Ragland buys three downtown lots

Company expands parking holdings, takes wait-and-see approach

C.B. Ragland snapped up three well-located downtown lots Thursday, but don't expect a eye-popping development any time soon.

The major downtown real estate player paid $2.2 million for three parking lots on First Avenue across the street from the Metro Thermal Plant site. But there won't be any major changes on the tracts in the near term.

"We're going to operate it as a parking lot. We need parking and parking is a good investment," Ragland's Michael Hayes said.

Hayes said Ragland, one of the city's largest owners of surface parking, is operating around 50 percent capacity with its current parking holdings, but long-term, the company will need the space.

"I've been trying to buy these lots for eight years and we've been trying to assemble the land down there for 90 years," Hayes said.

Hayes, though, wouldn't rule out a more thrilling move on First Avenue, but said the city first has to decide what to do with the prime Thermal land across the street.

"Some day in the future, there will be value in redeveloping there," he said. "But we are going to be patient and see what the city is going to do."