Local businessman Larry Short offered a sneak peak last week at a revised plan for Amity Station, a mixed-use apartment complex at 322 W. Rosemary St.
The concept plan, after a review by the town’s Community Design Commission, has change significantly, he said. The result is a roughly 400,000-square-foot, nine-story building with ground-floor commercial space, three levels of under-building parking and more architectural details.
The front and rear of the building would step up and back, starting at roughly 32 feet from the curb, to a maximum height of 90 feet. Fire officials have asked to keep the sides of the building straight so ladder trucks can reach the top floors, said Jared Martinson, with MHAworks Architects.
The roughly two-acre project would serve UNC students, fits into plans for Rosemary Street’s future landscape and gives back to the community, Short said Thursday at the Friends of the Downtown monthly meeting. They are planning a job fair to hire local workers for the project, he said.
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A formal application for the project has not been submitted yet. The Town Council is expected to review the concept plan and offer feedback May 18.
Short and his business partners Bill and Roy Piscitello – who opened the nearby Shortbread Lofts apartments last year – own three parcels that make up the site. Breadman’s, which the Piscitellos operate, and the adjacent Amity Apartments, would be demolished.
Breadman’s isn’t going away, according to Roy Piscitello, who declined to provide more details. Short also was mum on the restaurant’s future, but said he’s trying to get the brothers to open a deli in the building.
Amity Station could have roughly 11,500 square feet for retail, potentially giving the Launch start-up accelerator across the street room to grow, Short said. They’ve also been talking with neighbors and neighborhood advocacy groups about their plans, Short said. Commercial leases could be priced at 60 percent to 80 percent of the downtown market rate, he said.
“They really like this idea, and I want to partner with Launch or the (Chapel Hill) Downtown Partnership (to) put this space under one of their umbrellas to manage as long-term lease spaces at an affordable rate,” he said.
“If you can imagine this as you drive east coming from Carrboro, it’s going to change the whole west end of Rosemary Street,” he said.
The new concept plan also shows Nunn Alley as 26- to 28-foot-wide pedestrian boulevard with emergency access. Short envisioned that space hosting a number of community activities, from a farmer’s market to weekend art displays and seating areas.
“We’re trying to provide a blank canvas,” Martinson said, “so that the community can use this space and make the space better.”
The property lies on the edge of Northside’s Neighborhood Conservation District and would need a rezoning for taller and more dense construction.
Up to 500 student bedrooms could be priced at $800 to $850 each for rent and utilities, Short said.
“I think it’s going to help relieve the influx of students into Northside by providing, in this case, 80 or 90 equivalent homes that may not be otherwise taken out of the Northside market and rented to students,” he said.
Residents and commercial tenants would pay separately for a numbered parking space – 350 spaces for residents and several dozen more for businesses. Tenants would have the number of a tow truck company to call if someone parks in their space, Short said.
A long-simmering dispute over assigned parking spaces at Finley Forest Condominiums was partly blamed in the shooting earlier this year of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, according to police. The complex’s homeowners association allegedly gave suspect Craig Hicks permission for a while to call a towing company.
Short said he doesn’t expect similar disputes at Amity Station, because the spaces will be numbered.