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Two sales first taste of Blue Line activity in University City

University City kicked off the new year on a high note, with the trading of both a major office property and a retail center. Deals of that kind are taking advantage of a growth market that’s anticipating the opening of the Blue Line extension later this year. The 259,000-square-foot Mallard Creek Center in University City recently traded hands for nearly $20 million.

“The university submarket has become one of the strongest in Charlotte throughout the last few years, and we’re pleased to see continued regional investment,” said CBRE EVP Patrick Gildea. Along with colleagues Will Yowell and Ralph Oldham, Gildea represented the sellers, CBRE Global Investors and the State of Utah. Stream Realty Partners, through an affiliate, was the buyer. Major tenants at Mallard Creek Center include Cognizant, Corus360, Farm Bureau Insurance and Securitas. Charlotte’s Northeast submarket, which includes University City, has enjoyed 12 quarters in a row of declining office vacancy, CBRE data shows. The submarket’s rents are on the rise as well, increasing 5.8 percent in the last 12 months. Dallas-based Stream owns one other Charlotte property; it acquired the former AT&T Plaza building Uptown, now known as 300 South Brevard, in 2015 for more than $45 million and undertook major renovations.

In December, Ferris Development Group of Boston acquired the 202,000-square-foot Grande Promenade shopping center for a bit more than $40 million. The company, which typically looks for value-add, is a newcomer to the Charlotte market. The Blue Line extension, which will open in August, was a deciding factor in Ferris choosing to buy Grande Promenade, the company told the Charlotte Observer. It’s planning various improvements to the property. Also last month, the Charlotte City Council approved a 40-unit apartment development by Gateway Communities on a 0.7-acre triangular parcel on the west side of North Brevard Street, next to where the Blue Line will run. That adds to the roughly 2,000 apartments planned or underway along the 9.2-mile extension from Uptown to UNC-Charlotte.

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