'There's a recent history if distrust) and I think it cuts both ways. I think the public is uncertain about what exactly is intendedfor Carolina North and what it would look like.' Ken Broun 38-year faculty member and chair of29-member Carolina North committee
ter plan) in 2003 calls for about 8. 3 million
square feet ofacademic and research space,
housing, retail, parks and other civic areas,
including upward of 20,000 parking spaces,
on 240 of the 963 acres - leaving the vast
majority undeveloped. Building height
would stop at three floors.
Development of the site would stretch
over possibly 50 to 75 years, and Carolina
and Chapel Hill and Carrboro have
knocked heads over the scale of the proj-
ect, and the impact on traffic, the
environment and the general quality oflife (the
first state university may have given life to
the town, but a detailed citizens committee
response to UNe's plans in 2004 starts off,
"Carolina North shall adhere to ...").
The University, nearing the limits of its
main campus growth space, is desperate for
room to expand; at the same time, it wants
to play a part in the broader future of Chapel
Hill - one of the first srructures planned for
the site is a cutting-edge school for young
children run by the Frank Porter Graham
Child Development Institute. Moeser
recently wrote that tile project "presents a
unique opportunity to provide housing for
people ofall income levels working at the
university," which speaks directly to the
concern that moderate-income people cannot
afford the town anymore.
UNC conU1ussioned an econon1ic
impact study that said Carolina North
would generate 7,500 jobs and nearly $50
n1illion in annual tax revenues by 2020.
Moeser told the new committee that the
new Caudill Laboratories chen1istry
building will be the last to have a face on Polk
Place. The message was clear: Construction
on the main canlpus will stop before UNC
compron1ises its most sacred historic space.
In response to some who have questioned
the need to develop the Williams tract, he
said research was scattered among inade-
quate facilities, at a heavy cost to efficiency;
that Carolina has to envision new ways to
engage with the private sector and must
have a place that invites that.
Broun said it's possible that what
emerges will be "very much like" the mix
of research incubators and other acaden1ic
entities, housing, retail, schools, and recre-
ation that the University has proposed. It's
also possible that, as Moeser told the com-
nuttee at its first meeting, the plans "could
be substantially changed."
The Ayers Saint Gross drawings show a
symmetrical campus ofvery acaden1ic-Iook-
ing buildings. Those pictures will change; for
instance, the original ASG schematic
includes the airport, and UNC now says the
airport's closing is a prerequisite.
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