JunktionFET

Urban development in Cary?

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I was watching the news this morning, and whilst channel flipping I landed briefly on the Cary Government channel. They were discussing the recent approval of a 10 story building proposal in Cary's Regency Park. This would likely be the tallest building in Cary. I'm not sure how tall the ones in the SAS park get, but I think they top out around 8 stories.

Cary is a suburb of Raleigh NC and presently sports a population of near 110,000. It is a sea of housing developments (most of which are very nice), a plethora of shopping centers including a regional mall, a rather large number of normal and high end car dealers, and countless midrise office buildings--the tallest being in the 6-8 story range.

Regency Park is one of Cary's office developments, located off of Tryon Rd near US1, and built on the shallow end of the Swift Creek Bluffs--probably Cary's most impressive geographic feature. The "park" is littered with midrise office buildings in a suburban and tree-infested setting. There is also a lake which features Regency Amphitheatre--a venue not unlike the one in South Park Charlotte.

Anywho, this proposed 10 story building would sit beside an existing 6 story structure facing Tryon Rd at Regency's entrance--thus I'm sure the building will make quite a visual impact in an area so devoid of tall structures.

I searched and found an article in the Business Journal from late April:

Regency developers laying plans for $48M expansion

Amanda Jones

CARY - Twenty years after the first office building was finished in Regency Park, the development's owners are dusting off plans for their largest endeavor yet - a new $48 million building and parking deck.

Regency Park Corp., which is owned and managed by Montreal natives Edward Woolner and Eric Salomon, plans to build a 10-story office building with up to 281,000 square feet. It would be similar in style to the nearby 2000 Regency building, which has coated aluminum siding and bronze-tinted windows. The new building would have an attached 290,000-square-foot parking garage.

http://triangle.bizjournals.com/triangle/s.../03/story8.html

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It's nice for Cary to get a 10-story building. Of course, I wish that Regency Park had an urban feel, at least for parts of it, but this new proposal may set the tone for similar projects nearby. Who knows, Cary may eventually shift to something more urban :)

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Says its at the highest point in Wake County

Hmm that's weird...

According to the Wake County website, the highest point in the county is approximately 540 feet above sea level--roughly a quarter mile north of Leesville.

I checked my topo maps and the site is sitting at a 400 foot isobar. There are many points in Wake County higher than this, including up the hill where Tryon intersects Kildaire Farm Rd. :P Parts of downtown Cary get as high as 500 feet above sea level.

However, this site it sitting at a slightly higher elevation than the US1/64 freeway. And because of how close it is to the freeway, it will make a visual impact for people entering the Triangle from the south. The 6 story building there is already clearly visible. I suspect it will look maybe a bit like the Highwoods skyline as seen from I-440 near Wake Forest Rd and Capital Blvd.

BTW, great find on the photo! :)

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I can remember Cary when it was just a small dot on the state map. After many years away I came home visiting and on our way back to RDU my family went out to eat in Cary. I was a little excited because I knew the population there had boomed. Well all I saw was campus type office parks and SFH housing development. I understand it is a suburb but do you guys think there is hope for an urban business district. Also is there any development news for Garner.

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Cary has a great downtown plan which will include high density housing, office, and retail space--centered around the "new" Cary train station which will act more as a multi-modal station (with an eventual TTA train platform, etc). Cary also has a few higher density/new urbanist developments planned or zoned along the NC55 corridor.

The bulk of Cary is very suburban and sprawly. Fortunately it remains convenient even though traffic sucks sometimes. I have hopes that Cary will evolve into a more well-rounded city in time.

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The thing you have to understand about Cary is that it tries hard to be a great all-american city. If it had the 40,000 it had 10 years ago it would be perfect, but now it has close to 110,000 people. It hasn't controlled sprawl, it is extremely conservative in the many laws and rejected projects that have come through the years, and the future doesn't look so promising bc they are continuing to annex and add strip malls and big box retail outside its downtown.

The few good points I have for Cary is its nice downtown and train station. They are the only thing that is developing nicely into a reasonable urban landscape.

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Around downtown Cary, it's a very attractive, old-style town of single-family homes and decent interconnection. The problem is, that part of town has hardly changed or grown at all since the 1920s; all the development has happened in rings around downtown. The residential density is the inverse of what a city should be: two homes per acre by downtown, and apartment complexes with 40 units per acre along NC55 and Cary Parkway. It's kind of interesting, because as soon as you cross Maynard heading away from downtown, things make an immediate transition from "neighborhoods" to "subdivisions," it loses that old-town appeal: the streetscapes become bleak and it turns into a giant homogeneous blob of suburbia.

Downtown Cary has a lot of potential; I hope that the town is laying the groundwork so that denser development and taller buildings can happen without having to go through a wall of "nimby"s first. I'm afraid that the first eight or ten story building proposed down there will meet with heavy resistance from the "Old Cary" crowd (who actually moved there from New Jersey in 1987.) Anyway, they'll come up with some generic, baseless nimby reasons like "preserving the character of downtown" or "traffic problems," get a nimby-friendly reporter to print an article in the N&O, and that'll be the end of that.

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Cary, for the last 10 years, has not been trying to be an all-american city. It has tried to be a clean, quiet, high-income suburb with good schools, and it has succeeded wildly.

That said, the downtown plans are VERY different from business as usual in Cary and will be nothing short of transformative if they can be implemented in full. Some of the densities proposed are nearly 50 dwelling units/acre close to the rail station, which would indicate the potential for 8-12 story buildings.

See here:

http://www.townofcary.org/depts/dsdept/P&Z...andusearea5.htm

Is a suburb composed primarily of buffers, parkways, setbacks, and minimum lot sizes ready for this?

Only time will tell. I commend Cary for making this type of leap, even on paper. The extent of the density increases envisioned here are reminiscent of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor along the Washington Metro Orange Line, one of the most successful Transit-Oriented Development programs of the last 20 years.

http://www.newurbannews.com/MarketCommons.html

Current and future Town Council members will make or break this plan by having the courage to stick with it or giving in to those who are uncomfortable with this type of change.

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Cary really struggles with its own NIMBYs. Look at the Arboretum. The NIMBYs drove the 5-star hotel across the street to the SAS campus. What a joke!!!

That is the nicest development around.

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I have a question. Every single day I drive through downtown Cary on my way to work, and I notice something. There is a building at the intersection of Chatham and Harrison, with like a mural painted on the side. I stare at it every day wondering what it used to be. It resembles, to me, either an old Food Lion or a Roses. Any1 who knows pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease tell me b/c I've been wondering for a while now.

Interestingly enough I live just on the northern outside of Maynard (the loop) and I notice that 2. I'm sort of on the edge of the subdivisions and apartment complexes, although my neighborhoods era seems to be more around late '80's to early '90's. Of course the farther out you go the newer things get. So I start off outside the loop, drive through the center of Cary, looking towards downtown on Chatham St and thinking that even downtown Apex looks larger, and continue across the loop on Kildaire Farm Road and watch the progression of subdivisions and shopping centers get newer and nicer the farther out I get, until I end my journey off of Hwy 64, clear across Cary, in an area that is all that is modern suburban sprawl...

I do like a small portion of Kildaire Farm Road though, from Cary Parkway until Western Wake, the residential portion is pretty, I just would hate to have to pull out of my driveway every day. The rest of Kildaire bugs the crap out of me, way too many oddly times stoplights...

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Cary, for the last 10 years, has not been trying to be an all-american city.  It has tried to be a clean, quiet, high-income suburb with good schools, and it has succeeded wildly.

That said, the downtown plans are VERY different from business as usual in Cary and will be nothing short of transformative if they can be implemented in full.  Some of the densities proposed are nearly 50 dwelling units/acre close to the rail station, which would indicate the potential for 8-12 story buildings.

...

Good post, transitman. Thanks for bringing the Cary downtown plan to our attention.

I really do like the idea of turning up the intensity of development south of downtown on Academy street. There are a number of very attractive, historic residential offices on there that I would rather see moved/preserved than demolished, but on the whole I wouldn't let that put the brakes on the densification of downtown Cary.

I also love how Cary Elementary is located downtown.

(the building is neat, too.) If you get some dense residential going on downtown, there would be be more kids who could (gasp) WALK! to school. Imagine that?

This plan kind of reminds me of Arlington Heights, Il. Arlington Heights is a suburb of Chicago that's similar in size and population to Cary (~80,000 in AH vs ~105,000 in Cary). The big difference is that Arlington Heights is landlocked, while Cary continues to annex like crazy, but let's overlook that for now.

25 years ago, historic downtown Arlington Heights was basically a quaint but neglected ghost town. However, sometime back in the 1980s the town decided to grow up, with the Metra commuter rail station operating as the "pivot point" upon which the town turns. They rezoned for taller buildings and greater density. And now, they have a quaint yet thriving upscale commercial district and a handsome downtown residential population living in several condo towers in the 8-15 story range as well as nearby townhomes and detached historic homes. I have relatives living nearby in the historic neighborhood within walking distance of downtown, and it really is a neat place.

Anybody who says "too tall, blah blah blah, traffic"(*) should just take a glance at Arlington Heights. It's pretty dense and there are plenty of new buildings, yet it still has its quaint historical character and has little in the way of traffic problems (certainly nothing compared to the thoroughfares in subdivision-land.) That's the sort of thing I imagine for downtown Cary.

(*) Phrase stolen from Raleigh-NC ;)

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The bulk of Cary is very suburban and sprawly. Fortunately it remains convenient even though traffic sucks sometimes. I have hopes that Cary will evolve into a more well-rounded city in time.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Cary won't ever evolve into a well-rounded "city". The municipal government says it is a "town". Therefore, maybe it can develop into a well-rounded "town" of 160,000. ;)

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Say what they will. Once an areas population passes 75,000 its fairly safe to say that it's a city. They have there own police and what not don't they.

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Say what they will. Once an areas population passes 75,000 its fairly safe to say that it's a city.  They have there own police and what not don't they.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Just for reference, Arlington Heights, Il. calls itself a "village." Cough.

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Article in News & Observer - 8/29/2005

Capital Associates last month filed plans to build a 144,000-square-foot office building at The Crescent office park. Also, Regency Park of Cary will begin construction of 141,000 square feet of offices nearby, along with plans to build a 10-story, 282,000-square-footer approved last year.
Edited by paletexan

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Sounds like Cary (and the Raleigh area in general) may could use some nice urban development b/c of the lack of large spaces. This could be a great time to build a speculative building DT.

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I believe this is the same 140' (?) tall building that was approved about a year or so ago. If memory serves, it is supposed to have only a 30 foot setback or something from Tryon Rd. Combined with the existing 6 story structure there at the entrance of Regency Park, it will make quite a visual impact for people funneling into the Cary and Raleigh area from US64.

That part of Cary has a lot of potential to evolve into something rather tidy. New office, retail, and residential developments in Regency Park, as well as Crescent Commons and Waverly Place (coincidentally a C-TRAN/TTA transfer hub) will interface somewhat well with the suburban single-family neighborhoods already in place around there (Lochmere, etc.)

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http://www.newsobserver.com/676/story/399582.html

Highlights from Article:

Developer: The Chhabras, who own Cary-based hotel operator and general contractor CMC Hotels

Plan: Convert about 10 acres that include two Walnut Street hotels to a pedestrian friendly center.

Proposed: Offices, high-end shops, Marriott, Hilton or Holiday Inn hotel and maybe some condominiums.

This project would be nice in Cary, but I am not a fan of that location. Crossroads is a driving nightmare and the property in question is choked by a highway interchange limiting pedestrian connections in the future. I think Crossroads is a lost cause for smart development at this point.

.

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I wouldn't be suprised if they drop the condominiums before the final version is built. They'll probably get pushed out to a "phase 2," to be built at an indeterminate future date.

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We'll see how it actually turns out. I'd be suprised if anything besides a 5 story hotel and a strip shopping center gets built there personally...

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So apparently this will be mid-to-upscale if stores like Restoration Hardware and Banana Republic are coming I guess? They say 300,000+ square feet but I agree with Mike

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Cary could stand some nicer retail, but I can't see it coming to this development for some reason. CBL will be pushing hard to get it at Cary Towne Center.

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