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$350M Wendell development linked to former Canes player comes together

$350M Wendell development linked to former Canes player comes together

A Minnesota developer has closed on the final piece of land for its 2 million-square-foot project in eastern Wake County.

Oppidan Investment Company has been acquiring land in Wendell where Highway 64 meets Interstate 87 to develop the Wendell Commerce Center, a $350 million mixed-use industrial park. The company bought the last piece of its 257-acre acquisition for $6.85 million on Sept. 22, according to Wake County deed records.

Oppidan has spent about $12 million in total to acquire the large swath of land that's an assemblage of 14 parcels. The company has been working on assembling and acquiring the property for the past three years. The most recent acquisition was 75 acres between 5412 Lahoya Farm Road and an unaddressed parcel on Highway 64 East.

Tim Brent, Oppidan's executive vice president for the Southeast – and a former National Hockey League player who spent time with the Carolina Hurricanes – said the development will have between 1.5 million and 2 million square feet of space for commercial and retail uses, a grocery store, multifamily units and potentially a hotel.

“There has been tremendous growth in Eastern Wake County and the idea of a mixeduse business park that would allow residents to work where they live was undeniable. On top of that, we believe in the Town of Wendell and its continued growth,” Brent said in an email.

Preliminary site plans approved by the town in December 2022 include five retail outparcels and up to 650 multifamily units. The industrial space will be a collection of seven buildings ranging from 190,000 square feet to 432,000 square feet. A construction timeline is not yet available.

The other parcels are 512 Eagle Rock Road; 2000, 2016, 2020 and 2021 Rolling Pines Lane; 300, 500, 538, 542 and 590 Wendell Blvd.; an unaddressed parcel on Highway 64; and an unaddressed parcel on Knightdale Eagle Rock Road. Altogether, the land has a total assessed value of about $5.6 million.

The land is vacant and partially forested with ponds. It sits across from the site for a future Wake Tech campus and is north of Wendell Falls.

As more people and businesses move to Wendell, new developments that address the needs of a larger population are in the works. For example, Homebuilder PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM) is planning 41 homes within the McKenzie Meadows subdivision.

The town is also making plans to redevelop its downtown to be more attractive to residents and visitors. It started working toward that vision by putting out a request for proposals from  developers to redevelop the former town hall complex.

Oppidan is also behind the Highline development in downtown Apex.

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