Downtown Chapel Hill Development Continues To Take Shape on Franklin Street

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Longfellow’s major Franklin St. development takes shape in Chapel Hill
By: Kayli Thompson / Triangle Business Journal

New details about a large facility for lab and office space in downtown Chapel Hill are being revealed.

Longfellow Real Estate Partners will construct a 320,000-square-foot building with ground-floor retail and a standalone parking deck at 306 W. Franklin St.

Longfellow announced a development plan in November, but at the time there were few specifics as the company was early in the process. The company is not ready to share the cost of the project as it’s still in the entitlement and planning process, but Managing Director Greg Capps said they estimate delivery in early 2026.

Life sciences development is part of the reimagining of downtown Chapel Hill where multiple large projects in the works will alter the feel of the college community.

Currently, the Longfellow plans show a 9-story building with a public courtyard and a through-block pedestrian pathway connecting Rosemary and Franklin streets. The parking deck will have 320 spaces, but Capps said the company wants to have as small a parking structure on the site as possible to make more room for public green space.

The interior of the Class-A building will be similar to other new lab buildings that Longfellow has built recently – with a focus on a creating an amenity-rich environment.

Capps said the company is being careful with plans for the exterior of the building as it doesn’t want to disrupt the look and feel of downtown Chapel Hill. The company wants to bring a new and exciting project without it being drastically different from what people are used to seeing in the college town.

The property is 1.84 acres and owned by Longfellow. The current building links Franklin and Rosemary streets and includes multiple retail and food concepts. Capps said the company wants to build relationships with the current tenants, including discussing opportunities for them to stay on in the new building.

Courtesy of Triangle Business Journal: