Development Beat: Retail Roundup

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Stronarch Properties

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

We were originally planning on discussing today two recently filed, retail-oriented site plans, but since both the N&O and the TBJ wrote about the more interesting of those two plans in great detail yesterday, it looks like we’re stuck covering the new Family Dollar in Northeast Raleigh.

A quick note about SP-12-16 before we get into SP-13-16 (The Family Dollar) in case you didn’t see those articles and don’t feel like clicking through the above links: the apartment portion of the proposed redevelopment of the Ridgewood Shopping Center on Wade Avenue has been dropped.

A rendering of the now-scrapped apartments planned for Ridgewood Shopping Center

A rendering of the now-scrapped apartments planned for Ridgewood Shopping Center

TBJ seemed to attribute the decision largely to neighborhood pushback and financial concerns, while the N&O also brought up the fact that Raleigh’s apartment market may be getting a bit oversaturated.

The new plans call for tearing down the Crescent Dental office building currently on the site and replacing it with a new two-story, 18,500 square-foot office and retail structure.

The traffic situation on that stretch of Wade is already pretty precarious, and the two stoplights at Ridge and Faircloth create bottlenecks as-is; I can’t imagine what throwing 150 rental units into the mix would’ve done. Turned it into something like the Crabtree section of Glenwood, I imagine. The horror.

So about that Family Dollar.

It’s set to be located at 1730 Trawick Lane, just north of the split with New Bern Avenue. As a proposed shopping center located within 400 feet of a residential district, it will require a hearing from the Planning Commission and City Council to move forward.

Although the development’s proximity to a residential district may sound unpleasant, we’re not exactly talking about a piece of pristine, untouched land here: the site of the future Family Dollar sits across the street from a gas station and a place called “The Starbar,” a dance club with fusion soul food that adjoins the large, Food Lion-anchored Tower Shopping Center.

The site of the newly proposed Family Dollar

Google Maps

The site of the newly proposed Family Dollar

Of course, the site at 1730 Trawick sits empty right now, and there’s a good chance that for some residents, adding another retail location to the area is just going to make whatever the traffic situation is now even worse. But do those stores really bring in a lot of traffic? Any time I’m inside there’s usually between 2-5 other customers; not much of a burden on the existing infrastructure, I’d think.

As it happens, City Code doesn’t take into account anecdotal evidence from random morons, so the parking requirements for the new 8,320 square-foot Family Dollar come in it a whopping 41 spaces. Outside of some kind of apocalypse scenario, I can’t imagine 40+ people ever crowding into a Family Dollar all at once. Thankfully, the developer is requesting a much more reasonable 38 spaces.

The 2.52 acre site will have a total of 1.1 acres of impervious surface space. Interestingly, a new road on the southern side of the property named Amber Lane is proposed as part of the site plans. It’s unclear where this would lead, exactly, since the only development to the east is Taylor’s Nursery. Maybe this would serve as a useful cut-through for them, although I’m not sure why developer Stronarch Properties would want to build a road just for the benefit of a neighboring business.

Stronarch Properties is a bit of an odd duck in that they have a website, but they don’t use it to boast about the properties they’ve developed. It does, however,  proudly feature a slideshow of various newly-built Family Dollars. So at least this isn’t their first time at the rodeo.


The engineer on the project is the John A Edwards Company, a group that Stronarch has apparently worked with in the past to great success. According to an endorsement written by none other than Will Stronarch himself, “Jon Callahan and the entire staff at John A. Edwards & Company are a pleasure to work with and have delivered exceptional civil engineering services for our projects throughout North Carolina.  Their organization exemplifies integrity and professionalism and will continue to be our trusted partner for many years to come.”

Guess he meant it! While it’s always nice to read about successful partnerships between local businesses, I do kind of wish they were teaming up on something a little more exciting than a Family Dollar. In the spirit of journalistic integrity, I should confess here to a slight bias against the chain; when a store has “Dollar” in the title, nothing should cost over a dollar. Maybe I’m just old fashioned. Besides, is the merchandise at a “discount and dollar” store like Family Dollar all that different from what you can find at a real $1 store like Dollar General?

Here’s how these places get stocked, at least according to one of the employees I asked a while back: “A truck comes in every week, and whatever they’ve got left over, they just dump it here.” “Left over from where?” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So there’s no reason you should ever be spending more than $1/item in those stores. I mean, I once bought something there and instead of a number, the ‘Inspected By’ tag just read LOL. Thank you. I’ll be here all week.



One thought on “Development Beat: Retail Roundup

  1. The saturation of the market for these apartments is more likely to be related to the price-point, not the apartments themselves. There are many people that would live at this location, but only if its affordable (not aiming for the top of the market). Being so close to Meredith and NC State as well as Downtown, a development here could be a good experiment for the city in reducing parking for development that agrees to reduce the need for parking.