In the two years I've covered the Chapel Hill Town Council, East 54 has routinely come up as an example of what to avoid, and what can be learned from, according to several members of the council.
We recently gave developer Roger Perry a chance to respond to the critics. We asked him about the mistakes he's made (or that others say he's made) and what he's planning for his latest development, Obey Creek.
Perry says his East 54 condos are 80 percent sold, his office space 90 percent leased and his retail, once new tenants come on board, also nearly 80 percent leased. Look for two stories Wednesday in The Chapel Hill News, but for now, an excerpt:
The numbers show the town’s mixed-use development strategy is working, said Perry, the president of East West Partners. It’s the same strategy he’s pursuing with Obey Creek, an even bigger project proposed for U.S. 15-501 in southern Chapel Hill.
“To make a broad statement that something doesn’t work because it has struggled in the worst economic situation we’re seen in 80 years is a knee-jerk reaction,” Perry said.
“If you accept the inevitability of growth then how do you accommodate that?” he continued. “You can argue around the edges what the right mix (of development uses) is.”