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The Daily Tar Heel

Green project closer to sprouting

More than 50 people gathered Wednesday to recognize the opening of Greenbridge Development's design center in Chapel Hill.

The center marks a step toward the construction of the environmentally friendly housing and commercial development on West Rosemary Street.

When complete Greenbridge will host 115 residential units, along with retail establishments and possibly office space.

Though it might sound similar to other mixed-use developments, Greenbridge will distinguish itself with features such as solar panels and green rooftops.

Richard Dlesk, one of six partners in the project, said only stores that fit with the development's theme of sustainability will be allowed to set up shop.

"We're trying to choose things that will really complement the community," he said.

Partner Michael Cucchiara said he is in discussions about having a small urban-style market that would sell locally grown and organic goods, but he would not comment about with whom.

The development plans to have a wellness center offering holistic medicine, acupuncture, massage and other therapies.

Cucchiara said Kidzu Children's Museum might be moving from its Franklin Street location to the side of the development on South Graham Street.

The condominiums will have one to three bedrooms, and some will have additional studies.

They will range from $300,000 to more than $1 million.

Developers hope to break ground by June. Construction is expected to be complete within two years.

Leaders who turned up at Wednesday's kickoff celebration stressed the importance of developments such as Greenbridge.

"We have always considered ourselves great environmentalists," said Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange. "And we are. . But it's one thing to talk about it and another thing to do it."

Larry Shirley, director of the N.C. Energy Office, touted Greenbridge as an example that should be followed by developers throughout the state.

Shirley said if the units at Greenbridge sell quickly he thinks that it will show other developers it is worth the extra money at the outset to be environmentally sound.

"If you don't address the energy issue then you have not addressed the elephant in the room."

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