|Volume 5, Issue 5
The Real Estate Report
Local Government News Impacting the Real Estate Industry
Friends of the Downtown to Spotlight Business Trends
Aaron Nelson, President and CEO, of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce will speak at the Friends of the Downtown meeting on Thursday, May 27 at 10am. The meeting will be held in the Great Room at Top of the Hill (enter through the door to the right of Walgreen’s).
Nelson will be speaking about economic trends and indicators for the Chapel Hill and Carrboro community. He’ll also highlight social and environmental trends. This is a great presentation to get a feel for the state of the community. There is no cost to attend.
Council Approves Development on Homestead Rd
The Chapel Hill Town Council approved the Bridgepoint project, located at the intersection of Homestead Rd and Weaver Dairy Extension. The project, located on 9.2 acres, calls for 27,400 square feet of commercial space and 23 townhomes. Developers envision the commercial space looking similar to the current location of Fosters and Flyleaf books in Chapel Hill. The Council approved the project on a 7-2 vote with Council members Laurin Easthom and Gene Pease opposing it. Easthom was concerned about the impact of the project on quality of life in the area and Pease didn’t believe a commercial project should be located so far down on Homestead Road. For the full story from the Chapel Hill News, click here.
Development Proposed Across from Southern Village
A new project called Obey’s Creek, located across from Southern Village on US 15-501, has been proposed by Chapel Hill developer Roger Perry. The transformative project calls for 1,200 homes and over 500,000 square feet of commercial development on 120 acres. Chapel Hill Town Council members had a positive reaction to the project when they reviewed it in mid-May and pushed Perry to include more retail in the final plan. The Council believes the location of Obey’s Creek is one of the final places in town that could support major retail development and provide needed retail options for local residents. For the full story from the Chapel Hill News, click here.
Changes Coming to University Mall
University Mall owner Madison Marquette is investing millions of dollars in a new entrance to the mall from US 15-501. Starting in June, there will be a new cut in between the K&W Cafeteria and A Southern Season, making it easier for shoppers and visitors to access those businesses and others in the mall. In addition to the entrance, Madison Marquette is installing new entry facades, outdoor seating and lighting, and landscaping to improve the appearance of the mall. During the groundbreaking ceremony, Madison Marquette Senior Vice President Paul Harnett praised Dwight Bassett, Chapel Hill’s economic development officer for helping the project gain approval so quickly. It is estimated the project was approved in less than three months. For the full story from the News and Observer, click here.
140 West Contract Awarded
RFP Issued for Ephesus/Fordham Small Area Plan
CHCCS Middle Schools Among Best in the State
A consultant to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District reported that the districts middle schools are the premier schools in North Carolina. Mark L’Esperance, an associate professor at East Carolina University, presented a report about the middle schools at a recent school board meeting and concluded that the strength of the schools is in identifying the needs of each individual student. Speaking about McDougle Middle School, L’Esperance remarked, “I’ve been in 600 to 700 classrooms in the past year. It was incredible what was taking place.” The final report concludes that more needs to be done to develop a clear counseling plan. For the full story from the Herald Sun, click here.
County Considering a 1/4 Cent Sales Tax Increase
The Orange County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, June 1 at 7 p.m. to hear from residents about a 1/4 cent sales tax increase. During the 2007 legislative session, the General Assembly gave counties the authority to levy, subject to voter approval, an additional one-quarter cent sales tax increase. County offices estimate the quarter cent would generate $2.3 million per year. The vote on the tax, if the Commissioners elect to go forward with it, would be on November 2 of this year and not go into effect until April of 2011. The public hearing on June 1 will be held at Department of Social Services on Mayo Street in Hillsborough.
From staff notes
Crime Rates in Carrboro Outpace Chapel Hill
The property crime rate in Carrboro continues to outpace the rate in Chapel Hill. Carrboro’s rate per 100,000 people in 2008 was 4,226.5 compared to Chapel Hill’s 3,616. Likewise, the violent crime rate in Carrboro outpaced that of Chapel Hill’s in 2008. Carrbor recorded 400 violent crimes per 100,000 people compared to 292 in Chapel Hill. For more information from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, click here.
Chapel Hill Town Budget Proposed
NC 54 Corridor Under Examination
Town Wants New Members for Boards and Commissions
State DOT Yields to Carrboro
Hillsborough Town Budget Proposed
OWASA Considering 9.25 Percent Rate Hike
The Orange Water and Sewer Authority will meet on May 27 to consider a 9.25 percent rate increase. Such an increase would add about $7 to the typical residential water bill each month. OWASA cites the need for an increased rate due to lower water consumption and reduced revenues from new development due to the slow economy. OWASA’s water rates have increased nearly 40 percent over the past five years. For more information from the Chapel Hill News, click here.
Orange County Census Return Rates Rising
Census workers and volunteers seeking to increase number of Orange County residents returning their Census forms have reason to celebrate. The response rate in Orange County is at 77 percent, up from 70 percent in the 2000 Census. Orange County’s response rate outpaces the rate at the state level, which is at 71 percent as of last week. Starting next month, Census workers will begin going door-to-door to get responses from those who have not yet mailed their forms. For the full story from the Daily Tar Heel, click here.
New Businesses Slated for Patterson Place II
Patterson Place II on 15-501 across from New Hope Commons will soon have a number of new restaurants and retailers joining the Spring Hill Suites which recently opened on site. Duke Medicine has taken 47,000 square feet of office space and AT&T has taken about 15,000 square feet and is now open. Moe’s Southwest Grill, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Applebee’s will also open by the first quarter 2011. For the full story from the Herald Sun, click here.
U.S. 64 Study Released
The State of North Carolina has released a report that provides details about a stretch of U.S. 64 that would connect Pittsboro to Cary. The plan calls for improvements that will accommodate higher traffic levels by 2035. The plan also includes short-term measures to improve mobility and safety and pedestrian accessibility at major intersections. For the full story from the News and Observer, click here.
Chatham Republican Primary ConcludesBrian Bock, chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, won the district 3 primary in May and will face Democratic incumbent George Lucier. In District 5, Walter Petty won the Republican primary over Kim Beal and will face Carl Thompson. The Commissioner race will be decided in November. For the full story from the Carrboro Citizen, click here.
Chatham Budget Calls for Property Tax Increase
Chatham County Manager Charlie Horne has proposed a budget that raises the tax rate by 4.15 percent or 2.5 cents. The $84.6 million budget reflects a 6 percent increase in school funding with a 4 percent cut in non-school funding. The proposed tax increase will add $50 to the property tax bill for the owner of a $200,000 home. Chatham County will see a number of new facilities open in 2010-2011 including a new middle school, library, parks and expanded community college classrooms. For the full story from the News and Observer, click here.
Durham Approves Neighborhood Rehab
The city of Durham has approved $9.4 million for Rolling Hills/Southside neighborhood improvement. The dollars will be broken up into a $5.5-million zero-interest loan to start the Rolling Hills/Southside redevelopment project; and spending $3.9 million to prepare the Rolling Hills site and a portion of the adjoining Southside neighborhood for new construction. All of this will only take effect if the developer wins approval for $1.14 million in state tax credits. The plan has sparked controversy over the funding, as the city will pay for it by borrowing against federal grants for low-income housing and social services expected to be received over the next 20 years. For the full story from the News and Observer, click here.
Durham Consider a Fall Referendum on Roads
Durham city council members are considering putting a city street-paving bond on the November ballot. Mayor Bill Bell asked his fellow council members and staff to weigh a $20 or $30 million bond that would help the city get ahead on a backlog of road improvements. City-sponsored polling indicates that road conditions are some of residents biggest complaints. The Department of Public Works estimates there are about 105 miles of city-maintained streets that need improvements. For the full story from the Herald Sun, click here.
Triangle Home Sales Rise in April
Buoyed by credits from the Federal Government, home buyers rushed to purchase homes in the Triangle, driving sales up 33 percent compared to sales in April of 2009. There were 1,880 homes sold in Durham, Orange, Wake, and Johnston counties in April. There was a major surge in home listings–25 percent more homes were listed this April than last. Finally, the average price of a home sold was up in the Triangle from $216,000 to $230,000. Many experts believe the real test for the home market will be in June when the credits have expired and the market must stand on its own. For the full story from the News and Observer, click here.
Home Prices in Triangle Expected to Bottom in 2010
NC House Leaders Looking to Trim Budget Further
NC House budget writers are eyeing other funding sources and looking at places to cut to improve next year’s budget. House leaders are considering cutting about $200 million more from public education than the current Senate budget. To keep teachers, the House is looking at siphoning more money from the lottery to the tune of $90 million. Leaders are also considering asking the University of North Carolina system and community colleges to cut another $35 million. For the full story from the Herald Sun, click here.
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