Story and photo by Hal Goodtree.
Cary, NC – The Heart of Cary meeting on Thursday morning was literally standing room only for a presentation by Jon Kane, the developer of North Hills.
A Who’s Who and Some Fine Baked Goods
Close to 50 downtown business owners, residents and public officials packed the Cary Chamber for the 8 o’clock meeting. It was a who’s who of downtown leadership including Ed Gawf, Ralph and Daphne Ashworth, Scott Ashworth, Sheila and Carroll Ogle, Don and Lisa Frantz, Howard Johnson and Sandy Jordan of the Chamber, Captain Don Hamilton of the Police, property owners Bill Taylor and Curtis Westbrook and many other civic and business leaders.
Tasty baked goods including Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread were supplied by Great Harvest and sponsored by CaryCitizen.
Down to Business
After some HoCA business, Doc Thorne turned the floor over to Jon Kane.
In a nutshell, Mr. Kane started with a small property that held a single drug store and turned it into one of the signature developments in the Triangle – North Hills.
In less than a dozen years, Kane Realty Corporation has expanded the project to over 100 acres of mixed use retail, residential, entertainment and office.
Fill In The Blank
Mr. Kane talked about North Hills, but the audience didn’t have much trouble picturing the parallels to downtown Cary.
The developer began with a simple statement relating to his own project. He asked the audience to complete this sentence:
“If you’re going to Raleigh, you have to go to _________”
What fills in the blank? Kane Realty set out to make North Hills the answer to that question.
Ingredients of a Successful Development
As he clicked through his slides, Jon Kane ticked off a list of ingredients that make a successful redevelopment on a community scale:
- Areas to just “hang out”
- Office above retail (makes life efficient)
- Emphasis on unique, quality design and architecture
- Lots of things to do , and easy to do them
- Importance of events – days, nights and weekends
- Be strategic about how parking fits into the development
Optimism for Downtown Cary Redevelopment
Mr. Kane identified a key strength in Cary’s revitalized effort downtown as broadly based community buy-in, from individual business owners to elected officials and landowners.
Fill In The Blank
Jon Kane closed by challenging members of the Heart of Cary Association to fill in their own blank:
“If you’re visiting Cary, you must go to ______________.”
Heart of Cary meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit Heart of Cary Association.