Chicago firm buys University-area office building

Chicago-based Origin Capital Partners has purchased One University Place in Charlotte’s University area, crediting the proximity of a planned light rail stop as reason for the deal.

The four-story, nearly 81,000-square-foot office building at 8801 J.M. Keynes Drive is less than a mile from what will be a blue line stop on J.W. Clay Boulevard. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Origin said it plans to make major improvements to the building, including to its lobby, corridors, elevators and restrooms. The building, home to Charlotte’s NPR affiliate WFAE, is 63 percent occupied and hasn’t been renovated since it was built in 1986, the real estate firm said in a statement this week.

Trinity Partners will handle leasing and management for the property, Origin said.

The first leg of the Blue Line, which opened in 2007, is often credited with sparking the apartment boom that has spread down South Boulevard. The same economics apply to office buildings, Origin said, “especially in areas where few exist and retail shops are plentiful.”

The Blue Line Extension is a 9.3-mile, $1.2 billion project that will connect UNC Charlotte and uptown. It is a little less than two years from opening.

Tom Briney, Origin’s vice president of acquisitions for the Southest, said there’s “a tremendous amount of upside” with the light rail coming into the area.

“We believe in transit-oriented development and specifically in the power of trains to ease congestion and improve residents’ quality of life,” Briney said.

Nearby in the University area, Origin also owns the Cambridge Corporate Center, where it has leased office space to digital marketing firm Red Ventures. Origin also owns the Three South Executive Park building in SouthPark, which it bought last March.

Staff writer Ely Portillo contributed.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta