The historic Perry Building in downtown Durham has been sold to a Durham-based real estate investment group for $1.78 million, county records show.
The Perry Building, located at 321 E. Chapel Hill St., sits adjacent to the Durham Hotel and the downtown post office building. The building has been the home of the law firm Perry, Perry & Perry since 1993 — though the firm has now relocated just south of downtown to 601 Fayetteville St.
DTI Holdings — which is run by Durham resident Jonathan Dayan and his business partner, Alon Gorbonos — plans to turn the two-story building into multiple offices and could eventually add a bar or a restaurant in the building’s basement.
This is the firm’s first venture into commercial real estate. DTI has previously focused on single-family and multi-family homes.
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“I love this city, and I see great things happening here,” Dayan said. “We are expanding now into the commercial world and the building fits directly into what we are trying to do.”
Dayan, a former molecular biologist, has been working full-time in real estate for the past several years after giving up work in laboratories. He said the 9,900-square-foot building’s location and smaller size drew him to bid for the building.
“I think it’s amazing what is happening with the Jack Tar building, because (Chapel Hill Street) is becoming a focal point.” Dayan said, referencing the construction of downtown’s latest hotel the Unscripted Hotel. “You have all the bars and different restaurants, from the Dashi at the end of Chapel Hill down to the Five Points area.”
DTI is working with Durham-based Belk Architecture on the design plans for the building, which sits on a little more than a tenth of an acre.
Dayan, who is also a member of the Historic Preservation Commission, said he plans to restore the 1950s-era building’s former brick façade as part of the team’s renovations. Depending on the feedback the firm gets from its architects, Dayan said DTI might add more floors to the two-story building to increase its capacity.
DTI hopes to attract one anchor tenant for the building on the second floor and use the first floor to create smaller offices. Dayan said that the main tenant space will be priced competitively and that the smaller offices, which will average about 140 square feet, will go for between $500 to $800 a month.
Downtown Durham has some of the lowest vacancy rates in the region for office space. The vacancy rate was 1.3 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2017 with the average rental rate reaching $28.77 per square foot, according to real estate services firm Colliers International.
Dayan believes the building’s basement, which has an alley entrance, could be a good fit for a wine bar or a small restaurant, though he is still waiting on design feedback before moving forward on that idea. The building also has a private parking lot.
DTI is targeting a six-month renovation timeline, which means the building could be move-in ready for tenants sometime around the end of the year.
Raleigh-based Craft Commercial was the broker for the sellers of the building, which was owned Robert Perry and Willoree Perry, according to county records.
The final sale price was below the original asking price of $1.95 million.
The building was appraised for $862,426 in January 2016, according to county records.