Archive for November, 2010

For Rent: 3BR/2BA Single Family House in Hillsborough, NC, $1,200/month.

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This article highlights one of the many interesting green projects completed in the Bull City.   I find stuff like this endlessly fascinating and it makes living here very interesting to me.

The Herald-Sun – ‘One of a kind’ way to park.

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Anyone who travels NC54, Farrington Road, 15-501  at almost any hour of the day knows what a nightmare these roads can be.  I’m not sure more four and five lane roads are the answer, especially this connector which will promote more ill conceived rapid development between Chapel Hill and Durham.  What Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh need is a comprehensive transit plan that moves the area away from reliance on the automobile.

The Herald-Sun – Highways corridor agitation brewing.

Do I see this happening?  Not in the near future.  In my previous posting I talked about rain water run off; which impacts Falls and Jordan Lakes; and the city of Durham’s tax on residents regarding rain water run off.  Yet no one at the Bull City hall  seems remotely interested in addressing the gargantuan volume of storm water run off, which inevitably ends up in the lakes and wet lands that runs off of our roadway system.

The problem is like a snake eating its own tail, round and round we go…kind of like green house gases too.

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One of the joys of living in a rapidly developing area are what I call leave behinds.  Development happens with modern, ugly characterless building but the developer fails to remove all vestiges of bygone eras.  Hence, a leave behind.   So after work yesterday I was able to sneak away for an hour of so of daylight and search out some leave behinds.

Durham has recently completed a park at Githens Middle School aptly named the Old Chapel Hill Road Park, like that?  Pretty creative.  Any how, among the basketball courts, miles of walking trails, state of the art, AstroTurfed playing fields, (insert yuck here.)  What’s wrong with REAL grass?  At the new park are some leave behinds.

Visually interesting with a story I think.

Githen's Chicken Shack

Happily this gave me something to play with; I downloaded some free photo editing software and a good time was had by all.


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Yesterday a little gem came in the mail from the City of Durham regarding my storm water fee tax.

For those of you reading from elsewhere, here in the big Bull City, which I love, a lot; we have a little gem of a tax called a storm water utility fee. Basically, we are taxed on the amount of rain that falls on our property. Insanity reigns supreme with this one and I really resent it. Today rain, tomorrow the sun.

What the city does is; it calculates the amount of impervious surface that one has and then levies a tax on such surface. The pretense with this tax is that the city will clean up wetlands, streams, Jordan Lake….in Chatham County and Falls Lake…in Wake and Granville counties mostly.

So my rain fall bill is going up from $4.50 to $4.92 per month. What do I get for this increase in tax?

* Capital improvement projects including Northeast Creek watershed
* A new inspection position to oversee storm water drainage
* A water quality technician to monitor and inspect industrial sites.
* A water quality analysis to implement storm water controls
* A 1/2 time pollution control coordinator to conduct in service classes for city employees to teach them about best storm water practices
* A senior engineering technician to inspect drainage ponds and other structures to ensure proper operation.

On a cursory level, that sounds like a lot, on a more in -depth level, I’m thinking that perhaps the city could hire ONE person to handle the above outlined tasks. In this age of fiscal leanness one wonders when the Bull City will catch up and catch on and trim things down a bit a lot.

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Home sales fall dramatically across Triangle – Topix.

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Home sales fall dramatically across Triangle – Topix.

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Renting and Leasing

According to CoStar Group, the #1 commercial real estate information group, almost every multifamily market saw strong leasing, rising demand and falling vacancy rates in the third quarter as the nations rental market continued a solid 2010 rally. As of now rentals should continue to surge over the next five years, with a growing supply of renters and very little new product in the planning and building pipeline.

Vacancy rates are above historical averages and in many multi-family communities robust incentives are being offered to move renters in. Still the national vacancy rate compiled from the 54 largest markets declined for a third straight quarter in 2010. Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Nashville and Dallas/Fort Worth have seen the highest demand and the sharpest decline in vacancy rates.

CoStar Group November 3, 2010

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Around the Town
Have you been to DPAC? DPAC, Durham Performing Arts Center.

The Bull City did it, they defied the odds, they build a state of the art performance venue, downtown. It is beautiful too. DPAC boasts 2800 seats, claims to be the largest indoor theater venue in the state and in its first years of operation earned a profit of one million dollars. There is also a $1 city tax on each ticket sold so Durham collected $303,770 in found revenue. A total of 85,000 people attended events at the DPAC in its first full year of operation.

As a season ticket holder myself, if you haven’t gone to DPAC, go! It is worth the time. The venue is safe, well lit, parking is very easy and the whole experience is exceptionally well done. This season brings… “Billy Elliot,” “Celtic Thunder,” “Joe Bonamassa,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Lion King,” “In the Heights,” “Blue Man Group,” “Shrek,” and “Hair,” to name just a few. Visit DPAC for a complete run down of shows and events.

While you’re downtown don’t miss eating at Piedmont, Revolution, Metro Eight, Dos Perros, Tobacco Roadhouse, Nanas, Magnolia Grill, Pops, Rue Cler and many other fine establishments. The Urban Spoon can keep you up to date on where to go and how to make reservations. Another very cool blog to keep you in the “know” is Bull City Rising, make a point to check in and often.

Have a real estate need? Phone or email me, Michael Sullivan today. I can help. 919-608-2372 or MSullivan@fmrealty.com

*DPAC states Business NC August 2010 page 22

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