News & Observer: Colorado developer buys portfolio of downtown Durham properties

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News & Observer: Colorado developer buys portfolio of downtown Durham properties

NEWS AND OBSERVER

A Colorado developer has acquired a portfolio of properties in downtown Durham from Greenfire Development. Aspen-based Austin Lawrence Partners paid $3 million for the former Woolworth site on W. Parrish Street as well as the vacant buildings at 118, 120 and 122 W. Main St., according to property records. The sale also included the building at 113 W. Parrish.

Austin Lawrence plans to construct a mix of office, residential and retail on the Woolworth site, which is bounded by Parrish, Corcoran and Main streets, said Greg Hills, the company’s president. He said the firm would rehabilitate the storefronts on West Main and West Parrish and demolish the fire-damaged building that now sits on the Woolworth site. “We totally believe the table’s been set for just this last piece of Durham to be revitalized and transformed,” Hills said.

The deal is the latest sign of activity in Durham’s core, where Durham-based Greenfire has struggled to redevelop the property that it accumulated last decade. Hills said Greenfire retained a small ownership stake in the deal and is now one of several limited partners. A Greenfire official declined to comment Thursday. Greenfire recently struck a similar deal with 21c, the Louisville, Ky.-based developer that plans to turn the Hill Building, which is across Corcoran Street from the Woolworth’s site, into a boutique hotel. 21c is buying the 17-story building, also called the SunTrust Tower, and Greenfire is keeping a minority stake. Hills said the deal with Greenfire came together after a friend took him on a tour of downtown Durham. His firm specializes in historic preservation, and typically looks for projects in areas in need of revitalization.

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