Raleigh, N.C.-based private equity real estate investment and development firm Blue Heron Asset Management has closed a construction loan for Foster on the Park, a boutique mixed-use project to be developed in Durham, N.C. The loan was closed with First National Bank, the largest subsidiary of FNB Corporation.
Adjacent to Durham’s Central Park, Foster on the Park will be a 164-unit apartment community featuring ground-floor retail and restaurant space overlooking the park. The site is adjacent to the 1.7-million-square-foot Durham Innovation District. It is also situated steps from the Historic Durham Athletic Park, for decades the home of Minor League Baseball’s Durham Bulls and the filming location for the movie Bull Durham.
“The existing building on site is functionally obsolete and underutilized and we didn’t see a whole lot of minuses pertaining to the redevelopment,” Blue Heron Asset Management partner Benjamin Grinnell told MHN.
“The original plan was for an urban condominium project . . . While we believed in the urban living, for-sale thesis in Durham, there were some challenges in terms of certain pre-sale requirements, especially for a larger-scale condo project in the Durham market. Once we decided to switch to a mixed use—apartments and ground floor retail—project, the financing markets were much more receptive.”
Grinnell added that the entire Blue Heron Asset Management team worked diligently over several years to collaborate with the City of Durham, Durham Central Park, Downtown Durham Inc. and other local stakeholders.
“Our focus has been on thoughtful place-making and trying to create a vibrant community with great walkability and access to downtown Durham’s growing job base, renowned dining, and its many lifestyle, recreation and entertainment amenities,” Grinnell reported. “Foster on the Park represents the types of infill re-development opportunities that we hope to continue to pursue and invest in.”
Added Chris Moore, president of FNB’s Raleigh-Durham Region: “We are pleased to provide the financing for Foster on the Park under the experienced leadership of Lewis Bass, our regional manager of investment real estate banking.
“Contributing to our communities is part of our mission at FNB, and it is a privilege to partner in a project that builds on downtown Durham’s momentum as a thriving destination for residents, businesses and visitors alike.”
Financing was arranged by the HFF team of Roger Edwards, Justin Good and Henry Sisson. “Blue Heron secured one of the best sites in downtown Durham and [has] created an amazing project that we expect will be hugely successful,” Edwards said
“We are excited to be a part of the team and contribute to making this great project a reality.”