Breaking Ground: NC REALTORS® Association Headquarters History

NC REALTORS® is a non-profit trade association founded in 1921 and incorporated on Saturday, September 14, 1935 under state laws as the North Carolina  Association of Real Estate Boards. In 1958, the association’s name was changed to the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, Inc. (NCAR). Today, the  association is known as NC REALTORS®. From an initial membership of 135, NC REALTORS® today has a membership of over 56,000 real estate professionals,  representing 45 local associations statewide.

Homeland Avenue

A membership poll taken in 1958 favored NC REALTORS® owning its own office when it became feasible. The following year, in 1959, a resolution was passed at  the NC REALTORS® annual Convention to immediately proceed with the construction of the first headquarters office building located at 1030 Homeland Ave in Greensboro, N.C.

On Wednesday, October 5, 1960, association officers gathered for the groundbreaking, including H. Kapp Ogburn, President Alton Stanford, C.C. Smithdeal, Paul  Johnson, and Herb Wentworth. On Wednesday, January 11, 1961, the office building of NC REALTORS® was officially dedicated. Eight years later, the NC  REALTORS® headquarters office was expanded to meet the increasing needs and growth of the association.

Seawell Road

One of the highlights of 1980 was the groundbreaking for the new state association headquarters located at 2901 Seawell Road in Greensboro. The association  broke ground when the “dooms dayers” were shouting recession and depression. Even though the American economy was suffering through a deep recession during that time, NC REALTORS® wanted to show that it had complete faith in the economy and that the housing industry of North Carolina was strong and would be an even stronger force in the years to come.

Prior to the decision to have the new headquarters on Seawell Road, several other areas were discussed by the NC REALTORS® Site and Building Committee,  including Interstate 40 at High Point Road, West Wendover Avenue, Pinecroft Road, and Meadowview Road. The committee stressed that the final site selected should be readily accessible to the association membership as well as staff members. There were also discussions as to whether the association office should  remain in Greensboro.

Ultimately, the Seawell Road office offered the membership more opportunities for education and professionalism. NC REALTORS® purchased the 50,000 square  feet of land for the headquarters on Monday, October 16, 1978, for $65,000. The purchase price of $65,000 was paid in full with NC REALTORS® reserve funds and  savings accounts.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday, April 21, 1980, and staff moved in on Wednesday, October 29, 1980. The construction cost was approximately  $296,680 with J.R. Graham and Son, Inc. of High Point as General Contractor and Allred and Mercer, also of High Point, as architects. The structure contained 10 offices, a president’s meeting room, a library, a lounge, a large operations room, mechanical-storage facilities, and a 1,500-square-foot conference and training  center. A total of $233,500 in NC REALTORS® building bonds were sold at rates varying from 8.5% to 10.5% interest to finance the construction. These bonds would mature in five series with the last bonds due and payable on September 1, 1994. On-site parking was available for 37 automobiles with additional space directly  behind the structure for future additions/parking.

The dedication of the Seawell Road headquarters building was held on Wednesday, December 17, 1980. Approximately 160 NC REALTORS® members and special  guests enjoyed the brief ceremony, luncheon and tour of the new facility.

The Jim Bichsel Building

For 35 years, James “Jim” L. Bichsel, CAE (1931 – 1999) served with great distinction and honor as the chief executive officer of NC REALTORS®. During his  tenure, Bichsel built the association into the largest trade association in the state while orchestrating extraordinary growth and change for the association.

In Bichsel’s memory, the newest and current NC REALTORS® headquarters was dedicated on Friday, January 25, 2002.

The new, 15,000-square foot-NC REALTORS® headquarters—located at Grandover Commons in Greensboro—is easily accessible from Interstate 85 and Interstate 40. It includes administrative offices, conference facilities and an educational training center. This headquarters building was completed in less than nine months,  thanks to an unusual spirit of cooperation and partnership by members of the design and construction team.

Koury Corporation of Greensboro was the developer and general contractor for the building, while Bradley & Ball Architects of Greensboro was the architect for the  exterior shell of the building. The firm of Danie A. Johnson, FAIN Architect of Asheville provided interior architecture and acted as the overall design consultant for NC REALTORS®. Sharon Kelly of lnterior Dynamics in Asheville offered valuable interior design expertise. Alan McGuinn, AJA, of the Danie A. Johnson, FAIN Architect  firm designed the headquarters’ interior floor space and finishes while also providing expert consultation to the NC REALTORS® executive staff.

The Wilbur Kutz Training Center—located on the second floor of the current headquarters—is the result of an innovative partnership between NC REALTORS® and the North Carolina Real Estate Educational Foundation (NC REEF). Through a bequest from the estate of REALTOR® Wilbur Kutz of Chapel Hill, NC REEF was  pleased to make a substantial contribution to the upfit and finishing of this education and training facility. REALTOR® Thomas R. Heffner of Chapel Hill played a pivotal role in securing a significant endowment for NC REEF from the estate of Wilbur Kutz.

The Wilbur Kutz Training Center contains 1,804 square feet of classroom space and seats approximately 65 people when set in a classroom-style arrangement. NC  REALTORS® enjoy a high-quality environment to enhance their professional development.

After nearly 15 years at this location, NC REALTORS® decided to renovate the headquarters in 2016. Renovations included new paint, new carpet, transforming the receptionist area into a member center, and office modifications to provide more collaboration spaces. The video production room was moved upstairs and upgraded  to enhance an increasing need for video and multimedia.

Raleigh Headquarters

As one of the leading trade associations in North Carolina, the presence of NC REALTORS® staff in the state capitol cannot be understated. The Raleigh office of NC REALTORS® was first opened in January 1995, staffed by a small but effective government affairs team. Since then, the staff has grown to more than eight  Raleigh-based individuals. Comprised of lobbyists, political operatives and political fundraising experts, the NC REALTORS® government affairs team supports the  association’s advocacy efforts and ensures that the voice of real estate is clearly heard by decisionmakers at all levels.

With those critical objectives in mind, the NC REALTORS® purchased the historic Heck-Andrews House in 2016 from the state of North Carolina as part of Governor Pat McCrory’s Project Phoenix. The multi-million-dollar renovation project was led by award-winning architect James Grady and historic renovation experts, Progressive Contracting. Preserving the house’s history is an important part of cementing NC REALTORS®’ position, not just in Raleigh, but also across our state.

In 2021, NC REALTORS® completed restoration of this historic property and Government Affairs staff relocated to its second and third floors. The first floor serves as rental space for both association events and public events, including parties and weddings.

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