The Carolina Square development expects to open several new businesses in early 2018. The mixed-use complex, already home to Target and the apparel store Alumni Hall, opened in July 2017 and continues to grow as a cultural hub for downtown Chapel Hill.
The new businesses include retailers like Francesca’s, a popular women’s clothing boutique, and Arrow, a hair salon that serves complimentary beer. In February, Carolina Performing Arts is set to open Current, an ‘ArtSpace+Studio’ that combines physical and performance art.
“The physical location (of Carolina Square) is absolutely key for connecting the different sides of our town,” said Meg McGurk, executive director of the Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership. “It brings students and locals together in a very tangible way.”
The development also expects to open Purvelo, an indoor cycling studio, in late January. The company has locations in Charlottesville, Va., and Auburn, Ala., which use electronic music and lights to create a unique exercise experience.
“Health and well-being are very important for our community,” said McGurk about Purvelo. “I think we’re going to see this engaging not only the people in the Carolina Square apartments but most of the town.”
The Varsity Theatre, located on Franklin Street, started showing first-run movies on December 29. The shift from post-theatrical release showings was a response to competition from online streaming services and the Silverspot luxury theater.
“Over the last two years, we weren’t getting the movies fast enough,” said Paul Shareshian, manager of the Varsity Theatre. “By the time we were screening them, you were able to stream them on Netflix. It just didn’t make sense to wait for them.”
The switch was accompanied by an increase in adult ticket prices from $4 to $7. Shareshian explained that the decision was out of the theater’s control.
“There are guidelines based on region that dictate the lowest amount you can charge for a first-run movie,” he said. “In the Chapel Hill region, that’s just what the bottom line came out to.”
Shareshian expects the decision to bring in more families and improve the theater’s reputation. The first-run films playing now are Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Paddington 2.
Hibachi & Company began interior construction on a new Franklin Street location this week. The Japanese-style hibachi restaurant has five additional locations in North Carolina and serves inexpensive, made-to-order hibachi dishes of all kind.
“We want to cater to students and working people in a hurry,” owner David Huang said. “Our priority is good, quick food.”
Hibachi & Company will open at 153 E. Franklin Street, replacing Artisan Pizza Kitchen. Although no official opening date has been set, Huang expressed confidence that the restaurant will be open by early February.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.