Bissell has become one of the best-known developers in Charlotte, carving the Ballantyne Corporate Park from hundreds of acres of former farmland. Now, the company is exploring “strategic options” for its future that could involve selling assets.
There’s nothing definitive to report about the firm’s future. More than five decades old, the company was founded by and named for developer “Smoky” Bissell, still the firm’s chairman, in 1964. The 4.5-million square foot Ballantyne Corporate Park is owned by Bissell, and forms the centerpiece of the 2,000-acre master-planned Ballantyne community in South Charlotte.
In a statement Tuesday, president and CEO Ned Curran said Bissell is looking at the future of the company.
“Like any organization, we engage in mid- to long-term strategic planning. In that regard, we are exploring a wide range of strategic options for the future, which could involve joint ventures for residential or retail development as well as expanding ownership within the corporate park beyond the Bissell family,” said Curran.
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Bissell is currently building its latest office tower at Ballantyne Corporate Park, the 10-story Brigham building that’s expected to open in November. Like the rest of Ballantyne, the Brigham building is being constructed on a speculative basis, meaning no anchor tenants have been signed. The company is also exploring development of a new hotel on the site to complement its Ballantyne Hotel, Aloft and other lodging properties.
The plans for Ballantyne were first announced in 1991, and Bissell broke ground on the first building in Ballantyne Corporate Park in 1996. In the ensuing 25 years, the greenfield site has become one of the largest office parks in the Carolinas. The company’s Ballantyne holdings also include the development’s golf course and numerous undeveloped sites. Bissell has long stressed its “one owner” model in marketing Ballantyne, which it says helps ensure high-quality development and management.
“One majority owner instills trust and offers unparalleled flexibility,” the company says in its marketing materials.
The area was once a hunting preserve belonging to the Harris family, another eponymous Charlotte real estate development powerhouse. Johnny Harris and Smoky Bisell, brothers-in-law, developed parts of SouthPark and surrounding neighborhoods, before the firm split in 1992 into what became the Bissell Companies and Lincoln Harris.