Tuesday, May 24, 2022

City approves rezoning for new development on Military Cutoff called Renaissance North

Mayfaire Town Center is directly across from the future location of Renaissance North (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)
Mayfaire Town Center is directly across from the future location of Renaissance North (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)

WILMINGTON — As the City of Wilmington continues to attract new residents and visitors, developers continue constructing retail, residential and office spaces to meet the demand of a growing population. That led to the city’s planning staff creating the Wilmington Comprehensive Plan in 2013; that plan is what builders have to comply with when requesting the approval of new developments in Wilmington.

On July 18, the City of Wilmington City Council voted in a unanimous decision to approve the rezoning of nearly seven acres off Military Cutoff Road to allow a commercial development to be constructed at 0 Sir Tyler Drive and 927 Military Cutoff Road.

There is already development on parcels surrounding the seven acres, including Mayfaire Flats and the GCF Donation Center and Store. The development, being called Renaissance North, is located across the street from Mayfaire Town Center and behind the Landfall subdivision.

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The applicant for the rezoning is listed as Westfall Research Park 36 Acre, LLC. Documents submitted to the city show involvement from Trask Land Company and Harbour Retail Partners.

The land where Renaissance North will be located is on Sir Tyler Drive and Military Cutoff Road (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)
The land where Renaissance North will be located is on Sir Tyler Drive and Military Cutoff Road (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)

The land was previously zoned as office and institutional district and special highway overlay district. The approved request will rezone the parcel to community business for a “commercial shopping center with a specialty grocery store,” according to the rezoning request filing.

According to the City of Wilmington’s planning staff report, “The early development of Sir Tyler Drive (Westfall Research Park) was limited to a number of large office building projects. This single-use development pattern is not preferred as it forces people to leave Sir Tyler Drive for all of their daily needs. With the addition of two multi-family projects (Mayfaire Flats and Flats at Main) and the addition of the Goodwill store, the area has begun to take on a mixed-use pattern where people can live, work, and shop in the same area.”

The mixed-use pattern that incorporates retail, office, and residential is one of the directions the city has asked developers to move toward, since “development of vast open land is no longer an option in Wilmington,” according to the comprehensive plan.

President of Trask Land Company Raiford Trask and Landscape Architect Cindee Wolfe addressed City Council during the July 18 meeting where she described the plans for the property, and presented the case for approval.

The Trask Land Company’s website describes Renaissance North’s location as, “the new financial district of Wilmington,” and explains how its proximity to Landfall makes it a prime location for reaching its audience.

“Renaissance North is quickly becoming the new financial district of Wilmington. Located next to Mayfaire Town Center, the Cape Fear region’s premier shopping and dining destination, and Landfall, Wilmington’s most affluent residential demographic. Renaissance North is perfectly situated to reach the area’s best target markets,” the website states.

“The proposed grocery store is the most logical to complete this side of the thoroughfare. Convenient shopping, groceries and restaurants will be viable,” Wolfe said.

The property’s zoning will not have any direct impact on homes or other businesses since the land is already vacant and the current zoning is already office and institutional district.

Traffic concerns

The Trask Land Company's development Renaissance North has recieved the go ahead from city council (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)
The Trask Land Company’s development Renaissance North has recieved the go ahead from city council (Port City Daily photo/MICHAEL PRAATS)

It is no secret that traffic on Military Cutoff Road is already congested. According to the City of Wilmington, the road is already operating over capacity. But, both the presentation given to city Council and a traffic impact analysis study for Renaissance North suggest the new development would have a minimal impact.

The Transportation Impact Analysis, provided by Davenport, analyzes both background traffic as well as development traffic, Wolfe said.

Much like another proposed development just a few intersections north on Military Cutoff Road, The Avenue, Davenport claims the improvements that would be made to the road would help offset any additional traffic on the roads.

According to the Wilmington’s planning staff, a development like The Avenue would create an increase of traffic on the already burdened road up to 40 percent. The Davenport report claims the development would have a minimal impact, and additional improvements would actually mitigate traffic congestion that is expected anyway.

City Council Member Paul Lawler asked Wolfe if she could provide a percentage of traffic increase on the road, like the one provided for The Avenue, if the council approved the new plans. Wolfe said she did not have that number, but did have information regarding the number of trips expected in and out of the development.

Ultimately, the council approved the development with a 7-0 vote in favor of the changes, but the motion to wave the second reading failed.

Port City Daily has requested copies of the Transportation Impact Analysis from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The agency had not responded at time of publication.

A similar request to the Trask Land Company requesting information on the development also received no immediate reply.

Renaissance North by Michael James on Scribd


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