Cary, NC – The plans for a large retailer in Cary Towne Center, with the intention of it becoming an IKEA, are moving through the Town of Cary’s processes, most recently passing unanimously at Cary’s Planning and Zoning Board.
Plan for Changes at Cary Towne Center
The plan for the retailer went before the Planning and Zoning Board on Monday, September 25, 2017. The board, and Town Council when voting, must look at the specific land use and zoning requested and not any possible retailers or businesses who will open up in that building. However, IKEA has made their intention very clear and the zoning includes conditions to give the building aesthetic designs in line with IKEA’s signature look, including size, color scheme and façade.
The building would replace the 255,500 square foot portion of Cary Towne Center that includes the former Sears and Macy’s, as well as part of the foot court. In its place would be the 380,000 square foot proposed IKEA. It would also be 60 feet tall.
Included in the rezoning would be a two story parking deck adjacent to the building and a section of trees in between the Triangle Aquatic Center and Convention Drive and the existing parking would be turned into more surface parking.
As part of the zoning conditions, the applicant has agreed to install a new traffic signal at the intersection of Convention Drive and Cary Towne Boulevard. They have also offered to make intersection improvements at five of six intersections town staff has identified.
- Intersection of Walnut Street and Cary Towne Center/Cary Commons
- Intersection of Walnut Street and AT&T/Cary Towne Center Entrance
- Intersection of Cary Towne Boulevard and I-40 EB Ramps
- Intersection of Cary Towne Boulevard and I-40 WB Ramps
- Intersection of Cary Towne Boulevard and Convention Drive/Principal Lane
The intersection the applicant has not offered to improve is the intersection of Walnut Street and SE Maynard Road. Also, on the Cary Towne Boulevard and Convention Drive intersection, the applicant has not offered to eliminate closely-spaced cross access and weaving conflicts in order to, in the words of Cary town staff, “fully utilize the dual left-turn lanes on the westtbound approach.”
The applicant also requested several changes to the LDO standards and requirements. Those include a reduction in the number of parking spots, a smaller space between street intersections, keeping power lines overheard instead of burying them underground and a smaller streetscape adjacent to Convention Drive.
Other requests also match the specific aesthetics of an IKEA, from the blue-and-gold color, the size and format of the sign to the placement of IKEA’s seven “feather flags” on its properties and a taller height of the flags on their flagpoles.
The rezoning passed the board unanimously, with the board members saying it will “likely promote economic development and the value of commercial properties in close proximity to the site.” But the board also noted that it marks a paradigm shift compared to past developments in Cary.
There is no date set for the plan to go before the Town Council yet. If approved, IKEA and CBL & Associates who own Cary Towne Center have said demolition would start in 2018 and IKEA could be open by 2020.