Nov 21, 2023 - News

Six companies want a shot at redeveloping the former Durham Police HQ building

The former Durham Police headquarters at 505 W. Chapel Hill St. in Durham. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

Six developers want a shot at redeveloping a key property in downtown Durham — the old police headquarters building at 505 W. Chapel Hill St.

Why it matters: The city hopes the four-acre property, empty since 2018, will become a significant landmark at the western entrance to downtown while also providing more affordable housing and commercial space for the area.

  • That half a dozen developers have expressed interest in the site shows that the downtown property remains attractive coming out of the pandemic.

Flashback: In 2021, the Boston company The Fallon Co. abandoned an agreement with the city to transform the property into offices, apartments and retail.

State of play: Since the city owns the land, it has significant leverage in what it can get from developers.

  • For example, in addition to a minimum of 80 affordable housing units, the city also wants to preserve the existing police headquarters building on the site, built by architect Milton Small in 1957, because it is one of the few remaining mid-century structures left downtown.
  • Some residents complained at a city council meeting earlier this month, though, that a minimum of 80 affordable units was not enough.

Details: The six developers submitting applications to the city were:

  • Akridge, a D.C.-based company that did work on the 555 Mangum building in Durham.
  • Conifer, a Rochester, N.Y., developer that built the Blue Light apartments near Duke.
  • McCaffery, a Chicago company.
  • Peebles Corp., a Miami real estate firm that is redeveloping public-owned land in Charlotte.
  • Trammell Crow and High Street, a development partnership that recently completed the 400H tower in downtown Raleigh.
  • Winn Cos., a Boston-based real estate company.

What's next: The six developers will now submit more detailed proposals for what they would build on the old police headquarters ground.

  • The city council will rank the proposals on how closely they match the city's vision for the property.
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