Published: Mar 19, 2013 06:17 PM
Modified: Mar 19, 2013 07:01 PM
CARRBORO - The Town of Carrboro has bought the former Andrew-Riggsbee Hardware Store property at 203 S. Greensboro St. for $600,000, town leaders said Monday.
The town will continue using the 0.88-acre site for free parking. It has about 90, two-hour spaces.
The town has been leasing the gravel lot, which fell into foreclosure within the past six months, Mayor Mark Chilton said. The town’s sealed bid was the highest of a handful of bidders, he said.
The property has a tax value of $410,211, down from $661,085 in 2006, according to county land records. It sits along the southern entrance to downtown, across the street from Open Eye Cafe.
“The price is a pretty good price to secure 90 public parking spaces long term,” Chilton said.
The aldermen discussed the property twice in recent weeks.
Alderman Sammy Slade was the lone opposition.
In an interview Monday, Slade said he thinks the town needs to rethink parking in terms of its long-term goals.
“I was feeling very uncomfortable to spend that amount on parking when we have policies to encourage biking and walking and high-density mixed-use development downtown,” he said.
But Slade, who said this was his first vote on a major property acquisition as an alderman, also acknowledged those who say available, free parking has kept downtown Carrboro robust.Roberson Square
The property had once been the site of the proposed Roberson Square project, a five-story building comprising condominiums on the top three floors, and shops, offices and possibly restaurants on the bottom two floors.
That project would have been 91,575 square feet, and would have included 18 condominiums, 65 underground parking spaces and at least 10 on-street parking spaces.
Chilton said the site could still be developed in the long term – it might even make a good site for the library the county is planning, he and Slade agreed.
But buying it now protects parking for the town’s merchants, Chilton said.
“We’re delighted,” said Carr Mill Mall manager Nathan Milian.
The lots serving the converted mill property are frequently full, and management has hired security officers to keep people who aren’t doing business there from parking.
Losing the 90 nearby spots would have put even more pressure on Carr Mill’s lots, Milian said.
“It would have been horrible for us,” he said. “It would have been a disaster for some of the businesses down the street.”Facebook post
Alderwoman Jacquie Gist praised the purchase on her Facebook page last week.
“Good News For Downtown Carrboro!” she wrote.
“It took several years and lots of negotiating but now this critical corner will belong to the town,” Gist wrote. “This secures critical parking for our downtown businesses as well as allows for a wide range of possibilities. Never thought I would be excited about a parking lot but I am tonight!”