A Mooresville landowner said a proposed Costco-anchored retail center on his family’s property would benefit the area with road improvements and hundreds of jobs.
Bryan Pope contacted the Observer this week to respond to neighbors’ concerns that the project off Interstate 77 Exit 35 would harm their primarily residential area along Talbert Road.
Residents said it’s tough enough now to turn left out of their neighborhoods and that other areas of town are more suited for such large retail and commercial developments.
The pastor of St. Therese Catholic Church on Brawley School Road wrote town officials recently to say the project would devastate the middle-income neighborhoods near the church.
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The 155,500-square-foot Costco would be the major anchor of the Brawley Crossing development. The project also would include a 63,000-square-foot Academy Sports + Outdoors and six outparcels for restaurants and other retailers.
The Mooresville Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a public hearing and then vote on a rezoning for the project at 6 p.m. Monday at Town Hall, 413 N. Main St.
Pope said his family is under contract to sell 10 acres to the project’s developer, Hammerford Development Co. of Toronto, Canada. Another local family, the Caldwells, would sell another 30 acres.
Pope said neighbors’ fears of traffic snarls and diminished property values are based on emotion and are simply not true.
He said Hammerford Development plans $1.4 million to $3 million in road improvements that should greatly improve traffic on Talbert. He said Talbert Road is at 85-percent capacity. Upon completion, the project would reduce capacity to 50 percent, including the additional traffic generated.
Among other concerns, Father Vince Curtin, the pastor of St. Therese Catholic Church, questioned a traffic study of the project area that explored only the off-peak hours of 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday.
Pope said those are peak shopping hours for a Costco, which is why those times were chosen. “This time period represents the worst-case scenario for traffic impact,” he said.
Pope also cited the 400 to 500 jobs the retail center would bring and how Costco pays the highest wages in the industry, giving more opportunity to the middle class.
“The upside to this is huge,” Pope said of the project. “It will bring jobs, spur growth to the area.”
Kelley Ireland, the Realtor who represents the Caldwell family, said more people want to live in such “mixed-used” areas where they can walk to stores from their homes. She cited the Morrison Plantation community at Brawley School and Williamson roads as an example.
Ireland said the project would have no negative effect on property values.
Pope said mushrooming taxes have forced his family to sell the land. Taxes have increased 55.3 percent on the Pope and Caldwell properties over nine years, to an annual total tax bill of $22,389 as of last year, he said.
“Due to the increasing taxes, size and close proximity to a growing I-77, our property has very little residential appeal and is best suitable for commercial use,” he said.
Pope, 34, said his grandparents were born and raised in Mooresville and have lived on Talbert Road since 1950. Pope’s grandmother, who is 94, still lives on the property with her daughter and son-in-law.