Years of economic strength have combined to create a robust construction market, which is evident in the ninth Building North Carolina awards for commercial real-estate projects. The eight category winners and nine honorable mentions span a wide spectrum of industries and include offices, apartments, performing arts, athletics, health care and lodging. Our editorial team selected the buildings with input from representatives of the state’s construction and architecture industries. Projects that were completed between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 were selected based on design, innovation and community impact.
NIDO AND MARIANA QUBEIN ARENA, CONFERENCE CENTER AND HOTEL
Developer: High Point University
Contractor: Christman Co. and Samet Corp.
Architect: CJMW Architecture in conjunction with Perkins + Will
Cost: $170 million
Size: 350,000 square feet
Since 2005, High Point University has undergone a complete transformation with 90 new buildings and more than $1 billion of development. The growth has rallied its hometown city, whose legacy as the world’s furniture capital was hit hard as many U.S. manufacturers moved production overseas.
In October 2021, the university added another landmark to its campus with a unique facility that serves as a venue for basketball games, concerts, conferences and community events. It was named after the university president and his wife who have led High Point’s expansion since 2005 with no letup in sight — about $400 million of projects are planned or under construction.
The 4,500-seat arena includes luxury suites, athletic training space and other amenities. Without leaving the building, visitors can walk to a conference center that hosts meetings with as many as 2,500 people, an intimate hotel with 40 rooms and various dining and meeting rooms.
Nido Qubein guided the design of the property based on what he learned by giving 7,500 motivational speeches at conference centers and meeting spaces across the world since the 1970s.
High Point enrolled a record 6,000 students this fall, including 1,600 new students. New schools for law, dentistry and nursing are in various stages of development, while an $80 million, 150,000-square foot library is expected to open in 2024.
The university hopes the new arena can attract recruits to help improve its men’s basketball program, which has had losing records in five of the last six years. G.G. Smith, son of High Point alum and former University of Kentucky coach Tubby Smith, succeeded his father as the team’s coach near the end of the 2021-22 season.
301 HILLSBOROUGH AT RALEIGH CROSSING
Developer: Fallon Company
Contractor: Clancy & Theys Construction Co.
Architect: Duda/Paine Architects
Cost: $160 million
Size: 299,752 square feet
Boston-based Fallon Company made its first mixed-use development in Raleigh a notable one with the April opening of 301 Hillsborough, a 19-story tower with about 287,000 square feet of office space and 12,100 square feet for retailers. It’s one of Raleigh’s tallest buildings with key tenants including Raleigh software firm Pendo, which leased the top five floors, and the Nelson Mullins law firm. The building has an open terrace on the ninth floor, a fitness studio and other amenities. Fallon has said it plans an adjacent tower that may be for offices or apartments at its Raleigh Crossing development.
CENTRAL PIEDMONT COMMUNITY COLLEGE PARR CENTER
Contractor: Rodgers Builders and R.J. Leeper Construction
Architect: Morris Berg Architects and Moody Nolan
Cost: $113 million
Size: 183,000 square feet
Central Piedmont Community College added the largest building in its 59-year history with this project that includes a library, student center and a 450-seat theater. It’s aimed at providing students a hub for collaboration as CPCC attracts more 21-and-under students to complement adult learners. The Dove Art Gallery and Catalyst Coffee Bar provide space for students to rest and refuel. The center is named after longtime benefactors Wilton Parr, a former Piedmont Natural Gas executive in Charlotte, and his wife, Mary.
DURHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY
Developer: Durham County
Contractor: Skanska and Holt Brothers Construction
Architect: Vines Architecture
Cost: $47.1 million
Size: 85,000 square feet
The county’s downtown library building, which opened more than two decades ago, underwent a significant renovation with an almost total rebuild. Adding an additional 20,000 square feet of space, the project’s goal was to usher in efficiency and innovation. The use of energy-efficient building components such as vast expanses of glass as a source of natural light contributed to its LEED® Gold certification. Updates also include a large outdoor program space and new parking areas that make a more seamless connection between downtown and adjacent residential areas.
STEVEN TANGER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Developer: City of Greensboro
Contractor: Barnhill Contracting
Architect: Rosser International and H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture
Cost: $93 million
Size: 100,000 square feet
The 3,000-seat multipurpose performance venue, which opened in September 2021, is located in downtown Greensboro near the the city’s historical museum and
cultural center. Its prominent features include an 8,000-square-foot grand lobby and a founder’s room for intimate gatherings. The venue hosts Broadway productions, concerts, comedy shows and other family entertainment. The facility has already entertained more than 430,000 patrons, with performances from Josh Groban, Patti LaBelle and Sting. In its first year, the center hosted 89 sold-out shows.
ATRIUM HEALTH UNION WEST
Developer: Atrium Health
Contractor: Brasfield & Gorrie
Cost: $150 million
Size: 150,000 square feet
The state’s biggest health care system opened the 40-bed hospital to serve fast-growing western Union County. It includes a 10-bay emergency department next to a helicopter landing pad. There is a 4-bed intensive care unit, 30 medical and surgical beds and six labor and delivery rooms. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide natural light and artwork hangs throughout the health center. The Charlotte-based system also operates Atrium Health Union hospital near downtown Monroe.
JW MARRIOTT CHARLOTTE
Developer: White Lodging and Crescent Communities
Contractor: Brasfield & Gorrie and DPR Construction
Architect: HKS Architects and KTGY + Simeone Deary Design Group
Size: 345,000 square feet
The first JW Marriott in the Carolinas is across the street from the Charlotte Convention Center. The 23-story hotel is part of the Ally Charlotte Center, covering an entire city block developed by Charlotte-based Crescent Communities. Merrillville, Ind.-based White Lodging owns the 381-room hotel that has floor-to-ceiling windows and 34 VIP suites. A spa features six private treatment suites. There’s 22,000 square feet of event space and three restaurants, Dean’s Italian Steakhouse, Caroline’s Oyster Bar and Aura Rooftop.
THE EASTERN RESIDENCES AT NORTH HILLS
Developer: Kane Realty
Contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction
Size: 376 units
The Eastern is a 35-story apartment tower in Raleigh’s North Hills neighborhood with 376 residences that opened in April. It features floor-to-ceiling windows, quartz countertops and floating bathroom vanities. Monthly rents are mostly in the $2,000 to $4,000 range, though some of the larger units top $10,000 per month. About 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities include a pool, wellness center and rooftop courtyard that provides expansive views of the Triangle.
TOWER TWO AT BLOC 
Developer: Heritage Properties
Cost: $108 million
Size: 271,500 square feet
Baltimore-based Heritage added the 10-story building after developing the adjacent One Glenwood project in the Glenwood South area. The site includes 30,000 square feet of street-level retail and a 665-space parking garage. Tenants include First Horizon Bank, the McAdams engineering and design firm, and Envestnet, a fintech company.
UNC PEMBROKE WEST HALL RENOVATION
Developer: UNC Pembroke
Architect: Jenkins Peer
Cost: $14 million
Size: 40,659 square feet
This former dorm built in 1965 was converted into a technology hub with exposed beams and high ceilings. The adaptive reuse project preserved the exterior brick characteristic of the school’s campus into a home for the university’s IT services group. It also has classrooms and meeting spaces. A new roof pop-up lets in abundant natural light. Renovations included a new elevator and HVAC system.
MURPHY’S FARM APARTMENTS
Developer: Homes Urban Development and Centerlane Capital
Contractor: Summit Contracting Group (apartments) and Stewart McKee (barns)
Architect: Group 4 Design (apartments) and Nverse (barns)
Cost: $39.5 million
Size: 224,640 square feet
Murphy’s Farm consists of 240 luxury apartments in eight three-story buildings. The design preserves local history with the reuse of a silo barn that houses community amenities including fitness rooms and small offices. Other amenities include a pilates and yoga studio, fire pit, saltwater pool and electric car charging stations.
N.C. STATE UNIVERSITY PLANT SCIENCES BUILDING
Developer: N.C. State University
Contractor: DPR Construction
Architect: Flad Architects
Cost: $160.2 million
Size: 185,000 square feet
The research and innovation building provides a place for collaboration among scientists and staff across multiple disciplines. Located in the center of the university’s Centennial Campus, it houses research labs, greenhouses, office space, collaborative hearth space and shared conference space.
LAUREL CREEK HALL AT APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY
Developer: RISE: A Real Estate Company in partnership
with Appalachian State
Contractor: Choate Construction
Architect: Niles Bolton Associates
Cost: $49.3 million
Size: 152,000 square feet
The five-story residence hall provides 640 beds for university housing. It has a 14,400-square-foot green space for students that includes an area for hammocks. The project has a focus on sustainability with LED lighting, energy- and water-efficient appliances and other features.
ALOFT HOTEL / COASTLINE CONVENTION CENTER
Developer: Wilmington Hospitality Associates
Contractor: Clancy & Theys
Architect: Isom-Ham Design Group
Cost: $30 million
Size: 112,229 square feet
Located near the Cape Fear River and next to the downtown
convention center, the 7-story hotel offers 125 guest rooms, including 12 suites and 11 corner rooms with balconies. With about 32,000 square feet of renovated space, its lobby and meeting spaces sit in what used to be the Atlantic Coastline Railroad headquarters until the 1960s. The hotel has space for events for as many as 400 guests.
Developer: Friends Homes
Contractor: Landmark Builders
Architect: Stewart & Conners Architects
Cost: $11.7 million
Size: 112,229 square feet
The independent living campus for senior citizens underwent recent renovations including an upgraded wellness center that features an indoor track, a bistro with outdoor seating and more exercise and multifunctional spaces.
PINE SPRINGS PREPARATORY ACADEMY
Developer: Pine Springs Prep
Contractor: Landmark Builders
Architect: Insight Architects
Cost: $14.5 million
Size: 65,520 square feet
The K-8 public charter school’s expansion includes a new middle school addition at the existing campus. The two-story building features multiple classrooms, administrative offices, a large gymnasium, assembly area and collaborative spaces. The academy enrolls 1,250 students.
SEVEN SOUNDS BREWING
Developer: Paul Robinson, Matt Wood and Dean Schaan
Contractor: JD Lewis Construction Management
Architect: Walter Parks Architects
Cost: $3.3 million
Size: 13,300 square feet
Operating in a former warehouse built 100 years ago, Seven Sounds is an independent craft brewery on the banks of the Pasquotank River. The downtown revitalization project led to the area’s second local brewery. The second floor has about 6,000 square feet of event space with a seated capacity of 300 guests, while there’s a 4,000-square-foot rooftop space.