After years of delays, crews have finally begun demolishing Carrboro buildings to make room for the town’s first hotel.
Last Friday, development group Main Street Properties of Chapel Hill LLC started the first phase of what will be an 18,100-square-foot, mixed-use project at 300 E. Main St. in Carrboro.
The development, which will cost approximately $20 million, has been in planning stages for five years and is expected to bring added visitors and revenue.
The new Hampton Inn & Suites will have 142 rooms, and the 500-space parking deck will be located directly behind the hotel.
Laura Van Sant, spokeswoman for Main Street Properties, said construction should take no longer than 14 months.
“Demolition should take a few weeks, and then we’ll start building the hotel first,” Van Sant said. “It took longer to get financing for this project than we expected, so we’re just thrilled to be under way.”
She said she expects the hotel and the parking deck to be finished in the spring of 2013.
Carrboro Alderman Dan Coleman said he has heard nothing but support for the project.
“It will be the first moderately priced hotel in all of Chapel Hill and Carrboro,” Coleman said, referring to downtown. “The development is in keeping with our planning direction for downtown Carrboro.”
Developers say they hope the hotel will attract parents of UNC students and Carrboro tourists.
Don Basnight, sales manager at Weaver Street Realty, has lived in Carrboro for 50 years and said he is excited for the hotel.
“It’s a bit risky for our town, but Carrboro is growing up,” Basnight said. “If you look at Chapel Hill, they have hotels downtown, and it’s a good example of a positive thing.”
But Sally Harmon, who lives adjacent to the development, said she had to negotiate with the developers and have discussions with the Board of Aldermen last year because a proposed road widening for the project would have encroached on her property.
Van Sant said phase two of the development project will include a mixed-use building on the train tracks. The timeline for its construction will be tenant-driven.
She said they plan to begin construction on phase two as soon as the hotel and parking deck are completed next year.
Fleet Feet Sports is located on the 300 E. Main St. property, and Store Manager Nicholas Krouse said he thinks the project will bring business to his store.
“You may see some unhappy people in the community, but I think the change is exciting,” Krouse said.
Basnight said he’s excited to see how the development will affect Carrboro’s eclectic atmosphere.
“Will people pay a couple hundred bucks to watch people hula hoop in Weaver Street?” Basnight said. “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
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