CHAPEL HILL — The Town Council approved plans 7-0 Monday for a hotel at Southern Village on U.S. 15-501.
The 112-room, five-story hotel will be a third anchor for the mixed-use village south of downtown, after Weaver Street Market and the Lumina Theatre developer D.R. Bryan said.
Council member Jim Ward was concerned about hotel guests with mobility issues having only one path to the village business district – a sidewalk along U.S. 15-501 and Market Street.
A second, pedestrian-only entrance will be built on Barksdale Drive, replacing part of an existing plant buffer. It will be below street level and accessible via a series of steps.
Bryan, of Bryan Properties, said the sidewalk to Weaver Street Market will meet standards in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Trees and plant buffers will offer screening and shade.
The hotel – an operator has not been named – will have a 90-space parking lot and is the first phase of a two-part project. It will replace three rental homes on a 4.14-acre strip at the village’s edge.
The council also voted to increase the hotel property’s size by moving the Southern Village boundary and to rezone the residential lots to mixed-use village, which allows taller buildings, dense development and more square footage.
The project’s second phase could add up to 40 apartments behind the Southern Village apartment district. It would be submitted to the town for approval at a later date.
Sarah O’Brien, with Bryan Properties, said the hotel’s right-in, right-out driveway on U.S. 15-501 will be similar one on Fordham Boulevard at University Mall. It will meet N.C. Department of Transportation standards and give drivers ample room to maneuver, she said.
Drivers leaving the hotel for Chapel Hill will have to make a U-turn at Market Street. Northbound drivers will make a U-turn at Arlen Park Drive and head south to the hotel.
Southern Village residents rejected earlier plans for a hotel on a parking lot in the village’s business district. In September, residents and business owners told the council that the hotel would complement the neighborhood and be an economic boost to other businesses.
Council member Ed Harrison said he remembers talking with Bryan Properties officials after the plan failed.
“I think it’s a triumph that you came out with this location over the other one,” he said. “I learned a lot about Southern Village and its residents, and also a lot about Southern Village and its design from you folks.”
The council also voted to allow Bryan Properties more flexibility in deciding how much floor area to use for retail or office uses in the Southern Village core.