Briar Chapel developers broke ground Thursday on the first of four commercial projects planned for U.S. 15-501 in northern Chatham County.
The Veranda project will bring five buildings and more than 50,000 square feet of commercial space to six acres at the Briar Chapel community. It’s the latest in a five-mile line of commercial developments from the Orange-Chatham county line to Fearrington Village.
The goal is to create an environment similar to what the Southern Village community has become for Chapel Hill, said John Fugo, co-founder of commercial development partner Montgomery Development.
The first tenants include six medical offices, an attorney’s office and four restaurants, with outdoor fireplaces and patios. An outdoor performance stage will host weekend music, he said, and the private, 12,000-square-foot Primrose School of Chapel Hill will offer an early education preschool and care center.
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“What we are creating here is a place where we hope everyone will come, feel very comfortable,” said Fugo, who also worked with Southern Village developer D.R. Bryan to create that community’s village center. “We’ve got a tremendous list of tenants – great restaurants, great food, experienced operators and a place where you will want to come and stay.”
Construction could be completed by October, he said.
The next step will be 500,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, office and educational construction on 30 acres south of the Veranda development, between Taylor and Andrews Store roads, he said. Chatham County’s government and Central Carolina Community College, which could open a health sciences facility by 2018, are among the partners for that phase, project manager Lee Bowman said.
“Everyone had to deal with the recession (but) we came out of it strong, and we think our development plan is still solid,” he said. “We’ve had to make some modifications like everyone has to be solvent, and I think, as John Fugo mentioned, we figured it out.”
Briar Chapel has added more than 2,000 residents and 800 homes to the 1,589-acre community since 2007, said Dianne Reid, president of the Chatham Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit economic development agency.
The community, which has about 900 acres of preserved open space and 24 miles of trails, is approved for up to 2,400 homes.
Moving to Veranda
▪ Restaurants: Alberello Italian Cafe; Capp’s Apizza; Breakaway coffee cafe and cycling store; Town Hall Burger and Bistro
▪ Educational: Primrose School of Chapel Hill at Briar Chapel
▪ Medical: Chatham Pediatric Dentistry, Parkway Family Dentistry, Carolina Convenient Care, Triangle Vision, 501 Pharmacy and Compounding, Dermatology and Laser Center of Chapel Hill
▪ Law Office: Bradshaw & Robinson Law