Real Estate - Commercial

Buyer To Close On Murchison Building In Coming Days

By J. Elias O'Neal, posted May 28, 2014
(File photo)
A Wilmington-based company could close on one of the downtown Wilmington’s most historic skyscrapers by the end of the week, according to a broker overseeing the pending transaction.
John Hinnant, a broker with Wilmington-based Maus Warwick Matthews & Company, and former Wilmington Downtown Inc. president and CEO, said Wednesday his client – Wilmington Developement LLC – is set to close on the 10-story, 61,000-square-foot building at 201 N. Front St., the California-based firm that handled the early May auction of the Murchison, lists the final high bid as $1.425 million.
Starting bids for the historic structure began at $350,000.
Pending contract negotiations and agreements, Wilmington Development could close on the building by the end of this week or sometime next week, Hinnant said. 
“Right now we’re focusing on the closing,” Hinnant said. “We look forward to assisting the buyer and hope to finalize the closing soon.”
If the final bid price is accepted, Hinnant said the buyer has plans to accelerate exterior work on the structure by preserving and waterproofing the window and much of the terra cotta exterior. He added the future buyer also has plans to address the interior of the building as well, although a timeline or estimated cost of repairs has not been finalized.
“Work on the interior will be assessed shortly after the closing,” Hinnant said. “The buyer is serious about restoring the building to its full glory.”
The Murchison Building is currently owned by Charleston, S.C.-based Ziff Properties Inc., and has an occupancy rate of 47 percent, according to
The site, which sits at the corner of Front and Chestnut streets, currently anchors a wave of potential development that’s creeping its way into the heart of the city’s central business district.
Raleigh-based LM Restaurants placed the former three-story Bank of America office building at 155 N. Front St. – across Chestnut Street from the Murchison Building – under contract earlier this month.
A closing date for that site has not been finalized.
Meanwhile, Wilmington city officials are targeting a summer timeline to issue a request for proposals to redevelop the Water Street parking deck at 200 N. Water St., which sits directly behind the Murchison.

A team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative developed a plan in February for the city-owned deck, calling for the site to be redeveloped into a mix of office, retail and residential uses.
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