Want to live on the Durham-Orange Light Rail line?
A proposed apartment project at the Patterson Place shopping center would put you right next to it.
A developer has submitted plans for 295 apartments on the site of the old Witherspoon Rose Culture commercial rose garden. The proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit line runs through the shopping center, which has a Home Depot, a Total Wine and several other large retailers.
The project, being called Witherspoon Apartments, could also include a hotel and offices on the eight-acre property, according to plans LRC VII submitted to the Durham City-County Planning Department.
In 2016, Witherspoon Rose Culture announced that it would be moving to a new location at 4800 Garrett Road, after selling its property to LRC VII for $5.3 million, according to county records. That sale ended the rose grower's longtime run on Watkins Road in Durham. LRC VII is a limited liability company that lists the same address as Chapel Hill real estate company Empire Associates.
LRC VII's partners include Louis Gonzalez and his son Bob, Chris Howlett and his daughter Kathryn, The News & Observer reported in 2016, when the rose garden property, at 3312 Watkins Road, was purchased. Efforts to reach Empire Associates were not immediately successful.
Witherspoon Rose Culture was founded in Durham in 1951. In 1954, the company bought five acres and later bought another three. The company was founded by Bob and Thelma Witherspoon.
The rose company was started before that section of Durham began to be developed. Interstate 40 and U.S. 15-501 eventually were built nearby, and in 2002, the Patterson Place development was created, bringing big-box retailers next door.
The property sits close to one of the 17 proposed stations on the light-rail line. In the documents submitted to the city, the developers said they are working with GoTriangle to reserve a little more than half an acre for the light rail project.
The plans call for developing the property in two phases.
The first phase would focus on 3.74 acres and build 295 apartments in two five-story buildings. Birmingham, Alabama-based Crowne Partners is listed as the potential operator of the apartments. Crowne is currently helping develop an apartment project in Cary on Brushy Mountain Street.
The proposed apartments would be broken down into 125 one-bedroom units, 145 two-bedroom units and 25 three-bedroom units.
The second phase, which would target the remaining 4.3 acres of the property, would include space for a 200-room hotel and up to 195,000 square feet of office space.
The plans also show that the developer would provide a donation of $32,000 to the Durham Public Schools and make three separate payments to the city of $50,000 each to be used for affordable housing.