Public Hearing Tuesday Night for Proposed Carrboro Hotel

A public hearing regarding a proposed second hotel in downtown Carrboro will be held Tuesday night.

The Board of Aldermen held the first meeting to explore the possibility of allowing Hilton to build a five story hotel at 300 East Main Street last month.

Many local businesses spoke at the meeting in favor of adding a second hotel to the area.

One of the major issues over the proposal is finding a parking solution for the additional vehicles associated with the hotel.

The board will meet at 7:30 Tuesday night to continue the public hearing that was started in late February.

Because Carrboro Town Hall is an early voting site in Orange County, the meeting is being held in the OWASA community room at 400 Jones Ferry Road.

Due to the meeting being moved, there will be no live video of the meeting for residents who typically watch from home, but the video will still be archived on the town’s website, according to officials.

Officials Break Ground on New Southern Village Hotel

After seven years of planning, the Southern Village neighborhood will get a new hotel.

Developers and elected officials leaned on golden shovels Thursday to break ground on the five-story Hyatt Place hotel. The facility will include 110 guest rooms as well as indoor and outdoor meeting space.

Though many were on hand to celebrate the occasion, the road to get to that point was at times rocky. When developer D.R. Bryan first suggested building a hotel in the heart of Southern Village back in late 2008, residents of the neighborhood responded with such vehement dismay that the proposal was tabled.

Fast forward five years and the concept of a hotel in the mixed-use village resurfaced, though this time at the edge of the development instead of at its center.

This change made all the difference, as those residents formerly opposed to the plan lined up before the town council to support it. It was unanimously approved in October, 2013, but negotiations over construction pricing delayed the start of the project.

Once the hotel opens in the summer of 2016, business owners on Market Street hope it will add a third retail anchor to the area to complement the Lumina Theater and Weaver Street Market.

Town Council Wary Of East Franklin Hotel Plan

CHAPEL HILL- A plan for a new hotel on East Franklin Street met with opposition from residents and the Chapel Hill Town Council last week

Anthony Carey is the general manager at the Siena Hotel on the corner of East Franklin and Estes Drive. He told the Council he’s skeptical about a plan to build a new upscale hotel less than half a mile down the road.

“We currently do not have an urgent need for hotel rooms,” said Carey. “Between July 1 of last year and December 31, how many times was the Aloft, Siena, Sheraton, Franklin, Carolina Inn, Residence Inn and Courtyard sold out harmoniously? Zero.”

The concept was introduced to the Town Council at a public hearing last week. No formal plan has been submitted to the town, but developers heard an earful from neighbors critical of their proposal to build a five-story, 110-room hotel on less than two acres along East Franklin Street.

Dr. Terry Vance runs a psychotherapy practice across the street from the site. She said a new hotel would pose a threat to her business.

“The increased traffic and the noise of building a hotel would make our practice impossible,” said Vance. “We depend on listening, quiet and privacy.”

Residents in the nearby Coker Hills neighborhood also voiced concerns about noise, light pollution and traffic.

When the time came for the Council to offer feedback, members were similarly unimpressed. Lee Storrow told developers he was not excited about the plan.

“We have an approved hotel in the southern part of town that’s likely to break ground very soon, we have approved a rough concept that would, in the future, lead to a hotel across from Carolina North, and there’s discussions about ones in Ephesus-Fordham,” said Storrow. “So I don’t think this concept make sense at this space. I think we’re just moving around people who are in other hotels and I don’t think that has the benefit of expanding our market or tax base the way we want it to.”

Developers must now decide whether to formally apply for a rezoning and special use permit, or shelve the hotel plan in favor of a new idea.

New Hotel Plan Draws Praise From Those Once Opposed

CHAPEL HILL- When developer D.R. Bryan first suggested building a hotel in the heart of Southern Village back in late 2008, residents of the neighborhood responded with such vehement dismay that the proposal was tabled.

Fast forward five years and the concept of a hotel in the mixed-use village has resurfaced, though this time it would be at the edge of the development instead of at its center.

Barbara Crane lives and works in Southern Village. She told the Chapel Hill Town Council on Monday that though she fought the prior plan, she’s changed her mind.

“Since the difficult times in 2009 when I and others questioned whether there was a market for an additional hotel, the market has improved greatly,” said Crane.

The new proposal is slightly smaller, and in a different location. Bryan wants to build a five-story, 112 room hotel on four acres along 15-501 across from Solar Strata.

At Monday’s public hearing, residents and business owners were lining up to praise the plan, which many said would bring much needed business to the merchants on Market Street.

“As an independent business we face a lot of challenges, and now we have big box stores like Wal-Mart encroaching on our territory,” said Micki Cashman, the store manager at Weaver Street Market’s Southern Village location. “We are looking for an additional anchor on the commercial center to really help strengthen all of our retail businesses.”

Gary Kahn, a Southern Village resident and town council candidate, was the only speaker to criticize the plan, warning it could generate unwanted traffic in the area.

“I encourage the mayor and the town council to act very slowly on granting the permit for the Southern Village hotel, or make it part of the Obey Creek process and let the community say whether we really need a hotel,” said Kahn.

The council was largely supportive of the hotel concept, although some questioned the idea that hotel guests would drive into the center of the Southern Village commercial district instead of driving.

“Real walk-ability is about passing places that are interesting and seeing windows and seeing activity and having the option of popping in and stuff,” said Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt. “You make a five minute walk feel like a 20 minute walk when you don’t have those things and so people won’t even take the five minute walk.”

The project will return to the council for a vote on October 28.

Public To Weigh In On Southern Village Hotel Monday

CHAPEL HILL – Members of the public will have a chance to weigh in on a plan to build a hotel at Southern Village when the Chapel Hill Town Council meets Monday.

The proposed five-story, 112 room hotel would be on four acres on the edge of the mixed-use development, along 15-501 across from Strata Solar. A future phase could include a new apartment building.

An earlier plan to build a hotel in the middle of Market Street on the site of a current parking lot was put on pause in 2009 after Southern Village residents objected to the idea.

The public will also have a chance to respond to a plan to reduce the minimum lot acreage for new apartment complexes from five acres to two.

The public hearing starts at 7:00 p.m. in the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road.


Carrboro Welcomes Its First Hotel In Mid-August

CHAPEL HILL – In mid-August, Carrboro will welcome its first hotel, a Hampton Inn & Suites located at 300 E. Main Street.

Targeted to open on August 15, the hotel will not only bring accommodations for people visiting, but also provide jobs to boost the economy. Principal owner of the hotel, Manish Atma, says that the hotel and its retail section could provide up to 175 jobs.

“The hotel will have approximately forty to fifty positions from janitorial positions to management positions,” says Atma. “The retail space will eventually have between a hundred and a hundred twenty-five positions.”

Atma says he is expecting all types of guests to use the 142 rooms–parents visiting their children, sports fans, UNC programs, wedding parties, churches, and the local community of Orange County.

Community and Economic Development Director, Annette Stone, says she agrees that people want to stay in Carrboro, so the hotel will bring a strong economic benefit to the town.

“Folks want to stay in Carrboro and this is the first hotel to be built in Carrboro,” says Stone. “It’s at a good price point. They’re having some really good success in booking events and booking rooms. I think people want to be in Carrboro.”

Stone says the prices for the hotel are reasonable, ranging from $129 to $189 per room. The hotel includes studio suites, partner suites, and standard rooms with king or queen beds.

Atma says peak times will see a little boost in prices.

“During special events, like football weekends and graduation, the rooms are a little bit more expensive,” says Atma.

He says the price comes with the many amenities that the hotel offers.

“It’s a unique Hampton Inn,” says Atma. “We do have a second floor pool with cabanas, a fire pit, gas grills. We have a three-thousand square foot meeting room. The hotel offers a free hot breakfast, free high speed internet, a thousand square foot fitness center, board room, and great service.”

The hotel will bring people in to support businesses in Downtown Carrboro, like the new restaurant and sports bar Hickory Tavern located next to the hotel. Stone says that the hotel will be a huge economic benefit to Carrboro.

“Visitors spend dollars,” says Stone. “They will contribute to the restaurants and the shops and help put folks in stores in our downtown.”

The hotel will expand Carrboro’s commercial tax base, a goal of the Board of Alderman. As a result, Stone says Carrboro residents could see tax benefits.

“The new hotel is estimated to be valued at about $15 million,” says Stone. Certainly, that will add to the tax base for the town with the commercial and the retail, which is the goal of the Board of Alderman, to increase the commercial base for the community to help offset the tax rates that are here to ease the burden on the residents.”

For more information on the Atma Hotel Group and the Hampton Inn & Suites, click here.