Rumors of Target to Downtown Chapel Hill Still Just Rumors…For Now

The possibility of a Target coming to downtown Chapel Hill is still just that, a possibility, for now.

“We are very, very hopeful – and I can’t confirm or deny the rumor about the business coming there yet, we’re still hopeful we can announce that soon,” Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said at the WCHL Community Forum on Tuesday. The rumored business would potentially occupy the retail space in the Carolina Square development on Franklin Street.

“Which will add another dynamic to downtown and provide some opportunities for people to walk and get the things they need without having to get in the car or use transit,” Hemminger added.

Hemminger also clarified that if a Target were to be located downtown it would not resemble the Super Target located in Durham. It would instead be a Metro Target, which are incorporated into downtown locations across the country.

“They actually have a pickup window too,” Hemminger said. “You can order online and walk over and pick up whatever you need. But they have grocery options. And it fits into a building like Carolina Square versus being the normal strip mall-kind of look. It’s a very different kind of model.

“I’ve been in a few in Pittsburgh and Minneapolis; they’re well-used and well-liked amenities to a downtown.”

Grocery options for residents downtown and in the surrounding communities, or rather the lack thereof, has been a continued topic of conversation for Chapel Hill leaders.

While the rumors have persisted that Target could occupy the retail space in Carolina Square, it will still be a while before anything at all is located in the new development.

Construction began earlier in 2016 after the groundbreaking in the fall of last year on the site that will be home to one 11-story and two five-story buildings with about 246 apartment units, 159,000 square feet of office space and 42,000 square feet of retail space.

Construction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/rumors-of-target-to-downtown-chapel-hill-still-just-rumors-for-now

Poll Suggests Chapel Hill Is Open To Big Box Retail

CHAPEL HILL- Would a big box store be a boost to the tax base or a drain on the local economy? In Chapel Hill and Carrboro the debate has flourished for years.

Now Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, says Chapel Hill may be ready to embrace at least one new name-brand store, and he’s got the numbers to prove it.

“There’s always been a lot of controversy over whether Chapel Hill would be open to a big box store, and what we found in this poll is that 56 percent of voters in town would like to have a Target in Southern Orange County,” says Jensen. “Only 15 percent are opposed to that idea.”

The proposed Obey Creek project across from Southern Village has been earmarked as a potential location for large-scale retail development, with Target as a possible anchor store.

Jensen also asked respondents how they’d feel about an Olive Garden in downtown Carrboro. While many in Orange and Chatham counties were receptive to the idea, Carrboro residents were not interested.

“Overall, voters in Orange and Chatham say they would support an Olive Garden in downtown Carrboro by a 44-35 margin,” says Jensen. What’s kind of funny when you break down the numbers is that voters in Carrboro itself are opposed to an Olive Garden- they don’t want it by a 55-33 margin.”

With many Orange County residents opening their property tax bills this time of year, Jensen says he thinks some taxpayers may be considering how to expand the commercial tax base.

The survey polled 484 registered voters living in Orange and Chatham counties. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percent. You can find the full results here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/business/ppp-poll-suggests-chapel-hill-may-welcome-big-box-retail