Columbia Development Wants Feedback on Eastern Gateway Name

Cary, NC – The Eastern Gateway may surpass Downtown Cary as the region of town with the most interest right now. With Columbia Development planning a large mixed-use development there, they are reaching out for help with the name as they try to forge a community connection.

Choose The Name

Columbia Development, a South Carolina-based real estate development firm, is working on a 92-acre project in Cary’s Eastern Gateway, right around Cary Towne Boulevard. The plan for the Eastern Gateway was approved by Town Council in November 2016, fast-tracked ahead of the rest of the Imagine Cary plan.

With this new mixed-use development, Columbia is asking Cary residents to give them feedback for its name. The three possible names are:

  • Ardent Yard
  • Fenton (after Samuel Fenton Cary, the town’s namesake)
  • Revel

Abbitt Goodwin, Columbia’s Raleigh-based developer, said they are going to residents to ask about these names to create community involvement.

“This is the focal point for major transformation in East Cary,” Goodwin said. “East Cary became a bedroom community to Raleigh and was forgotten. We want this to be the catalyst for reinvestment.”

As the name suggests, the Eastern Gateway is meant to be the way visitors first see Cary when they enter from the East. So, Goodwin said, whatever this property becomes will be an important part of the overall impression of Cary.

“We want the community to take ownership and involvement in it,” Goodwin said.

Eastern Destination

The entire Columbia Development property in the Eastern Gateway is around 92 acres, with more than two million square feet making up new buildings.

“A little more than half is office and the remainder is residential, retail, restaurants and a hotel,” Goodwin said.

As part of the design, the buildings will have retail on the bottom level with office and housing on top.

“This project is unlike anything else in the area and will be true integrated mixed use,” Goodwin said.

In the end, Goodwin said the hopes are not just to create more space for offices, housing and shopping but to create a destination.

“We want this to be a place where people come to spend their discretionary time,” he said.

A render of Columbia Development’s proposed Eastern Gateway project


Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Columbia Development and Michael Papich.

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22 replies
  1. C
    C says:

    Make the buildings tall enough to see DT Raleigh from inside or either on a rooftop space of some sorts. Shooooooot… better just build some big ones just because it’s your last itty bitty little bit of land you got to make an impression with!!!

  2. Robert Bush
    Robert Bush says:

    None of those names grabs me. I hope they get rid of the large surface parking lot and build in excellent access for public transit and drop off spaces for Lyft & Uber.

  3. kevin
    kevin says:

    I agree on both accounts. Put the parking underground. They probably won’t do that though because it will be easier for Wegmans customers to unload their groceries on a surface lot. I also agree on the tall buildings.

    I think the bigger problem is that it is time for Cary to stop being a bedroom community. A 150,000 bedroom community? Cary needs to switch to calling themselves a “city” instead of a town and start acting like it, not a bedroom community.

  4. Len Nieman
    Len Nieman says:

    ‘Ardent Yard’ – Sounds like the field where young folks go to watch the “submarine races”.

    ‘Revel’ – verb. 1. Enjoy oneself in a lively and noisy way, especially with drinking and dancing.
    Is that how we want people to think of Cary?

    ‘Fenton’ – How many people would actually associate that with Samuel Cary? The first thing that came to my mind was Fenton, MO, near where I grew up.

    There have to be better choices. How about opening this up to public input, and not just picking one of three not so great options?

  5. Claudia
    Claudia says:

    It’s not fair to Cary residents to have this place tearing up the land and building at the very same time Cary Towne Center is dropping in already planned projects.Not to mention they are both going to fight over the same brands and we could end up with two watered down projects. Not a good look. Mayor Weinbrecht, we’re watching.

    • Robert Bush
      Robert Bush says:

      Claudia, I think this project will be more office and residential, with just some ground-level retail. The major shopping will continue to be across the street at the mall. Which raises another point – good pedestrian and bicycle access across Cary Towne Blvd is critical. There’s a pedestrian tunnel under the road now; I’d like to see a greenway connection between the two sides.

  6. Josh M.
    Josh M. says:

    I have lived in Cary for 12 years and have seen our town flourish with progressive growth. I have followed this project since the inception and know how lucky we are going to be with this type of Mixed-Use project in our twin. Typically only cities like Charlotte and Atlanta are afforded these types of projects. I am excited for the direction Cary is headed and am thrilled to be a part of it. Samuel Fenton Cary was a Congressman from Ohio who was a teetotaler and was a proponent of the abolishment of slavery, which by any stretch is a vote by me to have this development also be named for him. Fenton has my vote.

    Thanks to Cary Citizen for reaching out to us citizens to hear our voice.

  7. Harrison
    Harrison says:

    None of those names work for me at all. To be blunt, they are so forgettable and lacking any association with place that I wonder why these have been submitted for public comment. The rendering is a disappointing example of faux urbanism with a fairly conventional site design plus a nod to pretending it isn’t completely auto-oriented through use of parking structures – although the Wegman’s parking lot tears a huge hole in the faux fabric. It looks less pedestrian friendly than North Hills so it’s difficult to know if this will even be a “park once” destination or if I’ll need to drive from one side to the other like at Crossroads. And that’s internally – it has zero integration with anything that might happen at the mall site, since it shows no crosswalks on CTB or any grade separated pathway, and all of the buildings are internally focused. Rather than becoming a real boulevard, CTB will remain like Cary Parkway with individual pods of development facing inwards on their driveways and parking screened from view . . . much more Brier Creek Parkway than Parisian boulevard. All of this “great new urban development” to be built within easy biking distance of my house yet with no accommodations to allow anyone to bike there or walk there. It’s better than what we would have gotten 20 years ago but I doubt it will provide what we need 20 years from now.

  8. Johnny Jones
    Johnny Jones says:

    Not much on any of the names but this development is great for the community. Avalon in Atlanta which is very similar to this design is awesome (google it, use street map & go up & down the streets). IKEA & the redeveloped mall will hold its own as well. If done properly the two won’t compete but actually enhance one another. Hopefully the boulevard will ultimately connect the two.

  9. Brad
    Brad says:

    Exciting news out of The Triangle! I applaud the ongoing efforts on transparency, patience, and accountability from the City of Cary and the development team from Columbia. I love how these names are open to the public for community engagement. Vary rarely do you see the community have the ability to voice their opinions on the naming of such a cool project! All three names are great, but the one that really sticks with me is “Fenton” . The Eastern Cary Gateway project appears to be a unique mixed use project that we will be proud of for generations to come.

  10. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    1. Thanks to the developer for the chance to weigh in. That is pretty cool.

    2. Ardent Yard sounds like a prison. Revel is meh. Fenton goes the right direction, but seems like a knock-off on Bradford. I hope they’ll keep working on this . . .

  11. Johnny Jones
    Johnny Jones says:

    Not from here & have grown to love that even in the developed areas Cary puts thought into the tree, plants etc. Something with a nature term in it….Forest, Fields, Woodland, Grove, Stream, Creek, River, Brook, etc.

    You always want to put “Lets go to….” in front of the name to make sure it fits. 😉

  12. Michael S.
    Michael S. says:

    i tend to agree with the other respondents. I don’t like any of the names. Perhaps if you appended ‘Station’ to the end. As I commented in another thread, there needs to be a connection from that intersection to Cary Town Center by Ikea. I can only imagine the mess with all of the additional traffic volume passing through the light at Convention Drive only.

    Finally, Cary Town Blvd is in desperate need of renovations for cyclist and pedestrian safety, especially through the I-40 bridge and interchange. I travel that way by bicycle several times a week, and it is nerve-wracking even traveling on the extended side pavement.

    • Gary
      Gary says:

      Sounds like the name of a radio tower to me!

      Put some suggestions on the ballot when all the voting goes on for new TOC elected leaders this Fall?

      My Suggestions:

      Gateway
      Cloverleaf
      Area 1

    • Len Nieman
      Len Nieman says:

      “…didn’t show any public transit…” is an understatement. The way they show the parking set up in the ‘slide 5’ diagram, the whole place is set up for cars. There’s no good place to put a bus stop. I really hope the Town Council will address this before development gets too far.

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