But Trollinger and other University Square tenants are upset about the plan.
“What they’re basically doing is forcing us out of business,” he said.
He plans to close his store and retire once the plans for the project are approved.
“There’s nowhere for me to go in this town,” he said.
Gordon Merklein, executive director of real estate development at UNC, said unlike the current development, the new storefronts will face the sidewalk to help attract more customers.
“We’re making the project much more urban and pedestrian friendly,” he said.
Merklein said if the council approves the project, it will then go through a zoning compliance review process that could take up to six months.
Merklein, who also serves as vice chair of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said all of the work will be done on-site and will not affect other parts of Franklin Street.
He said the plan has received strong support from the public but has been met with mixed feelings from University Square business owners.
“Each of the tenants has reacted differently,” he said.
Cynthia Lennon has operated Cynthia’s Tailor Shop out of University Square for eight years and doesn’t think there is anything wrong with the current shopping center.
“To me it’s fine like it is,” she said.
Lennon said she has not yet found a space to relocate, but she thinks her business will be negatively affected by the move.
Time-Out — which has served chicken and cheddar biscuits out of its University Square location since 1978 — recently announced plans to open a food truck because of the proposed demolition.
Merklein said Chapel Hill Foundation Real Estate Holdings has been working with several University Square tenants to find a space to relocate to since they were notified of the project in 2009.
He said tenants will not be compensated because their leases will have expired by the time construction begins, but he believes the transformation will be worthwhile.
“It’s going to provide a big economic boost for the town,” he said.
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