A long-familiar Oak City company got the nod from city staff Tuesday for providing leasing and management duties at the under-construction Raleigh Union Station.
York Properties, with roots as a construction company dating to 1910, submitted the best among three proposals, said David Eatman, transit administrator for the city. The other contenders were commercial real estate companies Cushman and Wakefield and NAI Carolantic. The transportation staff's choice will have to be signed off on by council members, likely at a July 5 meeting.
"The firm has a vested interest in the community," Eatman said. "York Properties presented what I thought were very reasonable expectations."
York Properties developed Raleigh's Cameron Village, the first such shopping center in the Southeast, and constructed city landmarks including Memorial Auditorium, the N.C. State University Bell Tower, and the Sir Walter Hotel.
Union Station, being built in the Warehouse District west of downtown, will replace the longtime Amtrak station on Cabarrus Street. The building is being constructed in phases and eventually will accommodate—in addition to passenger trains—commuter rail, local and regional buses, taxis, and bicycles, according to the city.
York will be responsible for managing the facility, finding businesses to fill several suites and open spaces, and supervising events in the building.
Council members in a work session heard that most vendors will expect initial preparation of the spaces, or up-fits, to take place before they add their own improvements.
"This is a really desirable location,” council member David Cox said. "Do we have to fund this ourselves?"
Raleigh will have to juggle several policy interests in renting to vendors, said Ruffin Hall, the city manager. Preparation of spaces for tenants, costing an estimated $396,000 overall, will allow the city to charge higher rent, Hall said. The other option is to ask businesses pay to get spaces ready, then charging less in rent.
"The more we do to offset that, the less we have to do in the city's overall budget," he said.
York will charge $1,000 a month minimum while the building is under preparation, then receive a percentage of the rent charged to businesses.
One of the attractive aspects of York's presentation was a detailed proposal for managing events into the station, Eatman said. Under the proposed agreement, the city would receive part of event fees and York would either receive a fixed monthly amount or a percentage of the bill paid by event planners.
"It's going to be a great venue for a number of public events," Eatman said, "If it's a city of Raleigh-sponsored event, that might have precedence."