By Brian Pascus

The Peebles Corporation has now entered Carolinas country.

Don Peebles’ eponymous real estate firm has secured $23.75 million in construction and acquisition financing to build the first phase of a 3 million-square-foot, mixed-use urban complex in the Uptown neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., Commercial Observer has learned.

Stonehill Strategic Capital provided the financing, while Ackman-Ziff negotiated the debt.  Further terms of the loan were not disclosed.

The Peebles Corporation is working with Charlotte-based developer Conformity Corporation on the project, which is expected to create an “urban village” of mixed-income housing, office space, hotel rooms and ground-level retail in an Uptown neighborhood that was once a thriving area for Black business development, prior to 20th century gentrification and displacement.

“It’s a historically Black neighborhood that was demolished as a consequence of urban renewal,” explained Donahue Peebles III, executive vice president of The Peebles Corporation: the largest Black-owned real estate firm in the nation.

“There’s a message here of a minority-owned firm leading the development of a neighborhood whose demolition socially and economically disenfranchised numerous folks,” he added. “We’re going to deliver a project that the city and its citizens can stand behind and be proud of.”

Monte Richey, president of Conformity Corporation, echoed these points.

“On land that hasn’t seen private investment in over 50 years, Conformity Corp. and Peebles will create a vibrant future for the Second Ward through its Brooklyn Village development activities,” Richey said in a statement.

The Peebles Corporation bought the first six acres of a planned 18-acre site from Mecklenburg County, which previously used the space to house a municipal parking lot and office building. The Peebles Corporation plans to demolish these public sites and create a 550-unit multifamily complex on the first six acres, before buying up the remaining land and adding the hospitality, office and retail components.

“The objective from there is to build as densely as possible, and to make sure we’re delivering on the attendant policies and benefits that the city and county are expecting,” Peebles III said. “Ultimately, it should set the stage for large-scale, public-private partnerships in the region.”

Peebles III told CO that this is The Peebles Corporation’s first foray into the Carolinas, but the firm identified the site seven years ago and was attracted by the Wake Forest University education system as well as the sprawling healthcare network and thriving banking sector of the Charlotte region — home to Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

“Charlotte has incredible fundamentals — it’s an extraordinarily business-friendly state, temperate from a climate standpoint, and the cost of living is low compared to competing [metropolitan statistical areas],” Peebles III said. “From 2016 to today, we’ve seen Charlotte explode, and it’s done so in a way that’s maintained mobility and affordability, and ultimately developed on its promise.”

Brooklyn Village’s residential component will include market-rate rental apartments and affordable rental units, as well as for-sale condos. The second phase of the larger project will include the construction of an office tower and hotel along Brooklyn Village Avenue to connect Midtown Charlotte with Uptown Charlotte and create a park surrounded by retail shops and stores.

“I think that live-work-play environments are the future of development,” said Peebles III. “You want 18 hour-a-day streetscapes, you want folks there before, during and after work hours, and you want to co-locate mixed-income multifamily with hospitality and office to create an urban environment that brings high quality of life at affordable prices.”

Peebles III said that one in 10 units in the multifamily component of the project will be designated affordable.

The Peebles Corporation was founded in 1983 by R. Donahue Peebles and has offices in New York City, Miami and Washington, D.C. The firm has a national portfolio of more than 10 million square feet and $8 billion worth of property, including the proposed Angels Landing project in Downtown Los Angeles — a 1.2 million-square-foot mixed-use complex of two hotels, condominium, rental units and retail space.

Credit: Commercial Observer