There’s a giant hole in the ground at the southeast corner of West Parrish and Corcoran Streets in downtown Durham. We would know: It’s literally what we see when we look out the INDY office windows.

At some point, we’re told, a 27-story high-rise tower is going to fill in that hole. One City Center, as the project is called, will contain retail and office space (Duke University has committed to lease 55,000 square feet), and luxury condos and apartments. The city of Durham and Durham County approved a combined $7.9 million in public incentives for the project.

But it’s been awfully quiet over there for several months. No construction workers, very little activity of any kind on the other side of the translucent green fence that’s been slapped up to cordon off the site from passersby.

In August, the Triangle Business Journal reported that Austin Lawrence Partners, the Aspen, Colorado-based developer of One City Center, had yet to secure the kind of construction financing that typically accompanies a project of its scale.

So, what’s taking so long? Money trouble?


“We’re actually expecting to close on our loan this Friday,” Greg Hills, founder and managing partner of Austin Lawrence Partners, tells the INDY. “It’s through US Bank. Once that’s wrapped up, we should have construction going around the end of this month.”

Though One City Center was originally projected to be completed in the fall of 2016, the new completion date is fall 2017, or possibly later, “depending on where you are in the building,” Hills says. “Retail will be finished first because it’s ground floor. The higher-level apartments and condos won’t be completed until first quarter 2018, probably.”

No retail has yet been leased, Hills says, and the apartments won’t begin pre-leasing until a year out from completion — about a year from now. But Duke is still on board to lease the aforementioned office space, Hills says, and “about 10 of the 30 condos are spoken for.”

“If somebody wanted to buy a condo right now, they could,” he says. “We’d say, ‘Let’s sit down and talk.’”