A now quiet University Square will soon be completely transformed into the newest development on Franklin Street.
The transition from University Square to Carolina Square, a mixed-use development, proves to be much more than a mere name change.
The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce hosted an information session about Carolina Square on Wednesday morning at the University Baptist Church.
Jeff Furman, vice president of development and director of Raleigh operations for Northwood Ravin, said the rough timeline for the completion of the development will span 18 months and is scheduled to finish by spring of 2017.
“Obviously safety is our first concern but also being a good neighbor is a concern,” Furman said. “We are going to create a lot of dust and debris. It’s going to be a two-year process but once it’s all done its going to be something that will point in the right direction.”
Gordon Merklein, executive director of real estate for UNC, said one of the main concerns would be for the safety of the students living in Granville Towers during the construction.
“Student safety is first and foremost on everyone’s mind,” he said. “It is something we drive home as a university to the partnership.”
Furman said the proper legal and safety procedures are underway and the process will take five months before demolition can start.
“We will start (the safety) process in March and that will have us commencing demolition in September,” Furman said.
Furman said the Carolina Square development will be a total of 580,000 square feet with a breakdown of 158,000 square feet for offices, 4,200 square feet for retail and the remaining space for residential/parking areas.
UNC has already planned to lease office space in the new development.
With the development still in the early stages, Furman said the leasing of retail space will not finalize until the development is nearing completion.
“We have had fantastic interest so far in continuing conversations but will not have any significant announcements for about a year on the retail side,” he said.
During the information session, Furman explained the possibility of having some areas of Franklin Street temporarily closed due to construction on the development.
Towards the end of the information session, Furman highlighted the usage of a park in the new development.
“We have designed the soil and grass to be structured so we can host events and concerts,” he said.
Furman said he was excited to see the developmental partnership of Cousins and Northwood Ravin for this project.
Brad Corsmeier, senior vice president of CBRE, said he has the task of leasing office space in the development.
“We want to bring in another industry that will want to put its name on the building and be a part of Franklin Street and create more jobs for the area,” he said.
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