2006-06-21, 14:36

Mixed-use development in Raleigh

By: Jonathan Groner
Business North Carolina (May 2006) has a brief article about a successful developer in Raleigh, N.C., with an unusual background. Greg Hatem, 46, has been in the real estate business for 11 years. His company, Empire Properties, now owns 36 buildings, with about 600,000 square feet of floor space. But, according to the article, Hatem wasn't always in the Carolina real estate business. He visited China in the mid-1980s to visit his uncle, George Hatem, who had been Mao Zedong's personal physician and was later a public health official. Greg Hatem later learned to speak Chinese, set up a foundation in China to continue the public health work, started a software company there, and built a 21-story building in Shenyang.

Returning to North Carolina, his birthplace, Greg Hatem founded Empire in 1995. He has been buying up sites and buildings in Raleigh ever since and has continued to rebuild and renovate them.

Hatem, who lives in one of his downtown buildings, is a major proponent of mixed use.

Right now, he has proposed building four stories of loft-style condominiums adjacent to the parking deck for a new county courthouse in Raleigh. The county plans to tear down an existing parking deck when it begins building a second courthouse in 2008.

Hatem's group would like to build a mixed-use project on two sides of the parking deck. The building would include 44 condominiums and 8,150 square feet of retail space.

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