Delayed Hillsborough St. housing project expected to restart soon

The developer of the Hillsborough Lofts student housing project on Hillsborough Street says he expects construction to resume within the next 30 to 60 days after months of no activity on the site.

Cary Joshi said he anticipates having a new general contractor in place soon, with construction now expected to be completed by August 2017.

The project, which will feature 54 units and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail, was originally scheduled to open in August 2015. The foundation for the 7-story building, which is between Pogue and Horne streets, is already in place.

But after the project fell behind schedule, Hillsborough Lofts terminated for cause the contract with its general contractor, Wright Construction Co., in December. Wright contends that its termination was not justified, and both it and several subcontractors subsequently filed liens against the project.

Joshi and Wright have since agreed to enter into private arbitration to resolve their dispute.

Hillsborough Lofts is now working with its bond company, Liberty Mutual, to bring on another general contractor to finish the project.

“This process to get restarted has taken longer than anyone anticipated,” Joshi said.

Hillsborough Lofts is part of a wave of new student housing projects on Hillsborough Street that are in various stages of development. Despite the delays, Joshi said he expects demand for the project’s units to be strong.

“If you look at all the properties on Hillsborough Street that have been recently built they’re all doing very well, they’re almost 100 percent occupied,” he said. “I think it’s going to do a lot not only for the students being closer to school, but the merchants on Hillsborough Street.”

David Bracken: 919-829-4548, @brackendavid