Questions submitted by citizens about the Fenton Mixed Use Development will be answered on this page. If you'd like to submit your own question, you can do so on the main Fenton page.
The Fenton developer purchased the property from the State of North Carolina on April 2, 2019. Although we do not have a date for an official groundbreaking at this time, it is our understanding that the developer hopes to break ground in mid to late 2019.
It is our understanding that the developer is aiming to have the first phase of the project (which includes the site that has been identified for Wegmans) in early 2021. It is important to note that zoning only determines the types of uses (residential, office, commercial, etc.) and amount of density that can be developed on a site. Zoning does not determine the actual businesses that occupy a site; property owners and private developers make these decisions.
There are multiple phases to the project, so we do not have an estimated completion date at this time. It is our understanding that the developer is currently planning on a 5-8 year build-out.
The developer’s leasing contact is Dotan Duckerman with Columbia Development. He is located at 1845 St. Julian Place, Columbia, SC 29204, and can be contacted at (404) 790-1234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fenton does not include any residential detached homes. The approved Rezoning and Preliminary Development Plan only includes multi-family (attached) residential dwelling units.
The Town does not have any involvement with pricing information for developments. These decisions are up to the developer and the market. We also note that the multi-family (attached) residential dwelling units may be owner or renter-occupied per the approved zoning.
If the developer has trouble leasing to retail tenants, he may pursue other uses as permitted by the Preliminary Development Plan (some of the areas do allow uses other than retail on the ground floor). If retail is the only use permitted in a given location, then the developer could continue looking for other retail tenants or potentially consider requesting a zoning change to expand the permitted uses for these locations.
Zoning or Development Agreement Questions
At this time, we do not anticipate any more office being added to the project. If additional office is proposed to be added, it will require a rezoning to be approved by the Town Council.
As far as parking deck screening is concerned, the developer has several options – wrapping/concealing the deck with other structures, designing the parking deck façade to reflect the architectural style of adjacent buildings, designing the deck to appear like a residential building, or screening the deck with mid-story evergreen trees.
Town staff continues to work with the developer on preparing a draft Development Agreement for the Town Council’s consideration. We anticipate that this draft will be available in late summer.
The Development Agreement will require Town Council review and approval. A public hearing will be held as part of this process. The Agreement will be made available on the Town’s website at least 10 days before the hearing date.
Notice of the availability of the proposed Development Agreement was provided on October 12, 2018, on both the Fenton Mixed Use Development website and the Town’s Public Hearing and Legal Notices portal. A public hearing was subsequently held by the Town Council on October 25, 2018, and the agreement was approved by the Council at the same meeting after the hearing.
Per the approved Zoning and Preliminary Development Plan, the Fenton developer has committed to making multiple traffic improvements to accommodate the project’s impacts and maintain appropriate levels of service. These improvements include adding turn lanes and adjusting signal timing at off-site intersections (e.g. NE Maynard/Chapel Hill Road and Trinity Road/Chapel Hill Road) and adding signalization at the Trinity Road/E. Chatham Street intersection and the I-40 exit ramps on Cary Towne Boulevard. The developer will also be widening Cary Towne Boulevard along the site’s frontage and constructing and signalizing multiple intersections associated with Trinity Road and Quinard Road (which are providing the primary internal circulation for the development).
The goal of having good connectivity does have merit. The Town’s recently approved Imagine Cary Community Plan reviewed all of the possible connections between downtown and the greater Eastern Cary Gateway area. Due to the lack of connectivity of East Park Street to NW Maynard and the goal of protecting the character of existing neighborhoods, East Park Street was not selected to serve as a primary connection between downtown and the Eastern Cary Gateway area.
Alternatively, Walnut Street and East Chatham Street were selected to provide this desired connectivity. Accordingly, the Fenton developer is proposing to connect Trinity Road through the WakeMed Soccer Park to provide the missing connection between East Chatham Street and Cary Towne Boulevard. This connection will significantly improve circulation by providing Fenton access to both of these primary corridors into downtown.
As far as Trinity Road connecting directly to Convention Drive at Cary Towne Center Mall, the Town anticipates pursuing a study of the Trinity Road corridor between Chapel Hill Road and Walnut Street in the future to better understand the area and explore potential options for improving connectivity. Any such connection would require the cooperation and participation of several other property owners and stakeholders (e.g. State of North Carolina, Triangle Aquatic Center, Cary Towne Center Mall and NCDOT), and the Town would include these stakeholders as part of such a study.
A ten-foot wide streetside trail will be provided along Fenton’s frontage on Cary Towne Boulevard. This multi-use path will connect to the existing sidewalk at the entrance to Adams Elementary and provide pedestrian and bicycling connectivity to the Fenton development. As far as the crossing over the I-40 interchange, this area is located in the City of Raleigh’s jurisdiction. Raleigh’s long range plans do show bike facilities over I-40, although there is currently no timeline for these improvements.
Per the approved Preliminary Development Plan, cars will be allowed to drive through the middle of the development. However, it is worth noting that there will only be one lane in each direction, and the vast majority of the parking spaces will be located in parking decks that are situated behind the buildings and tenants located on the main street. Essentially being one row of buildings away from the main street, the parking decks will have direct ingress and egress from the periphery of the development, and thus will allow pedestrians to easily reach the main central street without having to drive on it to find a parking space.
We also anticipate an emphasis on pedestrian amenities and circulation on the central street, including decorative hardscape and well-defined pedestrian crossings. If you would like to see examples of what Fenton's central area is supposed to be like, we recommend looking at pages 22-32 of Fenton’s Design Guidebook.
Fenton will be constructing a 10-foot wide streetside trail for pedestrians and bicyclists along Cary Towne Boulevard from Trinity Road westward to Convention Drive. Cary Towne Center, which has a rezoning that is currently under review, is proposing to provide pedestrian and bicycle connectivity across Cary Towne Boulevard (with pedestrian-activated crossing signals) and via a streetside trail up Convention Drive into the site. So, as part of the build-out of both developments, the Town is planning to have an at-grade path to safely move pedestrians and bicycles between these two developments.
Fenton will also be constructing a 10-foot wide greenway trail along Walnut Creek from the development’s western property line eastward to Trinity Road. The Town’s Greenways Master Plan envisions this greenway being extended in the future, using an existing 8-foot wide pedestrian tunnel underneath Cary Town Boulevard to get to the south side of Cary Towne Boulevard. Once on the south side of the road, the Greenways Master Plan envisions the greenway eventually connecting to an existing greenway on the Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC) property, near Champion Drive (and thereby connecting through TAC into the Cary Towne Center site. While these additional portions of the Walnut Creek Greenway included in the Greenways Master Plan are not funded and have no schedule at this time, they are envisioned to eventually provide additional bicycle and pedestrian connectivity in the future.
Wake Med Soccer Park Questions
The Town has been planning for Trinity Road to provide a north-south connection between Cary Towne Boulevard and East Chatham Street, and this segment is conceptually shown on the Town’s Planned Roadway Widths map that is part of the approved Imagine Cary Community Plan. When the time comes to make this connection, the Town and the developer will be coordinating with the State of North Carolina (the property owner of the Wake Med Soccer Park) and NCDOT regarding how to best facilitate this future connection. While there are no plans to relocate the soccer park, some adjustments to the current layout may be needed.
While the State of North Carolina sold 92 acres on the south side of Walnut Creek for the Fenton Mixed Use development, the land north of the creek where the cross-country trails are located remains under State ownership and will continue to be leased and operated by the Town for recreational uses.
The general contractor for clearing, erosion control and grading-related activity is D.H. Griffin. The general contractor for infrastructure installation is Hoar Construction.
Questions about Fenton may be shared with staff by submitting a question at the bottom of the Fenton Mixed Use Development website page. Comments about Fenton may be shared directly by email to the Town Council or in person during the Public Speaks Out portion of any upcoming regular Town Council meeting.
While there are no zoning conditions requiring these initiatives, several of these ideas (green and energy-efficient buildings, green roofs, living walls, EV charging stations, and low impact design) have come up in conversations with the developer. Since most of these initiatives are permitted by zoning (vertical wind turbines on roofs would not be allowed by the approved zoning), staff will continue to encourage the developer to include such environmentally and energy-conscious design elements into the project as they move forward with detailed development plans later this year.
It is important to note that the Design Guidebook was created to make a commitment to a higher quality and caliber of architectural design than required by the Town’s normal standards, and to also allow more flexibility (e.g. green walls, recycled building materials) than would normally be the case with the Town’s standards. As such, the Guidebook serves to guide the quality and variety of architectural design rather than advocating for green (or other) initiatives.
There are some assumptions built into this question that need to be addressed prior to responding to the question. First and foremost, the Town is not developing this site. A private developer will be developing this property. Property owners do have the right to develop their property per State and Federal Law. The only way to prevent private property from being developed would be to purchase it and preserve it as open space. The Town does periodically take this approach, as part of our goal to preserve open space and park land in our community. For example, over time the Town has purchased 35+ acres of land along Walnut Creek south of Cary Towne Boulevard (between the Walnut Hills, Walnut Ridge and Williamsburg Manor neighborhoods and I-40) that will be preserved as open space and/or used for a park/greenway in the future.
Second, the reason why the land on the north side of Cary Towne Boulevard is being developed is because the Town’s Imagine Cary Community Plan identifies this site as part of the 800+ acre Eastern Cary Gateway Special Planning Area. Based its proximity to Interstate 40, and the fact that Cary Towne Boulevard serves as the primary entrance into eastern Cary, the adopted Community Plan envisions this area of town as being developed as an urban destination center where people live, work and shop. It is also worth noting that the Imagine Cary Community Plan was adopted by the Council after a 4+ year process that included public input from several thousand citizens.
As far as the revitalization and redevelopment of the Cary Towne Center Mall, the good news is that this was also envisioned by the Community Plan as part of the Eastern Cary Gateway Special Planning Area. For that matter, we recently (Spring 2019) received a rezoning proposal to redevelop the Cary Towne Center development.
If you want to know more about why the Town Council adopted the rezoning for Fenton, you can watch the Council videos located on the Fenton Mixed Use Development web page. Finally, we note that the Town does have regulations that require developers to protect stream buffers and provide landscaped buffers and community gathering areas as part of their developments. For example, the Fenton developer will be preserving over 25% of the site in open space and stream buffers per Town ordinance requirements.
At build-out, Fenton will provide the majority of the development’s parking in decks and there will be underground facilities to handle stormwater. Since the development is being constructed in phases though, there will be temporary surface parking lots in the earlier stages of the project. Since these lots are temporary, they will not have rain gardens. Instead, the runoff from these temporary parking lots will be handled by temporary above-ground erosion control ponds. Although not required, the developer does have the ability to incorporate above-grade stormwater measures into the project, if desired.