Local officials hope a new downtown Chapel Hill development might fill a void in affordable rental housing.
Residents discussed plans for Shortbread Lofts, a proposed mixed-use development, at the monthly Friends of the Downtown meeting Thursday.
The project, slated to be located on the 300 block of West Rosemary Street, would be composed of 76 residential units and would target upperclassmen and graduate students, said developer Larry Short.
He said the project, first proposed in 2005, was originally planned to be a larger condominium complex.
But due to the economy and current housing market, Short said he decided to downsize and switch to rental apartments. The goal was to attract people who can’t afford purchasing units and would prefer to rent, he said.
Town council member Matt Czajkowski said rental units make more sense downtown.
“There is a shortage of rental space downtown,” he said. “It tends to be pretty expensive.”
But part of the proposal — the closure of the Dawson Place right-of-way, which bisects the development’s intended site — has caused controversy recently.
At a Sept. 19 public hearing, the Chapel Hill Town Council discussed nearby businesses’ concerns that the closure could impact parking and access and hurt their business.