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Dominion Realty/PREI's New Raleigh Office Tower Lands Law Firm

Womble Carlyle Agrees to Anchor $63 Million Charter Square Project at 555 Fayetteville St.
March 24, 2014
After narrowing its choices for a new office location down to three options, North Carolina's largest law firm agreed to relocate its downtown Raleigh office to a new $63 million, midrise office tower at 555 Fayetteville St. being developed by Dominion Realty Partners with the backing of Prudential Real Estate Investors (PREI).

Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice agreed to lease the top two floors in the 11-story building planned in the Charter Square mixed-use development. Construction on the 239,454-square-foot office and retail building at the corner of Lenoir and Fayetteville streets is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015. The law firm will occupy approximately 40,000 to 45,000 square feet. Regions Bank is financing the building's construction.

Womble Carlyle Office Managing Partner Johnny Loper and Andy Andrews, CEO/president of Dominion Realty Partners, announced the lease agreement at a morning press conference earlier today.

Womble Carlyle said its new space in Charter Square will be designed to maximize collaborative work and emphasize value and operational efficiency, reflecting ongoing changes in law practices. As a result, the firm will occupy substantially less space than its current offices in Wells Fargo Capitol Center, where the firm leases approximately 68,000 square feet.

Other confirmed tenants in Charter Square include HDR Engineers, JDavis Architects, Dominion Realty, and the building's leasing agent, CBRE-Raleigh. In addition, Eschelon Hospitality is planning to open a restaurant in the building.

Michelle Rich Goode, the owner and principal broker for Raleigh-based tenant/buyer representative Rich Commercial Realty, represented Womble Carlyle in its site selection and lease agreement negotiations. Ed Pulliam and Brad Corsmeier of CBRE-Raleigh are the exclusive leasing agents for the new building.

Dominion Realty has an option to buy a site for a second office tower planned in the Charter Square project located on the north site next to the Bank of America Plaza building.

Dominion Realty had planned to build the office tower on a speculative basis with PREI's backing before the commitment from Womble Carlyle.

An earlier effort by a different development group to get the Charter Square project off the ground was unsuccessful in 2008, although work was completed on an underground parking garage at the site. The city eventually bought back the land from the previous development group before entering into a new agreement with Dominion Realty.

The development firm has been very active in the Raleigh market. It co-developed the PNC Tower in downtown Raleigh in 2008. The downtown office market has recently seen more interest from office tenants, with RedHat and Citrix among firms recently taking space there.

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