Officials Negotiate Incentives for Major Mixed-Use Project in Downtown Durham

Austin Lawrence Partners of Colorado is planning to redevelop the Jack Tar Motel on Corcoran Street in downtown Durham and build a 26-story mixed-use tower at the site of the former Woolworth store across the street.

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Austin Lawrence Partners of Colorado is planning to redevelop the Jack Tar Motel on Corcoran Street in downtown Durham and build a 26-story mixed-use tower at the site of the former Woolworth store across the street.

According to The Durham News, city and county officials have agreed to enter negotiations for a 50-50 business-incentive deal with the developer to support the project.

Under the agreement, Austin Lawrence would receive a combined $8 million over 15 years, the equivalent of $6 million in present-day dollars, once the inflation adjustment is taken into account.

Slated to rise at the corner of West Parrish and North Corcoran streets, the new high-rise would include 100,000 square feet of office space and over 100 apartments.

Austin Lawrence is planning to refurbish the early 1960s Jack Tar vintage hotel, while preserving the turquoise-and-gray façade, an iconic example of mid-century modern architecture. The property is also known as the Oprah building because of its big “We want Oprah” sign displayed in the windows for many years.

Construction on the high-rise is expected to begin in June and be complete in the summer of 2016.

In other news, the Triangle Business Journal reports that Longfellow Real Estate Partners of Boston has recently paid $23.6 million to acquire four research laboratory buildings within the Imperial Center business park in Durham.

The portfolio, which includes the Exchange Place building and the three Royal Center buildings on Emperor Boulevard, offers a total of 187,758 square feet of space.

Pearl Therapeutics, Astadia and Novan Therapeutics are among the properties’ tenants. The property was 76 percent occupied in the fourth quarter, according to TBJ’s Space survey.

Crown Realty & Development of southern California was the seller of the buildings. Chris Norvell and Scot Humphrey of Cushman & Wakefield/Thalhimer’s office in Raleigh represented the company in the sale negotiations.

Crown Realty owns another 11 office and industrial assets at the Imperial Center business park, and plans to sell at least another three properties, the newspaper reports.

Photo credits: www.opendurham.org