A Raleigh developer wants to replace an aging two-story building in downtown Chapel Hill with a 120-foot-tall apartment and retail building.
The concept plan for 0.32 acres at 157 E. Rosemary St. has 50 apartments, 3,000 square feet of retail space, and parking under the building for 23 cars. Five apartments could be priced at less than market rate, the application stated.
The existing building is home to Buena Vibra Latin Club And Lounge and The Gathering Place, a table-top game store and bar.
The Wallace Parking Deck is across the street, and the town is building a new, 1,100-space parking deck 300 feet away at 125 E. Rosemary St. The Wallace deck will be demolished when the new parking deck opens to make way for a 132-foot-tall office and wet lab building.
Raleigh developer Bill Jackson, of TJ Capital II LLC, would work with the town to secure a long-term lease in the new deck for residents at 157 East Rosemary, the concept plan stated.
Jackson also is asking the council for a rezoning to allow the taller building.
A concept plan is not an official application, but it gives advisory boards and the council a chance to provide feedback on plans before they are submitted with an official application.
The town’s Community Design Commission and its Stormwater Utility Management Advisory Board will review the concept plan Sept. 27. The Town Council could review it Oct. 12.
Taller buildings, changing streetscape
The plan for 157 East Rosemary is not the first for the lot near the corner of East Rosemary and Henderson streets.
In 2016, longtime property owner Paliourus Enterprises LLC submitted plans for an eight-story apartment building with limited parking. The plan was revised and resubmitted in 2017 as a five-story apartment building, but it did not advance.
Since then, the town has partnered with Charlotte developer Grubb Properties to redevelop the 100 block of East Rosemary Street, which parallels the East Franklin Street business district near UNC’s campus.
Grubb Properties, in addition to the future office building, renovated the former CVS building on East Franklin Street to create an Innovation Hub.
That building — six stories on East Rosemary Street and three stories on East Franklin Street — once was considered too tall for downtown. More recent additions include 140 West Franklin, 105 feet; Greenbridge, 135 feet; and Carolina Square, 138 feet.
Grubb Properties also is seeking to build a seven-story apartment building at the corner of East Rosemary and North Columbia streets.
Height was a big concern for the previous two concepts at 157 East Rosemary for the council, for members of the neighboring Phi Mu sorority, and for residents of the nearby Franklin-Rosemary Historic District.
Sorority representatives and neighboring landowners also expressed concerns about privacy, spillover parking and trespassing.
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