Garden center may become auto service center

Mar. 21, 2013 @ 08:30 PM

Pepboys proposal on East Franklin progresses: A site plan for a proposed Pepboys automobile service and tire center on the site of the existing Dickinson’s Garden Center is slated to go before the Chapel Hill Planning Board on May 7.

The owners of the garden center at 1510 E. Franklin St. plan to sell the property before they retire.

Dickie Dickinson operates the business with his wife, Beverly. His mother and father started the business in 1952.

“It’s under contract, and we’re thinking that we will probably go through completion by maybe the first in July, my guess is,” Dickinson said. “We don’t have a closing date yet, but it’s progressing.”

The proposal is to build a 4,988-square-foot Pepboys service and tire center and a 2,000-square-foot retail building, according information on the Town of Chapel Hill website at


Chapel Hill Kildare’s closed: The owner of Kildare’s Irish Pub said the business closed at 206 W. Franklin St. a few days before St. Patrick’s Day after the owner of the property reclaimed the space.

Dave Magrogan, owner and CEO of a company that owns and manages the Kildare’s Irish Pub chain, said in an email that Kildare’s business in Chapel Hill was hurt by construction at the 140 West mixed-use project nearby.

“Two years of construction at the 140 West Franklin project, which restricted vehicle and pedestrian traffic, combined with the elimination of our parking, dramatically impacted our sales and made it difficult to meet our rent obligations,” Magrogan said in an email.

The property owner worked with the business owners for a “considerable amount of time,” Magrogan said, but finally decided to protect his rights and reclaim the space.

Magrogan said he and others were excited to try to re-launch the space with the support of a new managing partner once the major construction of 140 West was completed and parking was restored.

“Ultimately, it was not our decision to close, and we tried to resolve the balance with our landlord with no success,” he said. “We would like to thank our wonderful employees, our guests and our friends in Chapel Hill for supporting us.”

Antoine Puech, general partner in the West Franklin Preservation Limited Partnership that owns the property, said the pub owners were behind on rent and were given several deadlines to catch up.

“They were all missed, and we decided to take back the property and go in another direction,” he said.

The 140 West construction, with the street closures and a loss of public parking and other factors, was harmful to Kildare’s and other businesses, Puech said. The company owns the property that houses Kildare’s and the adjacent building on the corner.

“We have other tenants who are heavily behind also in their rent payments, and their revenues are down,” he said. “We have records of the sales and prosperity before the project was started, and so it’s easy to compare month by month sales before and after, and there’s clearly a drastic drop in the business of all these clients and tenants.”

For refunds of gift cards or St. Patrick’s Day VIP passes, Magrogan said to email


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