Chapel Hill’s Carolina Square bringing more shops and restaurants to Franklin Street

Franklin Street with a Target in Carolina Square

Video: Hear what one Chapel Hill resident thinks about the new Target on Franklin Street.
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Video: Hear what one Chapel Hill resident thinks about the new Target on Franklin Street.

When the Carolina Square project announced it was bringing a small Target to Franklin Street, it got big attention from students and residents alike.

But beyond the Target, Carolina Square has now leased 85 percent of its retail space, bringing seven more businesses to downtown Chapel Hill, according to commercial real estate firm CBRE, which is helping developer Northwood Ravin lease the project.

The $120 million Carolina Square (formerly University Square) has 43,000 square feet of retail space, about half of which Target now occupies. It also has 159,000 square feet of office space and 246 apartments.

Several of the recently signed tenants are clothing retailers. Women’s fashion retailers Ivy & Leo and Francesca’s have signed on, and collegiate apparel chain Alumni Hall is likely to be the next store to open at the development.

Ivy & Leo, which currently has seven locations across North and South Carolina, plans to open at Carolina Square next spring, a spokesperson said. It will be the chain’s second location in the Triangle – the women’s fashion chain also has a location in Cameron Village in Raleigh.

A cycling studio named Purvelo is scheduled to open in the fall. It will be the exercise studio’s third location overall, in addition to its other locations in the college towns of Charlottesville, Va., and Auburn, Ala.

A barber shop with locations in Raleigh and Durham is also opening. The shop called Arrow offers men’s haircuts for $21, women’s haircuts starting at $27 and complimentary beer.

Meg McGurk, executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, has been glad to see Carolina Square’s varied group of tenants – especially as downtown’s population increases with the number of apartments that have been built.

“As more people are living and working downtown there is a desire for everyday essentials,” she said. “Carolina Square has both added more residents to downtown and is providing those varied retail and commercial options that we need – like Target’s grocery section and services like the barbershop.”

Two restaurants are also scheduled to open there as well. The Pizza Press, a California-based pizza chain, will open later this year as well as the fast-casual chain B.Good, which offers a variety of sandwiches and salads and has multiple locations already in the Triangle.

The announcement of a new pizza restaurant on Franklin Street comes a few months after Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom closed its doors at 140 West Franklin, another large mixed-use project across the street from Carolina Square.

Two large tenant locations are still available at Carolina Square, and CBRE said it has already heard from several possible restaurant tenants.

Conor McGrath, an MBA student at UNC who lives at Carolina Square, said he has enjoyed not having to drive for groceries while living downtown, but added he would like to see the addition of bookshop to Carolina Square.

“I come like every other day (to Target) to pick up coffee or cereal or what have you,” he said. “(But) my fiance and I were just talking about this the other day. We would love to see a nice book store in one of these corner buildings ... I know bookstores are kind of dying out, but I still really like going to book stores, and grabbing a coffee and sitting down and reading a book would be kind of ideal for me.”

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes