New Uptown Office Tower Signs 1st Tenant

June 20, 2008


Friday, June 20, 2008

The developers of a 15-story office tower planned on South Church Street in uptown Charlotte have signed their first major tenant. HDR, an employee-owned architectural, engineering and consulting firm, will lease 45,000 square feet in the 440 South Church building.

The announcement came Thursday during a ground breaking by Trinity Capital Advisors and Novare Group for the 363,000 square-foot structure, which is to include 7,000 square feet of ground level-retail space.

“This event signals HDR’s commitment to Charlotte, which we have been proud to call home for nearly 50 years,” said Charlotte Department Manager Matt Ryan. The office, opened in 1961, was HDR’s third branch location. Today it’s a regional hub for HDR’s five N.C. and S.C. offices. The company employs almost 200 people in the Carolinas and nearly 140 in Charlotte.

The new office tower will share a 5.2-acre site at Church and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard with the 27-story Catalyst condo tower. As part of Thursday’s activities, Novare opened its sales office at 222 S. Church St. for the 462 residences, priced from the $180,000s.

Novare started construction of the condos last August on speculation and expects to move in buyers starting in January. The $78 million office building, to be completed in the third quarter of 2009, is being constructed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards. It will be one of five to be completed in the center city over the next few years. Trinity’s Gary Chesson said 440 South Church will help meet demand for offices in the center city, where the vacancy rate now stands at less than 2 percent.

In pairing the projects, Novare officials said they wanted to emphasize the potential for the buildings to be a catalyst for development in Third Ward, where a public park also is planned. “Through developments such as 440 South Church, Charlotte’s Third Ward is quickly becoming an ideal urban village,” said John Long, Novare Group Chief Investment officer. “Tenants will be able to live, work and play in the same neighborhood.”

Jeff Harper and Eric Parris of The Staubach Co. represented HDR in the lease transaction.

Bovis Lend Lease is the general contractor for the Catalyst and 440 South Church. The building were designed by Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart and Associates. One more component- a residential/hotel tower named TWELVE Hotels & Residences- is planned on the site, but Novare officials say it probably won’t be started before fall 2009.

HDR, the Omaha, Neb.-based initial office building tenant, provides services for projects ranging from wastewater to health care. Its key Charlotte projects include plant improvements and expansions for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities and design work for the new Mecklenburg County Courthouse.

Doug Smith: 704-358-5174;