October 21, 2011
Contact: Joyce M. Dickens, President/CEO
Rocky Mount/Edgecombe Community Development Corporation
MARKET-READY AND SET TO GO: Crossing at 64 Mixed-Use Development
The Rocky Mount/Edgecombe Community Development Corporation (RMECDC) has made steady progress with phased development of a 30-acre mixed-use site named Crossing at 64 located at the intersection of Raleigh Street and Meadowbrook (Highway 64 Business and Highway 64 Bypass) on the Rocky Mount City’s Raleigh Road/Raleigh Street Corridor. With site improvements completed for Phase One (15 acres), the Crossing at 64 site is now market-ready for tenants and businesses to locate in the commercial complex.
The City of Rocky Mount Traffic Engineer documented that a daily traffic count pass the site is 39,000 cars per day, the site is ideal for lucrative commercial development.
However, although 15 acres of the site is ready for tenant occupancy, a weak economy, with limited access to capital for small business development and expansion, could delay the next phases of project implementation and tenant recruitment at RMECDC’s Crossing at 64 site.
The City recently completed a study for the long-term planned development of Raleigh Road/Raleigh Street Corridor. RMECDC’s Crossing at 64 project anchors new commercial development for the Eastern end of this gateway corridor. Further, the City’s 2003 Comprehensive Plan Tomorrow -Together also cited the need for commercial development in east Rocky Mount, as did the 2010 Twin County Competitive Assessment Study.
The City’s 2003 Comprehensive Plan Tomorrow-Together also cited the need for housing development in east Rocky Mount in which the RMECDC has made progress to develop a new community in east Rocky Mount near the Crossing at 64 location. Included in this new community are three new constructions of RMECDC’s housing developments (Genesis Estates Subdivision- single family homeownership, and Thorne Ridge One and Two – multi-family housing rentals).
According to the Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce Business Recruiter Alan Matthews, there is approximately 3 million square feet of shopping center space in Rocky Mount. Of the 3 million square feet of space, 103,037 or (1%) square feet of shopping center space is located in east Rocky Mount. Mr. Matthews has worked with the RMECDC to recruit businesses to the Crossing at 64 since 2001.
PHASE ONE INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
From 2006 to 2008, RMECDC secured investment funds totaling $910,191 to complete a series of Phase One site improvements on 15 acres of the 30-acre tract. These improvements included site design, engineering, and construction of infrastructure (water, sewer, and roadways installation).
All of the grant funding raised by RMECDC were designated and used to make the site market-ready. Site preparations included (clearing and grading, design, engineering, and construction of infrastructure (water, sewer, retention pond, and roadways), landscaping, signage, professional services including engineering, GEO-technical, legal, architectural (site master plan), traffic analysis, etc.
This preliminary phase of development activity marked the beginning of the transformation of the
30-acre unimproved, agricultural acreage into a mixed-use commercial site. When completed, RMECDC’s site development plan will create commercial, office, retail, medical, services, recreational, and market rate and affordable single and multi-family housing, entertainment venues, and tourism attractions.
The total investment value for the completed 30-acre project is estimated at $34,000,000, with the potential to expand by another 55 acres.
RMECDC has focused on tenant recruitment throughout the life of the project. In recent years, RMECDC has stepped up recruitment of businesses, franchises, and investors, focusing on a potential tenant mix identified by citizens participating in the City’s 2003 Comprehensive Plan Tomorrow -Together process.
RMECDC’s tenant recruitment activities have overlapped with the construction of infrastructure. In fact, the construction of infrastructure was a condition of the Offer to Purchase from tenants that have been the focus of RMECDC’s long-term recruitment efforts.
Water/sewer installation, storm water retention, and the construction of an Access Road, to enter and exit the site from Highway 64 Bypass were all conditions that the RMECDC had to accomplish to compete for and attract potential tenants to the location.
Recently, there has been some discussion about the delay in construction of a Bo jangles Restaurant and the potential recruitment of a Sheetz’s Convenient Mart to the site.
The RMECDC’s initial negotiation with Bo jangles Fast Food Restaurant began in August 2005. Bo jangles purchased the site in May 2010. Infrastructure development required in Bo jangles‘ Offer to Purchase included: access road into the site from Highway 64 Bypass; water and sewer to the property line; and storm water retention. The RMECDC was successful in meeting most of these requirements by 2008 and met the last conditions during Phase Two Infrastructure development of the access road which was completed March 2011. However, Bo jangles has not yet announced a construction start date.
PHASE TWO INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
Phase Two (15 Acres) infrastructure development began August 2008 with the design and engineering of the access road, water and sewer, and retention pond. Construction of the access road was completed March 2011. The total cost of the above-mentioned activities is $248,795. This number included professional fees which is engineering, Geo-technical, etc.
Construction bid opening was held on November 16, 2010 for Phase Two installation of water, sewer and retention pond. However, construction start is pending based on satisfying the funding requirement of job creation for Phase One infrastructure funding. The delay in construction start of Phase Two infrastructure is tied to job creation by Bojangles.
The estimated cost of Phase Two infrastructure (water, sewer, and retention pond) is $375,568.
The RMECDC began recruitment of Sheetz Convenient Store at the Crossing at 64 with a letter to the company in May 2006. This was prior to Sheetz opening its first store in Rocky Mount. When Sheetz announced their plans to open stores in Rocky Mount, the RMECDC continue its recruitment efforts with this franchisee.
In May 2008, another convenient store franchisee made an Offer to Purchase an out parcel at Crossing at 64. For two years, this franchisee honored its Offer to Purchase. In October 2010 – as the recession deepened – – citing financing challenges, this franchisee chose not to renew its offer.
Meantime, Sheetz continued to expand its operations in Rocky Mount at multiple locations other than the Crossing at 64 site.
An early email to RMECDC from the Sheetz Company dated July 9, 2007 stated, “Sheetz has concerns with the declining population, quality of traffic on 64 Business, and higher than average crime index..”
Sheetz’s latest response to the RMECDC’s Crossing at 64 recruitment efforts was included in an email dated June 27, 2011, from James Gerhart, a real estate official with the company. An email from Mr. Gerhart stated: “Sheetz has to pass on the location.”
RMECDC is a not-for-profit organization that implements community economic development. RMECDC provides assistance to help citizens to build a better quality of life by providing business development, housing development, human resource development, and job creation. RMECDC already has leveraged investment of $30 million dollars in economic development. These investments include multi-family and single family housing, mixed-use developments, infrastructure installation, commercial/enterprise developments, downtown and neighborhood redevelopment, construction of new communities.
Since 1995, RMECDC has provided community programs to address limited resources including
pre-purchase housing counseling, foreclosure counseling, homebuyer education, and small business technical assistance.
Since 1988, RMECDC has been a major developer in Rocky Mount, expanding city and county tax base, housing developments, job creation. Projects developed by the RMECDC include: Co-developer and manager of Douglas Block Revitalization, a $8 million downtown mixed-use developer; the construction of 40,000 square foot Edgecombe County Business/Industrial Incubator; Harambee Square mixed-use development; and other inner-city housing developments.
The RMECDC Board of Directors and staff invite citizens, corporate Rocky Mount, churches, investors, and local entrepreneurs to join us in working to increase businesses and economic activities at the Crossing at 64 site, Douglas Block, and projects that generate jobs and lower the unemployment rate for the twin county area.
Crossing at 64