Chapel Hill — Construction of the much-discussed and long-awaited 140 West Franklin condo and retail complex could begin by early summer.
Ram Development Co., the Florida-based, developer of the property, has hired John Moriarty & Associates Inc., to build the $40 million complex that will bring 140 condos and 26,600 square feet of retail space to downtown.
“Construction will begin this summer, either in June or July,” said George Sparling, vice president and general manager of Durham-based Moriarty Southeast, the southeastern arm of Massachusetts-based John Moriarty & Associates Inc. “The exact date will be determined by a couple of things.”
Sparling said the project will take about two years to complete.
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt was excited about the news that construction would soon begin on the 140 West Franklin project. He said the town has been discussing and waiting for the project for about 10 years.
“It will help address numerous goals for downtown,” Kleinschmidt said.
He said those goals include connecting east and west Franklin Street, bringing a critical mass of residents to downtown as well as diversifying Franklin Street’s retail offerings.
“That’s really what we need if we’re going to secure a diversity of retail,” Kleinschmidt said, noting that residents often complain that there are too many T-shirt shops and bars on Franklin Street.
When completed, Sparling said 140 West Franklin will be a major asset to Franklin Street.
“We’re really proud to be doing this project because it is a flagship project for the town of Chapel Hill,” Sparling said. “It’s going to add a lot to the Franklin Street corridor.”
Sparling said his firm has been talking to local contractors and will hire locals to build the complex.
“We’ve found a great pool of talent here,” Sparling said.