April 2013

  • Apr
    29

140 West Development hopes to be the heart of Chapel Hill’s downtown

April 29, 2013

By Tammy Grubb, via newsobserver.com

CHAPEL HILL — The community will meet at the plaza Friday for the grand opening of 140 West Franklin Street.

The $55-million commercial and residential development was proposed in 2008, and construction started in January 2011.

Town and development officials hope the project’s 26,000-square-foot plaza will be an entertainment destination and a gathering place. They hope the project itself will bridge the town’s distinctive East and West business districts.

The modern, brick-and-glass condominiums, retail and restaurants stand on what used to be Town Parking Lot No. 5. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said the project – a public-private partnership – realizes a town vision for environmentally sound development, social equity and affordable housing.

“We proved that through the worst economic times that our country has faced in generations that we could be true to a vision – a principal vision – for how we want our community to be and how we want our community to face the challenges of the future. I think we got it right,” he said.

For Peter Cummings, chairman of developer Ram Realty Services, the project fulfills the company’s tagline – people making places. “That’s how we want to be known, and occasionally, we have opportunities to really make a place, to have a positive impact beyond our own boundaries,” he said.

Living and working

• An underground garage doubles the previous parking, with 161 public spaces (the town paid $6.7 million) and 176 residential spaces.

The building is four stories near the street and rises to eight at the center. It has 26,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

• At least 105 of the 140 “plaza homes” have been sold. Thirty-plus floor plans are priced from the mid-$300,000s to $1.5 million for a penthouse with a private terrace. Community Home Trust, a local affordable housing nonprofit, has bought 18 homes and will sell them for up to $120,000 to first-time homebuyers making less than 80 percent of the area median income. That’s $38,500 for a single person and $44,000 for a two-person household.

• At least two homes are listed for rent at www.chapelhillrent.com.

• Lime Fresh Mexican Grill is open, and Gigi’s Cupcakes and the Eye Care Center are coming. Kendria Sweet, with Sweet Tea Consulting, said Ram has been picky about the businesses it courts, but negotiations are ongoing. She wouldn’t name any prospects.

• The town will lease the land to Ram at $1 annually for 99 years. By the fifth year, Ram expects to generate $1.06 million annually for the town in parking, sales tax and property tax revenues.

Luxury features

• The building is insulated, concrete construction, with heat- and sound-reducing windows, Energy Star appliances, low-VOC paints, sustainable flooring and water conservation features.

• Residents include downsizing Chapel Hill residents, UNC professors and hospital employees. There are even a few Duke employees.

• Homes have tile and hardwood flooring, custom stone countertops, gas stoves, luxury showers and garden tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies.

• Residents get concierge services, a fitness center and a top-floor clubroom with two large terraces, a business center, fireplace, kitchen and big-screen TV.

• Developer Ram Realty paid $624,000 for two works of art: “Tar Heel Blues,” by artist Gordon Huether, hangs at the Rosemary Street entrance. “Exhale,” a stainless steel perforated metal skin from landscape artist Mikyoung Kim, breathes light and fog. A computerized weather station adjusts the amount by reading the wind velocity.

• Regional artwork in the hallways.

• Ram also is paying $200,000 for plaza performances, including Wednesdays at lunch and on Friday evenings. A performance schedule is coming soon.

  • Apr
    24

140 West: The heart of downtown

April 24, 2013

By Tammy Grubb, via Chapel Hill News

The $55-million commercial and residential development was proposed in 2008, and construction started in January 2011.

Town and development officials hope the project’s 26,000-square-foot plaza will be an entertainment destination and a gathering place. They hope the project itself will bridge the town’s distinctive East and West business districts.

The modern, brick-and-glass condominiums, retail and restaurants stand on what used to be Town Parking Lot No. 5. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said the project – a public-private partnership – realizes a town vision for environmentally sound development, social equity and affordable housing.

“We proved that through the worst economic times that our country has faced in generations that we could be true to a vision – a principal vision – for how we want our community to be and how we want our community to face the challenges of the future. I think we got it right,” he said.

For Peter Cummings, chairman of developer Ram Realty Services, the project fulfills the company’s tagline – people making places. “That’s how we want to be known, and occasionally, we have opportunities to really make a place, to have a positive impact beyond our own boundaries,” he said.

Living and working

• An underground garage doubles the previous parking, with 161 public spaces (the town paid $6.7 million) and 176 residential spaces.

The building is four stories near the street and rises to eight at the center. It has 26,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

• At least 105 of the 140 “plaza homes” have been sold. Thirty-plus floor plans are priced from the mid-$300,000s to $1.5 million for a penthouse with a private terrace. Community Home Trust, a local affordable housing nonprofit, has bought 18 homes and will sell them for up to $120,000 to first-time homebuyers making less than 80 percent of the area median income. That’s $38,500 for a single person and $44,000 for a two-person household.

• At least two homes are listed for rent at http://www.chapelhillrent.com.

• Lime Fresh Mexican Grill is open, and Gigi’s Cupcakes and the Eye Care Center are coming. Kendria Sweet, with Sweet Tea Consulting, said Ram has been picky about the businesses it courts, but negotiations are ongoing. She wouldn’t name any prospects.

• The town will lease the land to Ram at $1 annually for 99 years. By the fifth year, Ram expects to generate $1.06 million annually for the town in parking, sales tax and property tax revenues.

Luxury features

• The building is insulated, concrete construction, with heat- and sound-reducing windows, Energy Star appliances, low-VOC paints, sustainable flooring and water conservation features.

• Residents include downsizing Chapel Hill residents, UNC professors and hospital employees. There are even a few Duke employees.

• Homes have tile and hardwood flooring, custom stone countertops, gas stoves, luxury showers and garden tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies.

• Residents get concierge services, a fitness center and a top-floor clubroom with two large terraces, a business center, fireplace, kitchen and big-screen TV.

• Developer Ram Realty paid $624,000 for two works of art: “Tar Heel Blues,” by artist Gordon Huether, hangs at the Rosemary Street entrance. “Exhale,” a stainless steel perforated metal skin from landscape artist Mikyoung Kim, breathes light and fog. A computerized weather station adjusts the amount by reading the wind velocity.

• Regional artwork in the hallways.

  • Apr
    15

A Sampling of Retail Centers Planned in South Florida

April 15, 2013

By Paola Iuspa-Abbot, via the Daily Business Review

During the recession, national retailers, usually eager to relocate to newer centers, lacked interest in expanding. But as
the residential sector gains steam, a new wave of retail projects follow.

 

When Ivy Greaner weighed buying about 127 acres in south Miami-Dade County in 2011 to build a retail center, she
wasn’t sure the market supported the deal.

 
But the worst of the recession was over and betting retailers would boost demand, her company bought the land from the
University of Miami for an undisclosed price.

 
Initially, national retailers weren’t rushing to lease space in the proposed Coral Reef Commons.

 
“When we first started marketing it, we were making all of the calls in August 2011,” she said. “By the summer of 2012,
they were calling us. That was an indication that retailers were ready to start doing things again.”

 
Greaner’s RAM Real Estate is among the first developers to build a large retail center in post-recession South Florida as
national retailers slowly re-enter the region after a long hiatus.

 
Miami-Dade County leads the region with the number of retail centers larger than 100,000 square feet in the planning or
pre-leasing stages.

 
During the recession, national retailers, usually eager to relocate to newer centers, lacked interest in expanding. That
meant developers couldn’t find anchor tenants to get lenders to finance their projects.

 
But now, as the residential sector gains steam, a new wave of retail projects will follow, said real estate attorney Adam
Lustig, a partner with Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod in Miami.

 
“Retail tends to follow other sectors in the recovery,” said Lustig, who specializes in retail-related deals.

 
Tenant Interest

 

 

In South Florida, apartment construction has been rising for several years, and construction of condominiums is slowly
gaining traction in more desirable neighborhoods.

 
Many big-box retailers are still reluctant to build new stores, but some are ready to make a move. And those retailers are
fueling the small but growing wave of retail development.

 
That’s why Palm Beach Gardens-based RAM is pursuing permits to build the 250,000-square-foot Coral Reef Commons
near ZooMiami. RAM hopes to win approval from Miami-Dade County later this year and deliver the community center by
early 2015, said Greaner, who oversees the company’s asset management and leasing. RAM will close on the land
purchase after securing county approval, Greaner said.

 
She already has landed LA Fitness and a major power box tenant she declined to name for the development at the
southwest corner of Southwest 152nd Street and 124th Avenue. She also is talking to retailers interested in outparcels.
The project is part of a mixed-use development that would eventually include 1,000 apartments.

 
“If the tenants were not interested, we wouldn’t be building a retail component,” Greaner said. “Some of the projects that
are happening are because the retailers have an appetite again. They were quiet for a long time.”

 
Doral Commons

 
Another retail project in the permitting stage is the 150,000-square-foot Doral Commons, a grocery-anchored community
center planned for Northwest 107th Avenue and 74th Street. Miami-based Terra Group LLC is looking for tenants.
Chris Barney, a broker with Coral Gables-based Continental Real Estate Cos., said retailers want a presence in Doral, one
of South Florida’s fastest-growing communities. The city’s population more than doubled from 20,438 in 2000 and to
45,704 in 2010, according to the census figures, and about 6,900 homes are planned for Doral.

 
“We have a few national retail clients looking at Doral Commons,” he said. “You see a lot of strong sales numbers come
out of that market from the people that are there right now.” He said his clients are “actively negotiating letters of intent”
with Terra.

 
One client is considering leasing 20,000 square feet and two others are looking at space ranging from 1,500 square feet to
2,000 square feet.

 
New York-based Related Cos., led by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, is planning a 330,000-square-foot
development in Doral. Related is looking for tenants for the proposed Shoppes at Park Square southwest of Northwest
36th Street and 82nd Avenue.

 
CREC represents such retailers as Target, Sports Authority, Kohl’s, Lowes, Pier One and Hair Cuttery.

 
Two community shopping centers are planned along Flagler Street between Southwest 92nd and 102nd avenues.

 
Regency Centers, in a joint venture with Master Development Inc. in Miami, is securing permits to build a nearly 300,000-
square-foot center to be anchored by Target and Publix. The project is planned for Flagler Street and 102nd Avenue.

 
Fontainbleau Park Plaza is a 235,000-square-foot shopping center planned on Flagler Street and 92nd Avenue. An
affiliate of Canyon-Johnson Realty Advisors III LLC is securing permits and pre-leasing the center to be anchored by a
Wal-Mart Supercenter, LA Fitness and Discovery Clothing.

 
Boris Kozolchyk, a broker with Pointe Group Advisors in Miami, said other retail projects are in the early permitting
process and their future is not clear.

 
For example, attorney-turned-developer Andy Hellinger is proposing nearly 500,000 square feet of retail along the Miami
River. He recently applied to build River Landing at 1500 NW North River Drive in Miami.

 
The six-story project, which would include 444 residential units, is to be completed in 2016.

 
Hellinger recently hired veteran broker Roger LeBlanc, a principal with Boca Raton-based Retail Realty Associates, to sign
junior anchor tenants for space ranging from 20,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet on the second, third and fourth
floors. A health club is considering leasing the fifth floor, and furniture stores would occupy the sixth floor.

 
‘VERY COSMOPOLITAN’

 
Miami-Dade’s retail sector was a stronghold even during the downturn, Greaner, RAM’s chief operating officer, added.
That’s because of its strong tourism industry and geographic pockets where shoppers are underserved, she said.

 
“Miami-Dade is very cosmopolitan,” Greaner said. “There is the influx of people from South America, Europe and all over
the world. It is incredible dynamic and is dense.”

 
Broward and Palm Beach counties aren’t seeing the same retail development as Miami-Dade, according to broker Nathan
“Nate” Werner.

 
Some of the largest Fort Lauderdale area projects in the permitting stage include a full-size Wal-Mart store on Broward
Boulevard west of Interstate 95 and a 40,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market food store on Sunrise Boulevard
and Andrews Avenue, Werner said. A few months ago, he tried to secure the Sunrise Boulevard site for one of his clients
but was told Wal-Mart had already locked it in.

 
In Palm Beach County, the largest retail project promising to bring large retailers to the market is Palm Beach Outlets, a
900,000-square-foot center to replace the Palm Beach Mall in West Palm Beach. The developers are Boston-based New
England Development and Woburn, Massachusetts-based Eastern Real Estate. Construction started in January, and
partial demolition of the former mall is under way. The outlet is to open next February.

 
Werner, president of Fort Lauderdale-based Retail Sites International Inc., said a national restaurant chain is considering
locating on an outparcel at the Palm Beach Outlets.

 
“We are at the letter-of-intent stage,” he said, declining to identify the company. “They are getting all their final site plan
approvals, and I am very confident that project is going to happen.”

 
His clients include Bahama Breeze, Capital Grille, Longhorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster.

 
Pointe Group Advisors’ Kozolchyk said most of the region’s retail growth will center on either lower-income consumers or
wealthy shoppers. That means Wal-Mart will build new stores, and high-end retail centers, like ones planned in the
Miami’s Design District and the future Brickell CityCentre, should flourish.

 
Kozolchyk wonders what will happen to the middle class and its purchasing power, the source of most sales for many
middle-of-the-road retailers.

 
“The question is whether there is enough demand to support that middle level,” he said. “The answer is: it depends on
where the economy goes.”

  • Apr
    5

Sand Lake Plaza in Orlando, Florida Sells for $4.2 Million

April 5, 2013

Orlando, FL – April 05, 2013 – The CBRE Orlando Private Capital Group arranged the sale of Sand Lake Plaza for $4,700,000 to Boca Raton-based Harvest Holdings from the seller, an affiliate of Ram Realty Services and Square Mile, who acquired the property through a loan portfolio purchase in 2010. Located at 1431 West Sand Lake Road, the 25,116-square-foot retail center was 100 percent leased at the time of closing.

“The sale of Sand Lake Plaza provides further confirmation that the investment market is returning to equilibrium,” said Daniel Baker, CBRE First Vice President. “The sale was as much about underwriting the buyer’s capability to close the transaction as it was about understanding the asset.”

Built in two phases, in 1995 and 2005, Sand Lake Plaza is an excellent high-exposure, high-identity location, just east of South Orange Blossom Trail and across from the Florida Mall, the largest shopping mall in Central Florida. The center is located in one of Orlando’s most prominent shopping and tourist destinations and contains national tenants such as Dollar Tree, International Diamond Center, Amscot, Metro PCS, and Clear Channel.

First Vice President Daniel Baker arranged the sale on behalf of the seller. This is the second transaction facilitated by Daniel on behalf of Ram Realty Services. Since 2011, CBRE has sold seven assets for this client.

  • Apr
    5

New restaurant, plaza opening in Chapel Hill

April 5, 2013

By Amanda Jones Hoyle, via Triangle Business Journal

When Chapel Hill dignitaries celebrate the “grand opening” of the outdoor public plaza at the 140 West Franklin project on April 10, they’ll also get a first glimpse of the first new restaurant opening in the condo-retail building.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill will be opening its doors on April 10 at the 140 West Franklin building, a $55 million development project that’s been in the works for more than a decade.

The eight-story building, located at the intersections of Franklin, Church and Rosemary streets, is slated to have 140 residential condo units, 26,000 square feet of retail space and a two-level underground parking garage.

It will also have the first, large outdoor public plaza for downtown Chapel Hill with 26,000 square feet of space set aside for public gatherings and public art.

The building broke ground in January 2011.

Representatives of Ram Real Estate of Florida, the developer of 140 West Franklin, say about 75 percent of the condo units have already been sold.

The Lime Fresh restaurant in Chapel Hill will be the company’s second location in the Triangle. We had reported last summer that Lime Fresh was opening two other locations in the Triangle, including Brier Creek in Raleigh and Park West Village in Morrisville. The Brier Creek location has opened and the Park West Village location is under construction.

But the company apparently changed its plans to also bring a location to Durham’s Ninth Street area opting to instead open the location in Chapel Hill.