After $1.2 billion sale, new leader at one of Charlotte's biggest real estate firms

Ballantyne Corporate Park
Ballantyne Corporate Park

One of Charlotte's biggest real estate firms has a new leader.

Northwood Office, the owner of Ballantyne Corporate Park, has named John Barton its new president. He most recently worked as managing director of brokerage firm HFF’s Office Investment Advisory Group in Atlanta, where he oversaw the sales of office buildings in the Southeast.

Ned Curran, longtime president and CEO of Bissell Companies, the previous owner and developer of Ballantyne, will remain in an advisory capacity as CEO emeritus, the company said.

Northwood Office is a subsidiary of Northwood Investors, which purchased Ballantyne's assets last year in a $1.2 billion deal, the biggest in Charlotte's history. Developed on what was once farmland and fields well south of Charlotte, Ballantyne has grown to include more than 4.5 million square feet of office space, four hotels, a golf course and retail spread over 535 acres.

“In addition to John’s extensive experience and strong work ethic, his positive energy is contagious," Curran said in a statement. "John will play a pivotal role in evolving Ballantyne through our master plan effort, and I look forward to working with him as he leads the organization."

Tom Pizzo has been promoted to executive vice president and will oversee all operations at the company.

In a statement, Barton said it was an exciting time to join Northwood and that he is "thoroughly enjoying working with our outstanding team to enhance Ballantyne even further and expand the Northwood Office platform into multiple markets.”

Curran has long been prominent in local business and civic circles. He's the past chairman of the North Carolina Board of Transportation, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Carolinas.

Since buying Ballantyne Corporate Park, Northwood Investors has been planning to expand the suburban development and make it denser, with uses such as apartments and more shopping to go on an area that's now largely dominated by surface parking and office buildings. A new master plan for the development is underway.

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