Raleigh City Council green lights Hillsborough Street construction; business owners upset

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Campus Auto will be torn down to make room for a roundabout (WTVD)

After more than 40 years in business on Hillsborough Street, Campus Auto will soon be torn down.

Owner Tony Coates told ABC11 he plans to get rid of the building after a roundabout, approved by Raleigh City Council last week, condemned part of the business's property.

"It is taking away our livelihood. It just leaves a really, really bad taste," said Coates.

The construction, is part of Phase Two of plans to revitalize the congested thoroughfare near NC State's campus.

Three roundabouts will be added, including one at Dixie Trail. Campus Auto is right on the corner and the roundabout will cut into a large portion of its parking lot.

Coates is now trying to figure out what to do with the property.

"They doubled the value of our property, and they're going to take our means away from being able to pay for it, to pay our taxes as we've always done," said Coates.

Other business owners on Hillsborough Street have separate concerns with the project, ranging from the effectiveness of roundabouts (three are planned for less than a mile stretch of Hillsborough) to details of the project, such as a raised median replacing a third lane.

Chuck Grantham owns property just down the block from Campus Auto that will be impacted by the project.

He said upset business owners are fighting an uphill battle.

"They're going to create gridlock here. It's a plain simple fact. It's almost as though they've disregarded business interests in this whole process," he said.

Council members say Phase Two of the Hillsborough project will improve traffic congestion, adding Phase One was a huge success.

"There's been almost a billion dollars in new investment, private investment in the street," said council member Russ Stephenson.

Stephenson said he's seen overwhelming support for the upgrades but realizes there is no way around the impact to some businesses.

"Some of the highest property value increases in all of Wake County were along Hillsborough Street so there's a downside if your business is disrupted, but there's a tremendous upside if that disruption multiplies your land value," he said.

The entire project was estimated to cost $17.3 million, but city planners told ABC11 they are more than $1.3 million over budget.

Construction is expected to start in mid-June and be complete by November or December of 2017.

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