Grubb, insurance company buy 525 North Tryon tower for $60M

Charlotte-based Grubb Properties is making another bet on the revival of the North Tryon Street corridor, joining with an insurance company to buy an uptown office tower for $60 million.

The 525 North Tryon St. tower, originally known as the Odell Building, is next to the SkyHouse apartment building community that Grubb is developing with the Novare Group and Batson-Cook Development Co. That project is expected to bring 1,000 new residents and nearly 30,000 square feet of retail space to uptown’s north side.

“We have a vested interest in the block,” said Todd Williams, executive vice president with Grubb.

The seller, Orlando, Fla.-based Parkway Properties, paid $47.4 million for 525 North Tryon in 2012. Grubb is partnering with a New York Life Insurance Co. affiliate in the purchase of the 405,000-square-foot property that was built in 1998.

The acquisition comes as city leaders are working on a public-private plan to rejuvenate the North Tryon Street corridor, which has been overshadowed in recent years by the southern end of the street and its new arts and cultural district.

Coming out of the recession, the tide is turning for North Tryon with new building projects underway, a park under construction and the extension of the light-rail line in progress, Williams said.

“It’s going to create a lot of opportunities for retail, for restaurants, for residential living and for office users,” he said.

The 525 North Tryon building, which is located at the Ninth Street intersection, is about 35 percent vacant, including more than 90,000 square feet of contiguous space. That gives Grubb one of the few big blocks left in a tight uptown office market, Williams said.