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Business & Economy

Chapel Hill Council Hopes Project Will Revitalize Downtown

Franklin Street in Chapel Hill
Dave DeWitt
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Franklin Street in Chapel Hill

A developer has approval from the Chapel Hill Town Council to rebuild a key block of the downtown area.  The council voted unanimously Monday night to approve the 123 West Franklin project, which would replace University Square.

The current development is separated from the front of Franklin Street by a parking lot.  123 West Franklin would include buildings on the front of Franklin Street with apartments as well as retail and office space.  Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt says it will revitalize the area.

"It's probably one of the most un-welcoming spaces for pedestrians in our downtown," Kleinschmidt says.

"And it's antithetical to the kind of street life and activity that we're trying to develop and expand upon in our downtown."

A foundation that manages properties for UNC-Chapel Hill owns the area.  Council members passed the plans unanimously after the university agreed to contribute $50,000 a year for affordable housing over the next five years.

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