Details emerge on University Square redevelopment

Apr. 24, 2014 @ 05:25 PM

A recent update on the University Square redevelopment went into more detail about the project including available parking, a park and affordable housing.

The Friends of Downtown gathered Thursday with Gordon Merklein, executive director of real estate at UNC, Jason Frost, vice president of development at Cousins property, and Jeff Furman, vice president of development at Northwood Ravin to give an update on the project and let the public ask questions.
Owned by the Chapel Hill Foundation Real Estate Holdings, the property is currently being leased and developed by Cousins Properties of Atlanta.
The three-building site will be redeveloped to include 300 apartments, 45,000 square feet of rental space for retail and 125,000 square feet of rental space for offices. The plan includes 915 parking spaces and a 38,000-foot outdoor grassy area with seating, hardscaping and landscaping.
They explained that the apartments will look like $400,000 to $500,000 homes and be studio, one- and two-bedroom and range from 600 to 1,500 square feet, not including balconies or sunrooms.
Estimates have the project being completed 20 months from its start, without a specific start date in mind.
“It’ll be the nicest apartments in the Triangle when we open and we intend to keep it that way,” Furman said.
They also explained that the housing is not meant to be student housing and none of the apartments will be designated for affordable housing.
When asked about possible tenants for the office space, they said that local businesses along with larger national chains are expected to fill the space, noting that there will be space available on the sides down Church Street that will not be an “economically challenging” as those directly on Franklin Street. 
Bill Bassett, senior vice president of Cousins Properties, addressed rumors about a grocery store coming to the site. Confirming that there is a 14,000-square-foot space in the plan, he said that there have been no discussions with a grocer to occupy that or any other space in the plan.
The developers said that they anticipate some of the current residents and businesses at University Square to return, including the UNC Population Center, while the future of others like Time Out, are unknown.