A potential $168 million development in the old service district on the outskirts of downtown Pinehurst has ties to some star power.
Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 8:33 pm | Updated: 8:38 am, Wed Mar 12, 2014.
David Sinclair/Managing Editor

A potential $168 million development in the old service district on the outskirts of downtown Pinehurst has ties to some star power.

Blaine East, of Landcore, said in a presentation to the Village Council Tuesday night that they have brought in some “unique partners” for Village Place at Pinehurst, including a restaurant owned by Robert Irvine, who has a show on the Food Network, Justin Timberlake’s Southern Hospitality restaurant and a winery owned by Richard Childress of NASCAR fame.

He added that Irvine would also like to build a production studio next to the restaurant to tape programs for his show.

“We’ve taken this core and created this fantastic entertainment component,” East said.

It would also include upscale shops, microbrewery, cigar bar, small hotel, village market, offices and residential units.

Each of the restaurants will be flanked by retail businesses, which he said are “a driving factor” in the development.

East said the plans include a small “boutique” hotel that will not “interfere” with existing hotels in the village. The plan did not indicate how many rooms it would have.

“We are not talking about a large facility,” he told the council.

East said the Village Market grocery store would be similar to the Department Store in the downtown during the days when the Tufts family owned Pinehurst.

“This will be a great retail facility,” he said. “People can walk to it.”

East said the development would employee 450 people, and its businesses are projected to have gross sales of $63 million annually. He said it would generate $2.25 million in property taxes for the village and the county and about $6.1 million in sales tax revenues annually.

East said the development would have an “old town character.” He said it is not intended to hurt the restaurants and shops in the Village Center, but to enhance the entire area.

“We have a chance to grow our retail in the village,” he said.

Koontz added that they envision a lot of outdoor dining and people walking back and forth from the village center, as well as the nearby Pinehurst Arboretum and Rassie Wicker Park.

“We want this to become a great pedestrian plaza,” he said.

Koontz said the plan would also extend Rattlesnake Trail, which would be renamed Village Place Drive, through the development, providing better connectivity from the soon-to-be widened N.C. 211 into the Village Center.

“We felt we could provide something very exciting,” East said. “Our goal is to have a new destination.”

The buildings would be spread around the development to create open space. Residential units would be above the stores and offices.

Walkways and paths would connect to the Village Center and the nearby Pinehurst Arboretum and Rassie Wicker Park. There would be a trolley service, just like in the early days of Pinehurst.

East said the final plan for the development will be based on what the community wants and will support. Required meetings will be held to gather input from residents before a final plan is submitted to the village.

“We have a passion for this, to bring something truly great for the area,” he said.

The concept plans drew praise from council members and the public.

“You know I am a hard sell,” resident Jack Farrell said. “This is pretty exciting. This is the best A-1 plan I’ve ever seen for this area. I know the devil is in the detail.”

Farrell added, “I am looking forward to my tax reduction.”

Mark Lyczkowski, who lives at Pinehurst No. 6, said this will create a “destination” that would complement the existing downtown.

“Landcore has the funding in place to do this,” he said. “You have a great developer who can bring something great.”

Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said it is a “very interesting concept and beautiful design.” She said it must be a “community-centered” plan.

“We need to take a deep breath,” she said. “What will the community support? It will not happen overnight.”

East said the developers also plan to work closely with the merchants and business owners in the downtown in marketing the entire area. He said that will start with the Village Green and “expand outward.”

He said if the core village is vibrant, “it helps everyone. Let’s all roll up our selves and work together.”

Also during the meeting, the council voted unanimously to allow retirement communities on a case-by-case basis in the Office and Professional zoning district and to rezone five acres off Murdocksville Road behind Olmsted Village for a 56-unit apartment complex for people age 55 and older.

The council turned down a nearly identical request last April but voted earlier this year to reconsider the application after being threatened with a possible housing discrimination complaint.

Also, a majority of council members are not in favor of hiring attorneys to represent the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the Board of Adjustment in the case of an appeal of an HPC decision last month to reject plans for a home on Everette Road. The Village Council hired attorneys for both boards when it appealed the HPC’s denial of plans to improve the Village Green.

Council member John Strickland brought up the matter, saying it was a matter of being fair to hire attorneys for the two boards.

Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said Village Attorney Mike Newman had contacted council members individually to ask about whether the village should pay for attorneys for the two boards. She said neither board has asked the council to provide an attorney and that Newman was trying to see how council members felt. No vote has been taken on the issue.

Contact David Sinclair at (910) 693-2462 or dsinclair@thepilot.com