FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WNCN) — As Wake County continues to grow, surrounding communities like Fuquay-Varina are trying to capitalize on that growth by attracting businesses and residents to their town.
Kelly Burnett’s store “Chocolate Fix” opened up in downtown Fuquay six months ago, and business is sweet. But, she and her husband had trouble finding a storefront where they could set up shop.
“Right now I know of a couple other businesses that are actively looking to move into our area, but there’s no place for them,” said Burnett.
That’s a big reason why Fuquay-Varina town leaders are taking the area’s development into their own hands.
“There’s a demand for downtown mixed-use development. People want to live downtown. People want to work downtown, people want to play and visit downtown,” said Jim Seymour, Economic Development Director.
The town has four property owners on board with turning 3.7 acres of land into a multi-story building with retail, office space and apartments. They’ll also contribute $1.9 million dollars from their Capital Improvement Plan fund to build a parking structure for the project.
Now they just need a developer.
“We’re working to set ourselves apart, to be aggressive and to take care of a lot of those predevelopment services,” said Seymour.
Long-time residents of the area have mixed feelings about the plan.
“Without any traffic changes I’m just not real crazy about that idea,” said Nada McNabb, who’s lived in Fuquay-Varina for more than 30 years.
“If we have another small mini-mall or complex like that coming in, it’s going to hurt the little guy,” said Allieta Price, who’s lived in Fuquay-Varina for more than 20 years.
While the number and type of stores won’t be known until next year, Kelly Burnett doesn’t view them as competition. She’s more focused on the potential of 260 more apartments just down the block from her chocolate.
“To add more walkable traffic down here will benefit every single, every business here,” said Burnett.
The town hopes to decide on a developer by the end of the year. Work on the project could start by this time next year.