Feb 27, 2023 - News

Durham Coca-Cola Bottling Plant's possible rezoning

Coca-Cola bottling plant

Durham Coca-Cola Bottling Co. is moving its facilities to Apex. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

A Coca-Cola Bottling plant in Durham could be set for a radical transformation.

Driving the news: The Atlanta developer Ardent Cos. submitted a rezoning request in December asking the city to allow for retail and residential uses on the nearly 12-acre property.

  • Patrick Byker, a local lawyer representing Ardent, said at a neighborhood meeting late last year that his firm wants to add up to 370 apartment units, 68,000 square feet of commercial space and two dozen townhouses on the site.
  • The Coca-Cola Bottling Co. announced plans to move its facilities to Apex last year. The rezoning application was first reported by Triangle Business Journal.

Why it matters: The redevelopment would place a large housing project in a section of Durham more known for strip malls, grocery stores and fast-food chains.

  • Another nearby project, Aura Hillandale West, on North LaSalle Street could add a similar number of apartments.
The project would put a grocery store facing Hillsborough Road. Photo: City of DurhamD

Details: Under the submitted plans, a 25,000-square-foot grocery store and surface parking lot would front Hillsborough Road. That is on the smaller side of grocery stores, Byker told neighbors, about the size of the Durham Co-op, for example.

  • The apartments would be in two five-story buildings behind the grocery store, with retail on the ground floors.
  • The plan calls to demolish the bottling plant but keep the adjacent First Citizens Bank branch.
  • Ardent said it plans to work with an unnamed nonprofit to make 15% of the townhomes available as affordable housing.

What's next: Byker said the timeline for construction could take several years, with site activity probably not happening until 2025.

  • "It's definitely a marathon not a sprint," he said at the meeting.

Zoom out: Durham City Council has several potential rezoning cases on its radar.

  • About two miles away, the owners of the old Northgate Mall are seeking a rezoning to turn the mall into a life-science campus — though it has faced intense community opposition.

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