Saturday, February 24, 2024

2017 Building NC: The state’s most compelling new structures

From city skyscrapers to a hair-raising water park, the state’s most compelling new structures run the gamut. The fourth annual Building North Carolina awards, selected from projects completed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, showcase commercial structures based on their design, innovation and community impact.


[media-credit name=”The Spectrum Cos. (rendering courtesy of LS3P)” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]The Spectrum Cos. (rendering courtesy of LS3P)[/media-credit]


300 South Tryon


GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Balfour Beatty US, Dallas
ARCHITECT: LS3P, Charleston, S.C., and Cooper Carry, Atlanta
COST: $330 million
SIZE: 630,000-square-foot office tower and an 18-story hotel

As the tallest tower to join Charlotte’s skyline since the 2007-09 recession, 300 South Tryon has symbolic oomph if not a household name adorning the 25-story building. That’s to take nothing away from anchor and money-management company Barings LLC, which oversees $288 billion. Barings, formerly Babson Capital Management, is owned by Springfield, Mass.-based MassMutual Life Insurance Co. Food service company Elior North America, part of Paris-based Elior Group, moved its headquarters to 300 South Tryon and developed a French restaurant and coffee shop on the ground floor. The cool factor for many will be the office tower’s adjacent building, a Kimpton boutique hotel slated to open on Nov. 1. Dubbed the Kimpton Tryon Park, it’s smaller than its big brother but perhaps gets bragging rights with a 1,400-square-foot rooftop bar and event space. The Spectrum Cos., based in Charlotte, developed both projects.

[media-credit name=”Nick Merrick © Hedrich Blessing” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]


North Carolina Heart & Vascular Hospital


ARCHITECT: EYP Inc., Albany, N.Y.
COST: $235 million
SIZE: 306,000 square feet

The eight-story hospital for UNC Rex Healthcare is wired for the future. In addition to 114 patient rooms, two hybrid labs allow physicians to perform two procedures at once rather than scheduling separate surgical dates. The operating rooms double as training auditoriums where students can manipulate cameras. Patients are monitored even after they leave thanks to wearable technology. The hospital’s bells and whistles include a sculpture by Matt McConnell that greets visitors entering the soaring lobby. It’s one piece in an art collection worth more than $300,000. The hospital is expected to employ about 600 people and care for more than 80,000 patients per year.

[media-credit name=”Roger Winstead, N.C. State” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]


Reynolds Coliseum


ARCHITECT: CRA associates Inc., Chapel Hill; HOK, St. Louis, Mo.
COST: $35 million
SIZE: 186,000 square feet

Basketball mecca to presidential pulpit, N.C. State University’s famous arena received a facelift to match the adjacent Talley Student Union. Fans will appreciate interior renovations including the first air-conditioning system in Reynolds’ almost 70-year history. The coliseum is home to the school’s ROTC programs and its women’s basketball, gymnastics, wrestling and rifle teams, but it is perhaps most famous for hosting the men’s basketball team from 1949 to 1999. ESPN analyst and Charlotte lawyer Jay Bilas says Reynolds was the toughest arena he encountered during his Duke career. “The Wolfpack under Jim Valvano were a tough out and the games were always fistfights, but the thing I remember most is coming back to a huddle and seeing lips move but not being able to hear what was said. It was so hot and loud that your head would spin.” N.C. State’s greatest teams and athletes, including David Thompson, Torry Holt and Julie Shea, are honored in an interactive Grand Hall.

[media-credit name=”Jim Sink” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]


Walter and Marie Williams Building


GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Farrior & Sons Inc., Farmville
ARCHITECT: JKF Architecture, Greenville
COST: $17 million
SIZE: 78,000 square feet

Perhaps nothing points to the growth of this town outside Greenville as much as the popularity of Pitt Community College, which serves more than 23,000 students each year. That is twice as many as in 2003, when departing President G. Dennis Massey first arrived. Winterville may have only about 10,000 residents, but PCC is the state’s sixth-largest community college, ranked by student credit hours. To keep pace with the swelling number of students, the school has steadily added buildings, including a new facility for science, technology, engineering and math programs. The Walter and Marie Williams Building, named for longtime PCC supporters, houses a state-of-the-art biotechnology center, 11 laboratories, a STEM learning center, flexible industrial space, science tutorial center, 10 general-purpose classrooms and a 120-seat auditorium. It was funded through a $19.9 million bond package Pitt County voters approved in 2013 and a $2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

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615 South College


GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Holder Construction, Atlanta
ARCHITECT: John Portman & Associates, Atlanta
COST: $125 million
SIZE: 372,782 square feet

Other Charlotte office towers are taller, but the design of the 19-story high-rise visible from Interstate 277 has folks talking. Set within 615 South College’s clean lines are “notches,” balconies that pinwheel around the building, giving tenants a perfect view of a booming corridor with $2.7 billion in ongoing and upcoming real-estate projects. The design is the work of John Portman’s company, named for the architect credited with transforming the Atlanta skyline and designing what is considered to be the first modern atrium-style hotel, the Georgia capital’s famed Hyatt Regency. Still working in his 90s, Portman also designed downtown Charlotte’s Westin hotel, 615 South College’s sister building. Tenants at 615 South College include anchor Alabama-based Regions Bank and the hip WeWork co-working space. Accounting firm BDO USA and tech-services company Sitehands moved their Charlotte workers there, attracted to a center-city corridor drawing a Whole Foods tied to a light rail stop. Plans call for other office high-rises, midrise apartment buildings and hotels.


[media-credit name=”James Ewing” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]


Richard H. Brodhead Center for Campus Life


ARCHITECT: Grimshaw Architects, London
COST: $95 million
SIZE: 58,257-square-Foot renovation and 55,476-Square-foot addition

Bet your student union didn’t look like this. It’s a good guess that it also didn’t have 13 different dining venues serving dishes ranging from paella to soul food. The renovated and expanded West Union has been renamed for former Duke University President Richard Brodhead. It’s the nod to the future and tribute to the past that earned the project recognition from Architectural Digest and Architectural Record, which noted that the building inverts the university’s signature Gothic style. Wooden louvers add texture to stories of glass, but you can still find gargoyles and Indiana limestone on the building designed in the 1920s by Julian Abele, one of the first influential African-American architects, as part of a master plan by Frederick Law Olmsted. Back to the food: Renovations created a “street” of nine dining venues plus a pub and bakery at ground level, a pop-up demonstration kitchen on the second floor and a steakhouse on the third floor. The restaurants are interspersed with student lounges and meeting rooms.


Allison Williams
Allison Williams
Allison Williams is senior editor of Business North Carolina. You can reach her at

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