More west Wilson housing planned

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Nearly 500 high-end apartments received preliminary approval Tuesday and the project near Heritage Crossing heads to the city council for rezoning during the Aug. 15 meeting.

"If this goes in the way the conceptual site plan looks, it is going to be a nice place," said Ralph Owens, member of the Wilson planning board.

Janet Holland, Wilson land development manager, gave an overview of the project that includes 20 buildings of 24 units each constructed across 45 acres. Officials said the project would be done in three phases with the first part consisting of six three-story apartment buildings, a clubhouse and pool.

"There will be sidewalks throughout providing connectivity from unit-to-unit as well as streets to connect to the adjacent property for access to additional residents, but also commercial properties for daily needs," Holland said. "This is one of those opportunities to reduce the use of vehicles with a pedestrian-friendly environment."

City officials gave the go-ahead in March for the development of 250 homes and townhouses on an adjacent parcel between the Evolve at Heritage apartment project and Airport Boulevard. Both developments reportedly are expected to be higher-end construction with the price tag for homes and townhouses not expected to exceed $300,000 and Evolve expecting rents to range from $950 to $1,350 for one- to three-bedroom units. Mike Winstead Sr.'s son, Michael Jr., is the principal partner of Evolve and the elder said Thornberry Apartments is similar to what the new complex will offer, but with updated amenities.

"I think this area is where the growth is in Wilson," he said. "Wilson can be a bedroom community for Knightdale and Raleigh and the development coming this direction."

Evolve has similar projects under construction in Kannapolis and Simpsonville, South Carolina, but also is building apartments in Wilmington, Cary, Sneads Ferry, Garner, Greensboro, Burlington, Asheville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Each building in the Wilson development is expected to represent roughly $1.5 million in investment by Evolve.

"Four-hundred and eighty apartments is going to create some excitement along Raleigh Road as well as through the connection to Airport Boulevard when it is made, so there probably will be a (traffic impact analysis) or some other study with N.C. Department of Transportation for this particular property," Holland said.

Robert Bartlett of Bartlett Engineering & Surveying said the developers might change later phases of the project, but the 480 units is the most density Evolve will consider.

"If a change comes as they move toward the last phase, that'd come back to (the planning board) with some alternate layouts with potential townhomes or whatever the market demands moving forward," Bartlett said.

The planning board approved the project. The Wilson City Council will have a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Aug. 15 about rezoning the land from suburban residential, general commercial and rural agricultural development to a residential mixed use. The land currently is outside the city limits, but would have to be annexed.