123 West Franklin Street

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Project Summary

Aerial view of 123 West Franklin Street.

The 123 West Franklin Street property (current site of University Square shopping center and Granville Towers student housing) was residential until 1916, when the town of Chapel Hill purchased the land and house located there to build Chapel Hill High School. Over the years, the high school was joined by an elementary school and a junior high school. In the mid-1960s, a booming time on Franklin Street, a company affiliated with the Kenan family purchased the property and began to build University Square-Granville Towers complex – one of the first intentional mixed use developments in North Carolina with housing, office and retail shopping – in stages over the next decade. The complex, built off the street and with storefront parking, has been home to such Chapel Hill traditions as the Chapel Hill Barber Shop, Fine Feathers, Ken’s Quickie Mart and Time-Out restaurant.

In the past year, the property and existing buildings were purchased by Chapel Hill Foundation Real Estate Holdings, a not-for-profit corporation founded by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Foundation to assist with real estate projects for the University and its affiliated organizations. Cousins Properties Incorporated, a national developer based in Atlanta that specializes in mixed use projects, is assisting Chapel Hill Foundation Real Estate Holdings in redeveloping the site. Elkus Manfredi Architects of Boston, selected by Cousins in fall 2009, will help plan and design the project. A series of three public meetings, as well as input through this Web site, will guide the development of a concept plan to be submitted to the town next spring.

To guide the planning process we have established the following key statements:

Mission Statement


To support both the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Town of Chapel Hill through the redevelopment of 123 West Franklin Street into a vibrant, appropriate, and commercially viable project that will enhance the quality of life at the University, in the Town and in the region.



Core Values

We believe deeply that the redevelopment of 123 West Franklin Street must be...

  • Respectful of this place and community;
  • Respectful of the natural environment;
  • Designed with a long lifespan in mind; and
  • Economically, socially, and physically sustainable.


The purpose of this redevelopment is articulated in the following objectives:

  • To make 123 West Franklin Street a 12-month destination with a mixed set of uses — retail, office, residential and civic — that will attract more people, more frequently, and for longer visits;
  • To provide a diverse mix of University-related residential options;
  • To deliver a project that is financially feasible and stimulates other commercial prosperity in Downtown Chapel Hill;
  • To provide a vibrant connection between the University and Downtown; and
  • To engage a wide range of stakeholders in the development of a plan that is feasible, durable and that benefits both Chapel Hill and the University.

Community Meetings

Find information about the project readily available for download.

View list of project materials »

Meeting Documents Available

The last public meeting was held on August 18, 2010. We have made the meeting notes available to you; simply download a PDF of the presentation to review the proposed Development Program, in addition to other highlights.

Download PDF [14.0 mb] »