|Volume 4, Issue 10||
The Real Estate Report
Local Government News Impacting the Real Estate Industry
Track Development in Chapel Hill
The Town of Chapel Hill has created a new Web site that allows the public to review current development activity online. The new web pages are the result of a collaborative effort among Town staff members, including planning, economic development, public works, engineering and information technology. Next steps for the group include providing recommendations and implementing improvements to the development review process. A development activity interactive map will also be coming soon. Click here to view the development Web page. University Square Begins Public Outreach
Gordon Merklein, a top UNC real estate leader, and other members of the newly assembled University Square project team held an outreach meeting on Thursday, October 15. The purpose of the meeting was to hear from the public about what would be useful in the redeveloped property. Participants said a grocery store, civic space, parking deck, and inexpensive office space were among the most needed. Lead architect David Manfredi said the development team would balance meeting the needs of local residents in the redevelopment while also creating a space that draws visitors from out of town. The University Foundation, owner of the property, hopes to submit a concept plan to the Town Council in the Spring of 2010.
From Staff Notes
UNC Receives Early Approval for Hillsborough Hospital
UNC Hospitals received approval from the state for work on a new 68-bed hospital that would be located in Hillsborough and cost about $227 million. UNC Healthcare held a meeting to vote on the purchase of 83 acres of land just north of Interstate 40 at N.C. 86 recently from the Stratford Group. Construction of the hospital would not be complete until 2014 and approval still needs to come from the Town of Hillsborough. For the full story from the Triangle Business Journal, click here.
Winmore Facility Delayed Again
Representatives of the Goddard School asked the Carrboro Board of Aldermen to delay their public hearing on Tuesday, October 6. The Goddard School is a childcare facility to be constructed at the Winmore development in Carrboro. Approval of minor modifications to the conditional use permit was delayed after a September 24 raised more questions than answers about the project. Goddard School representatives asked for more time in order to meet with the Carrboro Planning Board and resolve some of the issues. The public hearing will now take place on November 17. For the full story from the Carrboro Citizen, click here.East 54 Project to Open Soon
The East 54 project off of NC-54 near Finley Golf Course is scheduled to open within a month. Twenty condominium units have been sold and another 51 units that have a 10 percent deposit on them. The project also includes a retail and office component which will welcome Kerr Drug, Deluxe Cleaners, Citrine Salon, and a Charles Schwab. Another 11 businesses could also open by the end of this year, including Neo Nails and Chickadees Children’s Store. The second phase of the project will be completed in June of 2010. For the full story from the Daily Tar Heel, click here.
Phase I Begins for U-Mall
University Mall will begin Phase I of its multi-phase redevelopment this fall and will be shaped based on suggestions and comments collected from the mall’s Facebook page and focus group discussions. The mall’s new design will incorporate a wider variety of brands and merchandise to entice more Chapel Hill and Triangle residents to shop. Phase I will include the refurbishment of the mall’s interior such as changing the floors, lights, millwork and furnishings.
From Chapel Hill Economic Development Office
IFC Shelter Submits Concept Plan
District Leaders Forgo Bonuses
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Neil Pedersen, along with other administrators, will not receive a bonus this year event though their contract may specify it. Superintendent Pedersen will forgo about $12,000 in bonus money as he felt it was not right for him to receive a bonus when teachers had not received a pay increase or bonus for their work. For full coverage from 1360 WCHL, click here.
Chapel Hill Awarded Stimulus Money
To date, the Town of Chapel Hill has been awarded $9.4 million in Federal Stimulus money for a variety of projects throughout town. The money is being used to fund improvements to street conditions with traffic calming devices, pedestrian islands and in-street pedestrian lighting as well as eight new buses. Renovations will also take place on 15 public housing neighborhoods in town. The stimulus money comes with a variety of requirements including that the Town hire a certain number of minority contractors. If those conditions cannot be met, the Town will forfeit the money back to the Federal government. For the full story from the Daily Tar Heel, click here.
Wolff Sends Mixed Signals
Kevin Wolff, candidate for Chapel Hill mayor, announced in mid-October at a WCHL forum that he was dropping out of the race. Wolff cited that he and fellow candidate Matt Czajkowski were fighting over similar voters and not likely to help each other. However, last Thursday, Wolff’s wife Mary, submitted a letter to Chapel Hill voters urging them to vote for Wolff. Wolff, while declaring he is not running for office, has not submitted the necessary paperwork to remove his name from the ballot. The deadline has passed for him to submit the paperwork, though he could write a letter to the Orange County Board of Elections stating he has withdrawn from the race in which case votes for him would not be counted. For the full story from the Herald-Sun, click here.
Czajkowski Leads in Campaign Funds
Chapel Hill mayoral candidate Matt Czajkowski has collected and spent more campaign funds than any three of his components combined, with almost $17,400 in donations and more than $9,300 in expenses. Current Councilman and mayoral candidate Mark Kleinschmidt, under the “voter-owned” program, has $15,000 to spend campaigning unless another candidate spends more than $21,000, in which case he will be allotted $4,000 more. Challenger Kevin Wolfe has raised about $200 and loaned himself around $10,000. Fellow challenger Augustus Cho also has raised about $200 and loaned himself $3,000. For the full story from Chapel Hill News, click here.
Chamber Hosts Candidate Forums, Releases Voter GuideCreative Class Working Group Forming
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber co-hosted election forums for Carrboro and Chapel Hill candidates on October 7 and 8. Candidates were asked questions ranging from how he or she would play a leadership role in recruiting new businesses to the community to what should occur with the waste transfer station. WCHL, The Daily Tar Heel, and EmPOWERment, Inc partnered with the Chamber to produce the forum. Click here to view the Chamber’s comprehensive Web site, including commentary about each candidate.
Chapel Hill Economic Development Officer Dwight Bassett is forming a creative class working group. This group would be charged with looking into ways to retain and grow this socio-economic group. Many cities around the country have formed similar groups to move agendas forward with initiatives to retain and grow this population. If you have interest in serving on this group email firstname.lastname@example.org with Creative Class in the subject line.
Architect Selected for University Square
The UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation Real Estate Holdings and Cousins Properties have chosen an architect for the redevelopment of University Square. Cousins and UNC chose Elkus Manfredi Architects, a firm from Boston, to design the project. Manfredi has designed projects for similar campus settings, such as Ohio State, and will work on designs for the project into the spring of 2010. Construction most likely will not begin for another three years. For the full story from The News and Observer,
click here.Twelve Apply for Bill Strom’s Seat
There is a major schism in the Council over when to fill the seat. Councilman Matt Czajkowski is in favor of appointing the fifth place finisher from the election and the Council has received a petition requesting such action. But Mayor Kevin Foy strongly opposes such a move and believes the current Council should select the replacement. In any case, the Council is scheduled to discuss this issue on November 9 and appoint someone if he or she receives at least five votes. If that does not happen, applications will be considered at the Council meeting the following week. For the full story from the Daily Tar Heel, click here. To view the candidate applications, click here.
Varsity Theatre to Reopen
Orange County Hires Manager
Just a few miles from the proposed Buckhorn Village mall in Orange County, Tanger Factory Outlets recently purchased 52 acres along I-40 and plans to build 317,000 sq ft center. Construction on the mall is scheduled to finish in late 2010 and the mall will include familiar names such as Banana Republic, J. Crew, and Nike. Leaders estimate the project will cost about $60 million to build. For the full story from the Triangle Business Journal, click here.
New Infrastructure Planned for Apex
Apex, in the midst of a declining economy, continues with plans for a $300 million waste-water treatment facility that will cover 50 acres of land and will also serve Morrisville. Apex’s population is growing fast, from 5,000 residents in the mid-1990s to over 35,000 today, and its infrastructure is in a constant need of maintenance. The waste-water treatment facility has been in the works for seven years and is now 18 months behind schedule due to permitting. Through its three years of construction, the project will cost Apex about $70 million in funds. For the full story from the Triangle Business Journal, click here.
Durham County Approves $1.2m in Incentives
Durham County Commissioners approved a $1.2 million incentive to lure EMC Corporation’s new $280 million research center and 280 jobs. EMC develops information storage technology and is considering sites along the east coast. In addition to the County, the City of Durham also approved a $1 million incentive. The EMC jobs are expected to pay between $60,000 and $70,000. Approximately 20 percent of EMC’s current RTP employees live in Durham. For the full story from the News and Observer, click here.
Durham Council Candidates Debate
Chapel Hill and Durham City Council elections are continuing to heat up as November 3 approaches. Durham candidates sparred recently at a forum sponsored by The League of Women Voters of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties. The major topics discussed concerned Durham tax rates, decisions on spending, and crime and violence prevention. Steven Williams, Durham mayoral candidate, argued that Durham pays the highest taxes in the Triangle and yet receives the lowest in returns. Although he was not alone in criticizing city spending, his highest-Triangle-tax claim was not fully supported by figures from the N.C. Department of Revenue. Bill Bell, mayoral incumbent, explained that he thought his government had accomplished balancing the citizen’s priorities.
Donald Hughes, running against incumbent Cora Cola-McFadden for Ward I, sat alone on his claims that raising approved water-rates was detrimental for Durham. Matt Drew, for Ward II, discussed how the current crime prevention policies were counterproductive and criticized recent business-incentive deals made by the city. Allan Polak for Ward III, suggested a zero-tolerance policing strategy while Mike Woodard, incumbent for Ward III, explained that a social work and policing mix is what the city needs to curb crime. For the full story from The Herald Sun, click here. Durham Unemployment Stays Steady
Unemployment rate figures for September, released recently, show that while other areas of the Triangle saw declines in the number of unemployed, Durham’s figure remained the same as August. Durham’s unemployment rate for September was eight percent, the same as it was in August. Orange County, by comparison declined from 6.8 percent in August to 6.3 percent in September. For the full story from the Herald Sun, click here.
Southeast Raleigh Constructs Transit Center
The City of Raleigh will begin building a new transit operation center that will cost about $21 million in federal stimulus funds, and be located on a 23-acre plot off of Poole Road in Southeast Raleigh. Brasfield & Gorrie, based in Alabama, has been hired to oversee the project. Construction of the administrative building, maintenance facility and bus-washing station, comprising the operation center, should be completed by 2011. For the full story from The News and Observer, click here.
State and Nation
September Sales Figures Show Slight Gain
Data from the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs show September retail sales grew 0.1 percent from the previous month. The modest increase was the first gain in retail spending since August of 2008. Experts say consumers are mostly staying on the sidelines but that they are drawn to spend when there are major discounts and rebates such as the “Cash for Clunkers” program. “The data supports the view that the recovery is unfolding, but it is slow and uneven,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at the council. For the full story from the News and Observer, click here.In other retail news, the News and Observer reports uneven sales figures for a variety of retail stores across different sectors. To view sales figures for some national retail chains, click here.