udo1-300x200 by Raleigh Public RecordBy Jason Hibbets

An article on WakeUp Wake County, an organization concerned about growth and the future of Wake County, states that “North Carolina will soon be the 9th largest state in the US. … The Triangle is experiencing much of this growth, and with it comes the need for more development.”

And like any resident that is settled in to their part of town, bells and whistles go off at the hint of any new development or re-development. Curiosity gets the best of us. Will a proposed development complement our existing neighborhood and fit into the character or will it “destroy” the reason why we live here and add more, unwanted traffic and more development?

For the most part, I think people who are excited that Raleigh is a growing city instead of a shrinking one, just want quality development that fits into the context of what’s already here. And this is what SouthWest Raleigh has been screaming for, for many years.

North Raleigh Boos While SouthWest Raleigh Woos

In North Raleigh, near the Bedford community, “Hundreds of Raleigh residents are fighting to keep a Publix grocery store out of their backyards.” ABC 11 reported that neighbors started a petition to fight a rezoning case to build a retail location that would include a new 50,000 square foot grocery store.

That petition now includes about 2,000 residents. WRAL stated that neighbors in “Bedford, Falls River, River Oaks, Wood Spring, Whittington, and Oakcroft subdivisions have in recent weeks signed a petition against the move, saying it’s too much retail in a residential area.”

In more recent news, the developers are going door to door in those neighborhoods because they are worried the “petition drive has created misconceptions about their plans,” according to the News & Observer.

While North Raleigh rallies against this proposed development, SouthWest Raleigh is shining and waxing the welcome wagon. Residents in Renaissance Park have been looking to add a flagship grocery store to their planned development for a number of years to add retail to their mixed-use community.

Neighbors are seeing the outcry in North Raleigh as an opportunity to shine a light on not only their area, nestled just south of Downtown Raleigh, but on the entire SouthWest Raleigh region that boasts a growing population of young professionals. So they started a petition. And it’s got a much different tone.

We would like for Publix Super Markets, Inc. to consider Southwest Raleigh as a potential home.

We would like for Publix Super Markets, Inc. to consider Southwest Raleigh as a potential home in our city. We understand that there are petitions against this company building in other parts of the city but we the undersigned believe that Southwest Raleigh is a great place for Retail and would make a great home for Publix Super Market, Inc.

Please support this petition and our invitation to Publix Super Markets, Inc. to visit, explore and learn more about the opportunities in Southwest Raleigh. We are more than Raleigh’s best kept secret we are a great place for retail and we’d love to call Publix our neighbor.

The petition is available on change.org and has a goal of 2,000 signatures.

SouthWest Raleigh Overlooked?

I believe the economic development numbers are skewed for SouthWest Raleigh (primarily zip codes 27603 and 27606). When developers look at the median income at zip codes in our area, they see a less-wealthy number that indicates they shouldn’t develop here. The developments end up in Cary, North Raleigh, Garner, and other places that appear more attractive and less risky.

The x-factor for SouthWest Raleigh? The economic engine of NC State and the often uncounted student population that has more disposable income than you think. Have you seen the cars college students are driving these days and the luxury apartment complexes geared for off-campus living? Those numbers don’t lie.

Housing providers like The Preiss Company know there is money to be made in SouthWest Raleigh. It’s why they built a 72-unit luxury student apartment on Lake Wheeler Road—and had somewhere close to 90% occupancy before the the paint could dry. In other words, it’s filled-up fast and is a successful apartment complex. It’s also why they’re building another project at the corner of Tryon Road and Avent Ferry Road.

But why haven’t other economic developers picked up on this trend and started to look at SouthWest Raleigh for more investments opportunities and quality projects? Because it’s easier to go somewhere else where there is less risk.

It’s takes efforts like the above petition to showcase why SouthWest Raleigh is the best place to live, work, learn, and play in the Triangle. We’ve got money to spend, and we’d like to keep it in our part of town. Trader Joe’s, we’re giving you a call next.


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