UNC master plan proposal would change the look of Franklin Street

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Ashley Moore is a brand new manager at Bevello on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. For the past decade, the boutique has been a popular destination on campus.

But Ashley's store and other businesses that are nestled in old building storefronts could be demolished if a University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill master plan comes to fruition.

"Instantly, it makes me sad," Moore said.

UNC-Chapel Hill owns the properties and has proposed demolishing three buildings on East Franklin Street, over the next seven years.

The goal is to use the space to make way for university-affiliated start-up companies, more office space and additional retail.

"I don't think it's worth it," Moore said. "I just came here last week and the first thing I noticed was wow this place has so much character. It's so awesome. It would be sad to see that go."

UNC Freshman Makell Brown's feelings are mixed.

"For one, change is necessary for growth," Brown said. "However, if they are pushing people out or increasing the rent, or anything in that way, that's just wrong."

Preparing for the university's growth, improving traffic, parking and connectivity is part of UNC's campus-wide 15-year master development plan.

Part of the new proposal would include enhancing the Porthole Alley off Franklin Street-making it a gateway into North Campus.

A new visitor's center is already underway.

The university says the plans for this area are still in the early stages and will involve working with town leaders and tenants already housed in these buildings.

Residents can offer input about the plan here.
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