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Tuesday, July 12, 2016
A new Brier Creek hotel project will require no demolition prior to construction, as plans call for it to be built on an empty lot sandwiched between Arco Corporate Drive and I-540.
The 5.93 acre site located at 10100 Lumley Road was acquired by Winwood Hospitality, a local developer that currently manages two hotels in Brier Creek and another two near the Crabtree Valley Mall. Winwood is also developing a new hotel in downtown Raleigh at 431 McDowell Street.
Details on their latest development are a bit sparse at this point, as the project is only in the initial rezoning stage; it’s not until a rezoning is approved and a site review plan is filed that we start to get information on how many rooms, what kind of amenities, etc.
We do know one fact: the hotel as currently planned will be 12 stories tall. The parcel on which it would be built is currently zoned office mixed-use-7, and zoning case Z-21-16 would see it rezoned to office park-12. Those numbers at the end indicate the maximum number of stories allowed on site.
The only prohibited use on the land, should the rezoning be approved, would be an outdoor sports or entertainment complex, which shouldn’t really affect the hotel at all.
Its proximity to both the Raleigh-Durham airport and I-540 means the lot is currently located within both an Airport Overlay District and a Special Highway Overlay District; as with the prohibition on outdoor sports facilities, these overlays are not obstacles to the development of the hotel.
The Special Highway Overlay District-2, which this land is classified under, is “intended to protect and preserve the natural scenic beauty along designated major access corridors and specified principal arterials.” Basically they want to make sure all those people flying down I-540 at a minimum of 70 miles an hour are able to see in their rearview a nice blur of green along the sides of the road, provided they’re even paying that much attention.
According to the City of Raleigh, “Maintaining the attractiveness of these roadway corridors will enhance the economic value of the community by encouraging tourism and trade.” Well that’s true, you don’t want a City’s highways looking like the corridors that trains generally travel through.
The only mention of the SHOD in the rezoning application is a statement that it will remain in place and provide vegetation along Lumley Road and I-540.
The Airport Overlay, on the other hand, is “intended to protect the efficiency and long term usefulness of area aviation facilities, highways, arterials, and major streets by controlling the type and design of land uses in proximity to such facilities.”
Considering a hotel is probably one of the most useful and efficient uses of land near an airport, this one is right on target. Any new hotel development, especially one built in an airport district by an established hotelier such as Winwood, would certainly make sure to, as stated in City code “protect the public from adverse health effects and annoyance by aircraft noise.” This provision also generally prohibits single-family homes, apartments, etc. from getting developed in this overlay.
Winwood argues on the application that because the property is located within a designated “City Growth Center” on Raleigh’s Urban Form Map, and is located within a Core Transit Area, the height designations spelled out by the City mean the proposed 12-story height is appropriate for this site.
On the Future Land Use Map, the land is designated for “Office/Research & Development,” and per the Comprehensive Plan, the proposed Office Park rezoning would be the most appropriate way to incorporate a hotel into this use.
For every rezoning case, the applicant is required to state how it would be beneficial to the public; for Z-21, Winwood states that the rezoning will “provide the public benefit of facilitating the development of a vacant parcel of land in proximity to the airport and a major retail and office mixed use center, which will allow visitors to stay close to the airport with easy access to retail amenities.”
I have to admit, there is something nice about staying in a hotel where everything you might need access to: food, shopping, entertainment, is less than a few minutes away.
While we don’t know what brand this hotel will operate under — Winwood currently runs Hampton Inn & Suites, Embassy Suites & Hilton Garden Inn branded hotels — we imagine it will cater to business travelers the same these do. Which makes sense: can you imagine someone traveling to Brier Creek for vacation instead of business?