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High Associates expects to break ground in the fall on the first of two 100,000-sf spec office buildings in Charlotte’s northeast submarket.

Mallard Pointe, a 19-acre development will be in the university area at West Mallard Creek Church Road and David Taylor Drive.

Company officials say they’re confident the market is healthy enough to begin construction with no leases signed. The building is likely to rent in the $18 to $20 psf range.

The first building will feature a conference center with video teleconferencing capabilities and other state-of-the-art telecommunicationstechnology. It will also house a fitness center and back-up electrical generators.

Vacancy rates in Charlotte’s northeast submarket have been dropping inrecent months as new buildings are completed and filled, reports KarnesResearch Co. Second quarter vacancy fell to 9.7% from 14.6% in April.According to Karnes president, Frank Warren, that’s due mainly to strong leasing at Crescent Resources Inc.’s Three Resource Square, Highwoods Properties Inc.’s Mallard Creek V and the first two buildings at the LichtinCorp.’s Prosperity Place at Mallard Creek.

Lichtin has under construction a 123,000-sf spec building at Prosperity Place, but after that’s occupied, Resource Square will become the sole competition for High Associates in themulti-tenant market.

Resource Square contains three buildings totaling 302,000 sf and two underconstruction totaling 300,000 sf. And, says Warren, there’s enough land for at least another 400,000 to 500,000 sf.

Warren believes High Associates will provide some strong competition in a market where currently there are a limited number of players. High Associates project manager Stephen Bailey says the firm thinks the northeast submarket is ripe for more development.

High Associates has owned property in Charlotte since the early 1990s, but the Mallard Point project marks the company’s local development debut. The first building should be ready for occupancy by summer of 2001.

High Associates is a subsidiary of High Real Estate Group, which owns more than six million sf of industrial and office space and more than 3,000 multi-family units throughout the eastern United States.

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