$20M: County to buy Durham Strip Center and other properties

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County Durham has negotiated a $12.1 million price tag for the Shoppes of Hope Valley, where it intends to relocate the Board of Elections. The mall is on Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway at Roxboro Street.

British Columbia Timber Properties

County Durham will spend $20 million on a strip mall, the former home of the Boys & Girls Club, and several acres next to Durham Technical Community College.

The County Durham Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Monday evening to approve all three purchases.

“We can’t keep putting everything downtown,” Commissioner Nimasheena Burns said at the meeting. “We have to put things in the community.”

“We are proactive,” said President Brenda Howerton.

Durham Board of Elections will consolidate locations

The mall was the most expensive purchase. It spans over 17 acres and contains an empty grocery store intended to house the new County Durham Board of Elections.

The Shoppes of Hope Valley was built in 2002 on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at Roxboro Street, anchored by a long-vacant Kroger with 25 additional storefronts and a 590-space parking lot.

Kroger closed its 14 Triangle locations in 2018, selling some to its North Carolina-based subsidiary, Harris Teeter.

Kentucky-based real estate developer BC Wood Properties bought the mall in 2015 for $15.6 million but was never able to re-let the 54,436-square-foot flagship store. A $12.1 million contract was negotiated with the county, records show, with BC Wood agreeing to first replace the roof and HVAC systems and seal off the parking lot.

Elections Director Derek Bowens said the Elections Board is currently split between two locations: a main office downtown and a warehouse on South Alston Avenue.

“What this will do is consolidate our spaces into one facility and also give us the additional space we need for our ever-expanding operations,” Bowens told The News & Observer.

Sixteen units of the strip mall are leased to tenants that include Family Dollar, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, and a variety of restaurants, cell phone companies, and other stores.

“No decision has been made on what to do with these at this stage. Current leases will remain unchanged,” said Peri Manns, Deputy Managing Director of Administration.

Bowens said the move — five years in the making — could happen as early as 2023. The county is considering limited bond or bank financing.

“It’s just down Hillside and it’s right across from the new John Avery Boys & Girls Club and there’s a new elementary school going there, so we already know it’s going to be a center for community activity and we want to make sure we have a place there,” Burns said.

Bull City United may move into former Boys & Girls Club

The county will spend an additional $6 million to purchase a vacant building that for five decades housed the Boys & Girls Club.

“It’s right in the center of Haiti. Hayti was bought by people who are not from this community or from this state,” Burns said. “We did it so people couldn’t keep tearing Haiti apart.”

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Pictured is a mural outside the former derelict Boys and Girls Club of Greater Durham building along East Pettigrew Street in Durham’s Hayti area. Laura Brache [email protected]

The two parcels total 2.61 acres and were last sold in 2019 to an LLC registered with private investor Pablo Reiter for just over $2 million.

“This is a very strategic and valuable property,” Vice President Wendy Jacobs said. “We don’t just want County Durham government to be housed in downtown office buildings. We need to be accessible. »

Bull City United, a county- and city-funded violent crime and gang intervention program, had originally hoped to lease the empty building, which is sandwiched between East Pettigrew Street and the Durham Freeway.

The Boys & Girls Club has inhabited it for most of its history – from 1972 until it moved to Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway in 2020.

“Before a lease could be negotiated, the landlord made the decision to sell the property rather than enter into a long-term lease,” county staff wrote in an agenda item.

“It was just a perfect place,” Joanne Pierce, the county’s chief health and wellness officer, told commissioners on Monday.

The Department of Public Health launched Bull City United in 2016 to send trusted community members called “violence interrupters” to select neighborhoods to help resolve conflict, identify people at high risk for violent behavior and reshape communities. social norms around gun violence.

Pierce said the space will also be used by My Brother’s Keeper and Project BUILD, other programs of the Department of Public Health’s Community Response Department.

The county is also considering limited bond or bank financing.

Durham Tech buys neighboring land

The commissioners have also agreed to buy land next to Durham Tech

For the past two decades, the nearly 6 acres were owned by Randal and Leslie Brame, who gave the college the first option to purchase and negotiated a price of $2.3 million.

“This is an important piece to put in place for our community, but it’s also an important piece for the college’s future expansion opportunities,” said JB Buxton, president of Durham Tech.

The money will be taken from the fund the county uses to pay its debts.

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This story was originally published August 8, 2022 5:43 p.m.

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Mary Helen Moore covers Durham for The News & Observer. She grew up in eastern North Carolina and attended UNC-Chapel Hill before spending several years working at newspapers in Florida. Outside of work, you might find her riding her bike, reading, or tending to plants.