DanRNC

Downtown Chapel Hill & Carrboro development

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With all the Triangle development news centered on Raleigh I thought I would highlight some of the developments in downtown Chapel Hill/Carrboro (which have been a long time in the coming).

Being constructed currently:

The Franklin Hotel-boutique hotel on the former bus station property. No website as of yet.

Rosemary Village-next to Dip's on Rosemary Street, luxury condos/shops. Rosemary Village Link

Lot 5, Wallace Deck Development-huge public/private partnership on existing downtown surface lots. Still in design phase but should break ground this fall.

Preliminary Designs

Also, redevelopment of the ArtsCenter/Cat's Cradle complex-no designs on this yet but will contain an outdoor amphitheater, expanded ArtsCenter and Cat's Cradle plus housing. Will be somehow integrated into the Weaver Street Market/Carr Mill area.

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thanks for these links-- cool looking projects. Any notion of when the hotel will be completed?

Edited by urbanesq

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thanks for these links-- cool looking projects.  Any notion of when the hotel will be completed?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

How about some photos of Chapel Hill's and Carrboro's urban center.

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In Carrboro it's all street level retail, and 1-3 floor buildings. In Chapel Hill it's the same with a few exceptions. University Towers are a cluster of 8-floor buildings on Franklin Street with retail, and there are a couple mid-rise office buildings, but there's no skyline. The nice thing is the streets feel really alive at basically any hour of the day except 4-5 in the morning. The stores seem to be doing well, and there's a great variety of local retail. The architecture is a nice combination of old urban and small-town.

I actually can't find a good picture of it.

Edited by MR-2

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Hi all. This is really great to see. I was just over in CH/Carrboro this morning. I simply love the vibe I get over there. Had a chance to stop in to Padgett Station for a coffee, and then meandered w/ my wife over to Weaver Street for the Sunday jazz brunch. It really is so alive down there at nearly any time of day or night. There is a pride of place in Carrboro and Chapel Hill that really comes through in the way people live there. LOTS of active people walking, jogging, riding on bikes, etc. There are a million great restaurants right around Carolina Brewery, and it's nice to see such an exuberant population. It actually boosted my mood almost instantly.

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If Raleigh plays it cards right I think they may be able to pull off what Chapel Hill/Carrboro has. Fayetteville Street or Dix is prime for this. I am one of the few people that doesn't really think skyscrapers make a great downtown. Rather, I like the idea of European-style street level development which CH/Carrboro has been able to achieve.

On a side note, I was down at the American Tobacco Complex (Durham) the other night and was absolutely blown away-it is one amazing project. Why can't Raleigh do something like this in the Warehouse District?

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It looks like they are with the Contemporary Art Museum. Right now really all we can do is look forward to all the good stuff that'll open in 4-5 years.

I think if Raleigh could set up a Carr Mill Mall street type of development downtown, they'd be set. That's a great urban mall that caters to a lot of suburban needs, so it pulls suburbanites back into the city. Above all else, that city needs a good street retail environment on not just Fayetteville street, but several others.

I won't deny though Raleigh needs a third skyscraper. Two is not a skyline, but three is. Even Durham has three in its downtown. After that, it's just a matter of infill.

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Actually I should have included there is going to be still another mixed-used deal on West Franklin where University Motors used to be-hopefully they will keep this building though.

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I heard that Carr Mill Mall has suffered since A Southern Season has come to University Mall, helping that mall sort of revive itself. Does Carr Mill Mall have alot of vacancies or does it still seem to be doing ok?

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Carr Mill seems like its actually doing better. Most of it is art gallery space/shops now. Bertram and Townsend (outdoor sports outfitter), Panzanella, Elmo's, Fleet Street Sports, and Weaver Street Market are pretty good tenants to anchor it.

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The only thing about Chapel Hill and Carrboro is that even though it seems folksy and quaint, you STILL have to get in your car and drive at least 20 minutes to get ordinary kinds of things. For instance, I wanted magic markers and poster paper. I started at Roses in Carrboro. Well this went on. I ended up at Office Depot at South Square. Looking for shelves? You'll be back on 15-501, the second worst road in the triangle. If you want any clothes now, you'll find yourself out on the Interstate going to South Point quite often.

I'm in Raleigh and even though we are suffering from malignant trafficlightoma, I don't think my drive time for different things is more than it was in Carrboro and Chapel Hill...and I have options. If a place is out of it, I have options. If a place doesn't stock it, I have options.

Yes there is some neat stuff in those towns, but getting basic stuff was just too difficult to manage. That defeats the purpose of living there, honestly.

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The only thing about Chapel Hill and Carrboro is that even though it seems folksy and quaint, you STILL have to get in your car and drive at least 20 minutes to get ordinary kinds of things.

Yea I don't know about that. I live in Chapel Hill and rarely have to drive more than 5 minutes for anything.

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For instance, I wanted magic markers and poster paper. I started at Roses in Carrboro...
I'm curious, why didn't you end up buying them at Roses? They definitely do sell that sort of stuff. Too expensive, not enough variety, etc? That's the trade-off for the short, convenient trip.

Last time I checked, they still sell clothes at the Dillards at University Mall, too. There are a number of smaller shops on Franklin Street as well. There ARE options. If you don't happen to like Dillard's, then once again. That's the trade-off.

Unfortunately there's not many places in this world where you can have your cake and eat it too. If you want to stay in your local area you have to fully utilize what's available to you. If you can't deal with that, then you have to live with the trip.

Even so, you can always catch the TTA bus to Southpoint. It takes all of 5 minutes longer than driving. I see carless UNC students doing that all the time.

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Those are good points, and I'm not flaming CH at all. No offense intended, I was just saying that I was ready to move away when I finished my program.

Roses and 4 other places (Art store across from Carolina Brewery, Kerr Drugs, Other Roses, Harris Teeter, etc.) did not have poster paper. (There wasn't a Staples there then). I think the art store had $8 markers (this was 12 yrs ago - hard to remember details).

Dillards is pretty boring. Smaller stores on Franklin St. don't stock moderately priced clothing that looks nice on men (t-shirts or Julians)

The TTA is a nice option. However my point is that CH people find themselves driving 20+ minutes to Southpoint just as much as Raleigh people go to Crabtree/TTC/CTC, so...I don't really see how living in the quaint village of CH is saving me from contributing to traffic snarls vs. living in suburbia.

I'm curious, why didn't you end up buying them at Roses? They definitely do sell that sort of stuff. Too expensive, not enough variety, etc? That's the trade-off for the short, convenient trip.

Last time I checked, they still sell clothes at the Dillards at University Mall, too. There are a number of smaller shops on Franklin Street as well. There ARE options. If you don't happen to like Dillard's, then once again. That's the trade-off.

Unfortunately there's not many places in this world where you can have your cake and eat it too.  If you want to stay in your local area you have to fully utilize what's available to you. If you can't deal with that, then you have to live with the trip.

Even so, you can always catch the TTA bus to Southpoint. It takes all of 5 minutes longer than driving. I see carless UNC students doing that all the time.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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I see carless UNC students doing that all the time.

I have met more people in this town that don't have cars including non-students. Proximity of most things (chain stores excluded) is walking distance for us. The bus system is excellent as are the bikeways and greenways. I will admit that the CH/Carrboro is not a typical middle-class town with chain stores and restaurants-thats exactly what I like about it. If you are looking for Wal-Mart and Old Navy, no, Chapel Hill is not the place for you.

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Thats why I ran away from my hometown of Charlotte-the center of soulless box chains. Hopefully other cities in the Triangle won't follow this model. Every time I go back I'm amazed at what little of any character the city did have has been chipped away.

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I've always thought that the Roses at University Mall had it made because it's the largest discount store in town....I seriously doubt that this is an accident hehe....Of course Wal-Mart did open literally just across the city/county line in Durham in defiance...

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I live in Carrboro. In my opinion, the quality of urban life within 3/4 mile of the Greensboro/Weaver intersection is superior to just about anywhere else in the Triangle.

I bike/walk to the Farmers' market. My wife and I took the bus to dinner last night. We walked home. By foot, bike or bus, I can:

-get my haircurt

-buy sneakers

-shop for groceries

-attend music/theater performances

-rent videos at a local video store

-dine at local restaurants/bars

-go to the park to play frisbee

-run along Bolin Creek

-access 3 separate free wi-fi areas

Eastgate shopping center, village plaza, and U-Mall carry a good deal of the things you need, and the more stores I learn about over there, the less I need to go Durham. I admit that when we first got to town, we went to No Hope Commons more often. We've become more intentional about avoiding that area, particularly the Wal-Mart, and are enjoying shopping locally.

And, as someone who walks through Carr Mill Mall 2-3 times a week, it looks like they're doing fine.

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Transitman summarizes it perfectly. My fiance and I make a concerted effort to support our local businesses which offer pretty much anything we need.

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