A shopping center developer’s request for a voluntary annexation of Ogden property, where a new center is planned, is the second and the largest such request Wilmington officials have considered since February 2013.
That’s when the city changed its annexation policy to require that for any proposed development denied by the county, the developer cannot apply for annexation for six months.
City Council could address the annexation petition for the first time at its meeting May 5. The combined properties where Ogden Marketplace, expected to be anchored by a Publix grocery store, is planned are at the corner of Market Street and Middle Sound Loop Road.
Explaining the reason for withdrawing the proposal from New Hanover County and seeking city annexation, the shopping center’s developer Charlie Worthen said, “Our proposed plan has street-front retail, and the county requirements just did not fit with street front retail.”
Worthen, principal of Halpern Enterprises Inc., said recently that the company is in the process of putting together revised plans for Ogden Marketplace that responds to nearby residents’ concerns about losing trees.
“We are saving a vast majority of the larger, old-growth trees on the site,” he said.
The City Council’s first step in the process is to consider a resolution directing the city clerk to investigate the sufficiency of the annexation petition, said the city’s assistant planning director Ron Satterfield. The only other annexation request the city has received since the policy change in 2013 was for a small property associated with the Belle Meade development on Carolina Beach Road, Satterfield said. That property was sandwiched between areas within the city limits.
The city requires the developer to notify adjacent owners and hold a meeting for any interested parties, something Cindee Wolf of Design Solutions and Worthen also did in October to meet county requirements. The upcoming open-house style meeting for the city will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. April 29 in the Oleander Room at the New Hanover County Executive Development Center, 1241 Military Cutoff Road, according to the letter about Ogden Marketplace that Wolf sent to adjacent property owners earlier this month.
If City Council passes the ordinance to annex the property in June, the effective date for annexation would be July 1, but the Planning Commission public hearing to then assign a zoning designation for the area could take place June 3, with the City Council considering a vote at its meeting July 21 or Aug. 4, in a timeline that is subject to change, according to the city’s planning department.
“We’d like to get it open by the third or fourth quarter of 2016,” Worthen said. “It takes 12 months to build a project from the day we start. We’d have to commence construction by this year to complete it by next year.”
In October, Worthen said Ogden Marketplace would represent a $24 million investment. At that time, a site plan called the grocery store “Publix.” The chain has not confirmed any Wilmington locations.
A revised site plan Wolf sent in her most recent letter shows a 45,600-square-foot grocery store next to nearly 20,000 square feet of shops and a couple of outparcels for additional businesses.