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Developer Plans Office building in Wake Forest

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Apparently, the task of selling 155 condominiums in downtown Raleigh isn't enough to keep Gregg Sandreuter busy.

Just days after revealing plans for West, a 14-story condo project in the city's Glenwood South district, the Cary developer is looking north.

Sandreuter is hatching plans to build a 50,000-square-foot office building in Wake Forest.

He's uncorking a deal that took two years to ferment.

In April 2004, Sandreuter and some partners paid Highwoods Properties $6 million for NorthPark, a 42,000-square-foot office building at 11635 Capital Blvd., and nine undeveloped acres.

They sat on the property and waited for the N.C. 98 bypass to be built within spitting distance of the building.

Now that the thoroughfare is set to open soon, Sandreuter thinks that it's time for NorthPark II.

It has taken almost a decade to get to this point.

Highwoods built NorthPark in 1997, anticipating northern growth, but some say the Raleigh real-estate investment trust overshot.

Two years after building NorthPark -- the town's biggest leasable, class-A office building at the time -- it was only half-full.

"It was really an outpost," Sandreuter says. "That was a frontier location."

That changed when Wakefield, the North Raleigh community that sits across U.S. 1 from Wake Forest, and other residential projects cropped up in northeast Wake County.

The population within a one-mile radius of NorthPark more than doubled to about 1,000 between 1990 and 2000. The region remains hot, and its population is projected to at least double again by 2010, according to estimates by Demographics Now.

NorthPark has been at least about 90 percent full for the past four years.

Sandreuter is still in the approval process for NorthPark II but says he could begin construction this summer.

He says he'll build it without a tenant.

"We've had a lot of tire-kickers," he says, "but we don't have any deals done."

It's the second speculative office building that Sandreuter has in this pipeline this year.

Last month, he said he would consider building RDU Center III, a 120,000-square-foot Cary office building off Interstate 40, abutting Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

That project, which also needs approval from city planners, could begin in September.

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I read this and laugh. Back in the early nineties, my good friend and neighbor who is a landscape architect was the LA for North Park. He fought and fought and fought the original developers on the plan. The original plan was to build several office buildings. The building there now is nice but I think they ended up selling some of the original property.

I just laugh because I remember him pulling out his hair on this about as much as he did when he challenge Wall-mart on another project.

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I think it'll turn out to be a nice project. With Wakefield and Wake Forest growing so fast and the 98 by-pass going through I can't see why this wouldn't work. It may not hit high capacity right off the bat, but give it a year and I bet it would be pretty full. That section of Wake Forest seems to be exploding in growth right now, my guess mostly due to the by-pass, but I only see good here.

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