Lease is more – Two big signings lift URP

Jul 23, 2013 | Economic Development

Chalk up two more big leasing announcements for the University Research Park. The leases are coming so quickly we can hardly post them before others roll in. The latest – Red Ventures and Allstate – reinforce two points about University City businesses we have made before. 1) Proximity to UNC Charlotte is a big draw; and 2) Once businesses come here, they stay even if it means moving around.

First Environmental Way, URP’s only LEED Platinum building, landed Red Ventures. This is the rapidly growing technology-focused marketing company whose Indian Land, S.C., offices are ready to expand again. Like Peak 10, which came to the park last year, Red Ventures leaders saw the wisdom of balancing their growth strategy by adding a north Mecklenburg site.

They told Environmental Ways owners David and Vickie Bowles that being near the Mallard Creek Greenway, which would allow UNC Charlotte students to bike to work, was as big a draw as the building’s energy efficiency. Both are attributes this newsletter has bragged about repeatedly.

In fact, they like this location so much that the lease guarantees them the right to buy the building. Because the Bowleses had bought the adjacent land, which includes tennis courts and a place to play basketball, their young workforce can exercise even if they do not come to the site by bike.

Allstate has been a major presence on McCullough for over 30 years … you may have seen their volleyball courts (do you notice a trend here? Our workers are action oriented). As Allstate grew , they leased space in Resource Square 3, one of the handsome multitenant buildings that line David Taylor Drive on the northern edge of the University Research Park.

To increase operational efficiency and to take advantage of the extras being provided all tenants in Innovation Park, Allstate is taking 200,000 square feet of space there. It will be a phased move, as the build out progresses with the Resource Square tenants coming in 2014. and McCullough workers in 2015.

Since the McCullough building, with its large frontage, will be within walking distance of the LYNX transit stop at McCullough and North Tryon, Allstate should be able to find a buyer that will want a location that’s within walking distance of light rail.

While Allstate’s move is not a net gain in employees for University City, it does encourage Innovation Park owners, BECO South, to begin construction on 300,000 square feet of new buildings they just rezoned.

That is good news to business recruiters who have enjoyed the access to large spaces in their recruitment efforts. More importantly, its shows a major upswing in occupancy.

So while a recent news article says U City has had 30% vacancies, not so. In fact the next quarterly report from Karnes Research Co. that will be in the Charlotte Business Journal shows an 18% vacancy – the best in many years.

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