WAKE FOREST — A new residential development is planned for downtown, part of an effort to further boost that area’s profile as a destination for both residents and visitors.
The town planning board last week recommended approval of the development’s master plan, which calls for 80 townhomes and five “live-work” units on 11 acres just two blocks south of Town Hall.
More people, living in a walkable community, should bring a greater vitality to downtown, said Craig Briner, whose Elm Street Partners is the developer behind the plan.
The new residents would be adjacent to Renaissance Place shopping center and a short walk from the shops, galleries, and restaurants on South White Street.
Doug Pearce, who owns Over the Falls restaurant in Renaissance Place and nearby Brooks Street Bowl, said the development would help the area, which has been revitalized during the past decade, to thrive.
“We have a really vibrant downtown, and we want to bring even more energy to downtown,” he said.
Briner and Pearce also have plans to bring additional shops and restaurants to the area.
If all goes as planned, the new residential development, known as the Retreat at Renaissance, could have occupants by sometime in 2014, Briner said.
The Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on the plan at the Aug. 20 meeting.
The development would be built by M/I Homes.
Chad Sary, a town planner, said that because of the development’s downtown location, it’s expected to meet high standards for its streetscapes, open spaces and overall design. That includes everything from wider sidewalks to making sure landscaping and lighting match existing parts of downtown.
George Young with M/I Homes told the board that the live-work units will have a space for a small business on the first floor with living space above. The first floor could be used by anyone from an insurance agent to a retailer, he said.
The plan also calls for the completion of Brooks Street, as well as construction of a secondary street with access to South Franklin Street.