Saturday, April 18, 2009

Update on Fourth Ward Square

Fueled by unheard of low pricing, the apartment conversion to condominium has created quite a stir! The original goal of having 28 units under contract by June was surpassed on the second day. The developer quickly began to release additional buildings for sale.

The overall project consists of 7 buildings totalling 154 units, and as of 4/18/09, 6 buildings consisting of 125 units are under contract. Whew!

I believe what we are seeing is a combination of a well planned conversion using quality materials and appliances, extremely attractive pricing, pent up demand, the promise of the governments tax credit for first time home buyers, and low interest rates. The scene at the sales center reminded me of a sale at Filene's Basement!

Once the dust settles from the marketing activity, there will be a significant amount of activity on the site. The roofs will be replaced as will all the windows. All warped sideboards will be replaced and the entire complex will be painted. Then the interior work will commence.

Despite the media's constant reporting of the sky falling, there are good things to talk about.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Flurry of Real Estate Activity

An apartment complex on North Graham Street between Eighth and Ninth Streets has been in and out of the news for the past 3 or 4 years. Originally, this site was to be replaced by a new development, and the plans changed several times over the years from twin hi rises, to a Fifth and Poplar type development, but all that has changed.

Tom Thornburg, the developer of Fourth Ward Square, has decided instead to renovate all the units in the complex (154), and sell them as condominiums. The amazing part is the level of detail of the upgrades, all Stainless Steel GE appliances, new cabinets, new countertops, new lamintate floors along with porcelean tile and carpeting in the bedroom. An incredibly attractive package.

The amazing part is that the prices begin at $99,900 for a small one (real) bedroom unit. Initially, the first phase of this development consisted of two buildings and 55 units. All but 5 of the units sold within 2 days, and in this market.

There is good news if you look for it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

GMAC On South Church?

Another piece of refreshing news came last week with the announcement that GMAC bank will be bringing an additional 200 financial services jobs to Charlotte.
GMAC currently has a location in Ballantyne with around 260 employees that will be relocating into downtown Charlotte to be joined by the new jobs.
That announcement will mean the infusion of 460 people into our downtown workspace.
The exact site for GMAC Bank has not been announced, but there are several good candidates. One is the soon to be completed NASCAR Plaza Building. As GMAC is a major credit arm for the auto industry, this might seem to be a natural location.
A second location, and probably a better one, is the Novare office building located at 440 South Church Street. The beauty of that building is that any building signage will have a Tryon exposure since it is located behind the new Arts Complex. Many of these new downtown workers will seek housing here, which will help downtown to lead the recovery.

Shovels Will Be Turning

Long anticipated, dirt will soon be turning in the northern part of downtown Charlotte. The first announcement was the UNCC Classroom Building on the corner of East Ninth and Brevard Streets. This development will bring an Iconic structure into the city, not just another building. The design is intended to look like a pile of books, and will be 12 stories, including professors offices, classrooms, lecture halls, as well as some ground floor amenities.
The construction of this building will essentially put it on the future LYNX northern extension, which will run directly into the main UNCC campus. You would think someone was actually planning this!
The overall scope of this project will be connected to an underground parking deck covered by a 4.5 acre park between East Seventh and East Eighth Streets. This park is ideally located across from ImaginOn, and cattycornered from Reid’s. It will also become a convenient lounging space for the UNCC students.
The size of the Classroom Building will allow for thousands of students to be integrated into the downtown area.
The second announcement, coming as somewhat of a surprise, was the announcement of the North Carolina Dance Theatre Headquarters and Studio space. The street level studios will have expansive glass frontage on North Tryon Street creating great pedestrian activity similar to the cooking classes at the Johnson and Wales Main Classroom building on West Trade Street.
These two projects will begin almost immediately, and mark rebirth of the North Tryon corridor. These projects will have the effect of bringing more people into this area, which will spur additional development of retail designed to service them. The value of properties located nearby will increase in value as the ability for people to walk to their jobs is highly sought after, especially for the “creative class”.