S.P. unveils vision for Target shopping center

Progress was made toward new proposed buildings in the Morganton Park South development at Thursday night’s Southern Pines Planning Board meeting. The meeting shed light on future developments at the under-construction Target shopping center, highlighting recent changes and planning efforts years in the making.

According to the Planning Board, Midland Atlantic Properties previously applied for a Planned Development Preliminary Development Plan in association with the Morganton Park South development.

The application includes a sprawling 101,840-square-foot wholesale retail establishment (though the retailer has not legally been unveiled), a fuel service station without a convenience store, and a drive-thru restaurant. At the meeting, the restaurant was officially revealed to be a new Starbucks drive-thru, confirming previous rumors.

The developments are now in stage three after years of prior planning and unanimous approval of both prior phases. Board members listened to guest speakers and could ask questions and review previous revisions.

The parcel, along with the businesses it houses, is positioned to connect with pre-existing roads while extending Southern Road and additionally feeding into the new Carolina Green Parkway roundabout. According to research conducted by the Department of Transportation, the planned changes are expected to ease traffic for the new shopping centers and pre-existing congested traffic on 15-501.

Representatives from Midland Atlantic Properties were available to speak on the parcel’s development, answer questions, and provide insight into the project. Though no information can be legally divulged on the wholesale retailer yet, the developers hinted at growing excitement and unveiled new plans for the massive building.

Many of the new stores are expected to open their doors next spring, and Target will be opening in just over a year, slated to open in October of 2024. Home Goods, FiveBelow, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and residential dwellings are also expected.

As per Southern Pines standards, the team has incorporated features that “integrate public spaces and amenities to promote gatherings and activities.” Along with the retail spaces, the parcel now contains plans for a linear park, multi-use trails for biking and walking, and gazebos with seating areas for gathering. Lighting and landscaping will be added and maintained according to Southern Pines guidelines.

In addition to the current physical changes taking place in Southern Pines, the meeting touched on the town’s long-term future, as well. The board discussed the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, outlined in a visionary document aimed at shaping the future of Southern Pines.

The Comprehensive Plan emphasizes community character and balancing the charm of Southern Pines with a growing outcry for accessibility and inclusivity. According to the document, key plans include large-scale projects such as providing a safe and reliable transportation system that balances all modes of travel, including walking, biking, public transit, railways, and cars. Further plans include creating spaces to promote community togetherness, protect local wildlife, and creating “a unique sense of place and community pride for living and working in Southern Pines.”

Community voices were heard at the meeting, with Southern Pines residents welcomed up to a podium to provide their thoughts and feedback on not just the town’s vision of the future but their perspectives on the past, present, and future.

Though the Planning Board does not make finite decisions for the town of Southern Pines, the board uses information from the meetings to identify concerns, comments, and feedback to bring to the attention of the Town Council.

Feature photo: Southern Pines Planning Board unveils the next phase of the new Target shopping center on Aug. 24/Photo courtesy of Town of Southern Pines.

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