Target is coming to Franklin Street

Target is coming to Franklin Street

Target will soon be opening its doors near UNC-Chapel Hill. The new outlet is part of the mixed-use Carolina Square development at 123 W. Franklin Street.

Target will soon be opening its doors on Franklin Street.

The new outlet is part of the mixed-use Carolina Square development at 123 W. Franklin Street, the former location of University Square.

Jorge Santoyo is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill and completed an executive internship with Target at Southpoint Mall in Durham this past summer.

The Target coming to Franklin sometime next summer will be a small-format version of the Targets most students are used to. The store in Carolina Square will sell groceries, household items and other goods.

“It’s all going to be scaled down,” Santoyo said. “Not only with product and square footage, but with employees as well. There will be a lot less, to match with the size of the store.”

Northwood Ravin and Cousins Properties are the developers behind Carolina Square.

The $120 million development will feature several retail stores, apartments and restaurants. There will be a space for outdoor concerts as well as a park area. The land is over 200,000 square feet.

A rendering of Carolina Square from the official brochure.

A rendering of Carolina Square from the official brochure.

Aaron Nelson, secretary of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, said these additions will be healthy for downtown Chapel Hill.

“We anticipate the impact to be totally positive,” Nelson said. “Great things happen in downtowns when there are more people living [there] and more retail opportunities.”

David Schwartz is a Chapel Hill resident and a former Town Council candidate. He is also a co-founder of Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, or CHALT.

CHALT is designed to protect the qualities of Chapel Hill that make it a great place to live from the group’s perspective. In the past, the organization has spoken out against the Obey Creek development, citing concerns about its proposed size and traffic congestion.

Schwartz said Chapel Hill is known for having a slower pace than the bigger cities nearby. He said it was too soon to say whether adding a Target to Franklin Street would be good or bad.

“A lot of the people who grew up here, and those who have moved here from elsewhere, they’ve lived in cities in urban environments, and they came here because they wanted a slower, more relaxed pace,” Schwartz said. “Somebody I know said that she likes short buildings and tall trees, not the reverse. And that’s what Chapel Hill has traditionally been.”

Nelson acknowledged that opinions sometimes differ when it comes to what is best for the future of Chapel Hill, but said that certain changes are imminent.

“Chapel Hill is changing,” Nelson said. “Some people want it to look exactly like it did the day they moved in, and college students generally want it to look exactly like it did the day they moved out.”

The town of Chapel Hill hopes that Carolina Square will contribute to the town’s economy and tax base as well as creating a more vibrant downtown gathering place.

Schwartz said that he is not sure if the development will meet all of those goals, but he is hoping for the best.

“If it does manage to achieve those goals, then I think it would be a terrific contribution to the town,” he said.

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Robert Kinlaw
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