Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Insurance firm signs new lease for Piedmont Town Center office space

Lincoln Harris has brokered a new lease for the Kansas City, Mo.-based insurance firm Lockton Cos. at Piedmont Town Center. Lockton will occupy 10,207 square feet at the mixed-use development adjacent to SouthPark Mall. Lockton, which advises companies on property and casualty insurance as well as employee benefits, opened its Charlotte office in 2011 and now has 35 workers, said spokesman Dean Davison. It had been subleasing 6,400 square feet.

Campbell Walker, senior vice president of leasing in Lincoln Harris' Charlotte office, represented the landlord, Piedmont Row Drive LLC. Brent Royall and Brad Grow of Colliers International represented Lockton.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New leasing management for Fifth Third Center building uptown

Cousins Properties, the new owner of uptown Charlotte's Fifth Third Center, has tapped CBRE's Charlotte office to handle leasing of the 30-story tower. Cousins, which recently bought the building from Parmenter Realty Partners for $215 million, called it an "iconic office tower in the best submarket in Charlotte." The 697,000-square-foot building boasts renovations and updates to its lobby, courtyard, elevators and mechanical system. CBRE's Anne Vulcano and Jessica Brown will lead the leasing effort.

In other developments at CBRE, the firm's Patrick Gildea led in finalizing the sale of the Oakhill Business Park near Arrowood Road in southwest Charlotte. Four buildings, totaling more than 248,000 square feet, sold to Adler Acquisition Associates out of Miami, Fl., for $16.6 million on July 31.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sedgefield among nation's hottest neighborhoods

Online real estate company Redfin has listed Sedgefield in south Charlotte among its ten hottest up-and-coming neighborhoods nationally. Redfin used its proprietary data to figure out which neighborhoods nationally were seeing the biggest jumps in pageviews on its site. The firm also took into account how many homes were marked as favorites.

Sedgefield, located adjacent to South Boulevard and the booming South End corridor, saw a 122 percent year-over-year increase in pageviews on the site, and a 133 percent jump in favorites per home. Charlotte real estate agent Marcy Prentiss explained why: "Affordability is a big reason Sedgefield is becoming such a hot area right now. The homes on the market don't cost as much as homes in other neighborhoods such as Dilworth and Myers Park, making it an appealing location for homeowners."

Median list price for homes in Sedgefield: $288,950, according to Redfin.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ballantyne developer Smoky Bissell's firm marks 50 years in business

The firm that brought you Ballantyne took a pause Monday to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Employees of the Bissell Cos. marked the milestone by giving founder H.C. "Smoky" Bissell a sequoia sapling. Bissell spokeswoman Christina Thigpen explained: "We chose the world's largest tree as a gift, as it reflects Smoky Bissell's inspirational leadership while representing that we are only just beginning." She added that it also gives a nod to the firm's efforts toward sustainable development.

Left to right: Ned Curran, president & CEO; Clifton Coble, president, Bissell Development; Smoky Bissell, chairman; and Margaret Gragg Bissell
The Bissell organization cranked up as H.C. Bissell & Associates on Aug. 3, 1964. It's been a busy 50 years for the firm, which has developed Ballantyne Corporate Park. With office towers and other development still going up in the 535-acre park, and with Ballantyne enjoying explosive residential growth, it looks like the next 50 could be just as busy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The coming apartment bust?

A lot of press releases cross my desk each day. Too many to write something about on each. But sometimes you'll get one where a sentence jumps out at you. That was the case with a release I received recently from Integra Realty Resources, which just released its mid-year report on Charlotte's commercial real estate market.

In discussing the apartment market, Integra says to expect "significant growth" to continue this year, but it will start slowing down at the end of 2014. The company "suspects it to flatten in 2015-2016 and start declining into the hypersupply market cycle," according to the release.

What would that mean for renters? Integra explains:

"It appears it will be a challenge for the Charlotte market to provide the necessary demand to absorb the amount of supply that has been added to the market. Because of the oversupply, vacancy rates will likely increase over the next few years, which in turn will keep rent growth most likely flat."

So, if Integra is correct, we could expect to see a lot more rent discounts and deals of the "one-month-free-with-one-year-lease" variety. Or, if the apartment developers are right, population growth among young single workers will keep spiraling upward so quickly that it will absorb the record-breaking pace of apartment-building we've been on.

Either way, time will tell. What do you think?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hitachi opens new ink research facility in north Charlotte

Hitachi America Ltd. on Thursday announced the opening of a new ink research and development center in North Charlotte. Initially employing five people, the new facility, located at 5900 Northwoods Parkway, will help the company develop and manufacture new custom ink products faster. Food and beverage firms, as well as the pharmaceutical and automotive industries, serve as major markets for Hitachi's ink products.

"We've seen a very significant increase in the number of requests for specialized inks during the last several years," said John Malette, a sales manager for Hitachi. "This enables our sales channel to satisfy customer demands sooner, and packaging engineers are able to address unique product and package coding needs faster."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Where will Bubble Wrap maker's offices go?

Now that the big news is out about Sealed Air Corp. relocating its headquarters to Charlotte, the biggest unanswered question seems to be: Where exactly in the city will the Bubble Wrap manufacturer's offices go?

At yesterday's press conference at the Charlotte Chamber, CEO Jerome Peribere said only that the firm will build a new office campus somewhere in the city, likely in its southern section. The Observer late Wednesday obtained a PowerPoint presentation on the project that City Council reviewed last month. It contains some clues.

It says the company plans to built a 250,000-square-foot office building for its nearly 1,300 employees, with room for future expansion. Sealed Air at that time was considering LakePointe Corporate Center, Whitehall Corporate Center, Ballantyne -- presumably Ballantyne Corporate Park -- and University Research Park.

Peribere said the company hopes to be done with the move by 2016. It's unclear (at least to me anyway) whether some of those possible landing spots mentioned in the PowerPoint might be temporary locations, to be used while the company's permanent offices are built.