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Where will the next Ingles-Ace hardware center go?

A site plan prepared by Land Planning Associates of NC shows a new Ingles, Ace Hardware store on U.S. 25 at Butler Bridge Road.

FLETCHER — The next super-Ingles development is in the works and would go up on a busy stretch of U.S. 25 in Fletcher.

Ingles Markets Inc., the Black Mountain-based supermarket chain, wants to put up its ninth supermarket in the county along with an Ace Hardware store, a convenience store with gas pumps and an outparcel for an unspecified retail or food use. The company filed plans for the development a year ago and is still trying to sort out traffic fixes with the NCDOT, Henderson County planners said last week.

The Ingles-anchored center would be built on 11.2 acres where Butler Bridge Road tees into U.S. 25 in unincorporated Henderson County south of the Fletcher town limits. The county Technical Review Committee evaluated the site plan last June but so far no driveway permit has been issued.

The projected number of trips in and out of the shopping center meant that Ingles was required to complete a traffic impact analysis. The NCDOT uses the TIA to prescribe what improvements the developer must make in order to win a permit.

“I heard secondhand that it was pretty challenging — the improvements that the DOT was requiring out of the TIA,” Fletcher Town Manager Mark Biberdorf said this week. “I think they’re getting close.”

In the application it filed with Henderson County, Ingles said the shopping center would contain a total of 117,797 square feet of retail space, including the Ace Hardware store and garden center and a convenience store with fuel pumps. The major site plan showed a total of 291 parking spaces. Plans include:

  • An 88,988-square-foot Ingles grocery store
  • A 13,084-square-foot Ace Hardware with a 3,200-square-foot garden center
  • A 6,125-square-foot convenience store with gas and diesel pumps
  • A drive-through automatic carwash with vacuums
  • A 9,600-square-foot space for an specified retail use.
  • EV charging stations.

The development would cover 80 percent of the 11-acre site with pavement or rooftop and would include landscaped parking islands and some grassy areas surrounding the site. The property contains a 9,000-square-foot  warehouse and is otherwise vacant and cleared.

Ingles bought the three parcels that make up the site for $3,875,000 in 2019 and 2020, land records show. The property is valued on the tax books at $2.94 million. The Lightning was unable to reach a spokesperson for Ingles to check on the status of the project.

New traffic could add to congestion to an urbanized stretch that’s busy and getting busier. Butler Bridge Road is already home to River Stone, one of the largest subdivisions in the county; 969 more dwellings could go up across the road. The 699-unit Tap Root Farms development is under way and the Henderson County Board of Commissioners OK’d a rezoning on April 3 for the 270-unit Farmhouse at Tap Root apartment complex.

Traffic has gotten much heavier on U.S. 25 through Fletcher, too, because motorists are using it to avoid the I-26 construction.

“Whatever they do (at the Ingles), I hope it helps mitigate their access and ingress and egress effects,” Biberdorf said. “When I-26 is completed, you should see some pressure off of Highway 25.”