254 rental units possible at Cary’s long-vacant Maplewood property

A Pennsylvania company entered a purchase agreement with Cary School District 26 for the site in March

The former Maplewood School, located at 422 Krenz Ave., is seen on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022 in Cary.

The former Maplewood School property could be home to 254 new rental units if preliminary development plans submitted to the village of Cary move forward.

Under the proposal, the project would be a mix of 20 townhomes and 234 mid-rise rental units at a density of 16.1 units per acre.

These plans are conceptual and will be discussed at the next Village Board meeting, village staff said. No formal vote is planned at this time.

However, these actions are a step forward for the property that has been vacant since the Maplewood School’s closure about a decade ago because of declining enrollment and rising maintenance costs.

The goals of Cary School District 26 “have always been to sell the property for its highest and best use and then return the property to the tax rolls so it can generate new revenue for the school district and the Cary community,” Superintendent Brian Coleman has said. “Selling and developing the property would provide immediate and future revenue that would directly benefit the district and its educational programming for students.”

Coleman could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Over the years, District 26 has tried to sell the property multiple times, with various developers showing interest.

The latest is AR Building Company Inc. of Seven Fields, Pennsylvania, which in March entered into a purchase agreement to buy both the Maplewood School and bus barn facility at 422 W. Krenz Ave.

The former Maplewood School, located at 422 Krenz Ave., is seen on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022 in Cary.

Since the contract was agreed upon, AR has been performing due diligence when it comes to the potential redevelopment of the property, village staff said. There have been preliminary discussions with AR about Maplewood and the village’s development review process, village staff said, which led to Tuesday’s meeting with the Village Board to talk about it further.

“This meeting is intended to be an introductory meeting to introduce the developer to the Village Board and provide preliminary feedback on redevelopment of the site prior to their commencement of producing a zoning petition related to the development of the former school site,” village staff said.

Attempts to reach AR Building Company Inc. on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Both Cary’s comprehensive and downtown strategic plans address what could be done about the Maplewood property, village staff said. Ideas included integrating the property with Cary’s downtown area and Metra station. In the downtown plan, Maplewood is identified as a development priority and an opportunity to create transit-supportive development in Cary.

Because the project is in its conceptual phases, village staff said, additional review may be needed to determine the village’s ability to participate in the project.

The Village Board is set to meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the municipal center, 755 Georgetown Drive.

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