Bulletin: Justin Sacco of LRC Properties


It’s always fun and interesting to attend off-site meetings; I generally learn some new, fun facts about various locales in our community. Monday’s meeting at Hi-Wire Brewery, however, might just take the cake. Samples of the company’s wares were available for those who ostensibly had the afternoon off, calling to mind Irish Rotary Club meetings where an open bar is a regular amenity.

Hi-Wire is located on Taylor Street, in a newly renovated but less visible portion of the old Golden Belt textile mill. The circa-1900 factory originally produced the cloth drawstring bags that loose leaf tobacco was sold in. Over the decades, Golden Belt reinvented itself several times, manufacturing everything from women’s hosiery to cigarette boxes (as cigarettes transitioned from roll-your-own to factory pre-rolled), but eventually was shuttered and the facilities were given to the Durham Housing Authority.

DHA tried to convert the buildings to residential units, with limited success, so the property remained vacant and fell into disrepair. Around 2008, Scientific Properties purchased Golden Belt, and handsomely renovated the Main Street-facing portion into stunning art galleries, office space, and the popular Cotton Room event space on the third floor. Much of the existing structure was preserved in accordance with historic covenants, including floor-to-ceiling windows and massive heart pine support beams.

In 2016, LRC Properties, in collaboration with Alliance Architecture, took over the Taylor Street side of Golden Belt, known as the Cordoba Property, the last un-restored brick-and-timber factory in downtown Durham. Despite ceilings that had fallen in, and crumbling brick walls sprouting kudzu vines, LRC took on the massive task of converting the remaining square footage into Class-A space. LRC Vice President and Portfolio Asset Manager Justin Sacco, who gave Monday’s presentation, pointed out the irony of how Golden Belt tenant Strata Solar re-invented a previously coal-fired power plant into the gorgeous headquarters for an alternative energy company that they now occupy.

In addition to Strata and Hi-Wire, WillowTree has found its home at Golden Belt, and the Durham Art Guild and 25 artists are actively moving into the new galleries that have also been constructed. The property and the surrounding neighborhood are thriving, as any visitor to the brewery on a Saturday evening can attest. Justin and his colleagues invite you to see for yourself at their April 13 block party which will feature live music, food trucks, gallery tours and more.

Note: the block party will kick off following the Durham 150 sesquicentennial opening ceremonies which will take place at American Tobacco from 10 am – 2 pm on April 13. Make a day of it, bring your family and friends, and enjoy the great experience that downtown Durham has to offer!

Submitted by: Carver C. Weaver

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