St. John Properties Expands Presence in North Carolina with Charlotte Regional Office

Baltimore-based commercial real estate development company opens second location in state led by Regional Partner Alaina Kiewit

The expansion to Charlotte follows the company’s successful opening of their first North Carolina regional office in Raleigh in fall of 2022.
Alaina Kiewit
Alaina Kiewit

CHARLOTTE, NC (January 15, 2024) – St. John Properties, Inc., a Baltimore-based full-service commercial real estate development and management company which has developed more than 24 million square feet of space with a portfolio valued at over $5 billion, has expanded within North Carolina with a new regional office in Charlotte. Alaina Kiewit has been named Regional Partner for the new Charlotte office, and will oversee the pursuit of opportunities to fulfill the company’s speculative development strategy. This expansion follows the company’s successful opening of their first North Carolina regional office in Raleigh in fall of 2022. St. John Properties, which now operates 14 offices in 11 states, intends to grow its portfolio to 40 million square feet of space within 15 years.

“St. John Properties continues to explore development opportunities in business-friendly, high-growth regions, and Charlotte represents the next step in our coordinated approach to expand across the country. We view Charlotte as an attractive yet completely separate market (from Raleigh) to execute our proven development strategy,” stated Lawrence Maykrantz, President and CEO, St. John Properties. “We are extremely encouraged about the long-term prospects for economic growth in North Carolina, and are confident that the Charlotte business community will be receptive to our signature flex/R&D, single-story and mid-rise office, and retail building types.”

Kiewit, who joined St. John Properties in 2020, will lead day-to-day operations of the new regional office, with responsibilities including site and property acquisition, development, construction, marketing and leasing, and property management activities. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

St. John Properties differentiated by speculative development and building sustainability missions

St. John Properties is differentiated among its peers for its philosophy of developing real estate space almost exclusively on a speculative basis. This enables the company to respond instantly to the emerging requirements of new and existing clients. The company has speculatively broken ground on nearly one million square feet of space nationwide during each of the last four consecutive years.

The company has also emerged as a leader in sustainable building innovation, with a mission to further refine processes that improve indoor air quality while boosting employee wellness and productivity. “St. John Properties considers the conservation of energy and natural resources, along with the ongoing need to develop and innovate environmentally-friendly buildings, to be a priority in attracting new tenants,” said Maykrantz. The U.S. Green Building Council has ranked St. John Properties among the top five developers of LEED certified buildings nationwide. 

St. John Properties is currently investigating and searching for strategic sites throughout the greater Charlotte region, including areas in South Carolina, to develop ground-up Class ‘A’ office, retail, and flex/R&D space. The company has specialized in developing flex/R&D buildings since the 1970’s, and continues to deliver the signature product type, which satisfies the real estate needs of a wide range of end-users. Flex/R&D consists of a “part office/part industrial” single-story building separated into bays which can be fully customized to meet end-users’ needs. St. John Properties’ flex/R&D product is home to a broad array of users, from high-tech companies with majority office need, to light manufacturing and distribution centers, and everything in between.

Company developing 165,000 square foot mixed-use project in Wake Forest

In fall 2023, St. John Properties’ Raleigh office acquired a 30-acre site in Wake Forest, North Carolina and announced its intentions to develop Wake Forest Exchange, a mixed-use business community to be comprised of nearly 165,000 square feet of flex/R&D, single-story commercial office, and retail space. The first phase of development is slated to commence early this year. The full development plan calls for St. John Properties to speculatively develop six buildings including, three of the company’s signature flex/R&D buildings, a single-story commercial office building, and two inline retail buildings which will provide convenient amenities to tenants and employees of the business park, as well as to the surrounding community.

Enduring fundamentals in North Carolina spurring business expansions and growth

For the second consecutive year, CNBC ranked North Carolina as “the top state in the United States for business,” highlighting the state’s lowest corporate income tax rate in the country and its ranking as the top state for local workforce. CNBC also ranked North Carolina as the fifth fastest-growing state and the 10th best state for starting a new business. According to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, “sweeping tax reforms over the past 10 years have accelerated the state’s ability to support flourishing businesses.” North Carolina features the third best effective tax rate for new businesses, coupled with thefifth best for mature companies. The current 2.5 percent tax rate will decrease to zero percent by 2030. The CNBC study analyzes 10 categories of competitiveness in assembling its rankings and, since 2017, North Carolina has ranked in the top five position four separate times.   

The Economic Development Partnership cites data indicating that North Carolina has the largest manufacturing workforce in the southeast, produces more than 31,000 STEM degrees annually, has more than 50 colleges and universities, and the fourth largest military workforce in the nation. More than 18,000 people enter the workforce annually with high-demand occupational skills. The North Carolina Department of Commerce projects the state to add more than 445,000 jobs between 2021 and 2030.

Spurred by life sciences industry, Charlotte employment growth is highest in North Carolina

According to data published by the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, nearly three million people reside in the Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and the surrounding 14-county region, with a 20 percent population growth since 2010 and a 12 percent population growth expected by 2030. Approximately 1.6 million jobs exist in the region with a 3.4 percent unemployment rate for Charlotte compared to 3.6 percent for the state of North Carolina. Regional employment has grown by 3.7 percent since Q3 2022, which “is outpacing state-level growth in North and South Carolina.” The gross regional product, which measures the total value of goods and services produced in a regional economy, is $218 billion.  

Major industries with significant presences in the Charlotte area include advanced manufacturing with more than 3,500 manufacturers and 145,000 workers; financial services with more than 105,000 jobs; more than 40,000 employees working in the innovation economy sector; life sciences; and logistics and distribution. The life sciences and financial technology are considered emerging industries by the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance given the Charlotte region’s “burgeoning workforce, growth rates in pertinent and highly technical skills, and substantial investments led by Eli Lilly & Co.’s $1 billion manufacturing campus underway in Concord.   

“Charlotte offers every important fundamental necessary for the execution of our commercial real estate strategy, including rapidly-growing demographics, in-place infrastructure, and sustained momentum with substantial companies making significant financial investments,” stated St. John Properties’ Kiewit. “Charlotte is a major hub offering convenient connections to major metropolitan areas, and enabling access to nearly 75 percent of the U.S. population within a two-day drive. The area offers excellent weather and an attractive lifestyle, with one-of-a-kind educational, recreational, and cultural opportunities and a highly-diverse economy. Among all of Charlotte’s attributes, we are particularly excited by the availability of top-tier labor, as this is the among the most critical factors major companies consider when they evaluate new locations or relocations.”

“We have already initiated activities to identify and acquire land holdings suitable for our signature flex/R&D, office and retail building types, and to establish key business relationship in the Charlotte region to support our long-term development plans,” Kiewit continued. “Our real estate products and customer-first philosophy have been embraced in each of the markets St. John Properties has entered, and we intend to demonstrate our ability to serve the needs of local companies with our expert knowledge and extensive experience. St. John Properties remains a long-term holder of commercial real estate, and we will work diligently to be a valued partner that makes a meaningful difference throughout the Charlotte region.”

Founded in 1971, St. John Properties, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest and most successful privately held commercial real estate firms. The company is distinguished by its commitment to customer service, achievements in green building, and top-rated workplace culture. Throughout St. John Properties’ 53-year history, the company has developed more than 24 million square feet of flex/R&D, office, retail, and warehouse space, and has investments in over 3,000 residential units. The company proudly serves more than 2,600 clients in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Utah, and Wisconsin. For more information about the company, visit