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 In Sway Guides

From new construction to areas due for a bit of imagination, here’s what you should avoid sleeping on this year.

1. This Downtown SP Corner. Most local foot traffic tends to follow the path most traveled — as evidenced by R.Riveter’s recent move up the one block from Pennsylvania to Broad.

The recent closings of Etalia Pizza and Siblings Consignment, and the long-empty El Vaquero space, now make a trifecta of vacancies ripe for new restaurants or shops.

The Growler Co. will remain a strong corner anchor until all plans for its new spot on Bennett Street are approved. And speaking of Bennett, there’s been little activity on the kudzu-covered lot where a small apartment complex is planned.

2. This thing on U.S. 15-501. Ok, so it has a name — Sandhill Commons. But will it house a Chipotle? A Five Guys? A bigger location for Panera Bread? A Starbucks right down the road from the other Starbucks? Despite the rumors, all developers will say publicly is there are “multiple interested parties.”

All we know is that a request has been made to integrate a drive-thru and another access point behind Goodwill, which could make the setup of that integrated parking lot more interesting/terrible.

3. Old U.S.1. The relocation of the Crossroads Ford dealership leaves a lot of empty, weirdly shaped space in an area that has an, uh, eclectic mix of old and new. Southern Pines is now considering the above monolith by Fidelity Bank, which could be built on the corner of Bell Avenue, near Cliff Pilson’s produce market. No, a giant bank is not sexy, but it is a big step in the way of new construction.

Ah, the Tater Barn. It’s the smokiest bar in town — as in you can smoke in it, and as in it’s burned down, twice. Don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere.

4. The “Old Pinehurst:” Though it’s just down the road, this area feels miles away from Ye Olde Towne of Historical Charm. The addition of the forever-busy Pinehurst Brewery to a corner right across from a controversial apartment complex leaves us wondering what’s next. We know what isn’t — a new medical complex, which withdrew its application after getting pushback from residents at public hearings.

5. Morganton Park Complex: From a new medical complex proposed by Sandhills Pediatrics (above) to plans for the new Southern Pines Elementary School, the area near CharBar No. 7 is poised to explode.

Across the street, spaces in the strip mall anchored by Lowes Foods are filling in — a new Mexican restaurant owned by a former manager of San Felipe’s will open next to Duck Donuts later this month.

And, we can again mention Sandhills Cinemas, where you can now reserve a recliner but can’t find a decent bathroom. We’ll be waiting anxiously for more upgrades.

6. N.C.5: More housing and business will be going in this well-traveled corridor, and an inevitable increase in traffic will follow. The new Aberdeen Elementary School, set to be completed next January on N.C. 5 between Sandhill Signs and the Habitat Restore, has accelerated the conversation surrounding sustainable growth.

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