Holiday season also development season in Garner

kjahner@newsobserver.comDecember 11, 2013 

— Construction will soon start at U.S. 70 in the White Oak area, but it’s not the only place in Garner that will see earth and girders move in early 2014.

A number of commercial and real estate developments have made their way down the pipeline, and could be approved in the next month to set Garner up for numerous additions as economic growth continues. That would create more availible amenities for citizens and more property tax dollars for local government.

While it’s a common time of year for developers to work through site plan approval processes so they can start building when the weather turns in late winter or early spring, Garner could prove particularly busy.

“We’re seeing a little more activity than we have in a while,” planning director Brad Bass said.

The long-awaited project to upgrade the confluence of I-40, U.S. 70 and White Oak Road could see construction begin soon. The town has executed a contract with the contractor, and a notice to procede should come this month.

That project has helped drive tens of millions of dollars in planned investment on the north side of U.S. 70 across from White Oak Crossing, including a Cabela’s, Drury Inn hotel, and several other retail and restaurant entities yet to be named.

But the planned additions to Garner go beyond that massive development.

Plans for a new Walgreen’s on U.S. 70 were discussed at the town’s planning commission this week. The proposed store would be located on the northwest corner of U.S. 70 and Loop Road near Garner Town Square.

If approved by the commission and council, Walgreen’s could submit building plans and ultimately start construction during the first few months of 2014 – around the same time an already approved Aldi will be built at Timber Drive and Aversboro Road.

In addition, a retail expansion could stretch the White Oak Crossing south, with 83,000 square feet planned for just south of Target on White Oak Road. Bass said plans they saw included a Burlington Coat Factory; while he said it’s often an indicator he notes the particular tenants could change.

On top of all that, a 248-unit apartment complex has been proposed in the Greenfield North industrial area off U.S. 70.

Bass said other developments remain in early stages, so they have yet to be made public just yet.

Most of the projects have yet to get planning commission approval and to have their public hearings, so objections and possible problems with the plans could emerge. Bass said he’s heard rumors of discontent with the idea of the Greenfield apartment complex, though no one has brought them directly to him.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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