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The Daily Tar Heel

Tenants buy into 123 W. Franklin St.

The Carolina Population Center, which was located at the site’s former development University Square, will be returning to the new office building, said Gordon Merklein, executive director of real estate development for UNC.

“In addition, two units of the School of Public Health, which are currently in the CVS Pharmacy Plaza, are expected to relocate to the new office building as well,” Merklein said in an email.

The project also got an additional developer.

Cousins Properties has been the main developer for the project, which will be built in place of University Square , since its inception. But several months ago, North Carolina-based developer Northwood Ravin signed on for a partnership with Cousins.

“Cousins Properties is an organization with such a great reputation in office and retail, so we knew they would make a great partner with our experience in Class AA multifamily residential,” said Jeff Furman, vice president of development at Northwood Ravin, in an email.

Thad Ellis, senior vice president at Cousins Properties, said Northwood Ravin’s entrance as a partner in the development of 123 W. Franklin St. was part of the project plan from its beginning, and that its late introduction will not slow progress. No fundamental development plans have changed since Northwood Ravin’s initial involvement.

Northwood Ravin and Cousins Properties are currently the only two developers working on the project, Ellis said in an email.

Chapel Hill Foundation Real Estate Holdings, UNC’s real estate arm, owns the property. Merklein said Cousins always intended to bring a partner developer onto the project once it had been entitled by the town.

Northwood Ravin’s assistance adds development expertise, particularly with multifamily and local presence, Ellis said.

University Square is scheduled for demolition in late 2014 or early 2015.

Vanessa Capece, spokeswoman for Northwood Ravin, anticipates the project’s opening to happen in late summer 2016.

Northwood Ravin has developed four other high-end projects in the Chapel Hill area, including Cosgrove Hill, Chapel Hill North Apartments and The Townhomes at Chapel Watch Village.

Northwood Ravin will be responsible for the project’s design, permitting, project management, construction and property management, Capece said in an email.

Northwood Ravin and Cousins properties have been facilitating a discussion about working together on the project for about nine months.

Furman said the developer is fond of Chapel Hill and looks forward to working with Cousins Properties.

“There’s no better way to make an impact on Chapel Hill than by developing something dynamic on Franklin Street,” Furman said.

The Daily Tar Heel has created an online, interactive timeline for readers to learn more about the changes at 123 W. Franklin St. over time. Email with questions or concerns.

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