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The Daily Tar Heel

Vacant Downtown Storefronts Slated to Be Filled Before Long

Henderson Street Bar & Grill, Wicked Burrito Restaurant, Hardee's and the Trailways Bus Station are all properties on or near Franklin Street that have been closed down and not been filled with other businesses over the past two years.

Robert Humphreys, executive director of the Downtown Commission, said Franklin Street properties are always in demand.

"There are never any empty spaces," Humphreys said.

"The currently vacant properties are either under renovation or being sat upon."

Humphreys said the Wicked Burrito, owned by the Lone Star Steak House Corp., is waiting on a franchise offer. The owner of the Pavilion buildings across the street from Hardee's is renting that business's parking lot.

Henderson Street Bar and the bus station are being transformed into a new bar and a hotel.

"Henderson Street Bar is reopening," Humphreys said. "The new owner is Tim Kirkpatrick.

"The bar will open within the next two weeks under the name Kirkpatrick's."

Humphreys also said the old Trailways Bus Station on the south side of West Franklin Street, sitting across from Hams Restaurant, will be converted into a hotel and shop called The Franklin.

Josh Gurlitz, planner for The Franklin, said he will aim to integrate the building into the surroundings.

"It will be a nighttime boutique, small and elegant, and not part of a chain," Gurlitz said.

"It will be brick and cast stone, in a style similar to many of the traditional buildings on campus, and cars will be parked underneath the building out of sight."

Gurlitz also said the accommodations will be cozy.

"There will be 68 rooms and limited dining service," he said. "We will provide breakfast.

"In addition, there will be two meeting rooms that will accommodate around 40 people, who we expect we will be able to serve lunch."

Gurlitz said the project should be approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council within nine months.

Following the town's approval, he said, renovations could take around a year or longer to complete.

Joel Harper, former president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, said that when the future businesses finally do move into the lots, the planners for the different buildings should consider the necessity of parking for patrons.

"(The consumers) need 300 parking places on the west end of Franklin Street and are looking for solutions. People are either parking illegally or avoiding downtown altogether."

The City Editor can be reached


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