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APARTMENT SITE — Waynesville has approved an economic development agreement for a project that will raze the BI-LO shopping center on Russ Avenue to make way for two apartment buildings with a total of 210 units and provide 1.6 acres for a future extension of the town’s greenway.

The town of Waynesville has finalized a development agreement for a major housing project at the shuttered BI-LO shopping plaza, agreeing to reimburse RFLP Mountain Creek LLC for up to $2.417 million in costs.

RFLP Mountain Creek is proposing to build two, four-story apartment buildings with a total of 210 units at the former commercial site on Russ Avenue, located along Richland Creek.

According to town officials, the project will help make headway on a housing shortage, overhaul a blighted commercial building, improve the creek’s water quality, and create an opportunity to expand the town’s public greenway.

Several years in the making, the project envisions 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units with a leasing office and common areas including a fitness center, community room, central courtyard, grills and fire pits, all with a “modern mountain” architecture.

Under the development agreement, RFLP Mountain Creek LLC will transfer 1.6 acres along Richland Creek to the town for a future extension of its greenway. The company also agrees to offer 20 apartment units as affordable housing for 10 years, for people who meet income limits.

The reimbursements include $1.361 million for infrastructure, $613,636 for land acquisition, and $443,195 for interest, according to the agreement.

Reimbursable improvements include roadway grading, erosion control and paving, curb and gutter, sidewalks, landscaping, lighting, water and sewer lines, and stormwater infrastructure.

The town will reimburse the developer by paying it a percentage of the property tax payments that are attributable to increases in the property tax value in the Mountain Creek project area over 10 years.

“We’re getting land for the greenway, plus most importantly 20 affordable housing units guaranteed for the next 10 years, plus electric, sewer and water revenues,” Alderman Anthony Sutton said of the project and the agreement, thanking Alderman Jon Feichter for proposing the affordable housing component.

“I think it’s a very beneficial project for the area,” Sutton said.

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