly as much resistance as a proposal to build a Publix store at the North Raleigh corner of Falls of Neuse and Dunn roads in 2014.
In that case, neighbors, led by Cox, successfully fought the plan. Cox used the issue last year in his campaign for a City Council seat.
At the northwest Raleigh site, a preliminary plan calls for a shopping center with about 13,000 square feet of retail space, anchored by a 49,098-square-foot grocery store.
Charlie Worthen, a partner at Halpern, said he wouldn’t name the anchor store. But residents who attended neighborhood meetings about the plan have said it was made clear Publix will come to the site.
“Most people know who it is,” Worthen said.
Publix did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
This would be the first Publix store in Raleigh. The Florida-based grocer has two stores in Cary.
A similar rezoning request for the same property was submitted in 2015, but it was pulled after the Northwest Citizens Advisory Council resisted the proposal. Advisory councils are made up of residents who provide feedback to the city on proposed developments.
For this project, Halpern met with residents of the Draymoor Manor subdivision and agreed to several conditions, including the addition of a gate at Ashford Park Drive, the neighborhood’s main entrance.
Drivers sometimes use Ashford Park Drive to bypass the stoplight at the corner of Leesville and Strickland roads, said Jerry Cram, president of Draymoor’s homeowners association.
“It’s a danger zone out here when school lets out,” Cram said, adding that he was pleased with the final plan.
Cox expressed concern for the Treymore neighborhood, which sits on the other side of Leesville Road and will not have gated access.
He said the area can’t handle new traffic generated by parents dropping off their children at the newly opened Pine Hollow Middle School.
“We don't have that same kind of equity for this other neighborhood,” Cox said.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in about 12 months. The shopping center should open in about two years, Worthen said.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi