Developer Preferred Office making big splash in Raleigh, Charlotte
An Atlanta family with a robust real estate history in the Georgia capital is quickly becoming a force in both North Carolina’s state capital and Charlotte.
Preferred Office Properties announced plans for 121 Fayetteville, a 30-story office tower in downtown Raleigh last week. No leases have been announced for the project, which is a half-block from the old State Capitol building. But Preferred brings a lot of credibility.
The company is led by Boone DuPree, a 2010 graduate of Wake Forest University. It’s a subsidiary of Preferred Apartment Communities Inc., a publicly traded Atlanta-based real estate investment trust that is headed by DuPree’s father, Daniel DuPree.
In the last year, Preferred Office has bought three prime N.C. properties: Capitol Towers in Charlotte’s SouthPark neighborhood for $209 million; the Wells Fargo Tower in downtown Raleigh — across the street from 121 Fayetteville — for an undisclosed price; and the CapTrust Tower in Raleigh’s North Hills neighborhood for $98 million.
“We definitely draw optimism for 121 Fayetteville from our direct experience in Raleigh at 150 Fayetteville and most recently CapTrust Tower,” Boone DuPree says via email. “There is very little vacancy in the market to accommodate all the job and population growth, and there aren’t many/any projects that can offer the skyline branding opportunity 121 Fayetteville can for a lead customer.”
Daniel DuPree is among Atlanta’s best-known property executives. He worked for Post Properties, then started his own shopping center company, New Market Development Co., which he sold to Cousins Properties Inc. in 1992. He was president of publicly traded Cousins for nine years, then CEO of Reynolds Cos. for three years before moving to Preferred Apartments, which was founded by the late John Williams, who was called Atlanta’s “Apartment King.” DuPree succeeded Williams as CEO at Preferred Apartment Communities.
Boone DuPree founded Preferred Office after spending five years at Cousins. While there, he worked on deals including Carolina Square in Chapel Hill, Dimensional Fund Advisors’ new office in downtown Charlotte; and Fifth Third Center, also in downtown Charlotte. Former Cousins colleagues have joined him at Preferred, including executive vice presidents Carl Dickson and Jason Frost.
Raleigh-based Kane Realty is leasing 121 Fayetteville, while Durham-based Duda Paine Architects is designing it. Kane developed CapTrust Tower and remains a partner there with Preferred.
Preferred Apartment Communities is publicly traded with a market value of about $650 million. The company also has a non-traded stock and mortgages that bring its total assets to about $5 billion as of June 30, according to Boone DuPree.
Preferred’s 121 Fayetteville is the largest of four high-rise office buildings bubbling in downtown Raleigh. The capital is among the nation’s hottest cities, but It’s unlikely each project will make it from plan to fruition. Then again, whoever thought IBM would pay $34 billion for Raleigh startup Red Hat Inc.?