Southern Village: So Long Six Stories

One of the projects on tonight’s agenda was D.R. Bryan’s six story Southern Village hotel. The hotel was to be plopped down in Southern Village’s central “square”. At 75+ feet, it would tower over the nearby United Methodist Church.

Local residents were concerned that this 6 story project wasn’t human-scale or compatible with the existing surround. I fully agreed.

“We value the human, pedestrian-scale of our existing ‘Village’ and believe the mass and scale of a 75-foot building set diagonally from the United Methodist Church is incompatible in proportion to the neighborhood area,” the petition said.

According to the Chapel Hill News OrangeChat, the project has been pulled from the agenda awaiting a supposedly more palatable 4-story variant.

They have a new plan that is four stories, they announced last week. The new plan also closes Abedrdeen Drive to create a plaza connecting the hotel to the community’s village green and stage.

OrangeChat also noted that one of Bryan’s partners, a Southern Village resident, opposed the project. Ben Waldorf, former Mayor Rosemary Waldorf’s son, signed the petition challenging the project.

You might also remember that Rosemary recently suggested providing direct economic incentives (cash) to fill all the empty commercial properties around town. No indication as of yet if cash incentives will be required to fill this new hotel.


2 responses to “Southern Village: So Long Six Stories”

  1. chapelhillguy Avatar



    The developers are intentionally misleading when they refer to a “four story hotel,” This is the way that the developers would like the public to perceive the structure, particularly since it gives the appearance that they are making concessions, but it all depends on your point of view, more specifically… on where you stand.

    Entering Southern Village from 15-501, a resident or visitor will confront a five story structure. Sitting at Weaver Street Market or when entering or leaving the church, what people will experience is a building that is five stories tall.

    The only way this building will be perceived as four stories is from the slope above it, either slipping onto Market Street the back way, or from the village green. It is from this vantage that the developers insist that the structure is four stories.

    On the day of the meeting, John Fugo sent out a message to the Parking Lot Listserve with the following quote:
    “The highest design we have ever talked about was 5 stories. Now we are at 4 stories at the stage end, and we like that as well.”

    I replied to the entire list, asking Mr. Fugo for clarification: “For clarification, isn’t “4 stories at the stage end” still the same thing as “5 stories at the entrance to Southern Village end”?

    Fugo’s one word answer, “Yes.”

    The developers have described this as a four story building surrounded by two and three story buildings. In reality, it is a five story building surrounded by two story buildings. Every building at the lower end of Market Street in only two stories, the three story buildings don’t begin until the second half of the next block, well beyond the hotel.

    In summary, someone jumping out of a top floor window towards Weaver Street Market would fall five stories from a four story building. I hope that future references will accurately describe the proposed hotel as five stories.

    Thank you for your attention,

  2. Administrator Avatar

    Thanks for the clarification. I thought that the 4 story elevation was based on the lowest possible value. Essentially, the 5+ story eastern-side will be the dominant perspective. I can see how it will loom not only over the entrance-way’s two story buildings but be the “face” of Southern Village from that side of the development.

    I seem to recall D.R. and company using the phrase “human scale” quite a bit when they sold Council on the original Southern Village plan. Where does this project fit into that vision? Also, what is the chance that condos will be built instead of a hotel?

    Hopefully they will come back with a better plan more suitable to the site and compatible with the vision that initially “sold” Southern Village.

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