Economy & Downtown

Chapel Hill's downtown has long benefited from its proximity to a captive audience of University students without cars. While downtowns around the country have been failing, ours has survived fairly well. However, we have seen an increase in the number of chain stores locating downtown, and instability in the Downtown Economic Development Corporation. In the near future, we will see new Town-directed development on two major parking lots have a big impact.
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Carrboro's downtown has also done better than many towns of comparable size, thanks largely to the presence of Weaver Street Market and progressive shoppers from the rest of the county. The Board of Aldermen has been addressing the evolution of the downtown, and have established a number of community resources in the downtown area including free wireless Internet access, and a low-power radio station.

Rosemary Imagined: New process to develop our community dream for Rosemary Street

Rosemary Street in downtown Chapel Hill has a lot of untapped potential and is already a vibrant intersection for students and permanent residents (including long-time residents of the historically African American Northside neighborhood). The Town of Chapel Hill Economic Development Office and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership have teamed up to create a new process they are calling 'Rosemary Imagined,' which they are promoting as "an innovative community-led process to refine our thinking of how Rosemary Street fits into the development and growth of Downtown Chapel Hill."

Vishaan Chakrabarti - A Country of Cities (One of America's foremost urbanists)

Vishaan Chakrabarti - A Country of Cities
April 18 @ 7:00 PM (Reception starts @ 5:30)
G-100 Genomic Sciences Building (campus location - free parking next door)

One of America's foremost urbanists, Vishaan Chakrabarti is a planner, architect, real estate developer and educator who-though still in his 40s-has already left an indelible mark on New York City's built environment. Currently Holliday Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE) at Columbia University, Chakrabarti is also a principal of SHoP Architects, whose project portfolio includes the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, The Seaport at Pier 17, and master plans for Governor's Island and the Domino Sugar redevelopment in Williamsburg. He also advises The Related Companies on design and planning operations for the vast Moynihan Station and Hudson Rail Yards projects.

Chakrabarti was previously Director of the Manhattan Office of the New York City Department of City Planning, where he played a key role in the reconstruction of Lower Manhattan in the wake of 9/11, the expansion of Columbia University, the makeover of Lincoln Center, the extension of the #7 subway line to Manhattan's far West Side, and the transformation of the High Line into the city's most innovative new park. Earlier in his career he was director of urban design for the New York office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and a transportation planner with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

A licensed architect, Chakrabarti studied engineering and art history at Cornell University, and holds an MCP from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.Arch. from the University of California at Berkeley. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Architectural League of New York, and is a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission and emeritus board member of Friends of the High Line. He is also a member of the Young Leaders Forum of the National Council on US-China Relations. Metropolis magazine named Chakrabarti one of the top 12 Game Changers for 2012. He is a David Rockefeller Fellow and was a Crain's "40 under 40" in 2000.

In this year's Robert and Helen Siler Lecture, Chakrabarti will speak on the subject of his forthcoming book, A Country of Cities (Metropolis Books, May 2013), in which he argues that dense, well-designed cities are the key to solving America's great national challenges: environmental degradation, unsustainable consumption, economic stagnation, rising public health costs and decreasing social mobility. A County of Cities presents a wealth of compelling information about cities, suburbs and exurbs, looking at how they developed across the 50 states and their roles in enabling prosperity and globalization, sustainability and resilience, and heath and joy. In the book Chakrabarti shows how American cities today are growing faster than their suburban counterparts for the first time since the 1920s, and that strategically increasing the density of our cities-and building the transit systems, schools, parks and other infrastructure to support them-will both improve job opportunities and put environmental sustainability within reach. The book closes with a manifesto rallying us to imagine a new urban America-to build "a country of cities" and turn a nation of highways, houses and hedges one of towers, trains and trees.

A selection of Chakrabarti's writings for Urban Omnibus are available here:


Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm


G-100 Genomic Sciences Building - UNC Campus (free parking)

Downtown Partnership Social Hour

Downtown Partnership Social Hour
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
5pm to 7pm

Join the Downtown Partnership for a social hour at Cholanad Restaurant. Enjoy free hors d'oeuvres on their new outdoor deck. Drop by and catch up with old friends and make some new ones!  All are invited. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm



Promoting Entrepreneurship

North Carolina could do a lot more to promote new businesses.  Here's just a quick list.

Food truck rodeo to benefit IFC Community House

Want to see food trucks in downtown CH?  Want to eat good food while contributing to the IFC's Community House?  Come enjoy 5 food trucks in the parking lot at 300 E Rosemary St on Sunday April 28th 4-8pm. 


Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 4:00pm to 8:00pm


Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 300 E. Rosemary St, Chapel Hill



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