A proposed 3.2 acre East Rosemary Street development would include office and wet lab space with additional parking. This multi-million-dollar undertaking is being fronted by the Town of Chapel Hill and real-estate developer Grubb Properties.
The project, which is outlined to be within Chapel Hill’s Opportunity Zone, is estimated to cost the town more than $28 million and drastically change the landscape of East Rosemary Street.
In order for Grubb Properties to construct the proposed 200,000 square-foot office building, they are asking for an exchange of land with the town, using the space currently occupied by the Wallace parking deck for the building.
The developer would then demolish the current parking deck at 125 East Rosemary Street, which it owns, to construct a bigger parking deck that would potentially add 159 spaces.
Grubb Properties would design and build the development on the town’s behalf.
The Town of Chapel Hill is fine tuning an agreement with Grubb Properties to clearly outline their goals and expectations.
At March 4 council meeting, The Town of Chapel Hill approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Grubb Properties ahead of further discussion on zoning and construction.
The MOU, is a non-binding agreement which will provide a framework of what the two entities agree upon and what still needs to be negotiated.
The town and Grubb properties both share the desire to expand the Wallace parking deck behind the CVS into a multi-functional, parking space – adding an additional 159 parking spots to the deck.
While the MOU outlines a timeline and construction plans for the redevelopment, there are still some details to be finalized.
Chapel Hill Council member Hongbin Gu questioned wording in the MOU and how the town can hold Grubb Properties accountable for following through with the development.
“I’m concerned with what’s the impact this project is going to have on the town’s financial health,” he said. “I think when it’s all said and done we’re going to pay more than 40 million.”
Gu says, because this project is a huge expense on the town’s behalf, the council needs to fully understand who owns the parking deck during construction and who will own it after.
“Who actually is the owner of this new deck and who is the developer,” Gu asked. “I think there is some confusion seeing as Grubb Properties is actually building the deck.”
The town and Grubb Properties are expected to finalize an Economic Development Agreement in June. Construction on the new parking deck is scheduled to start in September and last about a year. Construction of the office and lab spaces would follow.
For more information, visit the town’s website.