Published: Sep 01, 2012 06:30 PM
Modified: Sep 01, 2012 06:38 PM
CHAPEL HILL - A Florida developer has resubmitted plans for a hotel and student housing on 15.4 acres at Estes Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Chartwell formerly Carolina Flats @ Estes includes a five-story hotel with up to 145 rooms, 190 apartments and townhouses and 5,000 to 8,000 square feet of restaurant space. The developer is seeking a total of 327,000 square feet of floor space in 12 buildings.
The new plan differs somewhat from the previous proposal, which sought 275,000 square feet of floor space, 125 to 145 rooms in a four-story hotel and no restaurant space.
Developer Russ Greer, with Progressive Capital Group, declined to name them but said three or four companies have expressed interest in the hotel.
The new plan cuts the number of parking spaces from 532 to 484. Greer said the plan moves the parking to create a 30- to 60-foot buffer between the complex and Coker Woods neighborhood.
The residential units, offering one, two and four bedrooms potentially could rent for $500 to $600 per bed and would require parents to sign an agreement to limit roommate liabilities, he said.
The lot, which Greer has under contract, is zoned for low-density single-family housing and will require rezoning for a mixed-use village.
Greer said they delayed the project to let the town finish the 2020 Comprehensive Plan and to discuss the smaller focus area.
The MLK/Estes Drive Focus Area is one of six areas identified in the 2020 Plan process for more detailed discussions.
If approved, Chartwell would be built across the street from UNCs 250-acre, roughly 8 million-square-foot Carolina North project.
Coker Hills resident Fred Lampe said he sees a couple of issues with the Chartwell plan, starting with parking. The town is supposed to be transitioning to a transit-based future, and the corner of Estes Drive is a prime spot for them to get on and off the bus, not park their cars, he said.
Lampe said he also is concerned about the quality of what will be built there.
I dont know that we want
something thats not architecturally lasting and well-designed, he said.Quality housing
Greer envisions modern, upscale apartment buildings most likely with siding and brick similar the Chapel Ridge apartments off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
UNC cant afford to take student housing pressures off the town, and students want to park where they live, even though most might use the bus to reach campus, he said.
It is storage more than it is parking for multiple trips, Greer said.
A town-prepared Traffic Impact Assessment Report found most of the developments traffic would be during off-peak hours, the developers application states. The report will be available this week, town engineering services manager Kumar Neppalli said.
The developer worked with town and N.C. Department of Transportation staff to draft road improvements based on that assessment and the towns Complete Streets policy. Suggested improvements include a longer right lane for westbound Estes Drive traffic turning onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and a left-turn lane for eastbound traffic entering the complex. The suggestions also include a right-turn lane from northbound MLK Boulevard into the complex.