Chapel Hill News

Developer brings live, work, play proposal to Chapel Hill

Town Manager Roger Stancil will meet with a developer and bring information back to the Town Council next month about the potential for a retail, office and residential development on a downtown parking lot.

The proposal for the roughly half-acre lot, between 411 West restaurant and Carolina Ale House, also could include an entertainment venue.

The council agreed Monday night to hear more about the proposal, which Chapel Hill-based Legacy Real Property Group submitted in response to a council request last year.

The developer’s other local projects include Shelton Station under construction beside Southern States in Carrboro, 142 Sage Road and Europa Place in Chapel Hill, and Churton Grove in Hillsborough.

The town manager will work with the developer to refine financial and development plans.

Council member Michael Parker suggested bringing in additional expertise, such as the Development Finance Initiative team from UNC’s School of Government, so that both sides can be well-informed about the financial model if negotiations move ahead.

The proposal for 415 W. Fanklin St. would replace a 150-space parking lot with a six-story, 95,000-square-foot building with ground-floor retail and the two-floor unspecified entertainment venue. Additional floors would provide office space and 39 apartments.

Noise from the entertainment venue could be muffled, Stancil said in an email, by constructing the building into the slope, which rises from Franklin Street.

Nearby parking lot

The proposal also includes a four-story, 450-space parking deck behind The Courtyard shops and restaurants with an entrance off South Roberson Street. The proposal shows more apartments wrapping around and above the parking deck.

The developer has offered 15 affordable apartments as part of the deal, priced at up to 60 percent of the area median income. The AMI for a family of four in Chapel Hill is $67,400.

Rent payments for the affordable units, the proposal notes, could range from $593 for a studio apartment to $888 for two bedrooms. Market rate units could rent for $979 for a studio apartment to $1,421 for two bedrooms, it states.

The project can’t happen without a town investment, Stancil said; the lot has been appraised at nearly $1.8 million. The parking deck deal also would involve least three landowners, including longtime real estate professional P.H. Craig.

The developer has offered to finance and build the parking deck before selling or leasing it back to the town. The developer then would lease the parking spaces needed for the building’s residents and tenants.

The proposal aligns with planning underway for a Downtown 2020 strategy, including the construction of a parking deck on West Franklin Street and the redevelopment of the town’s parking lot.

A decision, if the council proceeds, is months away and would follow numerous public, council and advisory board meetings.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb