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Commissioners approve retail development near I-85

Rowan County residents could soon have a few more shopping options along Julian Road and I-85.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved two measures related to the development of a 26.3 acre shopping complex in the Summit Corporate Center, located just south of I-85 adjacent to Julian Road. The first measure was a planned development subdivision request from The Hutton Company in Chattanooga, Tenn. The second amended covenants of the county-owned Summit Corporate Center to allow The Hutton Company’s development.

The Hutton Company will pay Rowan County about $1.5 million for the land where it will place 151,500 square feet of total retail space. Site plans show three larger anchor stores, two smaller retail spaces and two stand-alone buildings. Three lots would remain empty and be designated for future development.

Hutton Growth One LLC, of Tennessee, has a lease agreement with Dick’s Sporting Goods for 35,000 square feet at the site, according to the lease. A Charlotte-based marketing group’s partial site plan also shows a Hobby Lobby at the shopping center.

Before voting in favor of the proposal, Commissioner Jon Barber briefly discussed the merits of building a retail complex in the Summit Corporate Center, which was initially intended for industrial prospects.

“There’s obviously people who would debate is this the best highest and best use for the value of the property when it has always been in the industrial park,” Barber said. “But this is a good deal for our citizens.”

When discussing the value of the development Barber referred to the value of the property, adding it to another sale that the county is planning to complete in the coming weeks.

“This could be a cash infusion of almost $2 million dollars,” Barber said.

Commission vice-chairman Craig Pierce spoke to the longevity of the process required for the development before motioning to approve the planned development subdivision.

“I have to give it to the Hutton Group; they’ve really done all they’re homework,” Pierce said. “This is not something that just happened overnight. It’s been working for about two years.”

Pierce added that originally the amount of space needed for the proposed shopping complex was larger.

After approving the planned development subdivision request, commissioners also unanimously voted in favor of several covenants that would allow the shopping complex. Some of the covenant changes include adding retail uses to the list of definitions and allowing retail and a movie theater on tracts one and two of the development.

Rowan Works Economic Development Director Robert Van Geons said one of the bigger changes was the county’s ability to repurchase rights to the Summit Corporate Center land. Van Geons said the county would have two years from the date that property is conveyed to reclaim any land. A reason for repurchasing the land could include the project not ever being started and land remaining vacant.

Construction could start before the end of 2014 and wrap up by fall 2015.

Aside from new stores, the shopping complex will also result in a concrete median on Julian Road to prevent left turns out of the shopping complex and left turns into the complex. For cars turning right out of the Summit Corporate Center, a U-turn lane will be added on Julian Road.

Shane Stewart, a senior planner with Rowan County, said DOT has plans to widen the road at some point in the future.

In other news from Monday’s meeting:

• The commissioners set a public hearing for Dec. 1 for incentives in relation to a development that’s been code-named “Project Nine Mile.”

A letter from Van Geons to the board of commissioners states that the new development would add 200 jobs at an average salary of more than $35,000.

The company plans to invest more than $15 million in the development, according to the letter from Van Geons.

He said the reason for the public hearing being scheduled on the new commissioners’ first meeting date is the relative urgency of the economic project.

• Commissioners held a quasi-judicial hearing for Carolina Perlite Co. Inc. in relation to a request to build a 12,000 square-foot building addition and a new processing furnace to their facility located at 14750 US 52. The quasi-judicial hearing is for a special use permit.

Rowan County Senior Planner Shane Stewart was the only person to speak during the hearing and the commissioners unanimously approved the request for a special use permit.

• Commissioners set a public hearing for Dec. 1 in relation to Carolina Quarries Inc.’s application to modify conditional use standards for existing quarrying operations.

The modifications would specifically address setbacks, access and storage of waste material for existing businesses.

• Commissioners approved Rowan County Airport’s seven-year transportation improvement plan.

• Commissioners approved a $72,255 contract to renovate the flooring system in a Rowan County Airport hangar.

• A $250 gift to outgoing Rowan County commissioners was approved.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246





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