The Mebane City Council could get its first look next month at nearly 1 million square feet of additional warehouses planned for a rural road in western Orange County.
Williams Development Group, based in Winston-Salem, wants to build two warehouses — one at 300,000 square feet, and the other at 600,000 square feet — on nearly 74 acres in the 4000 block of West Ten Road.
No potential tenants have been identified for the site, known as “Project Skywalker.”
The city’s Planning Board will hear more about the project Monday, Aug. 8, and it could go to the council on Sept. 12 for an annexation hearing. The council will have to rezone the site to allow light industrial uses. A hearing to consider the building plans has not been scheduled.
A submitted plan shows the buildings could be surrounded by parking lots with up to 811 regular spaces and 196 trailer storage spaces. Three ponds are planned to handle stormwater runoff.
Williams Development has the largely flat, wooded land, located just south of Interstates 85 and 40, under contract. Although no streams are reported on the site, it is located in the Upper Eno Water Supply and Falls Lake watersheds, Mebane city staff reported.
The site is across the street from Bushy Cook Road and roughly a mile east of the Medline distribution center that opened earlier this year. The county’s Soccer.com complex and Gravelly Hill Middle School are located to the west, and surrounded by single-family homes.
Warehouse, light industrial growth
All but a corner of the site is located in Orange County’s Buckhorn Economic Development District, a 900-acre area set aside over 40 years ago for commercial and industrial growth.
Orange County and Mebane worked together for several years to bring water and sewer lines to the district. Additional commercial developments are wrapping up or getting underway to the west, near the intersection of West Ten and Buckhorn roads.
Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientific is the first tenant announced for the new Buckhorn Industrial Park under construction at 6016 West Ten Road. The 46-acre industrial park site has been approved for 675,000 square feet of warehouse and light manufacturing space in two buildings.
The park’s developer, Al Neyer, also won approval last year to build a 115-acre light industrial park at I-85/40 and Buckhorn Road, behind the Petro Stopping Center.
The Buckhorn Business Centre could have five light industrial and warehouse buildings, as well as a new fire station. The Mebane City Council approved a rezoning for the project and annexed the site on Nov. 1. It is awaiting final permits, a Mebane planning staff member said.
Orange County planning staff also has approved a 100-acre light industrial and warehouse project at 304 Mt. Willing Road in Efland, just around the corner from the Project Skywalker site.
The newly approved Efland Industrial Park lies outside the Buckhorn EDD but is zoned for office, light industrial and warehouse uses. It was proposed after Texas-based Buc-ee’s withdrew its application in 2020 to build a travel stop at the site.
Cary-based Oppidan Development is behind the new project, which could include four buildings totaling 876,000 square feet. The existing zoning only required the developer to get planning staff approval that it meets the county’s development, environmental and building standards.
Although few road improvements are planned as a result of the pending development, the N.C. Department of Transportation is taking a closer look at whether to add traffic signals to the on- and off-ramps at Buckhorn Road and I-85/40, Mebane staff reported.
The NCDOT also could look more closely at the intersection of West Ten Road and Mt. Willing Road in the future, staff said.
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