A Texas-based developer continues to lead five local developers in the bidding war for a city-owned parcel in the heart of downtown Raleigh.
Raleigh is selling 1.2-acres at 301 Hillsborough St. that now serves as a surface parking lot for Campbell University Law School.
In July, the city council kicked-off an auction process during which interested parties can submit offers for the site in recurring 10-day bidding windows until the city fails to receive a new high bid.
The bidding started with a $3.1 million offer from The Lundy Group, a Raleigh-based developer.
The first bidding window ended with a high bid of $3.5 million from Chapel-Hill-based Blue Heron Asset Management. The second bidding window ended with a high bid of $4 million from Austin-based Aspen Heights Partners.
Aspen Heights remained the high bidder when the third bidding window closed on Wednesday, having increased its offer by 15 percent to $4.62 million.
The site will now sell for at least 50 percent more than what the city initially asked for, something Councilman John Odom said he’s thrilled about.
“The value of the property is gonna rise all over downtown,” he said. “I’m excited about the (tax) revenue it’ll generate for the city of Raleigh.”
The field of bidders remained unchanged since the last bidding window. The other bidders were:
▪ Hamilton Merritt of Cary, $4.5 million.
▪ Blue Heron, $4.4 million.
▪ The Lundy Group, $4.32 million.
▪ Raleigh-based Kane Realty, known for its development of North Hills and a forthcoming 17-story tower in downtown’s warehouse district, $4.25 million.
▪ Grubb Ventures of Raleigh, $4.2 million.
It’s unclear which day the city will advertise its request for bids again. When it does, developers must bid at least $4.85 million to keep the process going.
Real-estate experts have said they expect the bidding to surpass $5 million.
It’s unclear what, exactly, will become of the site.
Representatives for Aspen Heights, Blue Heron, Grubb Ventures and Hamilton Merritt declined to comment on their intentions or couldn’t be reached.
The Lundy Group wants to build a tower that would include retail, commercial and residential space, said its founder, Jim Baker.
Kane Realty hasn’t drafted any plans for the site, said John Kane, the company’s CEO.
“We like the location,” he said in an email.
Whoever acquires the site will have options.
In preparing to sell the property, the city earlier this year rezoned it to allow for a wider range of uses and buildings up to 20 stories tall.