The story of C.F. Smith Property Group began in the 1940’s in Marston, North Carolina. During the decades that followed, company founder, Claude Felton Smith, Jr., his family, hundreds of employees and company stakeholders have built a leading full-service real estate firm through integrity and hard work. Click through the timeline to explore the proud history of C.F. Smith Property Group.

2020 1st Timeline

In January 2020, Tri-City, Inc. was renamed C.F. Smith Property Group in honor of its founder and the company’s long-term vision of a future built on his strong values. Neil Robinette, CEO, represents the third generation of family leadership.

2020 2nd Timeline

Build-to-suit assignments are continuing to grow, including a new Starbucks store in Wilmington, NC and an Aldi grocery store in Fort Wayne, IN.

2010 1st Timeline

Tri-City is continuing to develop and acquire high-quality assets like the PineCroft Retail Center in Taylortown, NC, which showcases Harris Teeter’s “large format” design concept.

2010 2nd Timeline

Following their passing, The Claude and Lois Smith Family Care Home was gifted to the Baptist Children’s Home of North Carolina.

2010 3rd Timeline

The new Richmond Community College downtown campus will be named for Tri-City principals, Kenneth and Claudia Robinette, who chair the Richmond County Board of Commissioners and the Richmond Community College board of Trustees, respectfully.

2010 4th Timeline

Claude F. Smith, Jr. passed away in January 2014. He was involved in countless business ventures and real estate projects that had a significant impact across the nation. He supported many charities with the Claude F. Smith Foundation.

2000 1st Timeline

Claude founded the Claude F. Smith Foundation in 2002 as a mission to support local non-profits, churches and charities. The Foundation continues to assist organizations today.

2000 2nd Timeline

Tri-City has completed and maintains over 80 acres of solar projects in its portfolio.

2000 3rd Timeline

Tri-City converted a Borders Book Store in Chapel Hill, NC to a UNC Hospital facility.

2000 4th Timeline

Tri-City built more than 65 Advance Auto Parts and Carquest stores in 22 states.

1990 1st Timeline

Claude established an airfreight business in the late 1990’s to transport cargo for many leading corporations including GM, Ford and Burlington Industries.

1990 2nd Timeline

Tri-City built its first Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Fort Wayne, IN. The company went on to build four more Lowe’s in North Carolina.

1980 1st Timeline

St. James Plantation showcases $100 million in amenities, including 81 holes of golf, marina on the Intracoastal Waterway, private beach club, tennis, miles of trails and 6,000 residents.

1980 2nd Timeline

Claude played a prominent role in the development of St. James Plantation, a 10,000-acre private, gated plantation in Southport, NC. He also acquired an additional 3,000 acres of timber plantations in Southport from Weyerhauser.

1980 3rd Timeline

Claude developed the spectacular Pinehurst National Golf Club, which opened in 1989. The Jack Nicklaus Signature course is the only course by the famed designer in the Sandhills region. Pinehurst is a private community with 450 luxury residences with an attended, gatehouse entry and a full compliment of resort amenities.

1980 4th Timeline

Claude purchased Pinehurst Plantation, the area’s only Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, from the Bank of Vermont. Now known as the Mid South Club, the 500-acre private, gated community is set on rolling sand hills with extraordinary amenities.

1980 5th Timeline

Claude developed nine grocery-anchored shopping centers for Food Lion, Harris Teeter, A&P and Winn-Dixie throughout the Carolinas.

1980 6th Timeline

In the 1980’s, Claude founded First Scotland Bank and opened several branches. He ultimately sold his interest to First Bank.

1970 1st Timeline

Claude founded the Western Sirloin Steakhouse Restaurant Group, developed the Lenoir Mall in Lenoir, NC and purchased the 1,200-acre McKay Estate, which is adjacent to the NC Speedway.

1970 2nd Timeline

Claude acquired 1,200 apartment units in Houston and 200 apartment units in Rockingham.

1960 1st Timeline

During the 1960’s, Claude became involved in the development of the NC Speedway and later, the International Dragway and the Darlington Dragway.

1960 2nd Timeline

By the end of the decade, Claude developed another regional shopping center, a hotel, office building and a golf resort.

1960 3rd Timeline

Claude continued to turn his focus to real estate by developing three hotels in Charlotte, Asheville and Knoxville.

1960 4th Timeline

In 1965, Claude formed Tri-City, Inc. and developed his first shopping center in Rockingham, NC, which included Belk, JCPenney and several other national retailers, which still continue to operate at Richmond Plaza.

1950 1st Timeline

In the 1950’s, Claude’s father financed his purchase of the Marston Broom Factory in Marston, NC. In 1954, he received a U.S. patent for reinventing the modern broom.

1950 2nd Timeline

The Marston Broom factory flourished as Claude’s inventions increased production from 20 dozen to 400 dozen brooms daily.

1950 3rd Timeline

Claude F. Smith, Sr. and Claude F. Smith, Jr.

1950 4th Timeline

In 1957, Claude was awarded a U.S. patent for the broom-making machine he invented. He collected royalties from manufacturers across America and Canada for the following 20 years.

1940 1st Timeline

Following college, Claude set out on his entrepreneurial journey.

1940 2nd Timeline

At 17, Claude began his studies at North Carolina State University.

1940 3rd Timeline

Three years later, Claude bought a crop dusting plane.

1940 4th Timeline

Claude F. Smith, Jr. was just 12 when he bought a combine to harvest grain.