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Town annexes land to make way for future Wegmans store

Plans include Ligon Mill extension, residential development

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WAKE FOREST — Construction of a future Wegmans grocery store in Wake Forest will be accompanied by more than 50 acres of residential and commercial development, according to preliminary plans.

The project, along Dr. Calvin Jones Highway, will also require developers to extend Ligon Mill Road to the highway. Wake Forest commissioners last week voted to annex the Wegmans property into the town limits, allowing the project to move forward. A separate rezoning of part of the property was OKed by the board as well.

The grocery store will sit on 22 acres along one corner of the new intersection, and the mixed residential and commercial development would cover 55 acres surround the three remaining corners, plans show.

No timeline for the project, tentatively named The Grove Edge in public documents, has been announced and formal site plans for anything other than Wegmans have yet to be submitted to the town.

The developer, Alliance Group of NC, will be required to include 150-460 homes in the land around the future intersection, according to Jennifer Currin, development services manager with the town of Wake Forest Planning Department. In addition, 180,000-450,000 square feet of non-residential development are required.

As part of the project, Alliance Group will have to extend Ligon Mill Road from where it currently dead-ends northward about a tenth of a mile so that it connects to Dr. Calvin Jones Highway. Currin said the extension is a required road improvement that will be completed along with the construction of Wegmans.

Wegmans is a New York-based chain of supermarkets. The company is opening its first Raleigh location Sept. 29 on Wake Towne Drive.

Laura Camera, a spokeswoman for Wegmans, said the Wake Forest store “is expected to be up to 100,000 square feet in size and similar in design to Wegmans’ other newest stores.”

Camera said there is no timeline for opening the Wake Forest store. On its website, Wegmans lists stores opening in 2019 and 2020, but lists the Wake Forest location as a “future site” without a given date.

Camera declined to provide other details.

Alliance Group owner Jacob Anderson declined to comment on the plans this week, saying that a recent article in the Triangle Business Journal about the project misquoted him. He directed further questions to a marketing firm handling communications for the project. A spokesperson for that firm, Stiles Marketing, said Wednesday that the timing was not right to publicly comment on the project.

The Triangle Business Journal article, citing Anderson, said the project had been renamed Grove Ninety-Eight and would feature a mix of townhomes and apartments. The article said the developer was in talks with another landowner to possibly add 28 acres to the project.

Preliminary site plans for Grove Ninety-Eight have been posted online by Foundry Commercial, one of the companies working on the project. The plans show townhomes, new side roads and greenway included in the project.

“Grove Ninety-Eight ... is slated to become the new Wake Forest destination for living, boutique shopping and dining,” the plans read. “Grove Ninety-Eight brings opportunities for new and exciting seasonal activities, such as concerts, movies on the green, holiday celebrations, art fairs and more.”

In March, Wake Forest commissioners approved rezoning the land and signed off on the master site plan for the Wegmans store, The Wake Weekly reported. As part of road improvements project, three traffic signals will be added on Dr. Calvin Jones Highway between South Main Street and Capital Boulevard.

At the March meeting, Anderson said managing traffic would be a chief concern during the project.

“As a Wake Forest resident, I can tell you we wouldn’t be here today if traffic wasn’t worked out,” The Wake Weekly quoted Anderson as saying. “It was initially worked out about a year and half ago, which just shows how long the details needed to be worked out.”

Currently town officials are reviewing construction drawings for the Wegmans store, according to Currin.