Cary wants to create ‘innovation district’ near Cary Towne Center

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CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – The Town of Cary has laid out a plan to redevelop the area around Cary Towne Center, making it an “innovation district,” similar to North Hills in Raleigh.

Town planners and town council met Tuesday night to discuss their vision for the Eastern Cary Gateway. It’s one of five areas or “destination centers” in focus as part of the Cary Community Plan.

The Eastern Cary Gateway consists of an 800-acre area that includes the mall, Wake Med Soccer Park, Triangle Aquatic Center and nearly 100-acres of vacant land.

Town planners say they envision a district that includes lots of high technology office spaces with apartments, restaurants and businesses.

“The concept we’re floating is something called an innovation district or an innovation center,” said Town of Cary Planning Director Jeff Ulma. “It’s an opportunity to have the core of this area have a lot of office space, high-tech research, lots of employment and then to support that with commercial and residential uses that are well-connected and walkable.”

Within the Eastern Cary Gateway is a proposal for a large shopping center across the mall with residential lots and a hotel. The shopping center may feature “Wegmans,” a New York based grocery store.

“Wegmans wants to open a store in Cary,” said Jo Natale, vice president of media relations for the grocery store firm. “We have signed a letter of intent and are working through lease negotiations with Columbia Development Group, with hopes of reaching a final lease agreement sometime during the first quarter of 2016.”

The developer, Columbia Development Group, has submitted a development plan for the shopping center, but council would still need to approve the rezoning request.

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