Monday, February 6, 2023

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Graham, NC 27253
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Mebane OKs warehouses; ‘absolutely no’ quid pro quo for developer donating land for city fire station

Mebane has approved the rezoning necessary for a Texas-based real estate and industrial developer to build three warehouses along Trollingwood-Hawfields Road and Senator Ralph Scott Parkway in the Hawfields-area industrial park.

However, unlike all previous projects, the newest one approved earlier this month will have two entrances and exits along a road (Trollingwood-Hawfields Road) that is not within the park.

The developer and city officials assured the council that officials with the N.C. Department of Transportation have looked at the company’s plans and have no objection to the egress/ingress off of the busy road that already serves as the gateway into the industrial park, as well as serving two truck stops off the exit along that same roadway.

Crow Holdings Industrial, a Texas-based real estate and industrial developer, had filed plans with the city of Mebane for three large warehouses – totaling 683,000 square feet spread among about 78 acres – on the north side of the entrance into the North Carolina Commerce Park, a Hawfields-area industrial park that is already home to Walmart, Lidl, and Amazon. UPS also has an almost 1 million-square-foot distribution center under construction on 167 acres next to the Crow site.

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The three warehouses will be 279,000, 248,000 and 156,000 square feet, respectively. They’ll be located along Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway (the main entrance into the industrial site), Hawfields-Trollingwood Road exit off I-85/40, with a small section facing I-85/40.

Each of the three warehouses has its own entrances, and there are no internal connections among the three warehouses.

The warehouses designated as #2 (with 248,000 square feet) and #3 (with 156,000 square feet) with enter and exit off Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway.

However, the largest warehouse (designated #1, with 279,000 square feet) is slated to have two entrances along Trollingwood-Hawfields Road. One, closest to the interstate, is laid out to be cars only, for employees working at the site.

The second, for tractor-trailers, is intended to face a future intersection with an extension of Lowe’s Boulevard that will run from the present Lowe’s Home Improvement off NC 119 to Trollingwood-Hawfields Road.

However, both proposed entrances and exits to warehouse #1 envision allowing vehicles to turn left out of the facility onto Trollingwood-Hawfields Road – without any signals.

There will be 49 truck bays at the largest facility, facing Trollingwood-Hawfields Road; #2, with 248,000 square feet, will have 44 truck bays around it; and #3, with 156,000 square feet, will have 35; the total number is 128.

There will also be another 216 trailer storage parking spaces; and 518 vehicle parking spaces on the site.

Up until this project, tenants within the industrial park have generally been considered to be self-contained, with all truck traffic using just Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway, which was built specifically for the purpose of serving the industrial tenants in the park.

However, there are already increasing residential complaints, especially on the Graham side of the park, about tractor trailers using nearby roads, rather than coming and going strictly along the parkway that was built to serve them. Particularly noticeable, according to statements at previous Graham city council meetings, are trucks from Amazon and Lidl, the two companies located on the Graham side of the industrial park.

 

Fire station land promised
Crow representative Nick Thornton reiterated to the city council earlier this month what he had told the planning board members last month: there are not yet any designated tenants for any of the three buildings.

Thornton also highlighted that the company had set aside about 2.5 acres on the south side of Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway, at the entrance to the industrial park, to the city of Mebane, for the future site of a new fire station.

Alamance News publisher Tom Boney, Jr. questioned who – the city or the company – had first raised the issue of having a future fire station on some of the land owned by Crow.

Boney also questioned if the land transfer of land for the fire station to the city was voluntary – as both the city and company representatives said it was – why it was, in fact, included as one of the conditions for the warehouse project’s approval.

Mebane city manager Chris Rollins and assistant manager Preston Mitchell said that the company had voluntarily included that as one of its requested conditions for rezoning the other portions of the property.

Boney pressed as to whether the company had received any “promises or special considerations” from the city in return for the company designating land for a future city fire station?

“Absolutely not,” Rollins was quick to respond.

Thornton told councilman Tim Bradley that he anticipates that the company will work on all three warehouses concurrently, rather than building in any particular sequence.

The council approved the rezoning unanimously, 5-0.

Crow Holdings Industrial, which is the developer for the Mebane project, is a part of Crow Holdings Development, is the successor to the 1948 company begun by Trammell Crow, who built and leased his first warehouse in Dallas, Texas. Today the company has more than 20 offices across the U.S. and is one of the nation’s largest industrial developers.

The Crow Holdings warehouses are the latest in a string of warehouse announcements made or approved recently.

Plans were filed in Graham in August for five warehouses, totaling 745,700 square feet, which is to be built along Cherry Lane near I-85/40. Meanwhile, another developer has begun construction on clearing land for a 579,000-square foot warehouse on 55 acres along I-85/40 and behind the Flying J Truck Stop off Jimmie Kerr Road, also in Graham.

Also in Mebane, the city council annexed 74 acres in September in western Orange County in August where a Winston-Salem developer is planning two warehouses with about 900,000 square feet.

Mebane is also home to recently-completed or almost-completed distribution centers for Chick-fil-A, Medline, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

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