New condo project proposed for downtown

Dec. 05, 2012 @ 09:04 PM

What’s now a parking lot at the corner of Main and Church streets downtown is envisioned by one development team to be the site for a new, modern-design condominium building.

Scott Harmon, a partner the development firm Re:Vamp Durham, said he’s partnering with Raleigh-based White Oak Properties to develop property at 130 E. Main St. into a condo project known as Church + Main.

They have the property under contract, he said, and hope to have construction started in April of next year. They’ve already started pre-sales of the units. Harmon said they’re expecting to need to pre-sell six of nine units before construction can begin.

“We’ve had preliminary discussions with at least two lenders who have given us no indication that there will be any problems funding the project from a construction standpoint,” Harmon said.

The property is currently owned by the limited liability Court Square Durham, which is a company connected to the Durham-based development firm Greenfire Development.

Paul Smith, Greenfire’s managing partner, said with the other development activity that Greenfire has going on currently, it would have been a “long time before we got around to developing that site.”

“So when quality developers … want to take it on, we are more than happy to sell it to them so that it can move it forward,” Smith said in an email message. “We all want more residential downtown.”

Harmon said the plan for the proposed project is a building with nine units featuring either one, two, or three bedrooms. There would be four stories of residential, on top of a single story of commercial development, and parking underground.

“We’re kind of taking our design inspiration from mid-century modernism,” Harmon said. “It’s definitely a very modern building, but I think it fits well in the context of the historic buildings that are nearby.”

Harmon said he believes there are people who are looking for amenity-rich condominiums, and that there is demand for housing downtown.

“There’s not enough variety of inventory downtown to satisfy the different needs that people have,” Harmon said.

Harmon’s said his first development project, Mangum 506, which is located at 506 N. Mangum St. in Durham, was completed in 2008. The project was focused on affordability, he said, and was designed as a first-time home buyer project. It has 21 units, and he said one now remains available for purchase.

In addition to his role as a developer at Re:Vamp Durham, Harmon is also a partner in the architecture firm Center Studio Architecture. He said the plan is for Re:Vamp Durham to co-develop the project with White Oak Properties, and for Center Studio Architecture to do the design.

This is the first project the two have joined together to co-develop, Harmon said. Previously, he sold property to his development partner to build a 59-unit townhome complex in Durham called Windsor Commons.

“They have a lot of experience in real estate development,” he said. “I have a lot of experience in downtown Durham. This project is our first true joint venture where we’re actually working together.”