Grubb Properties and the Town of Chapel Hill have been working together on developing office spaces in Glen Lennox, a planned community in Chapel Hill. Following several years of collaboration, the two parties may have finally reached a breakthrough.
Grubb Properties has come forward with a request for an incentive of $2.2 million. The incentive would stretch over five years and would be based on how the company performs.
Aaron Nelson, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, explained how the incentive would work.
“A grant is made when they meet certain performance standards. So if they never build anything, they never get a grant. So the money isn't paid in advance. It's paid after. The grant has a cap — $2.1 million — and the grant also will never exceed what they pay in taxes,” Nelson said.
In other words, the Town will grant back Grubb Properties five years worth of its taxes, but it won’t receive more than that $2.2 million mark the Town has set, according to the staff presentation at the March 20 Town Council meeting.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger recently said Chapel Hill needs development and new office spaces. According to a presentation by representatives of Grubb Properties, the office market had bottomed out in 2010, causing a need for development of new offices.
Emily Ethridge, corporate communications manager at Grubb Properties, said Grubb has been working with the Town on the incentive for a number of years with the hope that both parties could reach a shared vision for the project. She also explained what the incentive means for the two parties.
“We call it a support agreement, which is basically us working with the Town on this development,” said Ethridge.
The property spans 70 acres and has been owned by Grubb Properties for 30 years. It also includes a shopping center and 440 existing apartment units. With the new grant, it plans to add a new apartment building, a clubhouse, more bike paths and greenway and also new office buildings, Ethridge said.