The Durham skyline is undergoing a fast-paced evolution as new buildings begin to rise across the city’s downtown core.
A city that was once marked by the redevelopment of historic buildings is now turning into a downtown dotted by steel beams and cranes. With most of these new projects slated for completion in 2018, this summer is shaping up to be one marked by the sights and sounds of construction.
“We’ve come to the ‘end of the beginning’ in terms of downtown Durham’s redevelopment,” Scott Selig, associate vice president of real estate for Duke University, said last year at the announcement of the Durham Innovation District. “It’s no longer about restoring historic properties,” but rather building new ones.
Some of the largest projects underway:
▪ One City Center: The development that will most radically change the Durham skyline is One City Center — the 27-story, $88 million office and condo project that is rising out of the middle of downtown. The building, which is expected to have its exterior completed this summer, will feature two stories of parking, four floors of retail and offices and 21 floors of apartments and condos. Condos there are going for between $630,000 and $1.8 million.
▪ Durham Innovation District: Coming in at close to $100 million, the two seven-story Durham I.D. buildings broke ground in March on Morris Street. Part of the 1.7 million-square-foot Durham Innovation District (Durham ID), the Longfellow Real Estate Partners-backed development will bring nearly 350,000 square feet of primarily new office space downtown, along with a 1,200-vehicle parking deck.
The plan will also include ground-level retail space for restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses. Duke Clinical Research Institute is the only announced tenant so far.
▪ The Van Alen and 555 Mangum: Currently just a field of dirt next to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the Van Alen and 555 Mangum buildings will rise 12 and 10 stories respectively when they are completed. The two Northwood Ravin-developed projects are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018 and will add more than 300 apartment units and 245,000 square feet of office space.
▪ The new Durham Police Headquarters: Potentially costing more than $80 million when finished, the new Durham police headquarters will move police HQ across downtown, from West Chapel Hill Street to East Main Street. The 4.5 acre site is on East Main Street between Elizabeth and Hood streets.
Some projects close to completion:
▪ The Chesterfield: The Chesterfield, the $128 million redevelopment of the Liggett & Myers tobacco factory on West Main Street, is nearing completion. The shell of the building was completed in February, and the heavy lifting that remains belongs to the individual tenants — who are in the process of customizing their leased spaces. Duke University and the technology company Nutanix are the two largest tenants, and a 765-space parking deck is being built off site.
▪ The Mark at Durham One: Originally named Gateway Center, The Mark at Durham One transforms the former Hendrick Durham Auto Mall site into a 305-unit apartment complex. The apartments are pre-leasing for June.
▪ The Brannan: With only two condos still available The Brannan — a luxury condo building on Hunt Street by Durham Central Park — is scheduled to open this fall. New York-based Lambert Development LLC bought the property from Measurement Inc. in 2015 for $450,000, and a two-bedroom, two-bath condo there is currently listed at $540,000.
▪ Unscripted Hotel: The Austin Lawrence Partners-backed hotel project is scheduled to open sometime this summer. The former Jack Tar Motel building is now the Unscripted Hotel, part of a new boutique hotel chain, which will feature the pay-by-the-ounce bar Pour Taproom as well as the Jack Tar Diner from the creators of Pizzeria Torro.
Some projects for the future:
▪ NCCU projects: With an estimated cost of $66 million, the campus of North Carolina Central University could have two new buildings by the 2021-2022 academic year. The public university plans to add a new business school and a new student union to replace the 1960s-era Alfonso Elder Student Union, which was built when the campus had a third of its current population.
▪ Five Points Center: Still a ways off and without much detail, Austin Lawrence Partners plans to tackle the South Bank building in Five Points after completing One City Center in 2018. The group hopes to begin construction on a mixed-use residential, office and retail building at the end of 2018, according to its website.