|Volume 4, Issue 11||
The Real Estate Report
Local Government News Impacting the Real Estate Industry
Chapel Hill Projects to Increase Retail by 13%
Three new downtown real estate projects, Greenbridge, 140 West Franklin, and University Square, will increase retail space in the downtown by 13 percent. Currently, downtown has about one million square feet of retail space. After construction is finished on the projects, another 126,000 to 136,000 square feet will be added. Town leaders and downtown business owners hope the addition of new retail brings in new shoppers from Durham and Raleigh. The developers of the three projects have not announced what new businesses will open in the retail space to date. For the full story from The Daily Tar Heel, click here. 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. Town Council Approves Larger Kidzu
Kidzu Children’s Museum will be expanding at a new location—on top of the Wallace Parking Deck in downtown Chapel Hill. The move will have a major impact on the museum’s exhibit space adding 9,000 more square feet. The Chapel Hill Town Council’s approval to grant Kidzu a 99-year lease for $99 for the use of the property made the expansion possible. Many believe the growth of the Children’s Museum will help increase foot traffic on Franklin Street and give Chapel Hill a necessary youthful energy. For the full story from The News & Observer, click here. Goddard School Wins Approval
The Goddard School, a daycare facility that is part of the Winmore development in Carrboro, won approval on November 17 from the Board of Aldermen. There were several minor changes needed in order to approve the school, which had been delayed the past few months. Changes included the slant of the roof and parking spaces; the developer worked with the planning board to make the improvements and received unanimous approval from the Aldermen. For the full story from WCHL 1360AM, click here.
SchoolsChapel Hill- Carrboro City School Board Results
(Vote for 3)
From NC State Board of Elections
Chapel Hill Mayor’s Race (Vote for 1)
Chapel Hill Council Race (Vote for 4)
Carrboro Mayor’s Race (Vote for 1)
Carrboro Alderman Race (Vote for 3)
From the NC State Board of Elections
Political Mailings Claimed by Cam Hill
Former Chapel Hill town councilman Cam Hill admitted hat he sent out a mailer during the mayoral elections with negative comments about Matt Czajkowski and encouraging voters to support Mark Kleinschmidt, but claims he has good reason for not initially identifying himself. Hill says he did not want it to look like he was bitter toward Czajkowski for beating him out in a council election two years ago. Mailings of these kind are considered part of campaign expenses and a public record, but Mayor-elect Mark Kleinschmidt denies any knowledge of its creation and distribution. For the full story from The News & Observer, click here.
Council Weighs Strom Appointment
Commissioners Discuss Economic Development
From the Carrboro Citizen
Irish Pub to Open on Franklin Street
Kildare’s Irish Pub is planning to open one of its pubs on Franklin Street on December 10, moving into the space left behind by Buffalo Wild Wings. Kildare’s pubs are decorated with Irish relics and styled after a combination of five different pubs such as the Cottage pub, Victorian pub and Shop pub. The pub will offer two different bars, one in front and one in back, with 50 beers on tap. For the full story from The Herald Sun, click here.
Bookstore Set to Open near Foster’s
This month, a new independent bookstore will open in Chapel Hill next to the Foster’s Market on Martin Luther King Blvd. The store, called Flyleaf Books, is being opened by three former employees of McIntyre Books in Fearrington Village and will open in the former Ladies Fitness location. The store will have about 5,000 square feet of space and feature new and used books, children’s literature and book-related events such as author readings, book club meetings and open mic nights. For the full story from the Chapel Hill News, click here. Orange County Homes Sales See Major Rise
After terrible sales in October of last year, Orange County saw significant increases in residential sales this year. Ninety-one homes sold in October this year compared to 62 homes the year before–that’s a 47 percent increase. In terms of total dollar volume of homes sold, October of 2009 posted a $28.3 million figure, up 43 percent from the year prior. The gains in Orange County were by far the largest; Durham County was second with a 28 percent increase in number of homes sold. “We’ve hit the floor, and at least we know how low we can go – hopefully — and operate our business off of that,” Stacey Anfindsen, real estate analyst, says. For the full story from the Triangle Business Journal, click here.
New Shops and Renovations Coming to UMall
Pittsboro Extends Moratorium Another 2 Years
Pittsboro has again extended its development moratorium for two years due to the town’s sewer capabilities, according to Town Manager Bill Terry.The wastewater treatment plant has a state-approved pump that is designed to handle 750,000 gallons of sewage, while officials argue the plant can really only handle about 370,000 gallons. Even with the moratorium in place, Chatham County’s population continues to grow, increasing roughly by 27 percent since 2000, similar to much of the Triangle. For the full story from The News & Observer, click here.
Durham Crime Statistics Released
After serving as Durham Public School Superintendent since July 2006, Carl E. Harris has accepted a position within the U.S. Department of Education that will begin at the start of 2010. Dr. Harris has served North Carolina school systems since 1999, having also worked in Franklin County Schools for five years prior to his move to Durham. During his time with DPS, Dr. Harris has opened six new schools, decreased the dropout rate and increased participation in Advanced Placement courses, among other achievements. Dr. Harris will be taking the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education for Policy and Strategic Initiatives within the federal department. For the full story from The News & Observer, click here.
Hurd Fills Durham Superintendent Spot
Hank Hurd will serve as Durham County’s interim superintendent starting January 1, replacing outgoing Carl Harris, and ending his term with the new superintendent appointment in the summer of 2010. Hurd, 56, has worked with Durham Public Schools for seven years as COO and served in the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and at Harnett County Schools. With Harris abruptly taking a position in the U.S. Department of Education, Hurd was appointed with the intention of having as “little disruption” as possible. State and national associations will aid school board members with next year’s appointment. For the full story from The News & Observer, click here.
Durham County Faces Gloomy Financial Future
Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin predicts the only way out of falling revenues and increasing deficits for the coming fiscal year is a property-tax increase of roughly 4 cents. Ruffin estimates the county will face a $4.37 million increase in debt service costs for 2010-2011 and a drop in revenue from the current year by $9.8 million. Unwelcomed by county commissioners, Ruffin proposed increasing the 70.81-cent tax per $100 property valuation to a 75.53-cent cap. For the full story from The News & Observer, click here.
Durham City Manager Says no to Tax Hike
In spite of Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin’s estimated tax hike for the coming fiscal year, City Manager Tom Bonfield has announced he does not believe there will be a need for city property tax hikes this year. Bonfield explained the city has not started their budgeting process for 2010-2011 and will not until the fiscal year’s first quarter report comes out later this month. Bonfield also hopes to introduce a 3-year budgeting process and have it completed by the end of 2009. For the full story from The News & Observer, click here.
Raleigh Examining Annexing Three Neighborhoods
The Triangle housing market is showing some improvements and many think it’s because of the first-time homebuyer tax credit. The median prices for homes sold in Durham and Orange Counties increased by 2.3 and 4.4 percent respectively from last year this time. However, Wake County saw a decline in homes sold (11.1 percent) and median price (8.5 percent). Orange County sold 8.8 percent more homes in the third quarter and Durham County saw a major spike in homes priced $120,000 to $180,000. Carl Van Horn, a senior analyst for MORE, said the improvements in the sale of residential lots may be the most promising sign, “Builders can purchase the lots and build a home that is competitive against the resale market now. That is going to be key for the new homes market.” For the full story from The Herald Sun, click here.
State and Nation
The nation’s gross domestic product has hit its highest growth rate since the third quarter in 2007 at 3.5 percent, leading economists to believe the Great Recession has ended. The actual month the recession ended won’t be known until the National Bureau of Economic Research released their data, which is generally several months after the fact. These numbers are definitely a good sign for commercial real estate and will increase the job growth rate, but without governmental programs such as “cash for clunkers” and tax rebates for first-time-homebuyers next year, experts say the economy’s newfound strength will be put to the test.
Report by Robert Bach of Grubb & Ellis