“Nothing’s going to happen tomorrow,” Hortman said. “I think the University has been going about this responsibly.”
The redevelopment of UNC’s East Franklin properties are just one piece of the new Master Plan, which calls for a larger university footprint along Franklin Street, giving visitors a dramatic, easier access point to campus. Undergraduate Admissions and the UNC Visitor’s Center could be moved to the area surrounding Porthole Alley, according to the Draft Master Plan. The final version is expected to be published in August.
UNC has been buying up various properties along Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street corridor in recent years as it had struggled with a shortage of office space on campus and a high demand for campus housing. The largest of its Franklin Street holdings is Carolina Square, located on the 100 block of West Franklin Street. While the university maintains ownership of the mixed-use development, it hired a private developer and property management company to build out and run the property.
Bevello manager Ashely Moore said they haven't heard much of anything from UNC, and found it concerning that information was coming mostly from the media.
Blue Spoon Microcreamery owners Cindy and Dave Somasunderam recently took control of the local ice cream shop and said they knew little about the plan’s specifics.
Salon 135 management declined to comment.
The University estimates redeveloping Franklin St. will bring 50,000 annual visitors to that part of Franklin Street.
"We are also engaging closely with the Town of Chapel Hill and our building tenants, as we see any future redevelopment in this area as a collaborate process,” Merklein said in the statement.
University officials stress the Master Plan is just a guide for future growth and development —nothing is set in stone. Timelines extend from 7-15 years for mid term projects, and beyond that for long term ones.
The Daily Tar Heel will be reporting on the Master Plan and its implementation throughout the summer and academic year.
Some of the elements of the plan can be found here.
Develop graduate student housing
Redevelop Stadium Drive residence halls
Potentially repurpose Upper Quad residence halls, which may not be needed for housing over the long-term
Demolish Craige Hall
Redesign Stadium Drive
Create a multi-purposed student hub on South Campus, possibly replacing Odum Village apartments
Create a campus gateway in the Porthole Alley area
Pedestrian bridges over South Road
Comprehensive bicycle facilities
Classrooms and Facilities:
Holistic renovations of Gardner, Dey and Bingham
Selective renovations of Greenlaw, Hamilton, Hanes Art Center and Phillips
Expansion of the Kenan-Flagler Business School