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REGIONALREPORT Charlotte

The prices are right
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts recommended The Ryland Group Inc.’s stock this summer in part because of the Westlake Village, Calif.-based homebuilder’s presence in Charlotte, which the New York-based investment banking firm deems one of the best housing markets in the nation. Last year, Ryland acquired the Charlotte and Raleigh operations and assets of Raleigh-based Timberstone Homes Inc., which was the ninth-largest builder in the Queen City in 2011. Horsham, Pa.-based Toll Brothers Inc. bought more than 100 lots in Union County in 2012. Its number of sales in the metro has increased 120% over the past year. Dustin Read, director of the Center for Real Estate at UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business, says all of the region’s housing metrics are up compared with a year ago, but the rise in prices is the ultimate attraction. “The proof is in the pudding. All of the national homebuilders are trying to acquire land here.”
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Briefs

CHARLOTTE—  Duke Renewables, a unit of Duke Energy, purchased a 4.5-megawatt solar farm from San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy for an undisclosed amount. It’s the largest solar plant in San Francisco.

CHARLOTTE —
Snyder’s-Lance acquired Ludlow, Mass.-based Stateline Service, a snack-food distributor, for an undisclosed amount. The move is part of the snack-maker’s effort to strengthen and expand its national distribution network. 
 
SALISBURY — Belgian grocer Delhaize Group named Frans Muller CEO of Delhaize America, which owns and operates Salisbury-based Food Lion, effective Nov. 8. He replaces Roland Smith, who resigned in September after less than a year in the job. Muller was CEO of wholesaler Cash & Carry, a unit of Metro AG, the largest retailer in Germany.

CHARLOTTE —
Bank of America sold its 1% stake in China Construction Bank, a move expected to generate $750 million of profit. It once held a 10% stake in the lender but began selling portions of it in 2009. It still has a contract to advise the Beijing-based financial institution on matters such as customer service and sales models through 2016.