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Cary approves $87.5 million for “major” mixed-use development and contributes $2.1 million to city funds

CARY, NC (WNCN) – At its meeting Thursday, the Cary City Council unanimously approved a new five-story development in downtown Cary called Meridian East Chatham.

The Meridian development will bring 220 apartments, approximately 8,200 square feet of ground floor retail space and a 348-space parking deck downtown between East Chatham Street and East Cedar Street and directly across from Hunter Street.

Construction could begin as early as this summer, said Cary’s economic development director, Ted Boyd.

“The Meridian development project reflects an $87.5 million private investment into the core of our downtown core that will bring more than 300 new downtown residents and over 60 jobs that will continue to fuel our downtown revitalization,” said Boyd.

The property consists of 8 parcels totaling 4.9 acres owned by the development team.

Several public improvement considerations are envisioned within the development plan, including the donation of 0.76 acres to the City of Cary as a right-of-way for an extension of Hunter Street to connect north with Cedar Street. As noted by several Council members, this connection had been in the works for a long time.

The red shaded area to the west of the road extension represents where the development, which is approximately 3 acres, would be located. The remaining over 1 acre of land will be available for future development, Boyd said.

The council agrees and approves a $2.1 million investment

In approving the project Thursday, the council also approved $1.37 million of its general fund credit for the project, in which the city will invest a total of $2,106,000. Here’s how it breaks down.

  • $1.55 million will be paid by the city in bid preparation fees
    • $788,428 will be used from the existing offering development fund
    • $761,572 was approved from the general fund at Thursday’s meeting
  • $556,000 will be paid by the city to contribute to road improvements
    • This was also approved from the general fund at Thursday’s meeting

During his presentation, Boyd explained that the city introduced a “business improvement district” in 2012. Since that time, Cary has paid a portion of the development fees associated with bringing new businesses to this area as what Boyd called “a tool for advancing the timing of private development.”

That sub-area, Boyd said, will experience “significant transformation” as the plan envisages the “most intensive pattern of development and building height while offering multi-family, residential, employment and business opportunities.” This area will also lie along the planned bus rapid transit route.

City manager Sean Stegall reiterated that the investments the city has made to incentivize this project are expected to return fairly quickly. “Any incentives that we offer, we get back in three years,” he said.

Rendering of the development of Meridian East Chatham. (Photo City of Cary)

council discussion

“The debit fee reduction is nothing new to us,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Don Frantz. “This is something we’ve been doing for a decade now, it might just seem like a lot because this is the first big project we’ve come across. This is exactly why we actually created a Business Improvement District – as a way to incentivize private investment like this.”

Frantz also commended the applicant for donating more than $1 million worth of property to the city to help make the Hunter Street improvements possible.

Council member Jennifer Robinson took a “bigger picture” approach in her comments, noting that the council should address its standards set for downtown developers.

“I don’t want to impede downtown development at all, but it might be time we just go back and look at our standards for our downtown… to make sure our standards are still relevant now for this urban environment that we’re creating.” are appropriate,” said Robinson.

Frantz agreed and suggested looking at those standards after this project and also looking at the standards set outside of downtown.

More details about the project can be found at the project details page or watch Council meeting on YouTube.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/wake-county-news/cary-approves-87-5m-major-mixed-use-development-contributes-2-1m-in-town-funds/ Cary approves $87.5 million for “major” mixed-use development and contributes $2.1 million to city funds

DUSTIN JONES

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