Franklin Street is a prime mixing space for students and locals and should be offering more services that cater to both groups.
Wachovia's recent attempts to foreclose on the The Courtyard on West Franklin Street is yet another strike against what appears to be a stagnating business climate.
Dwight Bassett economic development officer for the town of Chapel Hill clarifies that there are more businesses coming than there are closing and that there hasn't been a net loss in the past years.
But it's undeniable that so many vacant spaces put a damper on the tempo and activity that could be filling this space.
One reason cited for empty store fronts on Franklin Street is that the increase in University services and amenities on campus gives students less of an incentive to look elsewhere for those needs.
When there's a pharmacy at Campus Health charging prescriptions directly to your University account why make a trip all the way to Sutton's? And with the new and improved UNC Student Stores right in front of the Pit making a trip to Johnny T-Shirt seems pointless.
When it comes to targeting the needs of local residents parking presents a big challenge. Unless you are walking to Franklin Street or are one of the lucky few to find an empty metered space it's difficult or nearly impossible to find a convenient parking spot.
While Franklin Street isn't currently facing a net loss we'd like to see it move out of this slump. Student and local needs should be taken into account in recruiting innovative services that take advantage of a diverse target audience and in encouraging their overlapping interaction.
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