Chapel Hill News

Shortbread builders propose 10-story apartments for downtown Chapel Hill

Shortbread property owners Larry Short and Roy and Bill Piscitello are looking east to build a new, 10-story apartment building with ground-floor retail and offices at 322 W. Rosemary St. A concept plan submitted to the town says the project would replace the site’s current occupants – Breadman’s Restaurant, which the Piscitellos operate, and Amity Apartments.
Shortbread property owners Larry Short and Roy and Bill Piscitello are looking east to build a new, 10-story apartment building with ground-floor retail and offices at 322 W. Rosemary St. A concept plan submitted to the town says the project would replace the site’s current occupants – Breadman’s Restaurant, which the Piscitellos operate, and Amity Apartments.

The businessmen behind Shortbread Lofts have filed plans to build another mixed-use apartment building on the site that now houses Breadman’s and the Amity Apartments on West Rosemary Street.

The Community Design Commission is scheduled to review the concept plan for the proposed Amity Station on Tuesday, March 24, at Town Hall. The concept plan is tentatively scheduled for a Town Council review in May.

Larry Short and Bill and Roy Piscitello own three parcels that make up the site; the Piscitellos also own and operate Breadman’s. Roy Piscitello said the 40-year-old restaurant won’t be going away but referred questions about the project to Short, who did not respond to a call for comment.

A concept plan is an unofficial look at a project so the developer can get feedback. The plan for Amity Station shows 140 to 175 apartments in a 10-story building, with 1,200 to 1,500 square feet of retail and office space on the ground floor.

The roughly 2.2-acre site, at 322 W. Rosemary St., would need a rezoning to allow for taller and more dense construction.

It is currently zoned for town center commercial and residential use, and is located on the fringes of the Northside Neighborhood Conservation District. The building would be equal to 100 four-bedroom rental homes in Northside, the plan states.

“The applicant believes that this project will reduce the pressure of student rentals on the Northside Neighborhood and will help return Northside rental and owner-occupied houses to more affordable, well maintained family-oriented dwellings,” it states.

The plan doesn’t include any rental units that meet the town’ definition of affordable for those making up to 80 percent of the area median income: $36,800 for a single person or $42,050 for a couple. But the developers do plan to make a payment into the town’s Affordable Housing Fund.

Preliminary sketches show the tallest part of Amity Station at the site’s core, falling to three and four stories as it nears Rosemary Street and Northside homes. It could feature water- and energy-conservation measures, including rainwater harvesting and re-use, rooftop solar collectors, pervious paving and underground stormwater detention and filtering systems.

The project also calls for roughly a dozen retail parking spaces, up to 350 parking spaces for 400 to 500 future residents, and 200 covered, secured bike spaces. Roughly 11,500 square feet for recreation could include an outdoor pool, an indoor fitness center and a multi-use plaza.

The developers are talking with Northside representatives about adding community amenities to the project, according to planning documents, and are designing the proposal to meet the town’s Rosemary Imagined plans now being drafted.

The Rosemary Imagined plan would be reflected in new Rosemary Street plantings, sidewalks and lighting; and the extension and widening of Andrews Lane to the east, Nunn Lane to the west, and Short Street to the north, creating an east-west connection from Church Street to Mitchell Lane. A bus stop at the site also could be upgraded.

What’s next?

The town’s Community Design Commission will review a concept plan for Amity Station on Tuesday at Town Hall. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

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