On Jan. 23, Leon Capital Group, the developer of Chapel Hill’s proposed Wegmans, purchased the Performance AutoMall on U.S. 15-501 for $11.9 million. This property, in addition to two buildings purchased on Old Durham Road for $1.34 million, will be the future site of the 130,000-square-foot Wegmans food market.
The purchase comes after a $4 million economic incentive agreement was struck between the town of Chapel Hill and Orange County in October. The agreement, which involves both the town and county paying $2 million to the grocery store, was intended to draw the New York-based grocery chain to the area.
The incentive package will be disbursed to Wegmans over a five-year period and will be based on its performance.
Dwight Bassett, economic development officer for the town of Chapel Hill, explained some of the requirements that must be met in order for Wegmans to receive the incentive.
“So there are performance measures — meaning they have to create a specific number of jobs,” he said. “They can only receive a percentage of the total $4 million based on job creation.”
In addition to bringing 350 full-time jobs with health benefits to the area, $30 million must be invested into developing the future building site. The town estimates that new sales and property tax revenues will be around $1.7 million annually.
The economic incentives will not go into effect until the Wegmans has been open for at least a year.
On Nov. 14 at a public hearing, the Chapel Hill Town Council heard the preliminary concept plan for the food market, passing on their comments and concerns to the developer. Among the issues brought up were the size of the parking lot (a proposed 770 spaces), the main road that traffic would enter from, and the future status of Old Durham Road.