Real estate developers one step closer to building Wegmans store in the Triangle

(January 25, 2017)

Developers of the proposed Wegmans in Chapel Hill have secured the land and the construction loan to begin demolition and site work for the big, new grocery building later this year.

Texas-based Leon Capital Group on Monday closed on the purchase of Hendrick Automotive’s Performance Automall properties on Fordham Boulevard, paying $11.9 million for the 13-acre site, according to Orange County records. The developer also bought for $1.34 million two small buildings on Old Durham Road that’ll be needed for overflow parking.

Hendrick Automotive plans to relocate its Acura, BMW and Subaru dealerships in Chapel Hill to its the Durham Southpoint Automall near The Streets at Southpoint mall.

Leon Capital Group has also secured a construction loan with Greensboro-based NewBridge Bank, a recent acquisition of Raleigh-based Yadkin Bank, which is also in the process of being acquired by Pittsburgh-based F.N.B. Corp. The principal value of the Wegmans construction loan is for $16.76 million with a maximum threshold of $33.5 million, according to county records.

Chapel Hill and Orange County government leaders in October approved an economic development incentive package for Wegmans worth $4 million to lure the big-box grocery store company to Chapel Hill. The new 130,000-square-foot Wegmans store is expected to create 350 new jobs and support $30 million in new investments, plus a projected $1.7 million in new tax revenue annually for the town and county.

New York-based Wegmans has confirmed plans so far to open four future stores in the Triangle, including two in Cary, one in Raleigh and one in Chapel Hill, each with different real estate development partners under long-term lease agreements.

Leon Capital Group, which is developing the Chapel Hill site on behalf of Wegmans, submitted a special use permit application and site plan in October, which is currently under review.

The property is adjacent to the former office and headquarters campus of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, a property now owned by the State Employees Credit Union. In August, SECU began renovation and conversion of the property into a data center. That project is expected to take 12 to 18 months. BCBS has relocated its staff and operations to Durham.

Leon Capital Group in October also acquired from Hendrick Automotive the former Crown Honda-Volvo auto dealership site on the Fordham Boulevard service road next to the Rams Plaza shopping center. The firm paid nearly $6.1 million for that 6.5-acre site. It has approached the town with plans to build a five-story and a four-story apartment building on the property, including an interior parking deck for the bigger building.

Representing both the buyers and sellers in the Chapel Hill land sale were Steve Stroud and Moss Withers of NAI Carolantic Realty in Raleigh.

This article originally appeared on on January 25, 2017.