Friends of the Downtown: 2019 Programs

December 5, 2019 – Gordon Merklein, the vice chancellor for planning, gave a presentation on the most current University Plan with a focus on Franklin Street and Porthole Alley. December’s meeting was held at Launch on West Franklin Street.

October 31, 2019 – Chapel Hill’s own leader of costume design, color and style, Alexander Julian was speaker. Winner of the prestigious Coty Award before the age of 30 followed by four additional Coty Awards, he has also been a part of the Franklin Street landmark store, Julian’s, which his father started in 1942.

September 26, 2019 – Friends of the Downtown hosts the Annual Candidates Forum  with the Town Council and Mayoral challengers: Susan Hunter, Tai Huynh, Amy Ryan, Renuka Soll, Nancy Oates, Jessica Anderson, Michael Parker, Joshua Levenson, and Mayor Pam Hemminger.  Moderated by Gregg Gerdau, this event was held at The Franklin Hotel.

August 29, 2019 – August the Friends met at local restaurant, and UNC fan-favorite, Breadmans, to hear  Rick Steinbacher speak about current and upcoming UNC facilities projects, as well as the leadership in the athletics department.

There was no Friends of the Downtown Meeting July 2019.

June 27, 2019 – This June, The Friends of the Downtown met at Pho Happiness to support downtown restaurants. Andy Chuan shared his story of the beginning of his new Vietnamese restaurant. 

May 28, 2019 – May’s meeting introduced the new director of the University Visitor’s Center, Rhonda Hubbard Beatty. She will share her thoughts about the future of the center as we welcome her to the Friends of the Downtown program. This program was held at The Franklin Hotel.

April 25, 2019 – Following last month’s presentation from Lilyn Hester, the Southeast director of Google, we will be hosting Mike Reed, who will be telling us about the new Google office on West Franklin Street. This program was held at The Franklin Hotel.

March 28, 2019 – Lilyn Hester, the head of public affairs for Google in the Southeast region, gave an overview of Google’s new presence in the Southeast and Downtown Chapel Hill. Prior to Lilyn’s introduction, we presented the Downtown news and “Comings and Goings” featuring Chapel Hill’s newest attractions. This month’s gathering of the Friends took place at The Franklin Hotel.

February 28, 2019 – Matt Gladdek, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership’s new Executive Director, returns to present the results of the IDA Advisory Services Panel and discuss the path forward the organization is taking. In August 2018, the Downtown Partnership hired the International Downtown Association to come to town, interview stakeholders, and evaluate the organization. The IDA Advisory Services Panel took the feedback they received and made recommendations for the Downtown Partnership board to implement and utilize while conducting its executive director search. This month’s gathering of the Friends took place at The Pit on Franklin Street.

January 31, 2019 – We welcomed Matt Gladdek, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership’s new Executive Director who recently directed policy and planning for Downtown Durham, led the review of the Downtown Durham Master Plan. Matt earned his Master’s in City & Regional Planning and Master’s in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.  Our second speaker was Blair Pollock, Solid Waste Planner from the Orange County Solid Waste Department. He shared news from the county and the Town of Chapel Hill about the innovative programs being launched this year for Orange County. This month’s gathering of the Friends took place at The Franklin Hotel.