A library, town offices, and a new location for the nonprofit ArtsCenter may soon fill a parking lot at the corner of Greensboro and Roberson streets in Carrboro.
If the complex is built, it will be the town government’s second new construction project in a hundred years, Mayor Lydia Lavelle said following a public hearing on the concept Tuesday night.
Plans for 203 South Greensboro Street are, at this point, just that: a concept. Jim Spencer Architects is modeling what can fit on the 0.89-acre site, including the possibility of a parking deck; in addition, the ArtsCenter is figuring what it can afford, and the town is seeking public input.
Work began in 2015, when Orange County expressed an interest in using the site for a new library branch. While exploring that option, the town also looked at its own facility needs and floated the idea of adding town offices, including the Recreation and Parks Department, as well as the ArtsCenter. Executive director Daniel Mayer said during the hearing that the ArtsCenter’s current building, constructed in the 1960s, is “crumbling,” with an aging HVAC system and leaky roof.
Jim Spencer presented plans Tuesday
that included a fifty-five-thousand-square-foot building to house the library and offices and a four-level parking deck—adding up to an $18.45 million project. Other uses being considered include a seed library, teen center, or Virtual Justice Center for remote legal education.
Jim Spencer Architects
203 South Greensboro Street
It will likely be late 2019 before the project is complete. Lavelle said the town plans to seek an architect in the fall, with a goal of breaking ground in the fall of 2018. Construction would take up to one and a half years.
Some residents who spoke during the hearing had aesthetic and traffic concerns about the parking deck. Board members also had reservations about using so much of the space and nearly a quarter of the budget for something that doesn’t really align with Carrboro’s environmentally conscious values. Commissioners Bethany Chaney and Damon Seils both called that part of Tuesday’s presentation “sobering.” The alternative would be buying or leasing lend elsewhere for parking.
“We could get more businesses in that building, we could get more people in that building, we could get housing in that building if we didn’t have to pay for parking,” Chaney said.