By Anne Marie Howard, Esq.
CEO, Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association/CarolinaMLS
A new year is typically an exciting time, but it’s even more so for our association.
In the first quarter, the Board of Directors expects to take another major step in a long and well-planned process to add to our financial stability and to the vibrancy of the growing Midtown area of Charlotte.
In late winter or early spring, the Board of Directors anticipates deciding how our Greenwood Cliff Campus will be re-developed to provide a new headquarters for the association as a part of a new mixed-use development. Because of the association’s land assembly and planning, we have been receiving unsolicited offers for years, and now we’re thrilled to be moving forward.
The association’s 5.29 acres are listed with our Realtor®, Roger Cobb, who is with Selwyn Property Group. We are grateful to Roger for his great patience and expert advice as we’ve worked through this lengthy and careful process.
We are asking that developers view our listing as an RFP, or request for proposal, and submit all proposals to Roger. We want the association’s headquarters to be part of the site and have the parking we need and the strong visibility and signage we have today. We also want space in our building that we can rent and/or use for expansion.
Based on extensive study, we know what the property is worth, and the board is open to owning our building outright or doing a joint venture, depending on the offer.
Understandably, some members have asked why we aren’t renovating our current building. We studied that in 2007 and again in 2012 and 2014, and we found that the level of repair and update the building needs make renovation a poor choice. The HVAC system and roof need replacement by 2016 or sooner, and we’ve been having significant plumbing issues as well. In other words, the building is rapidly becoming functionally obsolete. In addition to being obsolete, it is clear that the property is more valuable if the association can re-locate temporarily at some point and put the entire 5.29 acres on the market at one time.
The association Board of Directors arrived at the point of seeking a new headquarters and re-developing our land in 2014. The commercial real estate market continued to improve, and we were able to secure the “yellow house” property at 1233 Harding Place, located at the corner of Kenilworth Avenue. The sale closed at the end of December.
We’re excited about the positive development impact we can have on Midtown through re-development of our 5.29 contiguous acres, near the growing Metropolitan development, Little Sugar Creek Greenway and John Belk Freeway. Funds from the re-development will help secure the financial future of the association.
None of this would have been possible, however, without the Board of Directors’ long-term and consistent planning. Since President Tony Smith appointed a Land Acquisition Task Force in 2003, there has been steady progress with land assembly, site improvements and assessments. To learn about that process, you can see my historical sidebar with this story.
In June, when the Board of Directors decided to make our new headquarters part of our 5.29 acres, we spent the rest of the year contracting to buy the yellow house, looking at our building again and engaging a firm to provide more conceptual ideas for the property (we had also looked at concepts in earlier years).
In October, the board voted for the RFP approach to listing the property. On Nov. 20, I signed the listing agreement on behalf of the board, and our 5.29 acres went on the market Dec. 1.
Let the proposals begin!