Industrial project on outskirts of city awaiting consideration
An industrial park that could have up to 675,000 square feet of warehouse space is being proposed for 46 acres of vacant land at 6016 West Ten Road, just on the outskirts of Mebane.
The developer for the proposed industrial park along West Ten Road is asking for the property to be rezoned for light manufacturing, conditional zoning to allow for the construction of warehouse space and parking, as well as annexation into Mebane’s city limits. The land is currently located within Orange County’s jurisdiction and zoned for rural residential uses.
Currently named “West Ten Industrial,” the developer for the industrial park is Al Neyer, a real estate development company that is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and has an office in Raleigh.
Preliminary plans that have been developed for the project show that West Ten Industrial would have two buildings. One building would be built on a 24.77-acre portion of the property and would have a maximum of 425,000 square feet. The second building would be built on 21.56 acres and would have a maximum of 225,000 square feet, based on preliminary plans the developer submitted to the city.
Al Neyer is currently developing two business parks in Wake County. Construction of a 150,000-square foot building, which is the first phase of a business park in Garner that will eventually have four buildings and 675,000 square feet of space, was completed earlier this year, according to Justin Parker, vice president of real estate development for Al Neyer’s Raleigh office.
The developer’s second project in the Triangle Region, a 423,326-square foot business park on 28 acres in east Raleigh, is targeted for completion during the second half of 2021, Parker confirmed Wednesday in an interview with The Alamance News. Al Neyer has previously developed commercial, industrial, healthcare, and multifamily residential projects in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.
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Parker declined this week to disclose specifics concerning the proposed industrial park outside Mebane, pending approval of the rezoning and annexation request.
Similar projects the developer has underway in the Triangle region may provide a preview of coming attractions.
Parker pointed out that, by the time the initial phase of construction on the business park in Garner was complete, it was “100 percent leased to Lowes Home Improvement and Pack Rat Moving and Storage.” Lowes Home Improvement leased the space at the business park in Garner for a warehouse and distribution center, he confirmed. Site work is being completed on the second business park in east Raleigh, Parker said, adding that he expects “vertical construction to commence” around the first quarter of 2021.
Pressed about potential tenants for the industrial park that is proposed outside Mebane, Parker said this week “we’re not going to comment at this point.” That position, he explained, “is not specific” to the proposal for Mebane. Rather, he indicated that most developers tend to be tight-lipped until negotiations and approvals are final.
The 46-acre site proposed for West Ten Industrial is currently valued at $35,036 and is owned by Margaret Mann and Joanne Beikert of Mebane, according to Orange County’s register of deeds. Al Neyer has the property under contract to purchase, pending approval of the rezoning request, Parker confirmed for the newspaper.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with staff and neighbors, and we are committed to being a responsible neighbor.”
– Justin Parker, vice president of real estate development for Al Neyer
Following a lengthy discussion at their latest meeting Monday night, Mebane planning board members agreed to postpone a vote on the developer’s request until January, marking the second such time such a delay has been proposed in as many months.
An initial discussion during in November drew questions and concerns from six nearby homeowners, though none spoke against the proposal last month. Aimee Tattersall of 1133 Squires Road had suggested expanding a buffer on the eastern side of the property from 70 to 100 feet to mitigate potential noise from the industrial park; several other nearby homeowners along Squires Road and Johann Lane asked the developer to consider installing drainage to minimize stormwater runoff from a creek along Johann Lane that overflows during heavy rains.
Development of the site would create impervious surface that could exacerbate existing problems with runoff, several neighboring homeowners said during the earlier discussion. Al Neyer has asked the city for an allowance that would permit up to 70 percent of the site to be built out. Parker has agreed to meet with those homeowners and discuss their concerns during a site visit.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with staff and neighbors, and we are committed to being a responsible neighbor,” Parker told the newspaper this week.
The proposed site for West Ten Industrial is located in the southeast quadrant at the intersection of West Ten and Buckhorn roads outside Mebane. If approved by the city’s planning board and city council, the industrial park would be accessed by two driveways along West Ten Road, as well as a possible future driveway along Buckhorn Road, near an existing used car lot, according to information that was provided to the planning board this week. The property immediately north of the site, on the other side of West Ten Road, serves as a secondary entrance for the Buckhorn Flea Market.
Traffic signal recommended at Buckhorn & I-85/40 by 2023 – regardless of whether project is built
Targeted for completion in 2023, West Ten Industrial is estimated to generate an additional 1,120 vehicle trips per day, based on a traffic impact analysis (TIA) completed earlier this month for the developer by Ramey Kemp & Associates, a transportation consulting firm in Raleigh. West Ten Road currently has around 1,700 average daily trips, based on 2019 traffic count data, the latest period for which the figures are available from the state Department of Transportation. The TIA assumes a 2 percent annual increase in traffic volume, or just over 6 percent growth in traffic volume by 2023.
The TIA revealed that approximately 82 vehicles would be entering the site, and 24 exiting during peak hours in the morning. The analysis showed that about 29 vehicles would be entering the site and 80 exiting during peak afternoon travel times. The consultant is also recommending a potential traffic signal at an intersection that leads from Buckhorn Road onto the eastbound ramp of I-40/85 by 2023, regardless of whether West Ten Industrial is built, according to the TIA. NCDOT data showed that there had been 11 crashes at the Buckhorn Road and I-85/40 interchange, based on the traffic study conducted by Ramey Kemp & Associates.
Utilities are currently available at the site, according to a report that was prepared for the planning board’s latest discussion. The city’s engineer, Franz Holt of the Alley, Williams, Carmen & King firm in Burlington, estimates that the industrial park would require 12,500 gallons of water per day, which would be provided by an 8-inch line that would connect to an existing city water main on West Ten Road. The developer would need to install and maintain a private septic system and pump station, Holt determined.
Mebane’s planning department staff has offered no recommendation about the requested rezoning for the planning board. The planning department is recommending that, if the planning board approves the request, the developer install a right-turn lane onto a western driveway along West Ten Road and restricting the possible entrance along Buckhorn Road to non-freight vehicles.
While the requested zoning designation (light manufacturing, conditional) is beyond the existing scope of the Mebane’s land development plan, it would be consistent with the Buckhorn Area Plan that the city is developing in collaboration with Orange County and the Piedmont Triad Regional Council, according to Cy Stober, development director for the city of Mebane.
The proposed Buckhorn Area Plan would guide future development within the 900-plus acre Buckhorn economic development district along the westernmost edge of Orange County that was established years ago. The Buckhorn economic development district – one of three EDDs, as they are termed by Orange County officials – is targeted for manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, retail, and service uses, according to Orange County’s economic development department.
The proposed Buckhorn EDD is bounded on the north side by the rail line running parallel to U.S. Highway 70 East, just outside of Mebane; Ben Wilson and Mattress factory roads to the west; Mount Willing Road and parcels along I-85/40 to the east; and Bushy Cook Road and Seven Mile Creek to the south, based on a draft of the Buckhorn Area Plan study that was completed earlier this month.