The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday March 24th

Local construction brings AC Hotel Chapel Hill Downtown, Carrboro Town Commons renovations

Correction: An earlier version this story incorrectly misrepresented AC Hotel by Marriott's title.The article has been updated. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.

AC Hotel by Marriott Construction

The AC Hotel by Marriott on West Rosemary Street is set to finish construction some time in the next two weeks and is slated to open on Dec. 1.

The downtown hotel will be the first Marriott-branded modularly constructed project on the East Coast — which means factory-built guest rooms in Liverpool, PA were delivered to the construction site in Chapel Hill. Then these rooms were craned and “stacked” over a conventionally-built main level.

In a May press release, the construction process was described as ideal for an urban job site, as it cuts down on the duration of construction. 

Andrew Strickland, the general manager of AC Marriott Hotel, said he thought the team has done a great job of designing the hotel to connect to the community through their feedback.

“It’s really going to connect a hotel to the community more than just being for an outside visitor,” Strickland said. “It’s going to be something the community can use more than just what you would think of as a typical hotel that someone is only going to use it if they need an overnight stay.”

The community response has been very accepting of the project so far, Strickland said. He hopes it can benefit the community by providing jobs for people in local neighborhoods, like the Northside neighborhood, rather than predominantly reaching out to Durham and Raleigh.

Strickland said he also believes the hotel will provide a meeting place for people in Chapel Hill and feature Chapel Hill’s culture through local pictures, newspaper articles and a mural by North Carolina artist Lincoln Hancock.

Meg McGurk, executive director for the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said she hoped the project would connect with the community of Chapel Hill by activating the middle part of downtown.

It was a good location, McGurk said, because it appealed to visitors that wanted to take advantage of the walkability of Chapel Hill.

“When (visitors) come to Chapel Hill they want to be where they can walk or ride a bike to the campus, to all of our restaurants and shops,” McGurk said. “You park once and then you don’t have to drive again once you’re here, and I think that’s a benefit of our downtown hotel.”

Town Commons Renovation 

Carrboro Town Commons renovations will begin Nov. 6, and they are expected to run through mid-March.

The renovations include adding lighting around the perimeter, improving drainage in the infield, improving the pavilions, adding a public restroom and a new playground.

Facilities Administrator Wendell Rodgers said  he and his team worked closely with the Carrboro Farmers' Market to ensure it will remain open during the duration of the project. 

Although there will be limited parking in the Town Commons lot, there will be over 100 parking space available within a 5-minute walk to the market, according to plans released by the Carrboro Farmers' Market.

Rogers said he thinks the new sod and playground will improve the experience people have when they come to town and increase uptake of reservations and activities in town commons.

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