Ram planning second phase at Piper Station apartments

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By Will Boye, via Charlotte Business Journal

Florida-based real estate firm Ram plans to develop 120 garden-style apartment units in south Charlotte for a second phase of the Piper Station complex it purchased in late 2012.

The site is at the intersection of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Black Forest Lane, near Rea Road.

Ram purchased the 212-unit complex for $23.5 million, and in June it purchased an adjacent 6.6-acre parcel for $4.1 million.

The firm plans to start construction on four new buildings at the site, where a townhome project was once planned, by the end of the year. In addition, five existing townhome units will be converted into rentals, adding up to 337 rental units when the development is completed.

The existing Piper Station units are off Rea Road, across from the StoneCrest shopping center. The second phase will provide a second access point off Ballantyne Commons, and Ram plans to upgrade the existing buildings and build a new free-standing fitness center for the complex as well, says CEO Casey Cummings.

Ram, which owns the Design Center of the Carolinas, purchased the Piper Station complex with proceeds from a $150 million fund called Ram Realty Partners III. Cumming says Ram continues to look at Charlotte and Raleigh for multifamily and retail acquisition opportunities, along with south Florida, central Florida, Atlanta and Nashville, Tenn.

“I happen to think that Charlotte today is presenting some interesting opportunities, at least on the multifamily side, because a lot of the institutional investors think Charlotte is overbuilt or is going to be overbuilt,” Cummings says. “We think that’s a valid concern, but we also think that maybe they’re using too broad a brush to paint that market. There’s pockets where we still think there’s interesting opportunities.”

The expansion pad that Ram purchased went into foreclosure in 2011. An affiliate of Charlotte real estate investment firm Carolina Capital Land Partners, led by Todd Harrison, purchased the property from CommunityOne Bank in June 2012 for $1.5 million. As noted above, just a year later, the firm sold it to Ram for $4.1 million. Real estate sources say that’s called a “nice flip.”

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