The Courtyard of Chapel Hill

431 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC

The Courtyard of Chapel Hill

The project is a combination of Retail, Restaurant, Office, and Apartment spaces.  The plan consists of several buildings, constructed and modified over the years, grouped in a village-like layout with an alley and courtyard designed with a European motif.



Client: The Dilweg Companies


431 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC

Project Start / End Dates:

Work began in February 2011 and continues with upfit modifications/renovations. Olive currently is working on the 3rd Studio expansion for Franklin Street Yoga Center in the complex.

Project Size

Building A: One story, wood-framed 5,515 Sq. Ft. building. Addition: Completed by Olive/Centrepoint in 2010 for the previous Owner.  Small restaurant designed for Baba Ghannouj with a terrace/rooftop seating for occupancy of 49 above the 796 Sq. Ft. restaurant.

Building B:  Two story, wood-framed 4,345 Sq. Ft. total building area with retail on the ground floor and office above. Olive renovated the shell and upgraded the retail spaces. Olive also designed Yoga Studio upfit on remainder of the 2nd floor.

Retail:  #210  651 – 1,184 Sq. Ft. with 2nd floor by Olive (Sophie & Mollies Fashion store).

  • #213   570 sq. ft. – retail space
  • #216   655 sq. ft. – retail space

Buildings C & D: Were demolished in 2011 to create space for the new Building G. (Both buildings were in poor condition originating from the 40s and 50s.)

Building E: 11,753 Sq. Ft. total building area with 2nd and 3rd floors Apartments consisting of:   Per floor: (1)-1 bdrm; (1)-2 bdrm; (2)-3 bdrm. with 18 total beds.    Olive renovated the former office spaces to apartments in 2013.

Retail:  1,652 Sq. Ft. Vimala’s Curryblossom Café.

Yoga Studio:  2,037 Sq. Ft.  Upfit by Olive in 2013.

Building F:  Small, one-story single tenant 1,171 Sq. Ft. retail space.

Building G:  14,866 Sq. Ft. new construction Mixed Use/Apartment building by Olive. The 4- story building includes 3 levels of units, 4 per floor (Per floor: (1)-2 bdrm; (2)-3 bdrm; (1)-4 bdrm) with 24 total beds and two ground floor retail spaces.

  • #310    645 Sq. Ft. – Chapel Hill Barber Shop, upfit by Olive in 2014.
  • #315 1,885 Sq. Ft. – Franklin Street Yoga Studio expansion currently in design.

Architecture Team & Design Plan Process


When Olive began work with Dilweg, the distressed property was recently acquired from a bank.  Dilweg began with renovations and upgrades of all the buildings to make them more desirable for new tenants.  The second focus was to re-purpose upper levels for apartments/student housing.  Olive renovated the two levels of office space above the 2nd and 3rd floors of Building E creating 8 apartments. Since student housing is leased by beds, Olive optimized the spaces to provide as many options and bedrooms as possible.  The option of renovating the 2nd floor of Building B to two units; and, Buildings C and D was investigated; however, the cost/benefit of the Building B conversion was too expensive and therefore remained a Retail/Office space.  Buildings C and D were demolished and replaced with a new building, providing both apartments and retail use.

Design Considerations:

The site and existing conditions presented strict limitations to maximum density and occupancy options.  This resulted in a complex collaboration with the Town of Chapel Hill that required over a year to work through the approval process.  A prime consideration was to create a unique environment with desirable spaces that offered convenient access to retail, dining and lifestyle amenities since the property is not immediately contiguous to the University of Chapel Hill campus or downtown Chapel Hill.  Maximizing the owner/developer’s investment and business interests was also a prime consideration.

Key Results: 

The property is a self-contained, mixed use complex with buildings arranged in a village-type setting that accommodates both day users and residents.  There is an appealing feel to the entrances, courtyard and retail spaces.  Successful restaurants add to the vibrancy and activity of the area.  The 20 apartments (32 bedrooms) provide a 24/7 active environment that complements the European village-like layout and motif. The upgrades and additions have given the complex new life and relevancy adding many more years of investment success.

User details: 

  1. Mixed use complex combined a mix of materials.
  2. Several buildings are wood framed.
  3. One building is steel framed.
  4. New Building G used masonry with precast concrete and exposed steel.
  5. Exterior is primarily brick blended with some stucco and wood siding.


Architecture & Design, Interior Design, Project Management, Budgeting, and Site Survey/Assessment.

Olive Architect has been the lead designer/planner, architect, and overall strategic advisor throughout the renovation and reimaging of the Courtyard of Chapel Hill property.  Olive coordinated all planning and permitting efforts with the Town of Chapel Hill.  Olive provided A/E services for the new Building G along with all the various upfits. Also, Olive Design Build renovated the 2nd and 3rd floors of apartment Building E creating 8 apartments with a total of 18 bedrooms.