140 West Franklin, a planned condominium development at the intersection of Franklin Street and Church Street in the current location of a town parking lot, has sold 40 of its 140 residences.
It’s a number developers say was a milestone target they didn’t expect to hit — not this early and not with as many local buyers.
Construction is set to begin in June, but a finish date isn’t known, said Kim Counts, public relations director for Ram Development.
Shari Meltzer, Ram Development marketing director, said for the time being, they are going to celebrate their first achievement.
“We’re going to have some private events and banquets for the first 40,” Meltzer said.
She said the names of the first 40 property holders would be memorialized on the building’s cornerstone.
And for the groundbreaking in June, there will be an event for the entire community, she said.
The project has managed to stay on track while other developments have struggled. University Square has an uncertain timeline, and the environmentally-friendly Greenbridge has fallen behind schedule in the past.
Developers said lowering prices and gathering interest from future residents’ down payments has contributed to the recent success of 140 West Franklin.
According to a news release, one-bedroom homes that were planned to sell for $275,900 are now $180,000, and the cost of three-bedroom homes originally planned to go for $510,000 has been reduced to $320,000.
“The lower prices are a result of effective and carefully analyzed construction costs,” Meltzer said.
She said the construction company they hired offered a lower cost for building than anticipated.
Meltzer said 18 of the development’s 140 homes are designated for the town’s 15 percent affordable housing recommendation. Ideally, those residences could house people such as teachers, police officers and firefighters.
Developers expect many of the remaining residents to be University alumni, professors and Rams Club members in search of a place to stay on game day weekends.
The developers said 140 West Franklin aims to contribute to the environment of Franklin Street. A public, open-air plaza will run through the property.
“Part of the vision of the town is to create a development that fits in with the feel of Chapel Hill,” Meltzer said.
On the seventh floor, terrace homes will feature a gardening area for residents and a self-sustainable water system.
Developers said they hope the building will fit in with the culture of the town.
“We don’t just want a big building in the middle of Franklin Street,” Meltzer said.
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