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Carrboro businesses collaborate in developing new multi-use center

Lot at 203 Greensboro development

  The lot at 203 Greensboro Street in Carrboro is preparing for developments. 

The Town of Carrboro is months deep into a “collaborative venture” that will turn a current downtown parking lot into a multi-use center.

In 2016, Carrboro began looking at ways to develop the parking lot located at 203 S. Greensboro Street, and since then, they have turned the 203 Project into a collaboration between multiple local groups.

The Town of Carrboro Recreation and Parks Department, Orange County Public Library, The ArtsCenter, WCOM radio station and more joined together in creating this project.

“The conversation about building a facility was really all about finding a place for the library, which has been years and years in the making,” said Carrboro Board of Aldermen Member Bethany Chaney.

The architect group selected for the project was Perkins+Will, which has North Carolina offices in Durham and Charlotte.

Derek Jones, the practice leader for the project, said this project is a part of the movement of libraries becoming increasingly diverse and hybridized.

“In this case I wouldn’t call it a library project; it’s really a mixed-cultural-use project,” Jones said. 

Chaney said at the end of September, a 45-day due diligence period will begin where all of the partners will need to decide if they want to commit.

“As we all know, costs of construction are going up, and the cost of this building is likely going to be more than we were hoping, and that’s a big issue for a nonprofit organization,” she said.

Most recently, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen chose a design for the building based on options given to them by Perkins+Will.

“We are excited about moving forward with that design to see what can come of it,” Chaney said.

Jones said they have held several public meetings and online forums to ensure they receive opinions from the local population.

“We have a pretty solid working plan and a pretty solid massing that’s backed up by a lot of input that came from the users,” he said.

Chaney said despite all of the positives, there are still negatives to consider when doing a project of this size, such as noise, disruption and parking changes.

“I think all the negatives are relatively short term, and they come with any construction project in the downtown area,” she said.

She also said she believes the economic outcome will be good for more than just those directly involved in the process, and that the project will greatly benefit all of the local community.

“I also think it will really improve the look and feel of downtown because, even though it’s adding a building, it’s adding much more than that,” she said.

Jones said the collection of groups involved will create a great environment for all kinds of people in Carrboro to learn and grow, from seniors to children to teenagers.

“They are really exciting programs that center around creativity, the arts, expression and community building," Jones said.

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