Lori Bush: Building Bradford

From the blog of Lori Bush, Cary Town Council At-Large member.

Cary, NC – Some folks say that they can tell when the economy is starting to come back when they see the construction trucks roll in.  I’m not sure that’s the best indicator – but the trucks are starting to roll at the corner of Davis Drive and High House.

I wrote about the Searstone and Bradford developments in March (“Construction in Cary”) – and now the work has recently begun at Bradford.

Updated Information

I met with the developers last month to get an update on the project, understand the timelines, and hear of any changes that may have occurred since the approval.  The original development plan was approved in May 2008.

Highlights of the planned development

  1. The area in the plan is approximately 41 acres.
  2. Phase 1 consists of 370 apartments and approximately 20 town homes – with retail planned for some areas within the center.
  3. Many of the residential apartment buildings will have retail/commercial or offices on the first floor, with residential above.
  4. new road will be constructed (Magness Drive) that will go on the other side of the development, and line up with Riggsbee Farm Drive (on Davis Dr.) and an entrance to Searstone on High House.
  5. A greenway is planned around the perimeter, as well as a 10′ trail along Magness Drive.
  6. Three (3) signaled lights will eventually be installed at those entrances.
  7. Construction will take about 2 years – with some occupancy potentially available in the Fall of 2013.
  8. A planned “public square” type of area is planned for within the development.
  9. There is an existing cemetery on the site (at the corner of Davis and High House) that will not be moved, but will be incorporated into a public space.
  10. The uses of the out parcels (along the roadway of Davis and High House) have not yet been identified – but they are limited in what can be built. (No more than 2 fast food places, and no more than 3 drive-thrus, and no “traditional” grocery store is allowed.)
  11. Despite the rumors, a movie theatre is not currently in the plan.
  12. Additional turn lanes and road improvements will occur on both Davis Drive and High House.
I’ve taken the liberty of “coloring” and labeling the site plan, below, so that you can visually see the area described.

If you would like to see the detailed plans you can go to the planning area where they are posted on the Town of Cary side at Bradford Site Subdivision Plan. And of course, they have an updated commercial website up, as well.

As always, feel free to contact me with comments, questions, issues and concerns.

21 replies
  1. Gary
    Gary says:

    Is curb appeal still important?

    Take a stroll on Davis Dr. Greenway (wide sidewalk) to High House and look at the Bradford’s multi-story housing units.

    Keep on walking and stop into Bojangles to cool off with a sweet tea.
    Look out the Bojangles windows, on opposite side of Davis Drive.

    Look for a wall of windows.

    Compare to what you just saw…

  2. Judi
    Judi says:

    I am glad to hear that they are going to preserve the cemetery. Has anyone noticed the GIANT cedar tree that is smack-dab in the middle of said cemetery? Cedar trees like that are RARE..that’s the first thing that worried me when I saw the development starting to take place. Then I heard that it would be saved because it is part of the cemetery. Such a beautiful tree, and a monument to the people who once lived there, and also for the people who are interred there.

    • Brent
      Brent says:

      Agreed. It turns out that cedar trees are a hallmark of small family cemeteries, at least in the South.

      [Following courtesy of the Friends of the Page-Walker, from our program “Mysteries and Secrets 2012”, which featured this particular cemetery:

      [In general]:

      According to Donna Flowers, coordinator of the North Carolina Cemetery Survey in 1988, “Any time you ride down the road and see a grove of cedar trees, you can bet there is or was a cemetery located there.” It was said that cedar trees were a very popular way to mark the location of a cemetery.

      In Cary’s oral history book, “Just a Horse Stopping Place,” Esther Ivey reinforces this fact with her description:
      “On Sundays we would go to the cemetery. The Jones lot was surrounded by cedar trees. That was [where] Adolphus and Rufus Jones and their children were buried, and you would notice. There’s one of those graves that had [what] looked like an open Bible on it. We always thought a great deal of that, when it was surrounded by cedar trees. You had to go in between the trees to get in that place. “

      [And specifically relating to this cemetery]:

      The 2003 Cemetery Census was certainly prophetic in its description of the growth in this area of Cary, but, fortunately, despite the development all around the cemetery, it will remain in its original location. Maggie Beals Stone Sears, a member of the Stone family and now [in 2012] 89 years of age, spoke with us about the cemetery, explaining that she felt strongly that the graves of her family members who lived on this land should not be moved. She and her family had requested that protection be provided for the cemetery. The protection was granted and is included in the Town of Cary’s approved site plan for the Bradford development. In fact, it was reported this week that the developer, Northwood-Ravin, has said that the cemetery will become part of an open space at the corner of the development, threaded by walkways and centered by the family’s cedar tree.

  3. Bernie
    Bernie says:

    I recently saw a site plan that showed a 50,000 square foot Publix store. Although I think Publix is a good store, they are a conventional grocer. I thought the site plan approval explicitly restricted this site from a conventional grocer, no?

    • Gary in Cary, NC
      Gary in Cary, NC says:

      I feel government/mayor/planning board really should not have oversight over the name of a company that chooses to occupy a given commercial real estate development, once it’s site plan has been approved to be a “grocery” store. Same for shoe stores, pedicure places, pizza joints, etc.

      Heck, across the street we have a million-dollar plus chicken-based restaurant (PDQ) being developed a quarter mile from another chicken-based restaurant (BOJ) on the same corner!

      Competition is great for the consumer!!

      If the NSA is reading this, oh well. Visit Cary!

      • Brent
        Brent says:

        Well, then, you will be happy to hear that government/mayor/planning board has no such oversight. State and local laws allow them only to approve land use and zoning categories and conditions. Granted, it’s possible that some conditions can end up being highly restrictive, but that’s pretty rare, and the governing bodies can not impose conditions; only the applicant can offer conditions.

        If they offered a “specialty” grocery store, then that’s what’s allowed to go there. But it wasn’t the government, mayor or planning board who declared such specifics.

  4. Gary
    Gary says:

    Nearby, the planned Food Lion “boutique” store really never happened; they opened as a regular Food Lion, at Davis and Morrisville Parkway.

  5. Gary
    Gary says:

    Nearby, the planned Food Lion “boutique” store really never happened; they opened as a regular Food Lion, at High House and Morrisville Parkway.

    So, maybe another Food Lion “Bloom” “Whole Wallet” type grocery place will be a tenant at Bradford?

    Will they do double coupons like Lowe’s this weekend? ;-)
    (Remember: 4 coupon inserts forecast for Sunday paper!)

    Me thinks that intersection with SearsStone right across the street sorely needs a bicycle/pedestrian OVERHEAD walkways partly paid for by developers. It is tough crossing there; so many distracted drivers do a “right on red” without making a full stop. No traffic cams needed to see it happen daily.

    (I often bicycle or walk from Preston to Boj for a grilled chicken salad w/low-fact ranch.) Pedestrian traffic planners need to keep and eye on this corner, the new geographic center of Cary.

    Also, Wal-Mart is progressing on their Marketplace food store back at the former Ace hardware on Davis.

    • Norman Crenshaw
      Norman Crenshaw says:

      If there’s a specialty grocery store… like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, that will be awesome! And I agree there needs to be pedestrian walkways, the intersection isn’t the safest place to cross the street.

  6. Norman Crenshaw
    Norman Crenshaw says:

    Where will be the most place for these 370 apartment residents to visit the grocery? I live across the street on Valleystone in a townhome, and likely a portion of these families from the Bradford project will visit the Harris Teeter in Stone Creek Village. That’s a lot of additional traffic on a small speed-bump street so very close to townhomes. Chic-fil-a already clogs up the street at times. We really don’t have the extra “bandwidth” for lots more traffic. Might you consider allowing a grocery store on Bradford’s side of the street?

    • Norman
      Norman says:

      I think Valleystone Drive should be studied (is it a public or private street?) as it should be discouraged as a cut-through. Maybe a couple more speed bumps. If it gets irritating to use, I’m sure the businesses will object. But we need to be mindful of the pedestrian nature of Stone Creek Village. Basically, we don’t want a lot more automobile traffic cutting through the neighborhood.

      • dragonlady
        dragonlady says:

        Valleystone is a private street at the moment, but eventually I believe it will be claimed by the Town of Cary. It is not fair for the Valleystone townhouse owners to have to pay for maintenance on a street that gets used that much. Publix is going into the Bradford project, and I’m hoping for a Panera :)

  7. Lori Bush
    Lori Bush says:

    FYI – there have been a number of questions regarding the traffic at that corner. Here is a reply from Town staff.

    As you may already become aware, site work for the project has already begun. It is my understanding that they are currently installing erosion &sedimentation control devices, clearing and some grading operations. Based on my brief conversation with the developer’s engineer today, the developer will be finalizing contracts with a roadway contractor so that work can begin to start project related improvements on Davis Drive and High House Road. Work is anticipated to begin on these roadways within 30 days.

    The developer of the Bradford Project has an approved Traffic Control Plan that was approved by NCDOT and the Town of Cary. Since Davis Drive and High House Road are on the state roadway system, NCDOT will provide primary inspections and final approvals for the widening. The Traffic Control Plan states that travel lanes along these roadways will not be closed or narrowed during normal commuting hours of 6-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. during weekdays. The developer was required to obtain an Encroachment Agreement from NCDOT, which directs the developer on how road work must be performed and the expectations. NCDOT will generally provide routine inspections of work along Davis Drive and High House, so if you see any issues that may need attention, please feel free to contact NCDOT District Engineers Office (919-733-3213).

    Traffic signals are required to be installed with the construction of the first phase of the project; two locations on Davis Drive and one location on High House. This includes the intersection at Riggsbee Farms with Davis Drive. As you may be aware, they are planning a public road tie-in opposite the Riggsbee Farm entrance. This should be positive news for your neighborhood as it will provide welcome relief in obtaining protected access to Davis Drive. Traffic signal design plans have been approved by the Town of Cary and NCDOT, so that is a positive note in proceeding forward with signal installation. The signals will be installed as part of all the work the Bradford Development is currently doing. In general, traffic signals are generally the last thing installed on a roadway project, but should be activated prior to the first issuance of a building permits within the Bradford Development. I just want you to be aware that NCDOT will have the final word on when the traffic signal become operational, but we do not expect any issues with this. If for some unforeseen reason construction issue become evident that delay the installation of the improvements, the Town of Cary and NCDOT will have financial surety in place made by the developer to make sure the improvements will be completed.

    Town of Cary Engineering Inspections staff have been assigned to the Bradford project and will be monitoring construction of the site work. They will be primarily monitoring erosion & sedimentation control, roadway and utility construction. If you see any issues that you think the Town needs to be aware, please feel free to contact our Engineering Inspections staff (919-469-4030).


  8. Brent
    Brent says:

    I am a bit concerned that there seems to be a lack of protection/marking for the public landmark & cemetery (as shown in Ms. Bush’s map above). This family cemetery is to be preserved as the development ensues and I worry that those trucks that are rolling might unintentionally cause damage.

    I contacted Council member Bush and she has contact Town Staff to see if this situation can be rectified. Thank you, Lori, for blogging and also for being responsive to citizens!

    • Lindsey Chester
      Lindsey Chester says:

      Protect the cemetery? how about MOVE it?
      Personally I would have liked to see this development go right up into the corner of that intersection (to heck with preserving –

      The couple acres at the corner will be wasted- It will never be a park that people visit, the development site is set to be one full story below the street level- so visitors won’t be drawn to that graveyard sitting at the second busiest intersection in Cary.
      When this site was proposed 5 years ago I can still recall the collective gasp from the audience when we finally saw the elevations- and the sheer SIZE of what’s coming.

      And I agree with the commenter about the cut-through- we all do it on Cornerstone currently to go from High House to Davis and skip that light.

      • Brent
        Brent says:

        Move the cemetery?!? Didn’t you ever see Poltergeist? :-)

        Seriously, historic resources, be they structures, cemeteries or other, are always best preserved at their original site and moving them should always be a last resort. The developer of this site, from the beginning, committed to preserve the small family cemetery on site and preserve the old Maynard-Stone house by moving it (which was done). I don’t think that the small area at the corner will be wasted if it preserves the family cemetery.

        And if I recall correctly, I think that each quadrant of this intersection is supposed to have a small portion of street that will form a circle of sorts that is intended to relieve traffic at the major intersection (an “intentional cut-through”, if you will).

  9. Erin
    Erin says:

    I don’t know… I guess I’m one of the few people who are sick and tired of seeing those construction trucks. Don’t we have enough commercial space to last a lifetime? Do we really need any more? I for one don’t think so. I haven’t been in Cary too long – about 8 years – but in that time I have seen so much building, so many trees leveled and so many strip mall type things being built up and I’m really missing the small-ish town I moved to which seems like forever ago.

  10. C Royce
    C Royce says:

    Hoping that the use of traffic lights and its impact is reconsidered as part of this plan. Look at the traffic patterns carefully… someone like myself has a choice… 1) go the normal route down high house and take a right on davis – I’ll hit 4 DIFFERENT traffic lights. Or..2) I can bang a right on red at the new road Magness, cut through even though I have no intention of going to the retail or apartments and cut across to Davis never having to stop for a red light. Think of the congestion and unintended risk to pedestrians in the complex.

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