The Town of Apex is looking to make 2021 a year of transformation for the town by embarking on its long-planned downtown revitalization plan. Apex is a community that has begun to grow exponentially, as the price of housing in Cary rises very rapidly. Town officials are working to create a vibrant downtown atmosphere on Salem Street by using empty spaces like parking lots and alleys for foot traffic, trees and outdoor dining space.
The Downtown Master Plan, adopted by the Town Council in December 2019, is guiding the town’s plan to redesign its central commercial district. This plan calls for new businesses, new apartments, and a boutique hotel to attract more visitors and investors to the town as it continues to grow. The plan was crafted in partnership with global urban design consulting firm Stantec, with a target completion date of 2023.
There are 10 main goals of the plan, which include a cosmetic refresh of Salem Street, adding 200 parking spaces within a 5-10 minute walk of downtown, repurposing parking areas in wider walkways and more public use spaces, attracting 5 new breweries and/or restaurants, building 100 housing units downtown and converting the firehouse into a mixed-use civic center. There are also potential concepts for crosswalks, sidewalks and lighting to increase pedestrian safety and accessibility. There are also plans to include public art into the project, along with well-designed landscaping to improve the overall aesthetic of the downtown area.
This project will be funded by the town’s annual budget. The COVID-19 pandemic is not expected to have an effect on the project, as the town believes that this rejuvenation of downtown Apex is increasingly important, as the cost of land and housing in the Raleigh-Durham metro area is driving many families into towns like Apex that are farther from downtown Raleigh but offer lower housing costs and great schools. Having a vibrant downtown district with plenty to do makes the case for moving to Apex more compelling and will drive more prosperity within town limits.
In addition to this plan, Tim Brent, a former player for the Carolina Hurricanes and resident of Apex, is leading the Highline project, a mixed-use building with two floors of office space and ground-floor retail space on North Salem Street. The retail space has been set up for restaurant use. While no tenants have been announced, the demand for the space is strong. This project will bring additional life and private investment to downtown Apex.