The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Make a fresh start: Downtown needs an updated perspective

Downtown Franklin Street is looking more abandoned every day.

While tumbleweeds haven’t been spotted yet, this isn’t the first time that empty storefronts have popped up.

Mansion 462 and Ham’s both closed their Franklin Street locations this month.

These prominent locations should be revitalized with new projects instead of the same old Franklin Street pizza place or ice cream shop.

An organic bar and a gay/lesbian nightclub, for instance, would make for two unique additions to Franklin Street.

With offerings ranging from fresh, affordable mojitos to a homemade Tom Collins, Single Brothers in Winston Salem offers a whole new map of cocktails for the traditional and adventurous to explore.

Ham’s former indoor/outdoor patio setting is just what this kind of bar needs.

An appreciation for ingredients like fresh herbs and local liquor wouldn’t be hard to find in Orange County, where organic and local is part of the culture.

The bar could also unite Chapel Hill’s bar scene with Carrboro’s green perspective.

Chapel Hill should also look into attracting businesses that cater to niche demographics like the gay and lesbian community.

Only a small number of events cater specifically to the LGBT community, such as East End Oyster and Martini Bar’s Stir night and Vespa’s monthly “gay night,” which have brought some of the most consistent crowds to party on Franklin Street.

The space formerly known as Mansion 462 offers a club space perfectly suited for such a business.

An alternative nightclub would provide an atmosphere where the LGBT community can always feel comfortable, regardless of what day it is.

These recent vacancies should encourage planners to go back to the drawing board.

Franklin Street is in need of some new and fresh ideas that should be driven by small business owners, investors and, most importantly, student interests.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.