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Developer buys historic Hillsborough St. building with bulldozer sign

Landmark Properties, a student housing developer, paid $10.75 million for a 3.2-acre site that includes the N.C. Equipment Co. building at 3101 W. Hillsborough Street
Landmark Properties, a student housing developer, paid $10.75 million for a 3.2-acre site that includes the N.C. Equipment Co. building at 3101 W. Hillsborough Street hlynch@newsobserver.com

A Georgia student housing developer has acquired six parcels along Hillsborough Street, including the historic N.C. Equipment Co. building, for $10.75 million, according to property records.

Athens-based Landmark Properties bought the 3.2-acre site site between Concord and Rosemary streets from Lulu founder Bob Young, who was previously CEO of Red Hat and is now CEO of the Raleigh-based drone company PrecisionHawk.

Young renovated the N.C. Equipment Co. building, which was built in 1936 and is known for its big yellow bulldozer sign, and turned it into Lulu’s headquarters. The online book publisher has since relocated.

In April, the City Council denied Landmark’s request to rezone the property. The proposed zoning would have allowed for an estimated 506 residential units and some retail space.

In addition to expressing concerns about Landmark’s project, some council members also questioned what would become of the bulldozer sign.

A Landmark executive didn’t return a call seeking comment Tuesday. The company said after the City Council vote that it planned to redevelop the property under the current zoning.

Developers have built hundreds of new student housing units along Hillsborough Street in recent years.

The site Landmark purchased is adjacent to Stanhope Center, a large student-housing complex that opened last year. Valentine Commons, another residential complex, opened nearby in 2012 at Hillsborough and Dixie Trail.

David Bracken: 919-829-4548, @brackendavid

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