A New Opportunity for Carolina Beach
GHK Cape Fear Development worked hand-in-hand with the community to make Publix a reality for Carolina Beach. Now, we are committed to working with neighbors every step of the way on a new project for the Carolina Beach community – The Proximity.
What is The Proximity?
The proposed project is a unique opportunity to enhance lifestyle offerings in the Carolina Beach community with a thoughtful blend of residential, retail, office, and live-work, all of which will be in keeping with the coastal design and the fabric of Carolina Beach
Where is The Proximity located?
The Proximity is planned for the long-vacant property located on Lake Park Boulevard and St. Joseph Street.
Will this development increase the bike and pedestrian offerings for Carolina Beach?
Yes, The Proximity development will connect the Island Greenway System between St. Joseph Street and Lake Park Boulevard, where Carolina Beach residents can walk, run, or ride their bikes. In addition, Proximity will include internal pedestrian interconnectivity, crosswalks, sidewalks, active greenspaces, and bike lanes as part of the project’s commitment to Enhanced Pedestrian Facilities in accordance with the CAMA Land Use Plan.
What amenities or other community benefits will this development offer?
The Proximity will offer various amenities for visitors, tenants, and the Carolina Beach community. These include:
- Resort-style pool and fitness facilities for seasonal membership for Carolina Beach residents and guests
- Covered golf cart parking with solar charging stations
- Concierge golf cart pick up and drop off for The Proximity members and commercial patrons
- Multi-use path that ties into the Island Greenway System
- Expanded greenspace and bike storage for community use and enjoyment
- Streetscape improvements along Lake Park Boulevard, including trees and pedestrian connectivity, aimed at creating a “Main Street” feel
- Year-round residence rentals
- Various restaurant and retail establishments operated by regional and local business owners
- Opportunities for future interconnectivity with Winner Avenue (in partnership with the Town of Carolina Beach)
- Live-work residential space above commercial, serving Carolina Beach residents who desire a work-from-home lifestyle
- Class-A office space serving community businesses and entrepreneurs
- Co-work office opportunities for local and visiting professionals
Is this development a gated community?
No, a gated community is not consistent with a mixed-use development like The Proximity. We want the entire Carolina Beach community to enjoy the retail, restaurants, greenspace, and other amenities that The Proximity will offer.
What will you do to protect the environment and Carolina Beach’s stormwater infrastructure as you develop The Proximity?
Low-Impact Site Design measures will be included, where applicable. Stormwater management will exceed state and local standards, with onsite retention and treatment, thus enhancing the water quality and mitigating the negative impacts of stormwater and flooding. The development will include pervious pavers, which will reduce the burden on storm drains.
In addition, we will preserve the existing tree canopy and integrate it into open spaces at the development.
How will this development affect traffic in Carolina Beach?
The Proximity will adhere to all requirements of the North Carolina Department of Transportation to include any requirements for a Traffic Impact Analysis and offsite improvements. We are committed to traffic-calming measures to increase the efficiency of traffic flow, including providing both vehicular and pedestrian connectivity to Publix and a connection to St. Joseph Street. Plentiful crosswalks, wide sidewalks, bike lanes, and greenway connectivity are all features that we are considering to ensure pedestrian safety in the proposed development.
Initial analysis indicated that the proposed project represents a significantly reduced traffic burden, versus the burden that would be generated by a high-intensity commercial development under the existing ordinance language.
How will The Proximity support the Carolina Beach economy?
The Proximity will mean the creation of a local tax base, which will be supported by year-round residential and commercial occupancy. The development will be a complement to the local business community, while providing much-needed revenue to the Town of Carolina Beach, which can be used to further advance the goals and objectives for sustainable long-term growth and community well-being.
In addition, this development creates the opportunity for a master planned cohesive, community-focused project, instead of a piecemeal development of the property through a series of individual smaller projects.
What is a text amendment, and why is it necessary?
A text amendment is a process to adapt the Carolina Beach zoning code. Both the 2020 Future Land Use Plan and the current zoning code allow mixed-use commercial-residential development on this site. However, the current zoning language requires all buildings within the mixed-use site to be the same, with commercial use on the entire ground floor of each. This requirement fits poorly for large sites, where more diverse building layouts make more sense.
For this reason, we requested a simple text amendment which would allow the option within the code for mixing uses on the ground floor. Importantly, this amendment simply allows flexibility in a project’s design on large (10+ acre) sites. The text amendment does not “approve the plan” for this project, or any other, as presented.
Is approval of the text amendment the end of the Town’s opportunity to consider the details of the development?
No, not even close. Before we commence construction, the town would have to approve a Conditional Zoning Plan, and our design team will design and work through the technical details of the project to achieve permitting. Following approval of the text amendment, we will propose a Conditional Zoning Plan to the town for consideration. That plan will be the formal opportunity for the town to assess the details of the planned development, as consistent with the best interest of the public. Like the text amendment, this Conditional Zoning Plan will be considered first by the Carolina Beach Planning Commission and then by the Carolina Beach Town Council.
Following Conditional Zoning approval and before The Proximity is built, the project’s civil engineer and numerous consultants will fully design all technical aspects of the project. This is a rigorous process involving extensive governmental review to ensure compliance with regulatory and municipal planning requirements. The details for stormwater, drainage, provision of utilities, and the like would be addressed in this phase. The plan will likely undergo further refinement to ensure that all technical and design considerations are satisfied before it is permitted for construction.