With the town’s population recently surpassing 40,000 residents, mayor Keith Weatherly remains adamant that Apex leaders don’t boast about big numbers.
Rather, it is the quality of the town’s growth that remains the primary focus.
That sentiment will be severely tested in 2013 and many years to follow as Apex once again seems primed for another growth spurt.
In an upbeat State of the Town address delivered Jan. 24 at the Halle Center, Weatherly said the future looks bright.
“The state of our town is strong and our financial health is much improved,” said Weatherly. “The outlook for 2013 and beyond is very optimistic for our economic vitality.”
A combination of a rebounding economy, the opening of the local leg of I-540, the near completion of the Western Wake Wastewater Treatment Plant and the eventual development of Veridea will have a huge impact on the town.
Apex, already among the top 25 largest municipalities in the state, could grow to 50,000 residents by 2020 and reach 70,000 by 2030.
“We don’t brag about how big we grow but rather how well we grow,” said Weatherly.
Weatherly noted that Apex received a favorable bond rating review and is one of less than a dozen North Carolina communities to receive a Standard and Poor’s AAA rating.
An audit of the town also showed a 21 percent increase in sales tax revenue and a tax base of $4.5 billion.
Another sign of the town’s economic vitality, noted the mayor, was that building permits rose 63 percent, from 271 in 2011 to 442 in 2012.
Those permits should continue to mount now that I-540 is open and the regional sewage plant is close to going online.
“The wastewater capacity opens up possibilities for construction in Apex that were previously unavailable,” said Weatherly. “We control our own destiny with infrastructure.”
Weatherly said I-540 also provides a reason for economic optimism because of the “development opportunities it will bring, especially along the three interchanges” while also offering an easier route for “bringing customers to our businesses.”
Some “significant movement” is expected at Veridea in 2012. The 1,000-acre mixed-used development could add to Apex as many as 8,000 residential units, 10 million square feet of office space, 3.5 million square feet of retail space and 2 million square feet of industrial space.
“It is one of the top five retail sites in the entire country,” said Weatherly. “I believe we will see significant progress this year.”