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The Daily Tar Heel

Horace Williams Project Gains Leadership

On Sept. 5, Chancellor James Moeser, in his State of the University address, confirmed that Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, will take the helm for planning of the property.

The 575-acre tract, which lies in northwest Chapel Hill and parts of Carrboro, is expected to be developed into a state-of-the-art mixed-use complex that would include research facilities, residences for students and families, retail and recreation.

Officials expect to start building in 2007.

Waldrop will work with the Horace Williams Advisory Committee to plan for the tract.

"One of many things that attracted me to Carolina it is a much more planned community," he said. "There are more activities like schools and housing planned for the area in addition to research and academic purposes."

The committee, composed of faculty, students, administrators and community members, has guided the conceptual development of the site. Chapel Hill Town Council members Jim Ward and Flicka Bateman will sit on the board along with two aldermen, who have yet to be named.

"The letter from the chancellor indicated they were happy to have members of the Town Council on the committee," Ward said. "But it also said they did not anticipate any meetings to discuss plans in the near future."

Ward expressed an interest in the project as a concerned resident who lives in an area bordering the tract. "I think the plan ought to consider the natural value of the property and identify this as its largest use," he said.

Student Body President Justin Young and Graduate and Professional Student Federation President Mikisha Brown will sit on the committee as student representatives.

Waldrop said planning for the tract will include refining financial models and examining the relationship between the Horace Williams Airport and the site.

"The overall planning has been done," Waldrop said. "We are now trying to integrate the activities of Horace Williams with the activities of the University."

Provost Robert Shelton said planners want the tract to combine commercial, residential and research pieces of the development.

"If you look around the country there's lots of high-tech, outreach campuses," Shelton said. "We want to have a reasonable mix and still make it financially feasible."

Shelton said exact plans for the Horace Williams tract will not be ready for at least another year.

Waldrop came to UNC from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he also served as vice chancellor for research.

While at Illinois, Waldrop led a project which transformed a plot of land owned by the university into a research park.

"When I began at Illinois, it did not have a university research park," Waldrop said. "I was asked to head up a team with a contractor. Now there are three buildings occupied and a fourth under construction."

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