Development on Franklin and Church streets gets green light

Parts of town Parking Lot 5 to close beginning Dec. 15
Developers of the 140 West project received their zoning compliance permit Friday from the Town of Chapel Hill, clearing the last hurdle to start work.

The project is being developed by Ram Development Co. and is composed of condominiums, retail and parking. The structure, which will rise to eight stories at its highest point, will be located where the town-owned Parking Lot 5 currently sits at the intersection of Franklin and Church streets.

Sections of the the parking lot that are adjacent to Rosemary Street will close beginning Dec. 15. The entire lot will close Jan. 3.

Although an initial town press release stated the parking lot was expected to close on Jan. 16, Kendria Sweet, a spokeswoman for Ram Development, said the date was under negotiation between the developers and the town.

Were trying to make it the easiest for the town as we can in terms of process, Sweet said.

Sweet said construction of the 140 units of upscale condominiums 18 of which are in a trust for affordable housing is still slated to be completed within two years despite the delays in the permitting process.

Construction was originally scheduled to begin in October.

We told our homeowners that they would be in in two years, and were going to be make that happen, Sweet said.

She said 51 condominiums, excluding the affordable housing units, have been sold.

The development combines public, commercial and living spaces with the goal of recharging the downtown atmosphere. The project includes 26,000 square feet of ground-level retail space and 337 parking spaces.

The approved construction plan allows for closing a section of Church Street for about 12 to 15 months, which is a shorter period of time than the original plan anticipated.

The Franklin Street sidewalk will close to allow trucks entering the site to be segregated from both vehicles and pedestrians along the street, while the sidewalk on Church Street will remain open during construction so access to the offices on the street can be maintained.
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