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The Daily Tar Heel

Boutique to Fill Franklin St. Vacancy

But the boarded-up windows and barren Santa Fe facade of the former Taco Bell will soon be replaced by a new women's clothing store set to open Nov. 1.

Construction is under way for XO South Incorporated Ladies Apparel, a retail store that will bring New York fashions to Chapel Hill.

Robert Humphreys, director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Commission, said he thinks local competition might have forced the fast food chain to shut down. "Maybe they couldn't compete with the independent Mexican restaurants like Cosmic Cantina," he said.

A Taco Bell representative from the Luihn Food Systems office in Raleigh said the chain shut down July 17 because of poor sales. "It didn't have a drive-thru, and that's at least half of your sales or more," the representative said.

But soon after Taco Bell vacated the property, a new plan for the Franklin Street vacancy emerged.

Eli Avidn, who is overseeing construction of the store, said he began to develop the property in August. Avidn said he and his wife, Susan Harvey, moved to the area from New York and saw a market for the boutique.

The ladies fashion store will carry designer shoes and clothing from brands like XOXO and Diesel. "I think the street needed it," Avidn said.

XO South Inc. will join other designer clothing shops in downtown Chapel Hill that target the student consumer.

Despite the presence of similar stores nearby, Avidn said he is confident that New York fashion will appeal to area consumers. "Hopefully we will do well with the community's support."

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