by Matt Saldaña
WRS Realty Inc., a real-estate investment company that specializes in developing Wal-Mart shopping centers, has made an offer of $20.5 million to property owners in Kentington Heights, a low-income subdivision close to the Streets at Southpoint in southwestern Durham, according to a letter obtained by the Indy.
The letter, dated March 6, 2009, was sent on behalf of WRS from Lestep, Inc., a Durham based real estate company. Khalil Hanifa, who provided a phone number but no official title, asked Kentington Heights property owners to return a signed statement of intent to sell, provided in SASE envelopes, by March 17, 2009, at which point WRS "will be ready to prepare purchase contracts." The letter mentions a Feb. 28 meeting between WRS and "about twenty owners of Kentington Heights," in which the group of owners recommended everyone sell.
"While the developer would like to buy all the lots in the subdivision, he does not need all lots to make the subdivision work," wrote Hanifa, who was not immediately available for comment.
Kevin Pethick, an in-house counsel for WRS, told the Indy that Scott Smith, a principal with the company "has been talking with some folks out there," but did not provide details of an offer. Smith, who was referenced in Hanifa's letter, was not immediately available for comment.
For background on the Kentington Heights saga, read Jennifer Strom's May 2002 article in the Independent Weekly.
More updates to come.
UPDATE (1:15 PM): Still waiting to hear from WRS, but meanwhile, it's worth noting that, according to the company's Web site, it's also a developer for the planned Wal-Mart Supercenter at Glenn School Road and I-85.