An area of Cary close to Raleigh will change dramatically in the next few years. Epic Games, known best for its popular Fortnite video game, bought the Cary Towne Center mall. And Fenton, a mixed-use destination, will open in spring 2022. It’s part of a transforming Eastern Cary Gateway, between Raleigh and Downtown Cary.
The acquisition was a surprise to most. In October of last year, Turnbridge Equities had launched a new website and name for the Cary Towne Center redevelopment — Carolina Yards. The plan was to redevelop the surface parking lot and mall property into a “new urban grid” with large public green spaces.
Epic Games also paid more for it: the News & Observer reports the purchase price was $95 million, while Turnbridge Equities paid $31.5 in early 2019.
Here’s why it’s an area to watch:
Epic Games is a rapidly growing company headquartered in Cary. The newly acquired site is being called its new global headquarters — and it is a global company. The company raised $1.53 billion in 2020, putting it in Crunchbase’s top funding rounds for the year, among the likes of SpaceX in the global list.
While people know Fortnite best, Epic Games is also behind the Unreal Engine, a type of architecture used widely — including for developing electric vehicles.
On a bus rapid transit route: The bus rapid transit line going west will likely go by both Fenton and the new Epic Games HQ, connecting Downtown Raleigh and Downtown Cary.
BRT is a faster, express bus system and the Western Boulevard BRT is the second project in the transit plan. The first, eastern route recently received federal funding. There are future plans for north and south BRT lines.
The recreation and sports center will continue: An indoor recreation and sports complex, which will receive interlocal funds from Raleigh and Wake (a food/beverage and hotel tax), will continue.
The design process with public input is anticipated to start in winter or spring of this year.
Fenton will be Cary’s largest development: In an August town council meeting, Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said Fenton was the largest development in Cary’s history. The 92 previously undeveloped acres next to Wake Med Soccer Park (current home of the NC Courage women’s soccer team and men’s North Carolina FC) is anticipated to open in spring 2022.
The mixed-use destination will include a steakhouse concept by Raleigh chef Scott Crawford (Crawford & Son, Jolie), a sushi restaurant by Durham chef Michael Lee (M Sushi, M Kokko, M Tempura, M Pocha), and expansions from well-known regional chefs including Superica and Colletta. [read more]
Why Eastern Cary Gateway: The Eastern Cary Gateway is a focus of the town’s “Imagine Cary” 2040 plan, which guides much of the decisions. The plan, which was created through a process of community feedback, was adopted in January 2017.
This plan is often referenced by town staff and town councilors during their decision-making process. The Eastern Cary Gateway, the plan says, is the entrance and exit for 50% of commuters.
Its vision is to grow employment in Cary by creating competitive facilities where “development is physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired, and that offer mixed use housing, office, recreation, and retail uses together to provide a quality of life that can be marketed to employees.”
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