As the University’s Ackland Art Museum begins construction on its new gift shop, it fills a storefront that has been empty at one of the busiest intersections in Chapel Hill for more than seven years.
The store, to be located in the 100 E. Franklin St. building at the corner of Columbia and Franklin streets, will likely open the week of May 2, said Emily Bowles, the Ackland’s communications director.
The retail space has been empty since 2003, said Meg McGurk, assistant director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.
The current project is funded in part by a November 2009 grant of $150,000 from UNC’s Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, and was originally meant to open in November.
Construction and contractor negotiations forced the Ackland to delay the store’s opening.
“It’s a matter of coming to an agreement with a construction team, seeing the architectural drawings get drawn up,” Bowles said.
“Delays happen when you’re converting a bank space into a museum space.”
The store will sell merchandise and gifts relevant to the Ackland’s programming and will also include extra gallery space, museum director Emily Kass said in an e-mail.
The building, which also houses the Top of the Hill restaurant and bar, video game chain GameStop and a variety of medical and research offices, is owned by Fayetteville’s Riddle Commercial Properties.