East 54 development to open within the month

Correction (Nov. 6, 2009):Due to a reporting error, and earlier version of this story misstated that Eileen Nixon chose to move Citrine Salon to the development. Nixon actually opened a new salon. The story has been changed to reflect the correction. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

In a few weeks, retail stores and restaurants will begin to open at a development near campus.

The East 54 development is off N.C. 54, close to UNC Finley Golf Course. Developing the area has been controversial and some Chapel Hill mayoral candidates have spoken out against it. But business owners are awaiting their move-in.

In less than 30 days, a Kerr Drug, a Deluxe Cleaners, a Citrine Salon and a Charles Schwab will be welcoming customers, said Lee Perry, East West Partners Management Company Project Manager.

The East 54 development, which will also include a hotel, offices and condominiums, is a self-proclaimed urban village offering ground level retail, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and bicycle amenities.

Residents have begun moving into the condominiums, which are priced up to $800,000. Of those that are ready, 20 have been sold and 51 more have had a 10 percent deposit put down on them, said sales director Gary Burns.

Perry said up to 15 new businesses will open by the end of the year as part of the development’s first phase. These businesses will include two women’s clothing stores, Neo Nails and Chickadees Children’s Store.

Additional retail, including a Thai restaurant, a coffee shop, a paper copy store and a furniture store, are expected among the businesses coming in phase two, which should be completed by June 2010, Perry said.

Eileen Nixon, co-owner of Citrine Salon, said she chose to open a hair salon and spa to East 54 because of its commitment to environmental responsibility. Construction was started from scratch, and they used renewable materials.

“We wanted to show the world that you could be green, but you don’t have to do without,” Nixon said.

Saffron, an Indian restaurant, is waiting on a permit from the town to be able to start business at East 54 by December, manager Raj Rai said.

East 54’s retail will serve most of the residents’ needs, but it’s not just one-stop shopping for them, Perry said. The planners intended for it to serve a larger consumer base.

“It was definitely meant to be a retail destination for Chapel Hill,” Perry said.

John Fugo of Montgomery Carolina, LLC, which developed the Southern Village multi-use complex, said the company used to look for businesses that residents of the development would prefer. But they stopped after they found that 90 percent of shoppers were non-residents, he said.

Across town, Chapel Hill’s Greenbridge mixed-use development, currently under construction, seeks retailers which can serve both condominium owners and community members, said Greenbridge Marketing Director Mark Vevle.

Contact the City Editor at citydesk@unc.edu.

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