The Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously passed a motion Wednesday to bring the Town a step closer to accepting a proposal that would revamp East Rosemary Street and downtown Chapel Hill.
The motion allowed for developers to bring forth a Memorandum of Understanding on March 4.
The project, called the East Rosemary Downtown Redevelopment Project, would drastically change the look and functionality of the downtown street. The project proposes a new 1,100-space parking garage that would be built at 137 East Rosemary St.
A separate, additional project to build a 200,000-square-foot office space equipped with a wet lab to replace the Wallace Deck, is in the works if the East Rosemary Downtown Redevelopment Project is accepted.
Town Manager Maurice Jones said this project could add much needed additional parking options to downtown Chapel Hill. Jones said there will be a net total of 259 new spaces in downtown with the addition of the new parking deck. He said 100 spaces of the 1,100 in the deck will be reserved for a new UNC admissions building downtown.
Clay Grubb, CEO of the project's developer, Grubb Properties, said the new parking deck will also include a pop-up porch, which will give small businesses and entrepreneurs opportunities to set up shop outside the deck.
“There’s definitely a need for additional parking downtown, especially as new office space is created and new retail shops are opening, as well,” Jones said. “This project could meet both the present and future needs of our downtown businesses.”
In addition, Jones said the parking deck would make bicycling and walking on East Rosemary Street easier and safer.
He said each project will align with the Town’s goals for economic and financial sustainability, environmental stewardship and a more connected community.