2017ArticlesNorth Hills

Kane: New projects along St. Albans to start ‘very shortly’

Originally published in the Triangle Business Journal on April 20, 2017

Raleigh City Council has signed off on Kane Realty’s plan to extend its high-density development ambitions at North Hills, giving unanimous approval this week for a rezoning request. The approval extends the project 35 acres south of Midtown Plaza along St. Albans Drive.

Kane Realty Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Smith told an audience of Midtown Raleigh Alliance members on Thursday morning that they intend to begin construction “very shortly” at the site, tentatively labeled for now as Park District Extension.

“What we have planned here is not the same scale that you’ve seen in Park District to date,” Smith said, referring to the North Hills offices, apartments, retail and parks on the east side of Six Forks Road. “It’s going to be much more open – parkways, greenways, we’re putting in 10-foot sidewalks so that you can use them for bikes or more strollers or an active jogging area. We’re really turning this area into a lifestyle center as it relates to parks, art, workout areas and other activation.”

In a follow-up interview, Smith says construction of the first buildings on the newly acquired St. Albans land should begin by mid-2018. The first phase includes a plan for about 200,000 square feet of office space and an apartment building with as many as 250 rental units, as well as nearly a nearly one-mile fitness loop of sidewalks and bike lanes.

Kane Realty has also committed to covering 50 percent of the construction cost for a bridge over a creek on the property to connect North Hills’ frontage road to Navaho Drive to the south, Smith says. He did not disclose the estimated cost of the bridge. The bridge will also connect into another planned development project that Raleigh-based Dewitt Carolinas is negotiating for the remaining undeveloped 39 acres it owns between Kane’s property and Wake Forest Road to the south. A public hearing for Dewitt Carolina’s rezoning request is scheduled for May 2 and has already been endorsed by Raleigh Planning Commission and Midtown Citizens Advisory Council.

John Kane, chairman and CEO of Kane Realty, says the pace with which new construction will start on St. Albans Drive will depend on tenant and investor market demand. “I think the first thing that will happen is more multifamily, then we’ll figure things out from there,” he says. Kane Realty traditionally creates joint-venture partnerships with private equity or institutional investor funds to finance each of its building projects.

North Hills already has more than 1,500 apartment units occupied or available for rent and will be opening another 286 units in late 2017 upon completion of the $100 million Park Central apartment and retail tower.

Smith says the new zoning for the property gives the company flexibility for all product types, but ultimately would allow for a total of about 1,250 residential units and 800 hotel rooms over and above prior existing zoning conditions. The new zoning also permits 20 stories of building height on the land adjacent to the I-440 Beltline, which is comparable to the 17-story CAPTRUST Tower and 18-story Bank of America Tower, and five stories in building height fronting its residential along St. Albans Drive.

Amanda Hoyle, Staff Writer, Triangle Business Journal