Developer Hatem to begin construction on L Building in downtown Raleigh

dbracken@newsobserver.comNovember 22, 2013 

— Developer Greg Hatem expects to begin construction early next month on the long-delayed L Building that will wrap around two sides of a downtown parking deck.

Hatem said Thursday that the banners now covering the Wake County parking deck will be taken down by the end of the week, with an official groundbreaking event scheduled for Dec. 2.

The $16 million project, to be built at the corner of West Davie and McDowell streets, will include 83 apartments and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Balfour Beatty Construction plans to occupy 8,000 square feet of office space in the building after the company participates in the construction.

Hatem first committed to the L Building in 2007, and the project has gone through several design revisions as the real estate market has shifted.

“We started as condos, then went to office, and finally, it’s apartments,” Hatem said.

The building will be the first that Hatem and his company, Empire Properties, have constructed from the ground up. Until now, Empire has focused mostly on renovating old buildings downtown and filling them with restaurants, retail shops and offices.

Construction of the L Building is expected to take between 12 and 14 months. Financing is being provided by First Tennessee Bank, Hatem said.

After several years of very little new construction in downtown Raleigh, the area will soon have multiple active construction sites.

On Dec. 4, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held for SkyHouse Raleigh, the 23-story luxury apartment tower that is to be built across from City Market on the southwest corner of Martin and Blount streets.

Construction is also expected to begin soon on an 11-story office tower on the Charter Square site at the south end of Fayetteville Street. Raleigh-based Dominion Realty Partners is building the $54 million project with financing from Prudential Real Estate Investors.

Bracken: 919-829-4548; Twitter: @brackendavid

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