Statewide: Triangle region, November 2015

 In 2015-11

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Should Raleigh get high?

To house the thousands of people clamoring to live in central Raleigh, developers are going to have to build skyward. That’s the message from Greg Hatem of Empire Properties, owner of about 40 downtown properties that include offices, retail shops, restaurants, hotels and condos. As Raleigh overhauls its zoning districts in a third of the city, Hatem is pushing for the ability to develop taller buildings.

In the blocks around the main streets, developers would be limited to four or five stories under the city’s proposal. Hatem wants approval to build 12-story buildings. Where the city is proposing 12-story buildings, Hatem wants to go bigger. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that we need tall everywhere,” he says. “It means we need a thoughtful canopy of buildings in our downtown.”

Today’s zoning system, Hatem says, is a legacy of the era of suburban flight. City planners didn’t believe there would be a demand for 20-story buildings five blocks from Fayetteville Street. “Now everybody’s coming back with a vengeance into downtown,” he says. “What seemed to be a tall building at that time might be a small building now.” Raleigh’s tallest, at 32 stories, is PNC Plaza, which opened in 2008.

It’s a tricky issue for city councilors. Developers seeking taller buildings need special permission, giving city officials more leverage. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which promotes the district, favors permitting buildings as high as 60 stories. “Downtown Raleigh needs more height allowances and density to achieve its potential for more retail, more supply for more affordable options, and more diversity of design,” President David Diaz says.

Some forecasters say Raleigh’s population will grow 71% between 2010 and 2030, one of the fastest rates among the largest U.S. cities. Many of those new residents are likely to seek center-city housing. “We have one chance to plan for that now, to create the density that we know is coming,” Hatem says.


Briefs

CARY — DB Global Technology, a unit of Germany-based Deutsche Bank, will add 250 jobs and invest $9 million by the end of 2016 at its local software-development center. The company employs more than 600 here. The new jobs will pay an average annual salary of $85,600, higher than Wake County’s $48,875. DB Global could receive state incentives totaling nearly $3.4 million if it meets job-creation goals.

CARYAlign Technology, the Amsterdam-based company that makes Invisalign braces, will invest $4 million and create more than 100 jobs in its first East Coast location. Most jobs will be in research and development and software development. Salaries were not disclosed.

MORRISVILLEDelta Air Lines will add a daily nonstop route from Raleigh-Durham International Airport to Paris beginning May 2016. It’s RDU’s second trans-Atlantic flight; American Airlines offers daily non- stop flights to London.

RALEIGHYadkin Financial is buying NewBridge Bancorp of Greensboro for stock valued at $456 million, or $11.40 per share. The company will have $7.1 billion in assets, making it the state’s biggest community bank.

MORRISVILLELongfellow Real Estate Partners paid $117.7 million for Keystone Technology Park, which includes 11 office, flex and lab buildings on nearly 80 acres. The seller was Houston-based Lionstone Invest- ments. Boston-based Longfellow  is developing the 15-acre Durham Innovation District.

MORRISVILLETransEnterix bought  the surgical-robotics division of Italy- based Sofar for $68.7 million in cash and stock. The medical-device company based here could pay another $31.1 million in cash if milestones are met. Formed in the 2013 merger of TransEnterix Surgical and Miami-based SafeStitch Medical, TransEnterix raised $52 million in a stock offering in May.

RALEIGHHighwoods Properties paid $303 million for two Atlanta office buildings totaling 896,000 square feet and $124 million for the 35-story, 528,000-square-foot SunTrust Financial Centre in Tampa, Fla. The real-estate investment trust based here also plans to sell more than 1.4 million square feet of office and retail property in Kansas City. Proceeds will go to repay debt incurred through the acquisitions.

DURHAM — Boston-based Intarcia Therapeutics acquired Phoundry Pharmaceuticals for an undisclosed amount. Founded in February by six former GlaxoSmithKline scientists, Phoundry develops treatments for diabetes and obesity.

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