IN THIS ISSUE
· THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
· AT MCDONALDS
· IT’S NOT ALL ROSES
EVERY COUPLE OF MONTHS OR SO.
THINGS TO BE PROUD OF
NOAH PHILIP MOFIELD. BORN JANUARY 23, 2002 TO AMY (DAUGHTER # 3) AND MARK MOFIELD. MARK, BY THE WAY, IS THE NEW PASTOR OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF ELON (FORMERLY KNOW AS ELON COLLEGE) IN THE BURLINGTON AREA. YES, THAT’S SEVEN GRANDCHILDREN UNDER SEVEN YEARS OLD.
DID YOU KNOW?
ACCORDING TO MORLEY SAFER ON 60 MINUTES LOTS OF PEOPLE COME TO DURHAM EVERY YEAR TO LOSE WEIGHT. LOTS OF WEIGHT. 100 TONS OF FAT AND FLAB EACH YEAR. THEY ALSO CONTRIBUTE 80 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR TO OUR LOCAL ECONOMY IN THEIR QUEST FOR BETTER HEALTH.
THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
In case you missed the announcement, the recession/ slow down is ending. Unemployment went up a couple of points. Interest rates came down. Many people have asked me if it is a Buyer’s Market yet. Results can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, of course, but for the most part the answer is “no”.
There is a part of the Triangle where in the next five years not only will it be a “Seller’s Market” but it will experience unprecedented growth. Many different areas of the Triangle have had their day in the sun. Inside the beltway, Cary, North Raleigh, and Chapel Hill have had legendary growth spurts. With the exception of the Raleigh/Wake Forest corridor the anti-growth crowd has managed to reign in new growth for the near future in those areas. Then there is the story of the “Golden Circle”.
The southern edge of the Golden Circle is the aforementioned Streets at Southpoint Mall. The northern edge of the circle is, believe it or not, downtown Durham. For several years now we have discussed various proposed projects and renewal efforts. In the last sixty days most of them have been given the “Go” signal. Consider the impact of these:
· The developers of the American Tobacco Co. complex have announced that they are moving forward with the 200 plus million dollar project. A one million dollar environmental cleanup is currently underway and major business tenants have been secured. Remember that this is to be 1.4 million square feet of offices, shops, condo, hotels, laboratories, etc.
· The American Tobacco project triggers the much-needed parking garage next to the ballpark and the 5,000 seat concert arena. Cost: $30 million.
· The Leggett redevelopment project will have 500,000 sq. ft. of housing, commercial, office and retail. It will involve tearing down the large main building (it is much too new to fit in with the theme) and rehabbing the classic brick warehouses. Cost $60 mil.
· The West Village complex has been under way for several years now but the owners have recently announced the addition of 32-50 brownstones. These units will be built in the parking lot on the downtown side of the project and will be from 5,000 to 6,000 sq. ft. in size. Total cost of West Village: $100 million.
· The Renaissance at Durham Center will be a second 14-story tower mirroring the original building. The new tower will be for 180 luxury condos. Pre-sales are to start this year. Cost is $44 million.
· If you think all that will change Durham’s skyline, the recent announcement by a Connecticut developer will really floor you—27 floors. The heart of Durham hotel site is scheduled to get not one, but two 27-story towers full of 416 condos. There will also be 12,000 sq. ft. of shops on site. Construction could begin as early as August. Cost is $70 million.
· Durham County has announced that they will build a new high-rise courthouse and other government offices next to the County jail site. This project is slated for 2004. Cost is $93 million, ouch!!
· The Durham Station project will be a combined bus, light rail, and taxi center near the Leggett site. Cost will be $15 million.According to my math that is over $600 million worth of faith in the future of downtown Durham. If you fall asleep for the next three years you may not recognize Durham when you wake up. And if you live in the Golden Circle your property value will have skyrocketed while you snoozed. Old houses will be bought and renovated. Previously worthless or seemingly unbuildable lots will be in high demand. This process is called “infilling” and you will hear it used a lot in the next few years. Growth will not be limited to just the Golden Circle but will spill over into north Durham and into the rapidly developing land south of the new mall.
We all remember that catchy jingle. I’m not referring to the golden arches but to that timeless Ninth Street institution run by John and Francis McDonald known as McDonald’s Drug Store. Esquire Magazine recently ran an article entitled “162 Reasons It’s Good to Be an American Man”. Reason number 53 was the ability to go to McDonald’s Drug Store in Durham to feast on a coffee milkshake. I guess life is a little closer to being complete now since I made the pilgrimage. I confess that I ordered a chocolate shake but it was well worth it.
IT’S NOT ALL ROSES
In the good news-bad news category, Durham County has decided to put off their quest for Impact Fees for at least another year. That’s the good news. Word has it that they are waiting for legislation from Raleigh giving them not only the power to impose impact fees but transfer taxes as well. The current state budget crisis is not a one-time event but the result of years of careless spending by the Legislature. This ballooning deficit will no doubt continue to put pressure on local governments to find new sources of revenue as the State of North Carolina keeps more and more of our tax dollars in Raleigh. And we, the people, keep electing the same folks year after year or we just don’t bother to vote at all.