|The Real Estate Report
Local Government News Impacting the Real Estate Industry
Chatham County Development Briefing
Tuesday, March 9 7:30-10am at Governors Club
The Greater Chapel Hill Association of REALTORS, Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Chatham Chambers of Commerce, and the HBA of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties will host the fourth annual Chatham County Development Briefing at Governors Club on March 9 from 7:30-10am. This year’s event will focus on the status of residential and commercial projects as well as new and proposed policy changes affecting future development. Registration is $25 for Association members and includes a full breakfast and event materials. Click here or call Laura Morrison at 919-357-9989 to register. Sponsors include: AICPA, UNC Health Care, Duke Health Care, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC, Duke Energy, Performance AutoMall, 140 West Franklin, AT&T, Carolina Inn, Governors Club, The Siena Hotel, SunTrust, Greater Chapel Hill Association of REALTORS, Carolina Meadows, and Bagwell Holt Smith Jones Crowson, P.A.
New Development Carrboro Loses Harris Teeter Case
In late December, the state Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 ruling in favor of Northwest Property Group in its case against the Town of Carrboro regarding a proposed Harris Teeter shopping center on Barnes Street. The Court ruled that the Town did not present sufficient facts to back up its case that access to Barnes Street would be limited to just emergency vehicles. The Town’s decision to limit access essentially killed the project and caused Northwest to file suit against the Town. Town officials have declined to comment and are expected to discuss next steps in the case in the next few weeks. Carrboro could choose to appeal the decision to the North Carolina Supreme Court. For the full story from the Carrboro Citizen, click here.
Track Development Online
Library Expansion Could Raise Taxes
Walgreen’s Project Prompts Intersection Questions
Duke Health Care Expands to Chapel Hill 40
Saint Thomas More Nearing Completion
CHCCS Maintain Highest SAT Scores
Solar Company Opens in Orange County
An Asheville-based solar energy company recently announced Hillsborough as the location of its first office outside of western North Carolina. FLS Energy provides renewable energy planning, design, and installation services ranging from home solar hot water heaters to utility-scale solar farms. Chris Wacholz is leading the Hillsborough office, which opened in December in Hillsborough’s Summit Business Campus. One of FLS’ current projects includes a large 1.2 megawatt solar array at the SAS campus in Cary.
From Orange County EDC IFC Shelter Proposed for Homestead Road
The Inter Faith Council is proposing a new homeless shelter near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and Homestead Rd. The new shelter would mean the current one, located at Rosemary and Columbia, would be vacated. Some neighbors near the proposed location have put together an analysis showing that shelter was the site of the second largest number of arrests in the past six years–University Square was first. The data show where the arrest took place, not where the crime occurred. IFC’s executive director Chris Moran put out a separate analysis showing only 20 criminal charges filed against clients staying at the shelter at the time; most of the charges were for misdemeanor property or drug crimes. IFC’s residential service director Laurie Tucker says IFC takes safety seriously and would make it a top priority at the new location. The IFC’s soup kitchen, currently at the Rosemary location would likely move to its Carrboro building if the new shelter gains approval. For the full story from the Chapel Hill News, click here.
Council Supports SUP Process for Shelter
On January 11, the Chapel Hill Town Council voted to put all future homeless shelter projects through the Special Use Permitting process. Prior to the vote, six sites were designated in Chapel Hill for homeless shelters and so long as the shelter was less than 25 beds, many of the sites were considered “use-by-right” and would not require approval from the Town Council.The vote is timely as the Inter Faith Council is proposing to relocate its current shelter on Rosemary Street to a new location off of Homestead Road (see above story). IFC wants to expand the new facility to 52 beds, which virtually guaranteed it would be required to go through the SUP process regardless of the Council’s vote. For the full story from the Chapel Hill News, click here.
Town Studying Office Space
Economic development officer, Dwight Bassett, is working with consultant Ernie Bleinberger of Strategy 5 to analyze the office market of Chapel Hill. Bassett says there is currently 1.5 to 2 million square feet of space in the Chapel Hill market with more than 500,000 square feet approved but not yet built. The town is planning to use the analysis to create a database of existing space, assess trends, and look for ways to grow the amount of space in town. One of the major issues Bassett believes needs to be addressed is the cost of office space in town. For the full story from 1360AM WCHL, click here.
Bell Appointed to Council The Chapel Hill Town Council appointed Donna Bell as its ninth member in late December. Bell, an African American residing in the Northside neighborhood, received six votes from siting council members. Gene Pease and Matt Czajkowski both voted for Matt Pohlman, the fifth place finisher from the election who garnered 3,300 votes. Those voting for Bell said they could not represent the African-American community of Chapel Hill as an African-American could. Bell says she will run for election in two years when her term is up. For the full story from the Chapel Hill News, click here. Barry Jacobs Announces Re-election Bid Orange County Commissioner and democrat Barry Jacobs announced he will run for re-election and seek an “at-large” seat on the Commission. In 2006, the Commission expanded from five to seven seats and created two districts, one representing Chapel Hill and Carrboro and the other representing the remainder of the County. Candidates can now run for office based on their district of residence or opt to run as an “at-large” candidate. Unlike municipal elections, the County will hold a primary in May allowing candidates from each political party to square off. Winners will be placed on the November ballot. In total, three seats are up for consideration. Already, current Vice-Chair Mike Nelson has stated he will not run for re-election. For the full story from 1360AM WCHL, click here.
State and Nation
Concerns Mount Over Housing Double-Dip
Some analysts are fearing that once government aid to the US housing market is pulled this spring, the market might not stand on its own. New figures show that the number of people preparing to buy a home dropped sharply in November as did new home sales. In October, many buyers rushed to finalize contracts in order to take advantage of the federal tax credits. Since then, the credits have been expanded into the spring and it seems prospective buyers are taking their time. The National Association of REALTORS reported that its seasonally adjusted index of sales contracts fell 16 percent from October to November, ending nine months of gains. For the full story from the Herald Sun, click here.
Holiday Retail Sales Surprising
After a slow start to the holiday season, retailers reported modest gains compared to last year’s sales in December. Thomson Reuters reports that retailers saw a 2.9 percent year-over-year sales increase at stores open more than one year. About 75 percent of retailers beat analysts’ estimates during the holidays. Experts say the sales were strengthened by a last minute surge as shoppers hoping for deep discounts never saw them and were forced to pay near full price for items. Many believe the cause of this was better management of inventories by retailers who didn’t over-order products and were able to sell most of their merchandise at full price. Shoes, toys, and electronics were the best sellers from the holiday season and high-end retailers reported very robust growth. For the full story from the New York Times, click here.