A Colorado-based developer with Duke University ties has bought vacant land and several vacant buildings downtown, and is planning a development that could transform the city’s skyline.
The properties sold for $3 million Thursday to a limited liability company connected to Aspen, Colo.,-based Austin Lawrence Partners. Greg Hills, the real estate firm’s managing partner, said the plans are not final, but they envision a development with up to 26 stories including ground-floor shops and restaurants with office space and apartments above.
The project would also incorporate the renovated facades of several existing buildings on West Main and West Parrish streets, Hills said. Hills is a Duke University alumnus and a father of Duke graduate and a university sophomore. He said his wife and a partner in the firm, Jane Hills, is a member of the Duke Athletic Leadership Board. He said firm officials believe the redevelopment project will help transform the city’s downtown core.
The firm’s purchase included a vacant building at 117 W. Parrish St. that has interior damage as the result of a fire in 2001. It also included vacant buildings with storefronts at 113 W. Parrish St., and at 118, 120, and 122 W. Main St. In addition, the purchase included a neighboring a half-acre vacant lot that had housed a building with a F.W. Woolworth Co. store. The building was demolished by the city in 2003. A sit-in demonstration was held there during the Civil Rights era.