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Leland To Pay For Road Improvements At Leland Corners

By Johanna F. Still, posted Mar 15, 2022

The town of Leland has agreed to pay for the cost of road improvements beyond what is required for the Leland Corners commercial development.

Leland Corners’ developer, TRC Leland 2 LLC, plans to construct a commercial project on a nearly 5-acre parcel of land fronting U.S. 17. The company, a subsidiary of Charleston-based Twin Rivers Captial, intends to purchase the land from Lidl US Operations LLC, according to town documents. Lidl US Operations’ property was voluntarily annexed into town limits in November 2020. 

Lidl had plans to build on the parcel but later backed out, and was sued in federal court in 2018 for backtracking on its plans in Wilmington, Cary and Charlotte. 

According to town documents, three planned tenants of Leland Corners so far are Cook Out, Take 5 Oil Change and 7-Eleven, which each submitted plans last year. 

Leland Corners is not associated with an adjacent highway-facing project, Leland Town Center, which is being separately developed by C&S Commercial Properties. Leland Town Center has brought on Chick-fil-A, Firehouse Subs, Starbucks and more in its built-out components; future phases include a Lowe’s Home Improvement and a Carolina Shores Car Wash, according to town documents. 

A traffic impact analysis approved by the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization in January 2021 associated with Leland Corners called for road improvements on Ocean Gate Way, including a left-turn lane, concrete median and new asphalt pavement. 

In turn, town staff proposed an enhanced roadway improvement, and council agreed last month to pay for it at the town’s expense. The town’s version of roadway improvements includes a single-lane teardrop roundabout at the intersection of Ocean Gate Plaza and New Pointe Boulevard. 

“We all know the increased traffic we’re seeing, even without Leland Corners, backing up at that stop sign,” Leland’s economic and community development director, Gary Vidmar, told council at a Feb. 17 meeting. “This will improve that traffic flow immensely.”

The town’s alternative will provide a “safer, more attractive, and improved entrance” into Leland Corners, Leland Town Center and other surrounding retail outlets, according to a town memo. Leland will take on the permitting responsibilities and development of the teardrop alternative, per its agreement with the developer.

“It’s a very hectic, dangerous intersection, and [I] agree something needs to be done there,” Leland Councilman Bob Campbell said at the Feb. 17 meeting.

Vidmar said the developer would still be responsible for paying for the cost of the WMPO-required improvements, even though they won’t get built; the town will cover the difference between its enhanced plans and the required plans. “We don’t expect construction will be lengthy,” Vidmar said at the meeting.

Last month, the town and TRC Leland 2 entered into a development agreement, whereby the company agreed to pay the town $94,554 – the cost of the required roadway improvements.

The cost the town is obligated to pay in excess of this amount to accommodate the improved roadway design is not yet known. “We do not have an estimate because it has not yet been engineered and designed,” a town spokesperson said Tuesday. 

At its regular meeting Thursday, the town council will vote on a budget amendment to appropriate the developer’s payment to the Leland Corners project. The remainder of the cost of the road improvements will be appropriated from the general fund, according to a town memo. 

A representative of Twin Rivers Captial could not be immediately reached for comment. 

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