Future of immigration office still unclear

aramos@newsobserver.comJuly 5, 2013 

Residents fought a proposal in 2011 in to put a federal immigration office in an empty grocery store in Cary.


— The two-year saga over where to put a federal immigration enforcement office in western Wake County will continue a bit longer.

The U.S. General Services Administration planned to announce by July 1 where it would rent space for an immigration office. But the group pushed back the date to July 22, according to spokeswoman Saudia Muwwakkil.

Potential locations for an expanded Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office have been fraught with controversy.

Local residents successfully fought off a proposal in 2011 to put a 39,000-square-foot office with a jail in a vacant grocery store in Cary. The public outcry came after anonymous flyers about the project starting popping up around town.

The federal government later apologized for failing to properly notify Cary leaders and residents.

Another proposal, this time for a smaller office without an overnight detention facility, also emerged.

The GSA, which handles real estate matters for the federal government, also widened its office-space search to include Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Apex, Garner and Raleigh.

Currently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement houses some workers at 140 Centrewest Court off of Evans Road in Cary. It has leased the 8,000 square feet spacefrom FD Stonewater since 2002. The lease is set to expire in 2014, according to government records.

Virginia-based developer and real-estate investment company FD Stonewater has submitted a bid to keep the expanded office at its current location. Representatives met with Cary planning officials in mid-June to discuss any potential issues.

Several improvements would be planned at the site, including more parking.

If the bid is accepted, it’s unlikely the project would need approval from the Cary Town Council. The site is already zoned for that use, said Associate Planning Director Ricky Barker.

A representative from FD Stonewater did not return calls for comment.

Ramos: 919-460-2609

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