Construction won’t be finished until the spring, but Carrboro’s first hotel is already the subject of concern for some local officials.
The development of the Hampton Inn & Suites and an attached parking deck marks the first of three phases of redevelopment for the 300 block of East Main Street.
But construction of the LEED-certified hotel — which will feature five stories and 142 rooms — has closed down a portion of the sidewalk in front of the site.
And some town officials fear this construction will hurt nearby businesses.
In an email to other members of the Board of Aldermen, Jacquelyn Gist raised concerns about the construction of the project.
“I have heard from several small businesses on Main Street who report that they are being negatively impacted by the lack of easily walkable access to their stores and businesses,” she said.
“I have also heard from walkers as well as drivers that the current arrangement is very unsafe.”
Gist suggested a covered walkway, similar to the one used to mitigate 140 West construction on Franklin Street, was needed.
But Laura Van Sant, the property manager for the project, said such a walkway would not be possible.
“There’s simply no way to do that,” she said. “The sidewalk in front of the property is too narrow and we would have to expand it into a lane in the street.”
Van Sant said she thinks the construction will be worth it in the end.
“We hate it just as much as anybody,” she said. “But we think this is a necessary step for the town.”
Adam Graetz, the marketing director for the Carrboro ArtsCenter, which is located near the hotel, said the center has experienced issues with parking since construction started on the new hotel.
“We have noticed that our parking capacity is limited because some of the construction workers have parked here,” he said.
Jared Spangler, who manages neighboring Ba-Da Wings!, said the restaurant has experienced the same problem.
“It’s been tough to get people in here when so many of our parking spots are taken by construction workers,” he said.
And because the site is at a busy intersection in Carrboro, residents have voiced concerned about the safety of rerouting pedestrian traffic.
Kathleen Kenny, a Carrboro resident, said she noticed the dangers the site posed while walking into Chapel Hill one day.
“It’s a dangerous place to cross,” she said.
But many business owners are still excited about the completion of the project.
Graetz said the ArtsCenter hopes to collaborate with the hotel in order to secure rooms for visiting performers.
So while he may be out of a parking spot for a while, he remains enthusiastic.
“There’s a lot to be had in sharing space,” Graetz said.
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