Charlotte real estate firm plans half billion dollars in new development, acquisitions

Rendering of the finished Kimpton hotel and 300 South Tryon office tower, developed by Spectrum Companies.
Rendering of the finished Kimpton hotel and 300 South Tryon office tower, developed by Spectrum Companies.

The renamed Spectrum Companies has new top leadership and a war chest it estimates will fuel up to a half-billion dollars of apartments and commercial buildings, as the Charlotte-based firm ramps up its efforts to develop and buy properties.

Steve McClure, 36, has been appointed chief operating officer at the company, which has changed its name from Spectrum Properties. The company is now focused on aggressively expanding its $1.5 billion portfolio, which McClure said the firm plans to double in the coming decade. CEO Darryl Dewberry said Spectrum will embark on “a deeper commitment to buying and developing our own properties.”

In Charlotte, Spectrum’s most prominent projects include the 25-story 300 South Tryon office building, opening this summer, and the adjacent, 18-story Kimpton hotel. Spectrum has also recently developed the Abbey apartments off Park Road and the Mint apartments uptown on West Trade Street.

“I think the biggest thing people will see is increased activity from us,” McClure told the Observer. “We’re really going to expand on the acquisition and development front.”

The company’s new name reflects its broader focus, McClure said, and its recent move into the capital management business. Spectrum estimates the launch of a new investment fund, its first, will pay for about a dozen major acquisition or development joint ventures.

McClure said that despite the booming apartment supply in Charlotte – nearly 26,000 units are under development – he’s optimistic about the market.

“There’s been a lot of supply. There’s no denying that,” he said. “There’s still a lot of opportunity out there...We love the demographic trends.”

McClure said much of that development has been of pretty similar apartment buildings: Four- or five-story, wood-framed, built either on top of or wrapped around a parking deck, generally on a pricey urban “infill” site.

“We’re shifting a bit of our focus,” said McClure. Spectrum will look at more garden-style apartments, which don’t require expensive parking decks and can offer lower rents to prospective tenants as a result of lower construction costs.

On the nonresidential side, McClure said Spectrum will also pursue more office deals. The company completed its $35.5 million acquisition of a pair of SouthPark office buildings last year, and McClure said that Spectrum will be looking for sites in areas with strong demand that aren’t necessarily right downtown.

“We do think there are some opportunities out there in the SouthParks of the world, where you can offer some office products that still have some amenities,” said McClure.

In another leadership change, Dewberry, the CEO, was also appointed chairman of the company.

“The Spectrum Companies retains all of the qualities that have fueled our success for more than three decades, especially when it comes to client service and building relationships,” said Dewberry. “At the same time, we are embracing a deeper commitment to buying and developing our own properties, which will help us grow and solidify us as an evergreen company well into the future.”

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo