New plans filed for DPAC and parking deck mixed-use project

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 04:59 PM

The company behind the development of the downtown American Tobacco campus has filed new plans for an old proposed project: new construction that would hug the Durham Performing Arts Center and a nearby parking deck.

The company originally submitted plans in 2011 for the project, but those were administratively withdrawn later that year. Earlier this month, Raleigh-based Capitol Broadcasting Co. submitted plans again to Durham City-County Planning.

The company behind the plans is Raleigh-based Capitol Broadcasting, the owner of the American Tobacco campus of office, restaurant and retail space that are located in renovated former tobacco buildings.

The company also owns the Durham Bulls baseball team and WRAL-TV, and is also behind development of the primarily office-space-oriented Diamond View buildings that overlook the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

A third Diamond View building is still under construction off Blackwell Street, and is expected to be completed this summer. Previously it was announced that public health organization FHI 360 would be occupying about 95,000 of 130,000 square feet in the building.

The plans filed for proposed construction immediately adjacent to the Durham Performing Arts Center and nearby parking deck were labeled “ATC East Hotel.”

The plans show a mixed-use project that could include hotel, as well as retail, restaurant, and residential space.

The previously filed plans from 2011, which were administratively withdrawn, were similar. They included proposed buildings with possible “overnight accommodations,” as well as, or instead of, office, retail, or residential space.

Michael Goodmon, vice president of real estate for Capitol Broadcasting, said in an emailed response to questions about the proposed project that the company has envisioned “many features and uses” from the start for American Tobacco.

“We are now exploring options that would advance American Tobacco’s reputation as a world-class destination,” he said in the statement. “As due diligence continues, this is all we can share at the moment.”

Durham Mayor Bill Bell said the project would hopefully include access between the DPAC and the adjacent building, and would provide more opportunities for restrooms.

“We’ve had discussions about ongoing efforts to somehow tie new development to what’s going on at DPAC,” Bell said. “(There may be) opportunity to have a certain amount of shared space.”

Bill Kalkhof, president of downtown-focused economic development group Downtown Durham Inc., said the project has been primarily envisioned in the last few years as a hotel and residential project. He said that as long as he’s been a part of the discussions, that’s been at least part the conversation, and that hasn’t really changed.

“There’s been no secret over the years, but a goal has always been to get more residential and hotel rooms in downtown, and wrapping the parking deck with other of those, or both of those uses, has been under review, and now it’s going to a more serious level of due diligence,” Kalkhof said. “And that’s really all I care to say about it.”

Kalkhof said he believes there is a “whole lot” of due diligence going on now related to the proposed new development. The due diligence process would involve an investigation by “all parties,” he said, including Capitol Broadcasting, as well as the city, which owns the theater.

 “There’s a good, a very good investigation of ‘can this work,’ and by that we mean, by design, by general construction … is the market ready for a mixed-use development of this type, attached to that building, in this location,” Kalkhof said.