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Board approves Roberson Square

Roberson Square viewed from Carr Street. Rendering courtesy of David Ripperton.

By Kirk Ross
Staff Writer

After a long negotiation over parking, a five-story condominium, office and retail project on South Greensboro street won approval Tuesday night from the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.

Construction could begin as early as this summer for the 91,575-square-foot Roberson Square project on the site of the old Andrews-Riggsbee hardware store.

The parking issue had been a main hitch in the plans. Efforts by developer Darcon of NC, represented by architect David Ripperton, to reduce the number of spaces were met with strong opposition from downtown businesses and nearby residents.

In the end, Ripperton and the town agreed on a plan that would prohibit the building from housing a restaurant. Having a restaurant would have required Roberson Square to provide 104 parking spaces. Instead, the building will be configured with three floors of condos — a total of 18 units — and two floors of office and retail space.

Under the town’s affordable housing rules, three of the condos will be sold in conjunction with the Orange County Land Trust.

The majority of parking will be underground in a 65-space garage, but the board Tuesday agreed to count an additional seven on-street parking spaces along Carr Street toward the parking goal.

Eliminating the restaurant reduced the number of parking spaces required from 104 to 76 and Ripperton asked that the board again consider eight spaces being built along Roberson Street in the parking-space total. That, the underground garage and the seven new spaces on Carr Street should suffice to meet the goal, he argued. The board had been reluctant in the past to do so since those spaces are already part of the downtown-parking inventory, but agreed to certify the project as meeting the parking goal, clearing the way for final approval.
Ripperton said Wednesday that it will take some time to complete the final construction drawings, but that construction could start in the summer and the project could be well under way by late in the year.

He told the board Tuesday night that the building’s design, which includes a number of stepbacks, archways, an interior courtyard and other features will be a challenge to construct.

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