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Nindec

Greenbridge Condos in Chapel Hill

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From this article in the N&O.

Leading green building developer Tim Toben would be the driving force -- the project would be right on the Carrboro edge of Chapel Hill between Franklin St. & Rosemary. It would include 2 9 story buildings connected by a bridge, 100-120 condos, and ground floor retail. The city may have to approve a height slightly taller than the 90 ft. limit.

As far as the project goes, its sounds incredible to me. It sounds like it may produce more energy than it consumes (?!), and in a time when it is pretty difficult to give a sense of place with architecture alone without seeming trite, a green building like this definately says "Chapel Hill/Carrboro"

However, I have a probelem with the location. This block of Graham Street is actually one of my favorite stretches in DT Chapel Hill. It may not have notable architecture, a great lay out, or all that high density, but it serves a low income population and is incredibly diverse. They would tear down an Ethiopian resturant run by a single Ethiopian woman immigrant to build this project. Also on this block is a small Asian supermarket (immigrant run), an Hispanic Hair Salon (immigrant run), and a number of African American run businesses.

There's not a chain store on the block, and it serves real needs of real communities in a city that doesn't have too many affordable areas. This one little block has more funk than 95% of Franklin Street Proper.

So, although I love the building plans, and I'm very excited Toben chose CH, it seems like there must be a parking lot or McDonalds somewhere which would be a better choice for it. Somehow the plans for a little museum about the African American neighborhood it would probaby help drive out don't seem adequate to me.

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I echo your sentiments. I can think of about 10 different places to put this project including that friggin McDonald's or the old car dealership or even the old Visart location. I will say that stretch of Graham St. can get nasty at night though.

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I would much rather put these in the spot currently occupied by that wicked burrito building. That's an architectural catastrophe I would not miss, and nobody's using it for anything.

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I echo your sentiments. I can think of about 10 different places to put this project including that friggin McDonald's or the old car dealership or even the old Visart location. I will say that stretch of Graham St. can get nasty at night though.

I imagine one of the reasons this location is being pursued is that it is likely to be some of the least expensive land in downtown Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Why is it likely to be cheap? Precisely because of the above the nature of the Graham block between Franklin and Rosemary at night.

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Actually the old Wicked Burrito location is being used as an office for a nonprofit organization. I personally don't think the building is that bad except for the color of the roof and awning.

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I struggle with these issues, too. It sounds like a really neat project; but where there are low- to moderate-income communities thriving, history shows that it's not possible to recreate that opportunity elsewhere. So many vibrant African American business districts were desimated by running freeways or flyovers through them.

So the density and greeny-ness is exciting, but I wish it was someplace else.

Of course, by the time the Town Council gets around to allowing it to happen, we'll all be elderly; so it might not be an issue! :P

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There is finally a website fir this development. The building doesn't look very appealing. Hopefully the design will change.

Link

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Man, that's weird looking. Almost aspiring toward that Habitat (in Canada) look. It looks like it will sit behind Crook's Corner.

map it

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I support the projects location,and the community this project will be built in 100% . :thumbsup:

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I don't know that I do; I've been reading the articles on this with interest for months now. That stretch of Rosemary does get nasty at night, but Northside - the last bastion of affordability in Chapel Hill is really under seige, and - for all of the design innovations (which are impressive) in this project, I see this as another Rosemary Village or Warehouse - a glorified dorm for rich kids. Does this project fall within the boundaries of the Northside conservation district?

And the Ethiopian resturant, Asian resturant and Asian market in that area are all great assets to this town.

From this article in the N&O.

Somehow the plans for a little museum about the African American neighborhood it would probaby help drive out don't seem adequate to me.

This part of the project I hadn't heard about. It's a bit insulting, kinda like the auto worker singing an ode to the robot who took his job in Roger & Me.

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I support this project. I know there are some concerns about protecting the fabric of Northside, but the contributions of this block to Northside's character are dubious at best.

First of all, the only buildings that are going away if this is built are the Ethiopian restaurant, an extremely ramshackle hotel? apartment complex? that could best be described as bordering on squalor, and two other buildings which either house or employ a very small number of people. The middle of the block contains a green space that is likely little used for play by children due to security concerns in the neighborhood.

The Ethiopian restaurant is not a long-running community institution; it is only 2-3 years old at most. I have eaten there once, and unfortunately, the primary word I would use to describe the restaurant is unsanitary. While I was eating, I heard a person at the next table ask the proprietress (actual quote) "Could you do something about all the flies?" To add some balance, I know others who have been there and rave about it. However, to my knowledge, it is not endeared to locals as Pyewacket was, or as Mama Dip's is, or even to the level of some of the lesser known but longstanding options in that area such as IP3 or Mediterranean Deli.

As I said earlier, the housing stock in this block is limited and deplorable. Greenbridge will include 20-30 units given to Orange County Housing and Land Trust, and these units will be available to people living at 80-100% of the median income. The building itself will be a technological marvel that addresses many of the challenges of climate change and oil dependency that our country is facing. The developers have even offered to discuss building or upgrading other existing buildings in Northside to support maintenance of the housing stock there.

While I'm not in love with the physical design of the structure, this is undoubtedly the most important building under consideration in the entire Triangle region in the last 5 - 10 years because of its implications as a model for others to emulate.

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The design and concept is incredible. I am so happy to see a developer pursuing sustainable construction....but it does seem like it is at the expense of a lower income neighborhood. As a former Chapel Hill student and then resident after graduation I have seen that it is just a part of reality that very rich undergraduates are going to dwell in upscale places and bring along all the wonderful things they are known for. This development however it too pricey for it to become entirely students. My question is why the hell can't Raleigh do something like this?

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This development however it too pricey for it to become entirely students. My question is why the hell can't Raleigh do something like this?

There's no reason they can't, except for the one you already alluded to -- price. People on this board already complain about the cost of urban living. Conventional construction prices are running +$200/sf and finished units are selling for +$300/sf. Any "green" amenities only add to the price.

Some things like photovoltaic panels are partly paid for with taxpayer-funded subsidies, but the cost of other things like the planted roofs mentioned in the article are paid up-front by the tenants.

In the end, it all comes down to the amount of risk the developer can support before the project becomes untenable. The financial success of this project will determine when you'll see more developments like it in the area.

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I think it's kind of sad, given the very real issues [still] being raised, that the N&O couldn't find anybody to comment on the record other than one UNC undergrad and some Carrboro alder[wo]men. Not that they aren't entitled to opinions, but, well, it's not their town.

For the record, a few months ago I put down my deposit to reserve a spot in Greenbridge. I'm a huge admirer of William McDonough, and it was his connection more than anything else that got me interested in the project.

So I was disappointed to learn that the "affordable" units [initially] were all going to be ultra-tiny (in other words, not subsidized by the developer, just shrunk down with more-or-less the same price/sq.ft. as the other units), and then even *more* disappointed to read in this article that they've managed to work a deal where they pay off the town of Chapel Hill & only have 8 "affordable" units onsite.

If this building is going to set an example for other eco-effective development in the Triangle, then at the moment the example it's setting is that eco-effective development is only for the very rich, with no room to even meet obligations/mandates towards the middle & working classes.

Just to be clear: I can afford one of the regular units in the building. I'm not griping because I couldn't get in. I'm griping because I don't really want to live in a building, no matter how laden with Nifty Green Tech, where all my fellow tenants look eerily alike.

To the posters who were speculating about Greenbridge becoming another rich-kids dorm: the people whom I've seen/met at various Greenbridge functions thus far have mostly all skewed 40s/50s-ish, gray ponytails, understated but expensive/stylish clothes. Lotta Audis parked nearby.

Of course, maybe they were just the kids' parents . . .

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I was about to say the same thing about the sophomore at UNC who won't be living in this community in about 2 years. I also agree about the price of the units as well-it would be nice if affordable didn't mean living in a shoebox, however, I think this development is a step in the right direction.

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I thought I read earlier that one of the reasons why Greenbridge is proposing to do affordable housing payments in lieu for the neighborhoods (rather than in the building) was because that was the neighborhood's preference.

A lot of this is just NIMBYism about building height.

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I thought I read earlier that one of the reasons why Greenbridge is proposing to do affordable housing payments in lieu for the neighborhoods (rather than in the building) was because that was the neighborhood's preference.

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Most of the new buildings/developments are making the payment-in-lieu to satisfy the affordable housing requirement in Chapel Hill rather than including the affordable units in the projects. University Village (or whatever its new name is) will have affordable units included but will be very small (<800-900 sq. ft.) although they will be around 100K. The problem is that you get affordable small units and ridiculously expensive large units but nothing in between. Shortbread Lofts on Rosemary will probably be the best bet as far as affordability (and they are aiming at making this a sustainable or "green" building).

Ross, its good you could make it over here from trianglerocks/alt.music.chapelhill.

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Its interesting how the young white student calls this project racist but Mama Dip (whose been in this community forever) calls it progress. Can you say limousine liberal-someone should ask the white student why she doesn't live in the Northside neighborhood.

N&O story

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Every black person who spoke at the hearing was in favor of the project.

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Greenbridge debated at hearing.

CHAPEL HILL - Greenbridge, a $50 million eco-friendly condominium tower planned for downtown's West End, has support from prominent merchants and some black community leaders.

But some residents in the historically black section of town see the project as another step toward erasing their community.

"We're just disappearing," said Velma Perry, a long-time activist in the Northside neighborhood, which lies just north of the Greenbridge project.

"It's going to be a white town," she said. "Chapel Hill's going to be a lily white town."

The Chapel Hill Town Council could approve the Greenbridge project as early as Monday night.

...

Yet some residents oppose the 10-story project because they think it's too tall and because no one in the neighborhood will be able to afford to buy the condominiums.

None of the African Americans who spoke in favor of the project at the hearing Jan. 17 actually lives in Northside.

...

Facing pressure to provide homes, not cash, Greenbridge Developments, LLC is offering to subsidize 14 condominiums in its proposed Rosemary Street complex for households earning $30,000 to $50,000 a year.

Greenbridge had planned to build seven artist apartments with shared studio space, and to donate $525,000 to satisfy the town's policy of requiring developer to make 15 percent of their housing units affordable.

Chapel Hill Town Council members pressed Greenbridge to build all 14 units onsite, and the developer has agreed to build one- and two-bedroom condos.

"We look forward to working with the developers to provide truly affordable housing opportunities in this visionary project," Robert Dowling, executive director of the Orange Community Housing and Land Trust, wrote in a letter to the Town Council.

website, and location map

Greenbridge.jpg

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Greenbridge had planned to build seven artist apartments with shared studio space, and to donate $525,000 to satisfy the town's policy of requiring developer to make 15 percent of their housing units affordable.

Chapel Hill Town Council members pressed Greenbridge to build all 14 units onsite, and the developer has agreed to build one- and two-bedroom condos.

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