Sunday, December 4, 2022

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

900,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space proposed for Orange County side of Mebane

Another large warehouse project is also about to be considered in Mebane, on the Orange County side currently outside the city limits, along West Ten Road.

The city’s planning board will consider the project Monday at its monthly meeting, beginning at 6:30. The city’s planning department released information on the project at 5:01 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

A Winston-Salem developer is proposing to rezone property for light industrial use and build two large warehouse buildings on about 74 acres on the north side of West Ten Road across from the intersection with Bushy Creek Road down almost as far as Stephanie Lane.

One of the developer’s current projects is in the Rock Creek Center at the Rock Creek Road exit near Whitsett.

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The identity of the ultimate tenants of the warehouses in Orange County is not specified in the planning board materials, if indeed, it is even known by the developer.

All of the project is in Orange County and is beyond Mebane’s current municipal limits and its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). However, the developer, Williams Development Group, will seek annexation. The area is part of what Orange County has dubbed the Buckhorn Economic Development District and which that county has targeted for future industrial development and similar uses.

The development company will also pay for utility extensions from the city’s water and sewer lines which currently run near the Gravelly Hill Middle School on West Ten Road.

The project consists of two large warehouses: “Building A,” 600,000 square feet, would be situated on 46.4 acres on the eastern portion of the property; “Building B,” 300,000 square feet, will be on 27.6 acres, closer to Mebane.

[Story continues below company’s graphic of intended layout of the two warehouse buildings.]

There will be landscape buffering along West Ten Road, with three entrances into the facilities, one each into the individual warehouses and another that will serve as a joint entrance to both locations.

Much of the property fronts near I-85/40.

It is the latest in a series of industrial projects that have been proposed in this area over the past two years.

The largest, a Medline distribution center of 1.2 million square feet, is farther west along West Ten Road near its intersection with Buckhorn Road. Two others large buildings, being built by developer Al Neyer, are at the corner of West Ten and Buckhorn roads.

The larger of those, with 375,000 square feet, will house a facility for Thermo Fisher Scientific. Al Neyer is also beginning work on an even larger warehouse development – 5 buildings with 980,000 square feet – between I-85/40 and Buckhorn and West Ten roads behind the Petro truck stop at Buckhorn Road.

A traffic study conducted for the developer estimates 794 car trips daily, with 18 truck trips per day, at build-out.

The proposed warehouses are the latest in a string of distribution centers that have located, or announced plans to build, in Alamance or western Orange counties over the past several years. Developers and the county’s economic development officials have pointed to the area’s central location adjacent to two major interstate highways, I-85 and I-40.

The city’s planning staff is recommending approval of the project, which is likely to trigger opposition from area residents who resisted the earlier nearby projects. Critics have charged that the industries are spoiling the idyllic, rural setting to which they’ve become accustomed and in some cases selected precisely because of its bucolic appeal. However, Orange County has repeatedly pointed to the fact that it had designated the area for long-term economic development since the 1980s.

The Buckhorn Economic Development District was anticipated to be targeted for light industrial, distribution, flex space, office, and service/retail uses being located adjacent to interstate and major arterial highways, according to Mebane’s planning staff summary.

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