Sunday, November 27, 2022

Hotel, grocery store, apartments planned for re-emerging South College Road development

Plans for Whiskey Branch include a mixed use building, apartments, single-family homes, and office and retail space located off South College Road. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy New Hanover County)
Plans for Whiskey Branch include a mixed-use building, apartments, single-family homes, and office and retail space located off South College Road. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy New Hanover County)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — After developers walked away from plans to bring a mixed-use project to South College Road in 2019, a reimagined proposal for Whiskey Branch is back up for review.

Though tenants aren’t yet concrete and a needed rezoning hasn’t yet been approved, developers are planning to bring a hotel, “gourmet grocery store,” coffee shop, consumer electronics store, and at least 460 new residential units to South College Road.

Related: Report: College Road mixed-use development would create over 10,000 daily vehicle trips

Plans for the expansion of Whiskey Branch show its developer, Dry Pond LLC, is hoping full build-out will consist of at least 460 apartments, 50,000 square feet in general office space, and 122,750 square feet of retail.

Located next to Crosswinds on South College Road, Dry Pond is seeking to rezone 64 acres of land from R-15 to Planned Development (PD). The New Hanover County Planning Board will review the proposal at a Feb. 4 meeting.

Cameron Management previously sought to rezone a 20-acre portion of the 64-acre property from R-15 to conditional use residential district in 2019. The planning board approved the proposal, which was met with opposition from neighbors, 4-3, and unanimously approved the developer’s request for a special use permit (SUP) for 324 apartments in June 2019. The next month, the developers withdrew both their rezoning and SUP application.

Accessible off Navaho Trail, the existing portion of Whiskey Branch began in 2018, with 156 single family, duplex, and quadraplex townhomes on a separate 69-acre parcel of land. The proposed project would expand the existing residential portion of Whiskey Branch to an adjoining 64-acre parcel accessible from South College Road.

Upon full build-out, the entire 64-acre project will generate 10,230 additional daily vehicle trips. Developers promised neighbors pedestrian and vehicular connections to adjacent neighborhoods, to ease traffic concerns and provide connectivity to the mixed-use project, according to their rezoning application submitted in January.

If approved for a PD, the developers would be constructing far less density than they would otherwise be permitted to; a PD would permit 1,092 units on the 64-acre tract. “That decrease in density is intentional and responsive to community feedback,” the application states.

Of the 460 units planned, 40 will be residential units within a mixed-use building, 250 will be multi-family apartment units, 50 will be townhome units, and 120 will be townhome or duplex/triplex units.

By the year 2024, developers intend to build a 120-room hotel, shopping center, general office building, and add two restaurants to the projects.

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