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Friday, July 01, 2011

Durham expansion 

Sometimes revitalizing old buildings is better than making new ones.

King's Sandwich shop was a nearly hollow, open to the elements, un-air conditioned shell until less than two years ago...
Now it is gorgeous and busy.

The News & Observer has a story about big plans for expansion in downtown Durham, courtesy of Measurement Inc. and founder Henry Scherich. The company owns huge chunks of the Morris Street blocks between Geer Street and the downtown loop. According to the N&O the first project will be a 74,000 square foot office building on a half-acre lot just southwest of the Historic Durham Athletic Park, less than two blocks from the recently condemned Liberty Warehouse in Durham's thriving Central Park district.

The initial proposal had included condos, but the sliding housing market put the kibosh on that idea. In fact, as things stand the project only has one tenant beyond Measurement Inc. However, that tenant is a nifty little tech start-up, Urban Planet Mobile. They specialize in distance learning via text message, as we all know the best way to reach America's youth. Urban Planet Mobile has programs for S.A.T. vocabulary and foreign language learning among other things. It is an idea that we believe has great potential.

As for the Measurement Inc. development project? Time will tell. We do not root for growth for growth's sake alone. The N&O quotes Durham's Mayor Bill Bill, "...new buildings is good news for the area..." It may be a little more nuanced than that, Mr. Mayor, we hope you have your eye on the long view. Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for this July.

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