Development

Ballantyne deal is Charlotte’s biggest ever. It’s not even close.

Ballantyne Corporate Park
Ballantyne Corporate Park

Northwood Investors paid about $1.2 billion to buy Ballantyne Corporate Park, real estate records show, easily making it the biggest deal in Charlotte’s history.

Some 40 deeds filed with the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds detail the complex sale, in which the New York-based investment firm bought more than 4 million square feet of office space, four hotels and the Ballantyne Golf Club. The sale closed Wednesday, shifting ownership of the office park from longtime local developer Bissell Cos. to Northwood Investors.

The price tag blows the previous Charlotte record holder away. In 2016, One Wells Fargo Center, an uptown office building, sold for $284 million, at the time the largest single sale in the region’s history.

The Ballantyne sale was a complex transaction, with each building held by a different corporate entity. The single highest price paid for a building was $165.5 million, according to public records, for the Gragg Building. That 10-story building is occupied by MetLife.

Ballantyne Corporate Park has been developed over the last 21 years, carved in a relatively short amount of time from scrub pine lands, hunting fields and farmland formerly owned by the Harris family. The office park now encompasses 535 acres on both sides of Johnston Road just south of Interstate 485.

Northwood Investors hasn’t said what changes they plan to make at the office park. Zoning rules in place now would allow about another 1.5 million square feet of office space in the park, and areas such as the golf course and surface parking lots offer opportunities to redevelop and add more density to the area.

The transaction required a large team to pull off. Wells Hill Partners, a New York-based real estate investment banking firm, led by Peter Gevalt, advised Bissell, while Travis Anderson of HFF’s Charlotte office helped arrange financing.

Troutman Sanders LLP acted as legal adviser to Bissell, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in Charlotte advised Northwood.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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