Development Updates in Downtown Cary

Cary, NC — The multi-million dollar developments, designs and upgrades to downtown Cary don’t happen without the stamp of approval from Ted Boyd, Cary’s Director of Economic Development.

In last week’s virtual meeting of the Heart of Cary Association, Boyd presented a summary of current and upcoming developments that will continue to transform the downtown area.

A Walk Down Development Lane

From left: the building that is now The Cary Theater, the land that is now the downtown fountain and the historic Sam-Jones house before its renovation into the modern-day MC Restaurant.

Before jumping into what’s to come, Boyd offered a look through time at what Cary looked like decades ago. The lookback included the old Rogers Motel and Restaurant and the local Sunoco station where gas was just 41 cents.

As time passed, so did renovations. These included the Cary Theater property, The Cary Arts Center, the Sams-Jones House, the construction of the Amtrak Depot and the strip of empty land that now houses the iconic mark of Downtown Cary — the fountain.

With these accomplishments and more now in the record books, the Town is onto its next phase in development history with an all-new road map. Some might remember the previous guiding document called the Town Center Area Plan, adopted on August 9, 2001, which paved the way for the past improvements.

Now, the Imagine Cary Community Plan (adopted January 24, 2017) is the comprehensive outline of Cary’s vision for growth through 2040. Here’s a look at what’s on the horizon for Cary developments.

Cary Downtown Park on Track for Summer 2023

Basic construction has just begun for the large undertaking of Cary Downtown Park with an official groundbreaking ceremony set for May 2021.

“Beautiful,” “dazzling,” and “what a vision,” were a few of the comments voiced by Heart of Cary President Scott Korbin as Boyd flipped through the images of what each of the park’s sections will look like. These design renderings for the park can be seen on this CaryCitizen post.

The plan for the park includes an indoor, curated marketplace for things that might be needed by park-goers such as sunscreen or foods for a picnic. There will be water features, public art, kids slides, a botanical garden, a puppy plaza, and more.

Another development viewable from the park will be the One Walker, One Walnut mixed-use development with ground-floor retail space, office above, and a total of 153 multi-family apartment units.

Streetscape on Chatham, Rogers Alley Expansion

“One of the most important improvements is going to be improving our streetscape. Similar to what we have on the theater side, we want to begin to see that on the northern side of Chatham Street,” said Boyd.

A project just steps away from where these streetscape upgrades would be is the expansion and new design of Rogers Alley. Connecting the existing Rogers Alley with North Walker Street, this new segment would be something more inviting and geared toward foot traffic rather than vehicles.

Adding to the utility of this choice, it turns out Cedar Street is in the right of way of the railroad. So, should the tracks ever need to expand, having this expanded roadway/alleyway would give greater access and traffic flow.

Housing, Office & Retail Along Chatham

A rendering shows the design of Urban Place Condominiums.

“It’s important to add more housing opportunities within our downtown for people to be able to live and work,” said Boyd.

Urban Place

A project of 28 condo units, Urban Place has design underway with foundation and groundwork started beside the Chatham Walk site.

Chatham Walk

A recent image shows the progress of Chatham Walk, with equipment on-site working on the groundwork for Urban Place.

This four-story, 33-unit condominium project is located at the corner of Chatham Street and Urban Drive and is well under-way in its construction.

Williams House Redevelopment

Just across from Chatham Walk is where the Williams House once was, which has been relocated further down East Chatham Street to make way for new development. The rendering on the right is what the site will look like at completion, with office and retail spaces available.

The development is starting to take shape with a fresh coat of paint and Boyd says this one is all about adding “new life and a modern addition” to the downtown landscape.

Boyd also discussed the downtown grid network, the Chapel Hill Road Study progress and answered citizen questions.

Story by Ashley Kairis. Photos from the live meeting, courtesy of Ted Boyd.

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9 replies
  1. Torin Bussey
    Torin Bussey says:

    Need to stop the mixed use / townhome development on the site of the old Cary Library. Park is a beautiful, quiet, contemplative space that will offer a nice alternative to Disneyland across the street. The town can never get that space back. How many affordable single family homes have been torn down and 2, 3+ units taken their place? Does the town know how much density has already been shoehorned onto downtown lots outside of the projects listed above? Density is exploding without your oversight or participation. Keep the old library park!

    • Mark Stohlman
      Mark Stohlman says:

      Excellent idea Torin! I see a lot of folks using the old library site to get away from the crowds at the Park. Nice to see more passive parks and not so much programming.

    • Mark Neill
      Mark Neill says:

      “Grocer space” is entirely at odds with the public sentiment of “stop adding density”.

      The farthest straight-line distance from Chatham and Academy to Maynard is 1.5 miles, to High House and Maynard. So everything else at or /just/ outside the Maynard loop is closer than that.

      Within that 1.5 mile circle, there are:

      * 6 large grocery stores: 2 Food Lions (Kildaire Farms, Reedy Creek), 3 Harris Teeters (High House, Cary Towne Blvd, Harrison), Walmart Market (Harrison); and eventually a 7th with Wegman’s at Cary Towne.
      * 2 discount general grocery: Aldi and Lidl (Harrison)
      * 8 ethnic and specialty grocery stores: E Chatham (7 Hispanic, Indian, and Halal), Cary Towne (Harmony), High House (Golden Hex), and downtown (Turkuaz and La Nueva Mexicana)

      And all of that doesn’t even include the specialty food shows and such, like La Farm/Annelores/Blue Moon/Great Harvest/Panaderia bakeries, or Peak Olive Oil. Or the stuff just slightly further outside, like Today Asia, The Butcher’s Market, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s all at Kildaire and Cary Parkway, Lowes at High House and Cary Parkway, Capri Flavors at Harrison and Weston…

      The only way a general grocery store will move downtown, especially with the price of land there, is if downtown becomes MUCH denser. I mean, look at downtown Raleigh. Weaver Street is the closest thing to a full-service grocery they have “in” downtown. The closest full service grocery stores otherwise are the Harris Teeter in Cameron Village and the new Target on Hillsborough on State’s campus, without getting as far east as Rock Quarry (Food Lions at I-40 and at Glasscock).

      There is no way a full service grocery store will be coming to inside downtown any time soon.

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