Development Beat: Atlantic Plaza

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

There’s a new shopping center coming to the intersection of Atlantic and Spring Forest: and it’s bringing with it a Burger King.


Site plans also indicate there will be an auto-repair shop and a retail store included in the proposed Atlantic Plaza, which will be located at 5620 Atlantic Avenue. If you’re familiar with the area, it’ll be located just to the west and slightly south of the existing Sheetz right there on Atlantic.

The now-vacant land, oddly described as “Jeffrey’s Property” on county records, has been owned by the same family since the early 1990s.

It’s a shame it wasn’t named “Joffrey’s Property,” because that could have set me up for some good Burger King/Game of Thrones jokes. Something about Joffrey choking on a sesame seed and Daenerys being flame-broiled, maybe. Oh well.

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys Targaryen

The developer on the site plans appears to be Pantlin Properties, based out of Cary. We couldn’t find out much about them, and I called the number listed on the plans to see if I could get any information on who the planned retailer & auto repair service provider would be. I was told that no retailer or auto-repair chain has been selected yet, and that the Burger King is still tentative.

On those site plans, which describe the retail and auto-service buildings generically, the Burger King restaurant is the only building specifically identified. Which means someone over at Kimley-Horn, which drew up the plans, was just really excited about a new BK, or, more likely, the burger chain is the only signed tenant at this point.

Said Burger King will come in at a total of 2,889 square feet and be accompanied by a whopping 38 parking spaces. That seems reasonable. The last time I wanted to go sit down at a Burger King and enjoy their patented Chicken Fries® and a delicious Oreo Shake®, I had to park three blocks away and wait more than an hour in line, so 38 is probably the “bare minimum” amount of spaces required by code, and it certainly won’t be enough.


Burger King’s Twitter account knows what I like

The center will have a total of 92 parking spaces: the unnamed retail store will have 40, and the auto-body shop 14. The three buildings will amount to a total of 11,109 square feet: 2,889 for the Burger King, 6,121 for the retail and 2,100 for the auto-repair shop. Although the smallest building in terms of square-footage, the auto shop will be the tallest one on the property at 28 feet.

The buildings will cover a total of about 8 percent of the existing surface area on the property: the parking will cover about 42, and the total amount of impervious surface area will be 105,154 square feet, or 60 percent of the total surface area available.

The rezoning case which allowed the Atlantic Plaza to come into existence, Z-15-15, was approved by City Council back in early February following a Public Hearing in January.

The case rezoned the land from Shopping Center Conditional Use to Commercial Mixed Use Conditional Use.

At the Public Hearing, Michael Birch from Morningstar Law Group said the main difference between the existing zoning and the proposed rezoning is that it would allow for the development of two buildings on the property, rather than the current cap of one. The maximum square footage of 14,900 would remain in place.

A representative from Sheetz, which operates that nearby location we mentioned earlier, spoke against the rezoning at the Public Hearing, saying that the potential for a fast-food restaurant, quick-service auto facility or drugstore could greatly increase traffic in the area.

So does that mean this mysterious retail component is going to be a pharmacy? When I spoke to the representative from the developer, I was told that while Walgreens had filed a site plan for this property several years ago, the retail component of this shopping center would most likely not be a pharmacy. 6,121 square feet seems a bit small for a new drugstore anyway.

Site plan drawings for Atlantic Plaza

Site plan drawings for Atlantic Plaza

Considering the decent turnaround between zoning approval and site plan submittal, we dare say this project might be ready to break ground by the fall of this year, although that’s pure speculation, nothing official has been determined yet. The site plan process can sometimes drag on for a bit, or so I’ve been told, so developers are generally hesitant to make construction timetable estimates this early in the process.