Major new shopping district planned for southwest Durham

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- By 2021, Southwest Durham's newest shopping destination will be called Oakridge.

The 100,000-square-foot space of offices, retail stores and apartments will sit off 15-501, also known as Durham-Chapel-Hill Boulevard.

The sprawling neighborhood is already popping with those amenities.

Along 15-501, there are multiple shopping districts next to each other

Some customers like the growth and want to see more.

Others are concerned.

"If it's something different than what we already have that would be good. If it's the same thing we have that will be a little boring," said Dwight Corbett, who lives in Orange County.

Ivona Walker, of Hillsborough, doesn't want to see vacant stores if customers don't support brick and mortar shopping.

"I don't know if it's necessary," Walker said. "As long as it's not going to be empty again in a year or two after this stuff opens."

Beacon Properties Group, the company managing this new project, said there is growing interest from retailers and restaurateurs from places in Washington, D.C., and other metropolitan areas who are looking to break into the Triangle market.

BPG said it will be marketing Oakridge to those businesses next week.

Environmental groups are concerned about the proposed location near New Hope Creek and the 15-501 bridge.

Cameras underneath the bridge show that wildlife such as white-tail deer, coyotes, raccoons, foxes, possums, raccoons and ground hogs regularly use this pathway underneath the bridge as a route to other forests, lakes, and rivers.

Bob Healy with New Hope Creek Corridor Advisory Committee said the group would like to meet with Beacon Properties Group to ensure these animals' habitat will be protected.

"What we want to do is to make sure any development that occurs at this pinch point is not impeding the usefulness of this wildlife highway," Healy said.

BPG says it will continue working with the City of Durham and other stakeholders to agree on a path forward.

Developers plan to break ground on Oakridge by the end of the year.
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