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Developer to go forward with $37M downtown Greensboro renovation
The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area - 5:11 PM EDT Fridayby Matt HarringtonThe Business Journal
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Developer Roy Carroll, president of The Carroll Cos., said Friday that he was going forward with plans to redevelop the vacant Wachovia building in downtown Greensboro into a 17-story mixed-use property with 156 condominiums. The project, called Center Point, is expected to cost at least $37 million.

Carroll said that construction would likely begin within the next 45 days and would take about 20 months. When completed, the 292,000-square-foot building, which has "literally cast a shadow over downtown" as a vacant property for the last 16 years, will contain the condos, a first floor of retail and restaurant space, and a second floor with offices.




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Brought to you by Cingular The condos will be between 650 square feet and 1,700 square feet, he said, and will be priced between $160,000 and $350,000. Carroll will need to sell at least 25 percent, or 39 of the units, before construction can begin.

There isn't much of use in the current structure, he said, aside from the elevators, stairways and the steel beams. When reconstructed, the building exterior will be sheathed in blue-gray glass that will look blue during the day but tint to gray at night.

Parking will be taken care of with a two-floor deck below the building, paved parking lots adjacent to the site and an agreement to use spaces in the Lincoln Financial lot across the street.

Carroll, one of the Triad's most prolific residential developers, has been studying the Wachovia building since mid-2004 and first put the property under contract in August of that year. He expects to close on the purchase of the building within 45 days.

He said the turning point in deciding it was a feasible project was when he decided to sell the residential units rather than leasing.

"This is a big project for us," he said. "We were committed to coming up with a design we could all be proud of in the community."

The financing was also a struggle. An initial try to get tax credits to reduce the costs didn't work, and Carroll said he went through about 100 sets of drawings with architect Moser Mayer Phoenix, realizing that in many instances "we were exceeding what our budget figures were."

Before Carroll's interest, Cherokee Investment Partners, a Raleigh-based real estate investment firm that specializes in renovating distressed properties, had put the building under contract in August 2003. After conducting its own due diligence, however, Cherokee decided the project wasn't financially feasible.

The Wachovia building has been empty since 1990, and has been shown to and asked about by every firm that's looked at downtown since then, city officials have said.

Since the project first started to gain momentum in 2003, construction costs have soared. Estimates at that time provided to The Business Journal put the renovation costs at about $18 million.

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Developer to move forward with tower rehab
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By Donald W. Patterson
Staff Writer

GREENSBORO -- Developer Roy Carroll unveiled his plans Friday to redevelop downtown's biggest eyesore.

After two years of battling rising cost projections, Carroll said he would spend $37 million to rehabilitate the long abandoned Wachovia building at 201 N. Elm St.

The former bank and office tower will be transformed into a complex -- called Center Pointe -- that includes restaurants and shops, offices for Carroll's businesses and 156 luxury residential condos.

"I have half jokingly stated that this project has died a thousand deaths over the last two years," Carroll, 43, said in a prepared statement. "However, with the help and encouragement of this community, we are now able to press forward."

The work will take 20 months and could begin in 90 days, after Carroll has presold 25 percent of the units.

The latter development will be key, Carroll said, adding that he cannot secure financing until the required number of units are presold.

"We still have some hurdles to clear," Carroll said in his statement. "Every day we are not in the 'construction phase' can significantly increase the cost of the ... project. To be honest, without this needed support, my willingness to invest more than $37 million ... may not be enough."

Carroll said that when he began to consider rehabing the Wachovia building two years ago, the cost of the project was only $20 million.

As laid out Friday, Carroll's plan calls for condos ranging from $160,000 for a 650-square-foot efficiency to $350,000 for a two-bedroom abode.

The exterior will be a combination dark granite and glass, with each condo having its own balcony.

Carroll and downtown supporters say the rehab will transform the look of the center city and pave the way for other developers to try even bigger projects in the center city.

"Frankly, that is the ultimate," Jim Melvin, president of the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, said of the 292,000-square-foot building. "It is sort of the cream on everything that we have been working on."

Despite the improvements downtown over the last six years, center city officials say the Wachovia building has been a barometer for the area's success.

"It has been a dark cloud on the downtown skyline," said Ray Gibbs, president of Downtown Greensboro Inc. " ... It didn't matter how many new restaurants, night clubs or shops opened, it was not ... until this building was rehabilitated that the revitalization of downtown was real. "Well, today I believe that everyone can agree it is real."

Carroll said the building rehab will tear away everything but the steel beams, concrete slabs and the stairs and elevator shafts.

"We don't want people to think of this as a Band-Aid," Carroll said. "We want a design that is exciting and will potentially set a high standard for future development in our city."

Carroll said the first floor will consist of a restaurant and perhaps a coffee shop and an ice cream shop.

Each condo will have 10-foot ceilings; hardwood, ceramic and carpeted floors; granite counter tops; and stainless steel appliances.

The building something new for downtown -- a part-time doorman.

Parking will be on two levels beneath the building, at a paved lot adjacent to the building to the north and in the JP/Lincoln Financial Group parking deck next door on Friendly Avenue.

A crosswalk will join the two buildings.

Carroll will be buying the building from Lincoln Financial, but he would not disclose the price. He said he hopes to close the deal in 45 days.

To bring the project to fruition, Carroll says he will need some form of public assistance, but Friday he would not say what kind or how much.

Several people familiar with his plans say that Carroll has asked the city and the county for about $2 million in incentives and that negotiations are currently underway.

Guilford County commissioners were briefed on Carroll's plans in private at Thursday's board meeting.

Commissioners will discuss awarding their share of the incentives -- about $1 million -- at a May 11 public hearing.

City officials could not provide additional information Friday.

Carroll's announcement came the same week that site preparation began for two other downtown condo projects.

Those are Arbor House Condominiums at 605 W. Market Street and the Bellemeade Village north of First Horizon Park, the new baseball stadium.

Contact Donald W. Patterson at 373-7027 or [email protected]

JOSEPH RODRIGUEZ

JOSEPH RODRIGUEZ

JOSEPH RODRIGUEZ


WACHOVIA bUILDING PROFILE
Address: 201 N. Elm St.
Construction started: 1964
Opened: Oct. 10, 1966
Cost: $7.5 million
Construction: Steel, glass and reinforced concrete
Building site: Surface parking lot
Architectural style: Coporate Modern
Architects: A.G. Odell Jr. and Associates of Charlotte
Builders: Little & Street Construction Co. of Charlotte
Height: 16 stories. Original plans called for the building to stand 20 stories, but project was scaled back.
Square footage: 292,000
Remodeled: 1990. Renamed The Greensboro Center
Abandoned: 1990. Tenants moved to two new high-rise office buildings north on Elm Street.
Current status: Vacant, gutted.ROY CARROLL
Age: 43
Occupation: Developer
Company: The Carroll Companies.
Title: Owner and president.
What company does: builds homes and constructs and manages apartments.
Land holdings: 1,200 acres in Guilford County that he owns or controls.
Marital status: Married with three children.
Hometown: Dunn.
Moved to Greensboro: 1962.
Education: Attended UNCG. Left school to go into business with his father, Roy Carroll Sr.
Why he's redeveloping Wachovia building: "It's a project someone needs to do for the community. The community has been very good to us."
 

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Megalomaniac
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nice, glad to see this getting reused.

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I saw that story on the news last night on channel 12. All I can say is that it is good to finally see that building get renovated for something else instead of just sitting there and taking up space. This will be great for Downtown Greensboro.
 

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Sic Semper Tyrannis
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Looks very nice; the new look blends with the city well.
 

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Looks great! The old Wachovia tower is a bit bland and this will certainly be an immense improvement! :)
 

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krazeeboi said:
Cool; gives the building a whole new vibe.
I agree. It'll definately be an improvement from that '60s and '70s boxy design. Those renderings look nice, almost looks like a better version of 230 South Tryon.
 

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Boy, the old boxy buildings are tough to renew. This looks like a pretty good effort, and one that will hopefully give some extra "jump" to d-town Greensboro. Interesting choice of color for the exterior, too.
 

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WOW! I am soooo happy for my hometown! I know tis may sound weird but the tower makes the skyline look larger.......................................or maybe its the night time angle with the lights and stuff. Most of the night time shots of smaller skylines have "larger" effect when its lit up pretty well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
i think the color has a lot to do with it along with the balcony additions and the lights on top shooting up. Man, I would have never thought they could make such a horrible looking building look so cool. This thing cannot get finished soon enough.
 
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