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How Did Hurricane Florence Impact North Carolina Real Estate?

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Three Amigos restaurant in Charlotte had a parapet wall and awning blown away during the storm, removing the top bond beam completely.
Three Amigos restaurant in Charlotte had a parapet wall and awning blown away during the storm, removing the top bond beam completely.

After Hurricane Florence descended on the coast of the Carolinas a few weeks ago, flooded towns and wind-torn buildings were left behind. Business owners are busy assessing damages and delays to their projects as they are able to access them.

Some faced devastating blows while others were able to reopen their doors almost immediately, accommodating repair and recovery workers who are in the two states for the foreseeable future.

We caught up with a few property owners and developers in North Carolina to find out how they were affected by the storm.

Raleigh

Dominion Realty Partners LLC Chairman/CEO Alex "Andy" Andrews IV

Dominion Realty Partners has a portfolio of office, multifamily and mixed-use properties.

Bisnow: Did you have any projects affected by Hurricane Florence, directly or indirectly? How were they affected?

Andrews: Yes, we have four projects affected by the storms. Construction on all projects in the Raleigh and Charlotte [area] were stopped, actions were immediately taken to tie down, clean debris and make sure that proper procedures were taken. No damage occurred and no one was hurt and construction work started back Monday [Sept. 17]. 

Bisnow: Would you have done anything different to prepare, or will you change anything to prepare for future storms?

Andrews: Our [general contractors] were very prepared and our team’s response was spot on.

Bisnow: Which development projects were put on hold and for how long?

Andrews: All were put on hold for approximately five days.

Bisnow: Of the things out of your control that affected your projects — such as flooding, infrastructure damage, supply chain issues, power lines down — what among those are your top priority to get fixed and why?

Andrews: No damage to any projects, retention ponds held, no debris left the site, no one was hurt and no adjourning property was impacted by us.

Wilmington

Ogden Market Place in Wilmington sustained downed trees, power outage and damage to the parking lot and signage.
Ogden Market Place in Wilmington sustained downed trees, power outage and damage to the parking lot and signage.

Cameron Management property manager Susan Arredondo, who manages Halpern Enterprises’ coastal properties

Damages to Ogden Market Place in Wilmington: $100K

Bisnow: Did you have any projects affected by Hurricane Florence, directly or indirectly? How were they affected?

Arredondo: Ogden Market Place in Wilmington sustained downed trees, power outage and damage to the parking lot and signage. Ocean Isle Beach Market Place in Ocean Isle Beach fared well with minimal damage to trees and directional signs. Both of these Publix-anchored shopping centers are less than a year old and offer local boutiques, so we’re glad they’ll be reopening soon.

Bisnow: Would you have done anything different to prepare, or will you change anything to prepare for future storms?

Arredondo: I would have included inspecting all the HVAC units on the roofs and tightening the doors and panels. At other properties I manage, initial roof leak reports were caused by cuts in the membrane from HVAC doors or panels. Also, I would have all direction signage taken down — not the posts, only the panels — at the shopping centers as most were damaged during the storm.

Bisnow: Have you changed anything about how you prepare based on past storms?

Arredondo: In advance of Florence, we did prep work for after-storm cleanup. We made contingency plans on how we were going to handle downed trees and recruited help pre-storm so we could bounce back quickly. We reached out to our preferred disaster recovery company before the storm and let them know we would be using them in advance for any damages we were to incur from the storm. We reached out to our insurance agents and prepared for what needed to be documented and occur should we need to make a claim. We feel these efforts expedited our centers’ recovery and allowed our grocery stores to reopen to serve these neighborhoods again, which is much-needed right now.

Bisnow: Of the things out of your control that affected your projects — such as flooding, infrastructure damage, supply chain issues, power lines down — what among those are your top priority to get fixed and why?

Arredondo: Always first, it’s safety to the public, which includes repairing or removing anything that can be a hazard to the tenants and the shoppers. Then, we focus on issues that affect the operation of the center and access for the customers to our tenants.

Charlotte

Three Amigos restaurant in Charlotte after Hurricane Florence
Three Amigos restaurant in Charlotte

Raydal Hospitality CEO Dalton Espaillat

Damages to Three Amigos: $50K cost of repairs and $30K cost of closure

Bisnow: Did you have any projects affected by Hurricane Florence, directly or indirectly? How were they affected?

Espaillat: Yes, Three Amigos [restaurant’s] parapet wall and awning was blown away during the storm, removing the top bond beam completely.

Bisnow: Would you have done anything different to prepare, or will you change anything to prepare for future storms?

Espaillat: We gladly closed earlier on Saturday to prevent any risk so we were able to manage the potential risk properly.

Bisnow: Have you changed anything about how you prepare based on past storms?

Espaillat: Yes, we created protocols to properly handle food in the event of a power loss and flooding.

Bisnow: Of the things out of your control that affected your projects — such as flooding, infrastructure damage, supply chain issues, power lines down — what among those are your top priority to get fixed and why? 

Espaillat: Infrastructure! Need to remove all the debris and properly secure the building for safe occupancy and approval by the code officials.

Bisnow: Should flood plain maps be rewritten? 

Espaillat: Flood maps for our areas were accurate based on this storm and it didn’t reach the 100-year storm levels.

Carolina Beach

The Savannah Inn in Carolina Beach after Hurricane Florence
The Savannah Inn in Carolina Beach

The Savannah Inn owner Susan Riggs

All 22 rooms of Riggs’ hotel were damaged when the roof was torn off one of her buildings and the property suffered water damage.

Bisnow: Did you have any projects affected by Hurricane Florence, directly or indirectly? How were they affected?

Riggs: The hurricane halted us dead in our tracks. [Riggs expects rebuilding to take at least six months.] The general contractor will now be doing all the work. 

Bisnow: Would you have done anything different to prepare, or will you change anything to prepare for future storms?

Riggs: I won’t do anything differently to prepare for future storms. We did absolutely everything we could to prepare for this. I wouldn't change a thing.

Bisnow: Of the things out of your control that affected your projects — such as flooding, infrastructure damage, supply chain issues, power lines down — what among those are your top priority to get fixed and why?

Riggs: All things are now out of my hands. My contractor has taken over this project and is prioritizing the work to be done here. They have 40 years of knowledge, so know exactly how to prioritize the workload.

Bisnow: Should flood plain maps be rewritten?

Riggs: I honestly don’t know. Perhaps for those people living around the swollen rivers that are currently not in a flood zone. Probably for them, yes.

New Bern

Columbia Development Development Manager Walker Sojourner

Bisnow: Did you have any projects affected by Hurricane Florence, directly or indirectly? How were they affected?

Sojourner: We have a grocery-anchored power center in New Bern, North Carolina, located along Highway 17 at the Glenburnie intersection. We were fortunate in that our center was spared during the storm with only minor damage. Since we were minimally impacted by Florence, we have been able to provide assistance for a nonprofit organization as they come into the community to help with post-hurricane relief efforts to the surrounding community.

Bisnow: Would you have done anything different to prepare, or will you change anything to prepare for future storms?

Sojourner: We took necessary precautions to protect our tenants before the storm and are doing some minor repair work and cleanup post-storm.

Bisnow: Which development projects were put on hold and for how long?

Sojourner: No projects were put on hold other than evacuations as directed by state officials. As indicated earlier, we were very fortunate.