And for once, there seems to be broad support for new construction.
Last week, the Chapel Hill Town Council held a public hearing on The Franklin, a five-story, 66-room hotel slated to be built across from Ham's, where the abandoned Trailways Bus Station currently sits. The bus station was purchased last year by Richard and Robert Capps of Greenville for $795,000. The Capps also own hotels in Greensboro, Jacksonville and Greenville.
A surprising number, from a broad range of groups, spoke in favor of the construction project at the meeting.
The Downtown Commission and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce voiced support, as well as residents of the Northside District and the historic district to the south of West Franklin Street.
Getting residents and business leaders to agree on the fate of downtown Chapel Hill is far from an all-too-common occurrence.
But there is good reason to welcome a business like The Franklin to West Franklin Street.
A hotel located at the heart of the downtown area is certain to be a boost for local businesses -- especially eateries such as the Carolina Brewery, Four Eleven West, 23 and Pyewacket Restaurant.
Unlike many higher-class hotels and inns, The Franklin will not have a restaurant within its walls. That means the occupants of those 66 rooms will have to venture out to eat -- and luckily Franklin Street is not low on options for hungry visitors.
In fact, The Franklin's passing on an internal restaurant probably is a large reason behind the vocal support from local businesses.