When Cousins Properties and Northwood Ravin begin construction early next year on the redevelopment of University Square in Chapel Hill, it will continue Northwood Ravin’s run as being perhaps the most active apartment development in the Triangle.
But while the company has had no problem staying busy, it is now being careful about what project’s it chooses to get involved with.
“We have been pretty selective on the new projects,” said David Ravin, Northwood Ravin’s president and CEO. “It has to have a new story. It can’t just be yet another block in some of these submarkets that have six or seven projects going. We have to have a pretty specific story and target that we’re discussing to garner much interest.”
Ravin, who led Crosland's multifamily group until it spun out on its own in 2011, has plenty of experience in Chapel Hill. This will be his group’s fifth apartment project in the town over the past 15 years.
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As for the University Square project, Ravin said he likes the location near the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus and the mix of uses that will be in close proximity to each other. The plan for the 123 W. Franklin St. site calls for 156,000 square feet of office, 42,000 square feet of retail and 265 apartment units.
“We liked this one in that it was essentially sitting on the campus, it’s going to part of an office and retail project, Ravin said. “It just has a lot of uniqueness about it and Cousins is obviously a well-heeled developer. ... It just had all the characteristics we were looking for.”
This is the first joint venture Northwood Ravin has done with Cousins, but Ravin said Cousins used a similar partnership with an apartment developer to on its recent Emory Point project in Atlanta. The University Square redevelopment is expected to be complete by the summer of 2016.
Northwood Ravin just opened its latest new complex, Palladian Apartments, which is part of the Palladian Corporate Center, a corporate park along Interstate 40 on the border of Durham and Chapel Hill. The center already is home to two office buildings.
As for all the new apartment construction occurring in the Triangle today, Ravin said it’s not just the sheer amount of new units scheduled to come on the market over the next year that is concerning.
“It’s partially about supply,” he said. “ ... But it’s also our ongoing concern that supply is targeting the same user, so it’s not really a variety of product. It’s all hitting the same quasi-urban dweller.”