CHAPEL HILL – 140 West—the eight-story, $55 million development on Franklin Street – has been more than a decade in the making. And the town will gather Friday night to celebrate its grand opening.

“We knew that there was work to be done in Downtown is we were going to create a more diverse commercial atmosphere and that we needed folks to be living in Downtown,” said Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.

The public is invited to join the festivities at 7 p.m—Mayor Kleinschmidt will be there along with other town leaders. The event will also feature a dedication of the public art installation, Exhale, created by landscape architect Mikyoung Kim.

RAM Real Estate Chairman Peter Cummings; the company signed-on as the developer in 2005.

“There are opportunities like 140 West that are in locations that have the potential to have a significant impact outside its boundaries,” Cummings says.

He says it’s been a long process but seeing the final product makes it worth it.

“I saw the lights on in the building and if you’re in this business and you don’t get excited when you see the lights on in the building at night—you should be in a different business,” Cummings said.

Both men say 140 West is a piece of the puzzle of how to connect West and East Franklin Street.

“We’re hoping that this will create a new sense of vibrancy particularly in that part of Downtown. We are expecting it will be of great benefit to our commercial tax base and continue to inspire others to invest as well,” Kleinschmidt said.

The land was originally a parking lot. Talks of the need for something like 140 West began in 2001

“What we’re hoping is that folks can really experience the fullness of what Downtown offers,” Kleinschmidt said. “When you park you car at one end of the street, there isn’t a space where you decide to turn around walk back. This provides that bridge.”

The mixed-use facility features 26,000 square feet of outdoor public space, including the area called The Plaza, at the corner of West Franklin and Church streets. The site also has 26,000 square feet of retail space.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill is the first business to be up and running. Gigi’s Cupcakes and Eye Car Center are slated to open over the summer as well.

Above the retail space are 140 condos, including 18 affordable housing units. Below is an underground parking deck.

Cummings says about 105 of the total 140 residences have been sold. He says the selling prices range from the mid-$300s to more than $1 million.

“It’s an opportunity to inspire other investment in Downtown to help create that critical and diverse commercial environment,” Kleinschmidt said.
Free Public Parking Information:

The following lots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis:

• 140 West Parking Deck – Level P-1 – Free parking after 4 p.m.
• University Square West Lot Blues Spaces Only – Free after 6 p.m.
• West Rosemary Lot – 104 W. Rosemary St., Free after 6 p.m.
• Malette Street Municipal Lot 1.25 per hour — Free after 8 p.m.
• UNC Development Lot – 307 W. Rosemary St., available after 5 p.m.