WAKE FOREST — A new apartment complex touted as a luxury facility could be coming to downtown Wake Forest.
The complex, the Franklin Street Apartments, would be the first of its kind in the planning area known as “Town Center,” where urban, pedestrian-friendly development is encouraged.
The town's planning board last week recommended the project for approval by a vote of 7-1. Several neighbors spoke against the project during a public hearing, arguing it would worsen traffic nearby.
Marc Iafrate, one of the project’s developers, said the project, at the corner of South Franklin Street and Dr. Calvin Jones Highway, would includes features such as granite counterops, washers and dryers in each unit and spacious rooms and amenities including a pool, grilling area and exercise facility.
The complex would include five apartment buildings with 108 units and one clubhouse.
More people living close to downtown’s shops and restaurants would allow the area to flourish further, Iafrate said.
“Thats how you grow. You have people who want to live in a downtown area move to a downtown area,” he said.
The Board of Commissioners is expected to consider the project at their Feb. 18 meeting.
The neighbors told the planning board that the project’s intersection, which does not have a traffic light, is one of the worst in the area and cautioned against allowing further development nearby.
The intersection has been identified as needing a traffic light, but it’s up to the state Department of Transportation to decide when the light will be installed.
“A signal can be put there, it’s just about finding the money,” said Chip Russell, the town’s planning director.
Concerns about logistics
Planning board member Steve Stoller said it didn’t seem fair to punish the developer for a larger problem with the intersection, especially if it wouldn’t make a difference to the transoprtation department.
“I do feel that this particular development is not the major cause of any problems,” he said.
Jim McGarrigle, a board member of the homeowner’s association for the nearby Deacon’s Ridge neighborhood, also said he doesn’t think the plan is the best match for the town’s vision of the area that’s been laid out in several strategic plans.
“I dont know that the town of Wake Forest really needs more roofs,” he said.
An apartment complex is allowed under the zoning rules for the area. The town planning staff recommneded approval of the project.