BECO TRANSFORMING IBM CAMPUS
After one year, BECO South is well into renovations of the 200-acre former IBM campus in University City, jacking up the amenities package, recasting building exteriors, and trying to drum up some fresh tenants for what once was a tired office park tucked away at I-85 and W.T. Harris Boulevard.
BECO South president Chris Epstein is only too familiar with reinvigorating distressed and underutilized properties. BECO has operated in the Baltimore and DC areas for more than 25 years. Five years ago it was looking for expansion markets and Charlotte shot to No. 1 hands down, Chris tells us. Last year, the company bought the former IBM property for about $41M and has launched a $30M campaign to retool and rebrand the nine-building, 2M SF campus. It's now called Innovation Park. Lease rates are running between $15 and $18/SF. Chris anticipates making some new tenant announcements soon that'll bring occupancy from about 37% to more than 50%. Improvements include a top-flight gym, on-site food service featuring Panera Bread, and a complementary bikeshare program called ?BlueBikes.?