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The Daily Tar Heel

Property battle ensues on Barbee Chapel Road

The property, located at 5002 Barbee Chapel Road, is owned by Bank of North Carolina in High Point.

The health care company Tri-City Inc. has a contract to build a 65,000-square-foot medical facility there.

Another developer, 16 Parkside Lane LLC wants to put a 9,488-square-foot office and retail complex on the property instead.

“They’re a big boy, they’re a real big company. I’m just a small guy,” Danny Jones, spokesman for 16 Parkside Lane, said of Tri-City.

Jones, a native of Chapel Hill, said he thinks Tri-City’s building will be overwhelming and doesn’t fit the town’s atmosphere.

“I’m not trying to max out the property,” he said.

Jones said he was hoping to re-create the success he had with another such complex, the Station at Homestead.

“My concept is to have a friendly atmosphere with patios and tables where people can gather,” Jones said.

“I just want to put something on this property that the town will be proud of, not a big building full of medical facilities. Something that will stand the test of time.”

Tim Niewald, the contractor for Tri-City Inc., said the property would be better suited to a medical facility.

“It’s right on health care row,” he said.

Niewald said Tri-City has received mostly positive feedback on its previous projects. He said the company expects a similar response to the proposed structure.

“When you look at the concept plan for this building, you can’t really tell which side the parking deck is on,” he said. “It’s got a bunch of nice facades all around, and it’s really a nice, modern building.”

Niewald said he didn’t understand why 16 Parkside Lane was pursuing a property that is already under contract.

“I’ve been doing contracting for a long time, and I’m not quite sure how they make the numbers work,” he said.

Niewald said permit fees for development in Chapel Hill usually total about $70,000 per project, making most developers hesitant to initiate the process before securing the property.

“We’ve had the property under contract since last June, I believe,” he said. “It’s very secure, from our perspective.”

Councilman George Cianciolo said having two developers compete for the same property was unexpected.

Council members hear concept plans in order to evaluate and express their concerns and recommendations for the property.

“It’s a part of the purchasing process,” he said.

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Cianciolo also said that, while the competition is unexpected, he thinks it bodes well for the future of the town.

“It means people are really interested in bringing business to Chapel Hill.”