Local News

Developer gets extension for downtown project

Posted September 2, 2008 4:43 p.m. EDT
Updated September 2, 2008 11:13 p.m. EDT

— For the third time in two months, the City Council cut a downtown developer some slack in arranging financing.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to grant Raleigh lawyer Ted Reynolds a four-month extension, until Dec. 1, to line up financing for The Hillsborough, a 23-story mix of retail shops, a hotel and condominiums at the corner of Dawson and Hillsborough streets.

Reynolds missed an Aug. 1 deadline on his financing, and City Manager Russell Allen recommended that the council void his contract to purchase the property.

“In my view they have had plenty of time in a very good economy to get the project done and get it financed and they weren’t able to do it,” Allen said.

The city's inspections office was formerly housed on the site, but its building was torn down last fall to make way for the $65 million tower, which is expected to include 17,500 square feet of retail space, a 136-room hotel and 26 condos on the top floors.

“I think if the economic conditions had not been what they currently are I would have voted against that extension,” Councilman Thomas Crowder said.

The council also twice rejected Allen's recommendations to terminate Empire Properties' contract to build The Lafayette, a 22-story tower at the corner of Lenoir and Salisbury streets. Like Reynolds, the developer didn't have its financing in place to meet a city deadline, and it later balked at paying for street improvements up front.

The council voted to give Empire until November to arrange financing and agreed to let it pay for street improvements later.

“I felt like we had opportunities with other developers who could, perhaps, put together proposals that could get the project done sooner,” Allen said.

Also Tuesday, the council approved plans for The Edison, a four-tower complex planned for a downtown block bounded by Wilmington, Martin, Blount and Davie streets. Two 38-story towers and two 29-story towers would include offices, retail space and high-rise condominiums.