The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 7th

Carrboro’s 300 East Main St. project to break ground after years of delay

Construction halted on 300 E Main in Carroboro
Buy Photos Construction halted on 300 E Main in Carroboro

Carrboro ­has always been known for its emphasis on locally-owned businesses.

But the small town will soon be home to a large-scale development that could bring increased tourism and diversity to its tax base and boost the economy, officials say.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen approved a hotel and parking deck project to be constructed at 300 East Main St. in a unanimous decision earlier this year.

The development will include a 144-room Hampton Inn and Suites and a 6-level parking deck with 500 spaces.

Construction was slated to begin this summer but was pushed back because of a delay in obtaining building permits and site-plan approval from the town.

Laura Van Sant, a representative of Main Street Properties of Chapel Hill, LLC. ­— the building’s owner — wrote in an email that the group has also been waiting for the bank to close on the loan.
She said the group will begin construction in the next few weeks.
The parking deck will provide the first fee-free parking deck in the area surrounding the University, and the hotel will contain 18,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and a conference center.

Carrboro officials said they are optimistic about the development.

“The rooms will be the first moderately priced lodging in all of Orange County and the conference center will fill a real need for meeting space in Carrboro,” said Alderwoman Jacquelyn Gist.

She said she thinks the development will help boost the Carrboro economy and improve tourism.

“The hotel while it’s being built will be a nuisance,” Gist said. “But after it’s done I think it’ll be great in many ways.”

Board of Aldermen candidate Braxton Foushee said he also supports the project.

“It’s going to change the way Main Street operates,” he said. “Hopefully, people staying at the hotel will be going to Carrboro instead of Chapel Hill to eat and shop.”

But Kerry Layden, a Chapel Hill resident who works at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, said she is skeptical about the upcoming development.

“I feel like a hotel would really impersonalize the community.”

Jim Spencer Architects, who designed the development, met with the site owners and began drafting plans in late 2004.

“The drafts haven’t changed much over the years, but the hotel was added and that wasn’t part of the original plan,” he said.

The project faced its first obstacle in 2008 when the economy collapsed and getting loans for development projects became difficult, Van Sant said.

The group was approved for their first loan this summer, she said.
Spencer said there has been talk of a hotel in Carrboro for years because the only place for visitors in the area to stay is in Chapel Hill.

The hotel and parking deck construction is the first phase of a plan that will take five to seven years to complete.

The next phase will include constructing a mixed-use building on the train tracks that will house shops and restaurants, but its timeline is not set.

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