Lincoln Harris closes on part of Observer site uptown for $11 million

The Charlotte Observer building at 600 South Tryon Street.crew
The Charlotte Observer building at 600 South Tryon Street.crew

Charlotte real estate firm Lincoln Harris has closed on the first part of its purchase of the Charlotte Observer’s uptown site, buying a parking deck and related structures for $11 million.

According to a source with knowledge of the deal, the purchase includes just under 5 acres between Bank of America Stadium and South Church Street. The area includes employee parking, a loading dock and newsprint warehouse.

The deal closed late Friday. The land was sold to GSLH Charlotte Realty Holdings, a limited liability company tied to Lincoln Harris. According to state incorporation records, Goldman Sachs managing director Peter Weidman is a manager of the company, and Goldman Sachs’ New York City headquarters is listed as an address – indicating the financial institution is a backer of the plan to redevelop the Observer site.

The company is set to close its purchase of the balance of the Observer’s 9.4-acre uptown property by May 2, according to real estate documents filed with Mecklenburg County. The portion of the property left to buy includes the Observer’s building at South Tryon and Stonewall streets.

Lincoln Harris has been under contract to buy the property since May 2015. A Lincoln Harris representative couldn’t immediately be reached Monday.

The Observer’s parent company, Sacramento-based McClatchy, transferred ownership of the Observer’s longtime site to the company’s pension fund in 2011. The property transfer, along with a half-dozen other McClatchy sites, covered a $50 million pension funding obligation.

The Observer acquired a printing press in the University City area for $5 million from Dow Jones, and relocated its printing operations there from uptown in 2014. The Observer is moving its newsroom, advertising staff and administrative offices this month to the NASCAR Plaza office tower, two blocks away on South Caldwell Street.

The Observer has leased three floors of office space formerly occupied by Chiquita, which left Charlotte after it was acquired by a pair of Brazilian firms.

Stonewall Street is seeing a surge of redevelopment that’s remaking the corridor. From the Observer site east, plans underway include a new Whole Foods, two hotels and hundreds of apartments by Crescent Communities and the Presley apartment building, now leasing, by Proffitt Dixon. Other plans coming soon include an office tower by Crescent Communities and hundreds more apartments by Northwood Ravin and Proffitt Dixon on sites lining the southern side of Stonewall Street.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo