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Development Beat: Bidding Farewell to Finch’s

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.


Week of May 1, 2017

Finch’s has been torn down

Mellow Mushroom Expands

Happy + Hale Sets its Sights on North Hills

Renovations begin for historic downtown home

New Mexican restaurant to replace old Mexican restaurant on Hillsborough

Pizza delivery chain Toppers set to open in North Raleigh

Finch’s Bids Farewell

In January, Finch’s on West Peace closed their doors for the last time. By the end of April, those doors, along with the rest of the building, had been reduced to rubble.

Situated far back on a lot bordering the Capital Boulevard Bridge over Peace Street, the iconic eatery has now been torn down as part of a four-year $36 million NCDOT project to replace that very bridge.

While we haven’t been able to nail down an exact date for when Finch’s opened, the 1948 Hill City Directory lists 401 W Peace as being home to “Pinyoun’s Roy Drive Inn.” In 1963, it was listed as Finch’s Drive In. A nice write-up of Finch’s says it was opened by Howard Finch in the 1940s and went through a number of iterations over the years.

Finch’s most recent owner, Peggy Jin, took over in 1991, and has announced plans to relocate the famous Raleigh restaurant to Durham, citing downtown Raleigh’s high rents as a major factor.

Mellow Mushroom Plans New Location

Peace Street’s popular pizza joint The Mellow Mushroom will soon be joined by a second Raleigh location (sort of), as site plans were filed last week for a new Brier Creek location.

The new location — Mellow Mushroom’s 19th in the state — is listed in the site plans as 9600 Brier Creek Parkway, near the Meadows at Brier Creek apartments. The restaurant will be housed in a new, 6,435 square-foot building. The developer, BCRD Holdings, acquired the land in October 2016. A press release put out by CBRE states that “9400-9650 Brier Creek Parkway, a 13.24 acre site in Raleigh, NC was purchased by BCRD Holdings, LLC for $2,750,000.”

If 13 acres seems like a lot for a Mellow Mushroom — it is. The site plans list the Mellow Mushroom development as consisting of just over two acres.

While Mellow Mushroom’s locations in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill all feel like a natural part of their environment; unique and identifiable as the design is, each restaurant gives off a sense of belonging. We’re curious to see whether that effect can be replicated in a place like Brier Creek, especially on a parcel surrounded by a lot of vacant land, but in the end, all that really matters is that they continue serving up their most excellent pizza.

The Chapel Hill Location, after a renovation by Brookwood Construction

Happy & Hale to Open North Hills Location

Happy + Hale, a health food restaurant offering its customers “healthy fuel that nourishes the body, fulfills the soul, empowers the community and balances the planet” announced last week that it will be opening a second Raleigh location at the Park Central Apartments in North Hills.

Co-owner Tyler Helikson told Amanda Hoyle that he was so excited about the new location that he wanted to “scream it from the mountain top.” That’s a lot of passion! Not surprisingly, Hoyle reached Helikson “after a bike ride.”

Higgs-Coble-Helms House Begins Renovation

The Higgs-Coble-Helms House at 417 N Blount Street was first built in 1878 and remodeled sometime after 1950 following a major fire that destroyed the property’s “historic tower feature” and portions of the front of the house.

Its new owners are now undoing some of those mid-20th century modifications. Described in an application with the Historic Development Commission as “Eclectic Victorian,” the HCH House is set to undergo a number of renovations, including the replacement of six over six double hung windows with two over two double hung windows. Those numbers refer to the number of panes in the windows; double hung simply means the window has two “sashes” that open independently of one another. The design work was done by local firm Clearscapes.

In addition, the owners plan to reduce the enclosure at the front in order to reflect the footprint of the historic tower, and demolish the rear porch  and replace it with a wood and glass enclosure. While a number of other necessary renovations will take place, these are the ones we imagine will be most noticeable to passers-by.

As much as we like the owner’s “Eclectic Victorian” description, we found another one from the RHDC that probably paints a more precise picture:

The overall style of the two-story, wood frame Higgs-Coble-Helms house is Italianate but it has the asymmetrical composition typical of Queen Anne dwellings. Its second-story windows are capped by pedimented surrounds supported by brackets that are echoed throughout the house. It also features the only tin roof on N. Blount Street. The dwelling houses state offices.

Coco Bongo Coming to Hillsborough Street

La Rancherita, which replaced Chile Bomba in 2014, is now being replaced by yet another Mexican-themed restaurant, Coco Bongo.

Although permits were only issued last week, its signage has been up for quite some time. New Raleigh published a photo back on April 9 that included both the new signage and a “Coming Soon” window banner.

Not surprisingly, the required renovations for this project are quite small. The permits issued last week totaled only $4,000, which covers interior alterations but “mainly kitchen upgrade.” Carolina Design & Construction will be handling the renovation of this 2,650 square-foot building.

Toppers Pizza Coming to North Raleigh

North Raleigh residents will soon be able to rejoice in the opening of a new kind of pizza delivery/takeout joint: Toppers, which sets itself apart through its “more ‘hipster’ type menu offerings and culture.”

That’s a direct quote from an article about the expansion of this Wisconsin-based chain into Raleigh, in case you thought we were making that up. Toppers offers a wide range of menu items, including Mac N Cheese and Taco pizzas. If you’re wondering how the company’s plan to establish a hipster culture played out, we think this screenshot from their website is an excellent example.

Permits for the restaurant’s 1,400 square foot space at 1600 Ronald Drive were issued last week to Tom Sawyer Builders.

222 Glenwood Adds Nail Salon

Residents at 222 Glenwood will soon have to travel no further than the ground floor of their building the next time their nails are in need of some serious damage control. Permits were issued last week for the Polished Nail Bar, which we imagine will offer the standard range of nail salon services. Commercial 1 Construction will be handling the fit-out of this 267 square-foot space.

Pauline’s Grocery Store Coming to Bragg Street

It looks like a small grocer may soon be opening shop in a former residence on Bragg Street near its intersection with Fayetteville Street in South Raleigh. Although we couldn’t find much beyond the name — Pauline’s Grocery Store — of this future establishment, we do imagine the surrounding residents will appreciate having a grocer so near by. Permits for the $6,000 renovation were issued to Herman Alford’s Home Improvements last week, although one section of the permit notes that the work is already complete.

Game of Rezones

Case Z-33-16: The owners of the Hawthorne Ridge Apartments in North Raleigh are seeking to increase the permitted residential density on their property by 50 percent. We actually covered this project somewhat extensively last year. The rezoning would allow for adding up to 300 units to the 600 unit development and would “rehabilitate much of the existing site rather than demolishing all of the buildings.” Their case will be heard in tonight’s Council Meeting.

Case Z-13-16: Should Council choose to approve this rezoning case, a mostly wooded lot at the intersection of Benson Drive and St. Albans Drive near North Hills could be rezoned to allow for a maximum of 20 stories of commercial development. The property’s current zoning caps the maximum height at seven stories. While the rezoning documents offer no glimpse as to the development planned for this site, there is one note indicating that it will likely be a mix of ” residential, office and retail uses.”

1 Comment

  1. There is a Toppers sign in the window of a space at Lynnwood Collection, corner of Lynn and Creedmoor.

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