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Firm plans second phase at Tanglewood Pavilions

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Local officials attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first phase of the Tanglewood Pavilions shopping center, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. Plans for the center's second phase have been submitted to the city, officials said last week.

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By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Chicago-based developer is preparing to bring new stores to the Tanglewood Pavilions shopping center in Elizabeth City.

Conlon & Co. submitted a preliminary plat earlier this month for phase two of Tanglewood Pavilions, a two-year-old shopping center on Halstead Boulevard Extended. The preliminary plat is a rough draft of the new development's layout that sketches where new structures would go and what infrastructure is needed to support them.

Conlon and Co. does have an “anchor tenant,” or key store, secured for phase two, City Manager Rich Olson said Monday. He declined to identify the tenant, citing the company's request, and added it's unclear what additional stores Conlon is recruiting.

The company's preliminary plat shows phase two would be developed east of the stores in phase one which include Hobby Lobby. Phase two would extend to Mt. Everest Drive, with lots on either side of Conlon Way, the road running westerly from Mt. Everest Drive to Tanglewood Parkway North.

The plat proposes one 13.5-acre lot north of Conlon Way, plus three smaller lots sandwiched between Conlon Way and Halstead Extended. The anchor tenant would occupy a 2.6-acre lot at the northwest corner of the Halstead-Mt. Everest Drive intersection, Olson said Monday.

Olson said the city's next step is to review the proposal at the Technical Review Committee meeting on Oct. 24. That committee includes employees representing planning, public works, police and fire and other departments, who will examine the plans for any issues of concern. If reviews from the Technical Review Committee and Planning Commission go well, the project could go before City Council for final approval in late January, Olson said.

A Conlon spokesman was not immediately available for comment Monday.

Tanglewood Pavilions' phase one stores opened in late summer 2015. It was developed through a joint venture by Indiana-based Thompson Thrift and IRC Retail Centers, of Oak Brook, Ill. Conlon & Co. sold off the phase one property rather than develop it.

Based on promises to Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County officials, Thompson Thrift invested $20 million-plus to bring the stores to Tanglewood Pavilions, leading to creation of approximately 200 jobs. IRC Retail Centers acquired full ownership of the property in April 2016.

Tanglewood Pavilions' economic benefits have come at a price: Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County officials agreed in 2013 to rebate to the property’s owners 15 years' worth of property taxes or a cumulative total of $2.2 million, whichever comes first. That tax break ended up being more generous than what city and county officials initially offered through the governments’ new Business Investment Program.

Asked Monday if phase two of Tanglewood Pavilions would qualify for the Business Investment Program, Olson said Conlon hasn't requested incentives yet — nor does it appear that phase two would qualify. That's because the single tenant committed so far wouldn't be considered a “large economic impact project” under the program’s guidelines.

Olson also said phase two of Tanglewood may develop more gradually than phase one did.

“It will probably be more of a piecemeal approach, but we don't know who has expressed interest,” Olson said.

Whichever stores are coming in phase two, Elizabeth City Mayor Joe Peel called further development on Halstead Boulevard Extended good news. The more stores built there, the more Elizabeth City is cemented as the “commercial center” for the region, he said.

Peel also said he didn't know if Conlon is considering developing a movie theater in phase two — prior plans proposed a movie theater in a potential phase three — but he said “other people” are looking into bringing a movie theater to the city as well.

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