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Toronto group buys historic West Trade property, envisions redevelopment

Article from: Charlotte Business Journal
Written by: Will Boye

A historic property on Charlotte’s West Trade Street has been purchased by a Toronto real estate investment group that envisions a redevelopment of the site in the future.

The Gateway and Century building at 402 W. Trade St. sold this month to a limited liability company called TDG-Trade that is managed by real estate investors and developers David Laren and Jason Pantalone.

The Gateway and Century buildings, at the intersection of West Trade and North Pine streets, were constructed between 1924 and 1926, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. In the early 1980s, the property’s owner combined the two buildings into one.

The property totals 23,000 square feet, and the largest tenant is the U.S. General Services Administration, which leases about 5,500 square feet for the U. S. Bankruptcy Administrator in Charlotte.

Laren and Pantalone have developed condominium projects in Toronto and ultimately expect to build residential units at 402 W. Trade as well.

“Our intent on the short term is just to keep the space occupied,” Laren says. “Our long-term intention is to go vertical. For us, it’s a long-term play to develop that site at a later date.”

Laren says he and Pantalone have worked with historic properties before and know how to preserve such a building’s facade while going vertical with redevelopment.

The TDG group was an active buyer in Charlotte last year, purchasing a 220,000-square-foot warehouse off Old Pineville Road for $4.82 million and a 39,000-square-foot commercial building on East Independence Boulevard for $1.1 million.

“I’ve been really excited about Charlotte for a long time,” Laren says. “I’ve been preaching Charlotte to a lot of my friendly developers here in Toronto. You’ve got something very special there. The culture is starting to come alive, the people are amazing to work with, you don’t have the unions. It’s just a fantastic place, and I want to be part of it.”

Chris Turner of RED Partners represented the sellers, West Trade Street Associates and Culp & Associates, on the transaction.