The Venable Center in downtown Durham, listed for sale, could be redeveloped

The historic Venable Center building in downtown Durham could more than double its current space with the creation of a new building, according to plans submitted to the city this year.

Federal Capital Partners submitted revised plans to the Durham City-County Planning Department in April for a four-story building on what is now a surface parking lot. The plans were designed by Durham-based Duda|Paine Architects.

The proposed building, at 302 E. Pettigrew St., would be 82,170 square feet, according to the plans, and would be accompanied by a parking deck capable of holding 383 vehicles. Currently the Venable Center has more than 52,000 square feet of office space, according to the plans.

Federal Capital, a Maryland real estate company, acquired the Venable Center in 2016 for $18 million from Scientific Properties. Federal Capital has been involved in several projects across the Triangle in recent years, including the development of The Dillon in downtown Raleigh. The company also sold the West Village development in Durham for $187 million in 2016.

Duda|Paine is also the architect behind The Dillon, the new RTI International headquarters building in Research Triangle Park and the Durham Innovation District buildings.

But, it’s unclear what the future of the proposed plans is, as Federal Capital has marked the building for sale — after owning it for a little more than two years — and the company declined to speak about it.

“The project has been marketed for sale through HFF and until that process has concluded, we are unable to comment further,” a spokeswoman for Federal Capital Partners said.

For its part, HFF is advertising the building as having “significant upside potential with future development opportunity,” according to its marketing materials. HFF adds that any redevelopment could be much larger than the 82,000 square feet that is proposed. The property is in a zoning area that has no height restrictions.

Efforts to reach HFF were not immediately successful.

The Venable Center’s buildings, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, include office, retail and lab space. The building’s largest tenant is Precision Biocsciences.

Parts of the building date to 1905, but in its original heyday, the building was the home to the Venable Tobacco Co., whose markings are still on the building. Scientific Properties renovated the building in 2006.

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(The News & Observer, 6/15/18)