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University Marketplace updates: New renderings, slightly longer time horizon

As Valerie's noted at her place, demolition work is well underway on the old Regency Plaza across the street from the SuperTarget/Sam's Club complex at the site of the one-time South Square mall.

The University Marketplace renovations at the formerly Kroger-helmed Regency Plaza represent the next wave in retail revolution for the area, which had been part of perhaps the second-wave of suburban strip centers in town, and which has found itself since out of favor as a car-centric development amidst car lots and office buildings.

Charlotte-based Hawthorne Retail Partners are renovating the former plaza, transforming it into a mixed-use development with over 300 apartments and 110,000+ sq. ft. of retail, as we've discussed before here. (Monica Chen has a useful update in the H-S today as well, the high points of which we'll recap below.)

First, some new project renderings, straight from the developer. Here's the view from University Dr., which runs to the north of the project (click for a larger image):


These renderings show a nice reorientation of the complex away from the current expanse of parking, with University Dr. actually getting an attractive view of the project, as opposed to the current butt-end view of the rear of the old strip mall.

As the H-S notes, the building shown in the center here is the part of the old strip mall that currently houses Sitar India Palace -- which itself is remaining open though adding a second location on neighboring 15-501.

Poppies Gourmet Farmers Marker, a Brevard-based speciality food retailer, is signed up to take the space on the left in the above rendering with a 20,000 sq. ft. pad, as has been previously announced.

Meanwhile, the northern and western sides of the site, currently filled with vacant parking (as we saw here a few weeks ago) will be replaced with apartments and ground-level retail.

Here's a reverse view, looking back from the "main street" of the complex towards University Dr. Note the new pedestrian access intended for University; the Poppies is again visible in the building on the right:


Finally, a view looking towards the existing Boston Market on the site, and showing the mixed-use design of apartments above ground level retail with structured parking inside:


The project is slated to run a bit longer than originally expected, however, according to the H-S; it's now slated for completion in the spring of 2011 2010, versus the original 12-18 month time frame for finishing the transformation.



just wondering, as my Dad, a recent Northern transplant, finds the credit union service center on the corner of Shannon and University invaluable, does the property extended to Shannon? if so, what's to become of Taco Bell, Wendy's, the laundromat, and of course, the CUSC?



From what I've seen, it looks like that surrounding strip will remain. Look at this overhead view: (These are drawings from several months ago.)


It's an attractive project, however, it does not represent a shift away from "car-centric" development. There are still plenty of parking spaces on asphalt, or fake-brick-stamped-concrete-type if you prefer, to supply patrons of those small businesses.

The parking deck is only 2-3 levels--enough to supply the residential aspect, with some spillover capacity for the office/retail component. I did not see much office component in Valerie's drawing, so I suppose the existing office will still have it's surface parking supply. There's enough to go around for everyone and it just looks better than the previous strip mall and bunker.

It's a nice and cozy bit of fake urbanism. Strip away the artificial facades, pavers, and trees, you still have a strip mall and apartments. It will just feel safer to sit outside the cafe and have a cup o' joe with the H/S. Surrounding property values will go up and so will the property taxes and sales tax receipts. Everyone will be happy and the trend will hopefully continue across the city.


I think it will be a great development for our South Square area.
First no tree cutting is involved (I am thinking about the hope valley commons shopping plaza which I will boycott) and second it rehabilitates a place which had been dormant too long. Bringing nice residences/office space and shopping to an area like South Square can only benefit Southwest Durham and release some development pressure on the Southpoint point area and Jordan Lake.

Kevin Davis

@GreenLantern: I gotta agree with JG on this one. Is it "fake urbanism?" Well, yeah, to a point. But the more we can increase density and promote in-fill rather than greenfield development, the more we re-use existing in-town infrastructure, which in turn promotes shorter car trips.

Is it car-centric? Yes, but last I checked, there isn't much in the way of a light rail line running through the Triangle -- unfortunately. Other than projects in the heart of downtown, I don't think it's reasonable to expect anything but until we get our transit funding priorities in order. That said, to the extent that 15-501 is a future transit corridor, this is the perfect kind of dense development to benefit from such an eventual project.


Greenlantern: "car centric" possible but on the other hand I live close to South Square and having a nice food store will considerably reduce my trips to the overcrowded whole foods on Broad Street. Therefore I will pollute less.
In terms of what I consider bad development : it's the new Lowes store currently being built at the intersection of MLK bvd and Fayette ville street. Some tree cutting is involved, it will add traffic next to the American Tobacco Trail and without any particular connection with the rest of the Southpoint shopping area.


Well, tree-cutting doesn't separate good development from bad development in this particular case. Despite the visually appealing aspect of this development, you still have to locate retail in areas convenient to car travel. Otherwise you just cater to the crowd in the adjoining neighborhoods, or the limited clientele in your residential block. Businesses like Lowes shouldn't have to be constrained by having to locate only where there was an existing worn-out strip mall. Wherever the main roads, intersections, and transit lines are located, the zoning is favorable for most retail development like Lowes Foods. I don't see any reason to force socialist restrictions on business and development just because their presence "might" impact certain sacred cows like the ATT, that serve only a few. You also have to remember that not everyone will be able to afford the sky-high rents in these idyllic compounds. Once you start interfering too much with proven, market-driven reasons for locating development you start to limit the choices people have, making areas too exclusive and gentrified for regular people.


Greenlantern: "I don't see any reason to force socialist restrictions on business and development just because their presence "might" impact certain sacred cows like the ATT, that serve only a few."

I don't follow you. In your ealier post you seemed to advocate against "car centric" development and now you seem to take side for a development that will be totally "car centric" and impacting one of the few greenways we have in Durham?

As far as I see the ATT it 's not serving only a few. I see lots of people everyday of the year, rain or shine that are circulating on it.

Also, where is the socialism in my earlier post? I don't see it.

One of the best aspects of Durham are the abundant forests surrounding it. It is true; I oppose seeing these trees being destroyed just to add a hardware store considering there is already one in the woodcroft development.

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