A groundbreaking ceremony last week marked the start of construction on a $30 million mixed use—apartments and commercial—project on the north side of Fuquay-Varina, fronting on US 401.
“It’s a huge development for Fuquay-Varina,” said Mayor John Byrne at last Tuesday’s town board meeting. “It’s a mixed use development. We hope it will be a showplace.”
The project, named Villages at Marquee Station, will be located on a 25-acre tract at the intersection of Highway 401 and Mill Creek Road.
Plans call for one, two and three-bedroom apartments in three-story buildings. A total of 265 units is planned. Developers describe the units as “luxury apartments” featuring such amenities as stainless steel appliances and granite-topped counters. The complex will include a pool and a clubhouse.
Five lots fronting on US 401 will be sold for community type commercial uses such as offices, medical or small retail establishments. The project is described as “very walkable.”
Clearing of the project site has been in progress for several weeks. Construction of the first 149 apartment units will begin when the site preparation is complete. Maurice Malfatti, manager of Blue Heron Asset Management, the Chapel Hill based company that is providing financing for the project, said at the groundbreaking he sees the apartment project as an appropriate gateway for those entering Fuquay-Varina from the north on Highway 401.
He said plans call for a metal sculpture at the entrance with symbols reminiscent of the drive-in theater that once stood at the site and the railroad that brought so much commerce to the town in its early years.
Wayne Hightower, director of development for the project, said the town leadership has been very sensitive to development quality in the Five Points area where the apartments are to be built as that area is seen as a gateway to the town. He said town commissioners and the staff have been “good to work with all the way through.” He said the company had always meant to build a quality project, and that’s what the town was looking for. “We were all on the same page,” he said.
Developers hope to have the first apartment units ready for occupancy by the end of this year or early in 2013. As for the commercial units, Hightower said no lots have been sold but “we have some strong lookers.”
The apartment complex will be located on property once home to the Cairo Drive-in Theater; hence the name Marquee Station. One street within the complex is called Cinema Drive.
The Chamber of Commerce hosted the groundbreaking event last week.