Local News

Durham Housing Authority Agrees To Sell Golden Belt Service Center for $2.6M

Posted July 7, 2006 6:56 a.m. EDT

— The Durham Housing Authority has reached an agreement to sell the huge tobacco packaging complex known as the Golden Belt Service Center to a local developer for $2.625 million.

The Housing Authority's board voted 6-1 on Thursday to authorize Development Ventures, Inc. (DVI), which is part of the Authority, to negotiate a letter of intent to sell the property to Scientific Properties, LLC.

The board wants some changes made in the original letter of intent submitted to DVI, including a shorter due-diligence period of 30 days rather than 90 days. The board also is seeking a $10,000 deposit within three days of signature with another $90,000 to be deposited on day 31 assuming that the entire due-diligence period has passed and the purchaser notifies the Housing Authority that it is "going forward" with the purchase. The deposit will be applied toward the purchase price.

The property has a tax value of just under $900,000.

DVI took possession of the property from Brown and Williamson Company in 1997 and had invested some $3 million in attempting to redevelop it.

Habitant for Humanity and Scientific Properties both had submitted letters of interest in the property. The complex covers 7.5 acres.

Scientific Properties, which is based in Durham, has said it intends to "rehabilitate" the Golden Belt Service Center as a mixed-use campus with commercial and residential use. The company said it expected to develop 80 percent of the area as commercial, creating the potential of more than 600 jobs.

The company, founded by Andrew Rothschild, provides turnkey real estate solutions to life science companies. It operates the Triangle Biotechnology Center at Durham Central Park as well as the Triangle Biotechnology Center at Venable in Durham. Venable is another former tobacco complex.

The Golden Belt Service Center, which is east of downtown Durham, includes nine buildings.