DURHAM – A real estate development company that’s in the business of buying and repositioning undervalued assets is looking to revitalize part of a strip mall on Chapel Hill Road in Durham that they say was neglected by the former owner.
The limited liability company Fund 15-Lakewood paid about $1.78 million in October for buildings in the Shoppes at Lakewood shopping center. The company now owns properties at 2020 and 2050 Chapel Hill Road.
“I think it’s a good location, and I think … it’s been terribly neglected,” said Brad Bowman, president of Cornelius-based First Federal Properties Inc., the company that is the new developer and owner of the buildings.
The company gathered a group of investors together to buy the property, Bowman said. He said they see the property as a “tremendous” undervalued asset.
The purchase did not include the building in the shopping center that houses Food Lion, Dollar Tree and African Land.
They also don’t own property in a neighboring strip development at 1802 Burke St. That property was acquired Nov. 21 by Liberty Equity Holdings out of New York for $800,000, according to property records.
Bowman said the plan for the buildings at 2020 and 2050 Chapel Hill Road is to make improvements to the landscaping, and to the exterior of the buildings.
“Then we’re looking for some good tenants that want to enjoy a much better maintained property than it has been over the last few years,” he said. “The existing tenants are doing just fine there,” he added.
Bowman said there are a variety of possible tenants besides standard retail businesses that could be interested in the property.
He said they’ve had some discussions with a technical trade college, and preliminary discussions with a possible medical office tenant.
“I don’t know that there’s going to be national tenants that are going to be interested in this particular location, but I think there are some good local business owners that would be wanting to find some space there with a landlord that cares,” he said.
The building at 2020 Chapel Hill Road now houses City of Joy Ministries, which is the church that also opened the hot dog stand CITI Dogs in the center’s parking lot.
Attempts to reach the church for comment for this story were unsuccessful.
The building also houses RCF Restaurant Consulting and Furnishings, which sells restaurant equipment including hoods, walk-in coolers, stoves, and meat slicers.
Ron Ferrell, owner of RCF Restaurant, said the shop has been in the shopping center for six years, but the store has been in its particular location in the center in the building at 2020 Chapel Hill Road for four.
“It’s great,” he said. “We’re still open after six years, making a profit, selling … equipment to restaurants.”
Ferrell said the space next door to his shop previously housed Thrift World, which he said closed several years ago after the air conditioning went out during the summer.
Ferrell said he believes the previous owner was “pretty slack,” but doesn’t think improvements to the landscaping or other such work would change his business.
He said the location is convenient for people in Chapel Hill, Durham, as well as other areas, and there is parking for his customers and space for loading and unloading.
“It doesn’t affect us one way or another,” he said of the sale.