Several construction projects bring changes to Chapel Hill


Downtown Chapel Hill will get a new hotel this fall — along with a newly refurbished Porthole Alley, now a pedestrian-only walkway. A grocery store is slated to begin construction in 2018 and streets all over town are being repaved. 

Downtown Construction

On the corner of West Rosemary and Church streets, an AC Marriott Hotel is being built. It will be the second hotel to open in downtown Chapel Hill and is expected to increase tourism and revenue downtown. 

“Having another hotel is great for tourism and as well for the weekday business activity that happens,” said Meg McGurk, executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.  

McGurk is assisting with the renovation of Porthole Alley, located near the Carolina Coffee Shop and the Ackland Art Museum. She said Porthole Alley will reopen this fall as a pedestrian only walkway.

Carolina Square and Wegmans

The newly developed Carolina Square is growing and expanding. Construction on the largest development in downtown Chapel Hill, home to an apartment complex and a Target, neared completion over the summer. Soon, other businesses will move into the the complex. 

Away from downtown, on Fordham Boulevard, is the construction of a Wegmans supermarket. 

“Chapel Hill has sort of a foodie reputation and we thought this would be a nice addition,” said Dwight Bassett, economic development officer for the town of Chapel Hill. 

The grocery store offers a wide variety of goods, works with local growers to supply produce and has a brewery and kitchen built into the store, Bassett said. Construction will begin in 2018, with the store opening by fall 2019.  

Local Response

Some residents have expressed irritation with the constant construction. Hillsborough Street has had construction work for weeks. 

Junior Kyle Cocowitch, who lives on Hillsborough Street, said he has had construction in front of his house since school started. Residents with cars have begun to park off-site because entering or exiting their complex requires them to let the construction crew know fifteen minutes beforehand, he said. 

“They love to rip the asphalt up, cover it at night and do it again in the morning,” Cocowitch said. 


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