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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill considers adding new apartment complex

The proposed six-story, mixed-use development in the Village Plaza on South Elliott Road would convert the vacant lot next to Whole Foods into usable apartment complexes and retail space.

The development would also be the first to utilize the town’s new form-based zoning code, which simplifies the project approval process by prescribing what developers can and cannot do ahead of time, said Roger Perry, founder and president of East West Partners Management Company, the developer for the project.

“We’re excited to be the first,” Perry said. “We think it will be a big asset to the town.”

Shawn Slome, owner of Twig, a business located in the plaza, said he is excited about the development.

“From a business perspective, I think it will help my business because it will bring more customers to this area,” he said.

Scott Murray, president of Scott Murray Land Planning, Inc., serves as the point of contact between the developer and the Chapel Hill Town Council. He said the development has been in the works for almost a year, though he submitted the applications for the form district permit and certificate of appropriateness in September.

Murray said he expects the town’s decision by the end of October. He is optimistic about getting the form district permit so construction can begin by spring or summer 2015.

Perry said the development would cost about $15 million.

The apartments will not be in the garden style that is typical in Chapel Hill, Murray said. Instead, he said the urban project would push the envelope.

Slome, who sits on the board of directors of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and the town’s Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board, said the development would benefit Chapel Hill by contributing to the tax base and alleviating burdensome taxes on residential areas.

“Part of the problem is that we don’t have a commercial tax base,” he said.

“Most of the income for the city comes from real estate taxes, which puts a big burden on residences.”

Murray said the project has received positive feedback because the vacant lot does not currently generate any tax revenue.

“It’s an idle wasteland and by redeveloping it, we introduce residential housing in very close proximity to retail services, and that would mean people have more options to choose to live and work in close proximity,” Murray said.

“This is a bold step for the town.”

city@dailytarheel.com

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