Knightdale annexes 275 acres for ‘huge’ residential project

aspecht@newsobserver.comSeptember 5, 2013 

— Town Council on Tuesday voted to approve one of the largest voluntary annexations in Knightdale’s history, thereby granting water and sewer service to a multi-purpose project that officials believe will someday transform downtown.

Knightdale Investors, LLC plans to build an 835-home subdivision on 275 acres adjacent to Knightdale Station, a 70-acre park the town hopes to open on Sept. 19. The subdivision, which will share the park’s name, will also include 18 acres of retail or office space, nine acres of recreation space, a YMCA and a private school.

But since the land is outside Knightdale’s corporate limits and in the town’s extra-territorial-jurisdiction, developers needed Town Council to annex the property to obtain water and sewer services from the town. The town benefits from annexing the property because it expects to collect $800,000 in annual tax revenues from the subdivision once it’s finished.

Karl Blackley, who’s leading efforts for Knightdale Investors, estimated his group has invested about $15 million in the project. Part of the money went toward the completion of 1,700 feet of 12-inch water line that will serve Knightdale Station, he said.

“We’ve gotten a lot done behind the scenes,” Blackley, president of Preston Development, told Town Council.

Blackley said his group is working with an architect to help build a YMCA to open by Memorial Day 2015. He also said Knightdale Investors are in the final stages of talks to allow Thales Academy, a Triangle-area network of private schools, to build an elementary school on the property.

“We think we’ve just about got that done,” Blackley said, referring to the contract with Thales. “They’ll be right in front of the YMCA.”

Kent Misegades, director of Thales Academy in Apex, has said the school hopes to open a Knightdale location by July 2015. For Blackley’s part, he hopes to begin construction on the subdivision by March. The next step: winning approval from Knightdale staff for design of the subdivision.

That shouldn’t be a problem.

Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen and town staff are working closely with Knightdale Investors, and council members say they hope the approval process goes as smoothly as possible. Killen called the annexation a “major milestone” in developing the subdivision. Councilman Dustin Tripp said completion of the subdivision will be “huge” for Knightdale.

“We’re talking a whole lot of families moving to Knightdale that want to spend money in the community,” Tripp said. “We hope it spurs some development on that side of town.”

Residents in the subdivision will likely have disposable income. All homes in the subdivision will be at least 1,600 square feet, 75 percent will be 1,850 square feet, and 25 percent will be more than 2,000 square feet. Town staff expects the future tax value of the subdivision to reach $190.5 million.

Specht: 919-829-4826

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