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A planned commercial development on the west side of town got approval Tuesday night to start turning dirt.
Woodhaven Development Group is building more than 170,000 square feet of retail and restaurant spaces on 23 acres on the southwest side of the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Raleigh Road Parkway. Members of the planning and design review board had to decide the fate of the Heritage Corner Shopping Center Tuesday night and after a few questions, the project received the green light.
“We’re really excited to be in Wilson,” said Adam Bickley, a partner at Woodhaven. “We believe in Wilson. We like the city, and we want to be a part of the continual push for growth in Wilson.”
Traffic was among the concerns, but engineer Ron Sutton with Herring Sutton & Associates explained that a traffic impact study was conducted by the N.C. Department of Transportation to determine how to handle volume spurred by Heritage Corner as well as an adjacent housing development planned.
Sutton explained that turn and extra lanes would be added with a traffic light on Airport Boulevard planned in the second phase of the commercial development.
“We want the free flow of traffic during peak time periods on Airport Boulevard and Raleigh Road Parkway,” Sutton said.
Janet Holland, Wilson land development manager, said connectivity within the developments — especially for pedestrians — was considered throughout the process. In addition to sidewalks around the property, there are crosswalks and walkways planned through the nearly 550 planned parking spaces.
“The development will provide sidewalks as a means for a pedestrian network,” Bickley said. “We have worked closely with the residential component to create interconnectivity throughout the entire development, spanning through both the commercial and the residential areas, thereby increasing the developments walkability.”
He added the look of the buildings will be similar to Heritage Crossing.
“They are trying to mirror the adjacent shopping center in the types of materials with contrast of lighter and darker colors while staying in the earth tones to bring it all together,” Holland said. “It will not be a drastic change in appearance along our major corridor of Raleigh Road Parkway.”
While Bickley could not disclose any of the tenants signed on for the project, he said construction will begin before the end of the year and tenant announcements will likely happen in early 2020.
“Woodhaven as a company works with nationally recognized tenants, so those that we’re negotiating with for the property will be nationally recognized and be a great addition to the Wilson market.”
According to the site plan, the project includes an anchor tenant occupying 55,000 square feet, a junior anchor in 35,640 square feet and a nearby development with a 20,000-square-foot center tenant bookended by a 10,000-square-foot business and up to five businesses in 5,000 square feet.
Construction is set to begin with the infrastructure as well as seven outparcel buildings along Raleigh Road and Airport Boulevards. Bickley said he hopes to use as many local subcontractors as possible on the project.
Sutton added that before the second phase begins, the plan may have enough changes to dictate another hearing before the design review board.