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CH Town Council OKs Southern Village Hotel Plan

By Rachel Nash Posted October 28, 2013 at 11:30 pm

CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously approved development plans Monday for a five-story hotel to be built on the edge of Southern Village.

“All those in favor, say, ‘Aye.’ We have a new hotel,’ said Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.

The hotel will be five stories, with 112 rooms and 90 parking spaces, and will be built along US 15-501 South across from Strata Solar.

The development plan also calls for a future phase to include an apartment building.

Mayor Pro Tem Ed Harrison excitedly complimented the developer, D.R. Bryan, for seeing the project through and making the necessary changes during the process.

“I think it is a triumph that you came out to this location instead of the other one. I learned a lot about Southern Village, and its residents, and also a lot about Southern Village and its design from you folks,” Harrison said. “This shows that where there is a will there is a way and that something can happen when it needs to.”

When Bryan first suggested building a hotel in the heart of Southern Village back in late 2008, residents of the neighborhood fought against the project and the proposal subsequently was tabled.

This year, the concept of a hotel in the mixed-use village resurfaced, though the new design plan moved the development to the edge of Southern Village instead of at its center.

At a public hearing in September, neighbors in the area had formed a more favorable opinion of the proposed plan for the hotel, and many business owners and residents praised the plan Many said they believed it would bring much needed business to the merchants on Market Street.

Some still worried about how the hotel would affect issues like access to 15-501, pedestrian access to Barksdale Drive, and landscaping concerns.

Sarah O’Brien, representing the developer, spoke to the Council Monday and said that the new plan included revisions such as re-working the right-in/right-out access to 15-501 South.

“This achieves many community-wide goals that were identified in the 1992 Southern [Village] small area plan and most recently, in the Chapel Hill 20/20 plan, including the design principles for Highway 15-501 south,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien added that other benefits of the hotel in Southern will include adding to Chapel Hill’s commercial tax base and improving road connectivity in Southern Village.

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