West Rosemary Developments

Every morning I ride my bike through downtown Carrboro along Main Street and West Rosemary until I get to work just before the intersection at Church Street. This particular stretch of road contains some strange juxtapositions of land use (and value, I assume) as well as a number of significant construction projects.

As previously posted in Too much coffee?, Carrboro is getting a coffee shop on the corner of Rosemary and Main which is currently undergoing renovation and sidewalk repair. The Herald reported in January that it will be called "Padgett Station Coffee, Tea, Treats" owned and operated by a couple from California. With the wonderful Carrburritos next door, as well as a tattoo parlor and art gallery nearby, this "lower east side" of Carrboro may soon rival Weaver Street Market in hipness.

On the same block at the corner of Merritt Mill and Rosemary is a nearly completed and nice looking brick building of several stories which I believe I read will be used for office space. What's curious about the location is that the building looks out over a run-down apartment building that I can only identify by the "Abundant Life Seeds of Sheba" sign in one of the streetside windows. A cursory search online suggests that this is partly a non-profit/social service/cultural center.

West Rosemary and North Graham, on the opposite side of the street, is one of the sketchiest corners in Chapel Hill. There's usually a garbage bag tied to stop sign and several people milling around. Is there any reason why there isn't a public garbage can installed or some nice benches? What's worse is that both of the houses on that corner are in various states of disrepair or abandonment, which would seem to make them ripe for renovating or rezoning (or both).

Of course how sketchy can any corner really be if there are two churches within a block on either side of the street? As well as a beautiful looking, recently renovated, yellow house next to Mama Dips on the corner of North Roberson. Anyone know the story on this place? Two interesting observations: they've got outdoor ceiling fans above the front porch and a large black tank on the right side for capturing rainwater.

One block down, on the corner of Mitchell and Rosemary, is a massive "Luxury Condominiums" development called Rosemary Villiage in the middle of a bunch of parking lots (previously mentioned in Orange Politics back in December...of 2003). Hopefully this development will "improve" an area which is currently anchored by the less than appealing Key Food Mart (aka "The Murder Mart") and several parking lots.


Justin, two corrections/thoughts: I've heard that the new brick building is actually going to be single room occupancy (SRO) apartments. SROs are for folks who are transitioning out of shelters or assisted living, but aren't ready fully independent living. There is a real need for SROs in the mix of affordable housing, so I think this is a really good thing.

Also, no way is the corner of Graham and Rosemary the sketchiest in town! It's just the sketchiest one you can see without going into Northside. The garbage bag is there because the Town knows that folks hang out and generate trash, but is afraid that putting a garbage can there would encourage them. Hence the even trashier-looking garbage bag hanging from stop sign. Go figure.

If you want sketch, then walk down Graham street past the infamous "peninsula" and visit the Craig-Gomains public housing development. BTW, most of this stuff is not that bad. I walk, jog,a nd drive through here all the time. You just need to look out if you are bothering crack dealers and stuff. Like wildlife, they'd rather you both left each other alone.

I agree, SROs are good, but I wonder if they'll be taken over by college and grad students? I'd love a brand new, urban feeling, single room apartment in Carrboro (right next to Carrburritos!) that didn't cost $300k. Of course I'd like it even better if the Abundant Life building got an extreme makeover.

I don't think North Graham and Rosemary is particularly unsafe, but I do think it presents an opportunity for the town to do something interesting to improve the space, perhaps by buying out the two houses on the corner and creating a mini greenspace/buffer/park.

I wonder if this area of town has been neglected partly because it's right on the border with Carrboro?


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