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Real Estate - Commercial

Developer Again Seeks Military Cutoff Rezoning With 'less-intensive' Plan For The Avenue

By Cece Nunn, posted Mar 16, 2018
The developer of a proposed $200 million mixed-use project on Military Cutoff Road has again submitted a rezoning request for the development's 44-acre site, with the current plan expected to be less intensive than the previous proposal withdrawn last summer.

Greensboro-based The Carroll Companies filed the rezoning request Friday for The Avenue, a development that will be anchored by a Westin hotel called Westin on The Avenue, and feature "an upscale spa and premium conference center," according to a Carroll Companies statement this week.

The Avenue will also include apartments, class-A office space, "fine dining and culinary hot spots, unique retailers and exclusive boutiques," the statement, written by development consultant Livian Jones, said.

The application filed Friday seeks a rezoning of the property, which currently holds a 63-unit mobile home park, to UMX-CD (Urban Mixed-Use District) to allow for the mixed-use project.

"The Avenue also will be subject to a development agreement with the City of Wilmington, and the developer has filed a Special Use Permit application to allow a small number of buildings located in the interior of the Avenue to be built up to a 75’ height," Jones wrote.  

She wrote that the use of a development agreement, which would have to be considered and approved by city officials, and requirement of a special use permit "will provide the City with considerable oversight and control over most aspects of The Avenue’s development, from its development timeline, to building locations to use requirements."

The company statement also said that The Avenue "will not only realize The Carroll Companies’ plan to bring the upscale Westin brand as a regional destination draw to Wilmington, the project will also be a significant step toward accomplishing the City’s goal to promote mixed-use development along Military Cutoff Road."

A prior rezoning request for The Avenue was withdrawn last summer after a city staff report said transportation concerns about the proposed development would outweigh the economic benefits.

"The current version of the Avenue represents a less intensive use of the site than the developer originally contemplated, with pedestrian-friendly boutique retailers located on the first floor of mixed use office and retail buildings, situated along walkable blocks on the project’s main avenue," Jones wrote in the statement. "The quality, scope and mix of uses contemplated in The Avenue provide a range of services within walking distance of integrated residential development, to help reduce motor vehicle trips."

The new plan for The Avenue results in an estimated 30 percent reduction in traffic, according to The Carroll Companies. 

"Even better news for Wilmington commuters comes in the form of The Avenue’s planned offsite road improvements," the statement said. "Although The Avenue will represent a substantially less intense use that its original plans, The Carroll Companies are still proposing to install the extensive improvements to Military Cutoff Road that [the N.C. Department of Transportation and Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization] approved for the original, higher density plan of development. The result? A regional destination that will actually improve traffic flow along the Military Cutoff corridor after it is built."
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