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Real Estate Bisnow
January 16, 2013 
Gaston County Bounce

The year is off to a bang in the Gaston County industrial market with the inking of the largest lease since those hard-to-remember days before the Great Recession (if you can remember back that far, or if you even want to). Daimler Trucks North America is taking 310k SF in Gastonia for warehousing, light manufacturing, and assembly.
NAI Southern Real Estate's David Goode, who repped Daimler, tells us that the new warehouse will support the automakers’ existing Freightliner plants in Gastonia and Mt. Holly, adding that the deal was a long time coming, with the search taking a year and a half. The renewed vigor of the auto industry helped out, just as the growing revival of US manufacturing has been good for Gaston. The county's industrial base includes metal and machine works, as well as plastics and rubber companies (a one-stop shop for all your robot needs).

What's Ahead for University City
Expect new student housing, R&D leasing, and retail in a busy year, according to University City Partners executive director Mary Hopper (at a Bisnow event with USGBC’s Emily Scofield). Crescent Resources began its 546-bed student housing development near the UNC Charlotte campus over the holidays (returning students will find construction and that milk they left out), and by spring AXA Equitable and Wells Fargo will have come to Innovation Park. “That will take the complex’s workforce to 5,000, and with their track record, BECOSouth will probably have signed additional tenants by then,” Mary tells us.
Based on the calls coming into the University City Partners office, Mary believes there will be an increase in activity inside the University Research Park in 2013, as well along the North Tryon rail line. DDR is at work on its six-store retail center adjacent to Ikea, but she doesn’t think that will be the only new retail in the vicinity. “No doubt there will be additional deals concerning the outparcels along Ikea Boulevard," Mary says. Pictured: the lay of the land around University City, taken from the Bisnow Blimp.

Lenders Go Deep for Deals
Lenders are going deep into small-town Carolina for deals. Recently, the owner of 900-902 W Cooksey Dr in Thomasville, NC, refinanced the grocery-anchored, 46k SF retail property for $4.8M from a CMBS lender. (That means more money for fresh kumquats.) Capital Advisors’ Clark Jenkins, who sourced the loan, tells us that deals like this will continue on properties whose fundamentals are sound, provided the low interest rate environment continues.

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Apartment Investors Undaunted
As predicted at a Bisnow event last month, Childress Klein is indeed starting new apartments at its Mint Street site, which will eventually add significantly to the local apartment stock. But the prospect of more product, along with already stiff competition, doesn't seem to be discouraging investors. This week, New York-based Rambleside RE Capital bought the 586-unit Autumn Park. ARA’s Dean Smith, who repped the undisclosed seller, notes that investors were interested because the property has been institutionally owned since its development in the '90s, so it’s in very good shape in an impossible-to-replicate location. That is, it can compete with the new kids.
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