Franklin Street’s CVS building has a new, modern exterior

From The Daily Tar Heel By Ismail Conze The scaffolding on the front of 137 E. Franklin St., which contains CVS, has finally come down and a shiny new exterior for the building has taken its place. The renovations have focused mainly on modernizing the design of the building as well as updating appliances to make the property conform to current energy standards. The 137 E. Franklin St. property is currently owned by Zapolski Real Estate, LLC. Chapel Hill Zoning Enforcement Officer Mike Klein believes the renovations are currently wrapping up and are expected to end before Zapolski Real Estate’s construction permit expires. “Permits usually have an expiration date of about a year,” Klein said. “Their permits were issued late spring or early summer of 2016 so they appear to be on track with everything.” Klein said the main entrance to the building will probably not get renovated until the scaffolding is completely down. Todd Zapolski, managing member of Zapolski Real Estate, said the construction is mostly finished. “We’re just waiting on the lights — we have LED lights,” Zapolski said. “It’s going to be really cool at night, and we’re trying to schedule the manufacturer to come and program them. It’s probably going to be a couple weeks.” Although there were a few setbacks due to delays in materials arriving, Zapolski said the lights will be the last addition before the project is complete. Meg McGurk, executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said she feels the renovations are positive and a sign of growth. McGurk said Zapolski Real Estate replaced the elevators and renovated the interior...

A Waking Giant or a Monster? Developers Eye Once-Sleepy Napa

From The New York Times By Kathy Chin Leong In the 1980s, when John Truchard was a teenager, the most happening watering hole in downtown Napa was the McDonald’s on Jefferson Street. “It was a ghost town,” said Mr. Truchard, the owner of a wine room, JaM Cellars. “There were no good restaurants, nothing good to do.” Napa, with a population of about 80,000, is Napa Valley’s largest city and the county seat. Until recently, even as Napa Valley became an international wine destination, tourists tended to bypass the city in favor of venturing “up valley” for wine tasting, luxury lodging and upscale restaurants. Places like St. Helena, Yountville and Calistoga attracted tourists while Napa, an hour north of San Francisco, tended to be a pit stop for gas. It didn’t help that there was also flooding in the downtown streets after torrential rains. Downtown Napa now has 65 restaurants and 24 wine tasting cellars, said Craig Smith, the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association. Two decades ago, downtown had one tasting room and approximately 30 restaurants — mainly serving breakfast and lunch, because there was no reason to open for dinner, he said. Aiding the growth has been a river bypass flood project, completed in 2015, that diverted waters away from downtown. To further counter its image as a sleepy county seat, downtown Napa is getting a makeover. Three major new building projects are set to be completed this year. One of them, First Street Napa, is a 275,000-square-foot development that will cost $200 million. It will cover three square blocks and include more than 40 spaces...

Major renovations underway for 1970s-era Franklin Street icon

From Triangle Business Journal by Amanda Hoyle Driving down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, it’s hard to miss the construction work underway at one of Chapel Hill’s tallest buildings: the iconic retail and office building at 137 E. Franklin St., which is best known for its street-level CVS drug store. A complete exterior renovation of the building is underway, confirms Todd Zapolski of Zapolski Real Estate in Durham who is a part owner in the building. He says the exterior work should be complete by late November or early December. Renovation of the building’s lobby, elevator cabs and the lower level of the building on the Rosemary Street side is already complete, and renovation work is underway on two of the upper level vacant floors. Much of the upper floor office space is currently occupied by administrative and research offices for UNCChapel Hill, but many of those employees will be moving into new spaces at the Carolina Square mixed-use project that’s slated to open in 2017, also on Franklin Street. As those spaces are vacated, Zapolski says they’ll be working to renovate them, too. “It’s a very stable property,” he says. “It’s had some challenges with design, but it’s one of the only buildings with unique access to both Franklin Street and Rosemary Street. It can be a critical spine in downtown.” Zapolski estimates the building’s ownership has already invested close to $2 million in its renovations. Zapolski and Manhattan-based Atco Properties and Management purchased the building, which is actually two buildings joined together, along with the parking garage in 2014 for $26.2 million. It was the first time...