by William Needham Finley IV™

Development Beat: Carmichael Gym Demolition, Restaurant Openings

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Week of January 29, 2018

NC State’s Carmichael Gym to be demolished and upgraded

Work begins on new hotel on West Morgan

Downtown’s latest pizza joint opens

Michael’s English Muffins opens first retail location

O-Ku Sushi coming to The Dillon

LoveSac store coming to Crabtree Mall

South Moon Under coming soon to North Hills


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Carmichael Gym Looks to Improve Its Physique

NC State’s beloved Carmichael Gym is getting ready to bulk up. Subcontractor selection is underway for a $45 million project that will see the existing 48,000 square-foot east wing torn down and replaced with an 82,000 square foot addition. The new facility will house student recreation spaces, such as fitness training, alongside classrooms and administrative offices.

The job was awarded last year to Frank L. Blum Construction, a local firm that’s worked on a number of higher education projects, including the Dianne Dailey Golf Learning Center at Wake Forest University and the Dean E. Smith Center at UNC Chapel Hill.

Blum will be breaking the job down into two phases: demolition and site work (bids will be due some time in May) and then the remainder of the work (anticipated to bid in October). Subcontractors looking to get in on the action will have to prequalify with Frank L. Blum Construction by March 16.


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New Hotel’s Origin Story

Work has begun on the foundation for the new 126-room, 7-story Origin Hotel, also known as Shelton’s graveyard. Slated to open in 2019 on West Morgan Street, the new hotel will feature a wine and tapas restaurant, a cold-pressed juice counter, locally-sourced coffee and a gym with “Rogue Equipment.” The hotel will seek partnerships with local brewers, roasters, and other artisans to give the location a distinctly unique feel. Work on the $1.1 million foundation is being handled by Whiting Turner Contracting.


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Cowabunga Dudes, It’s Pizza Time(s)

The Pizza Times they are a-changin’. The latest addition to the “Times” family of downtown Raleigh restaurants has arrived, and is now serving takeout pizza by the slice and by the pie from 11 a.m. — 2 a.m. seven days a week.

Slices will run you $2.50 each, a 12-inch pie goes for $8.50, and an 18-incher for $16. Toppings include everything from the traditional pepperoni, sausage and onions to more controversial offerings like the dreaded pineapple.

The Pizza Times is located at 210 South Wilmington, around the corner from the Morning Times and the Raleigh Times.


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The English (Muffins) Are Coming

The brick and mortar location of Michael’s English Muffins held its grand opening at the Towne Square shopping center on Tuesday. They’ll offer customers a small cafe location where they can either purchase muffins in bulk or enjoy them on site with a variety of spreads.

When we first reported on the store back in November, the shop’s owner, Michael Annabelle Comisar, told us she hadn’t even been looking to open a retail location, and was instead looking for a space to grow their production. We’re glad it didn’t work out that way, and can’t wait for a chance to stop by and try an English muffin slathered in peanut butter with a sprinkling of cinnamon — Comisar’s personal favorite.



LoveSac, Baby LoveSac

LoveSac, an “alternative furniture store” is coming to Crabtree Valley Mall. Although the retailer does offer a more traditional sectional couch, its real specialty — and namesake — are a variety of “sacs,” or upscale beanbag chairs. That’s right, beanbag chairs.

The store sells sacs for every occasion; from the “compact yet cozy” Citysac to the 6 foot wide and 4 foot tall Supersac. If that’s not big enough, LoveSac also offers “The Big One” which is 8 feet wide, four feet high, weighs 95 pounds and seats 3+ adults. It’s described as “a cloud you can climb on.” If you’re in the market for a new sac, we found plenty on Amazon.


We don’t have a solid idea on when the store will be opening. Side note: we were terrified to Google the word “lovesac” while researching this story.



O-Ku Sushi coming to The Dillon in Summer of 2018

Kane Realty Corporation announced that O-Ku Sushi will open at The Dillon this summer. According to the exclusive press release e-mail we received, O-Ku was named a “Top 20 Best New Restaurant” by Esquire magazine in 2010, and a “Best Sushi Restaurant in the U.S.” by Travel + Leisure in 2013. More details from the press release:

“O-Ku celebrates authentic Asian cuisine with a southern approach with a menu that focuses on unique ingredients and sophisticated presentations. From petite plates to sushi specialties, O-Ku showcases the freshest fish from the world’s finest markets and producers in areas such as Norway, Scotland, Hawaii and New Zealand, as well as local sustainable sources.

While the menu is still being finalized, guests can anticipate a unique blend of elevated sushi, sashimi and nigiri options, hot entrees and other traditional Japanese dishes. O-Ku managing partner Kimball Brienza will work with Palmer to recruit local talent to the Raleigh team to complete the food and beverage program.”


ITBest of the Week January 26


South Moon Under, It’s a Natural Wonder

South Moon Under, a “leading fashion e-commerce and brick and mortar retailer,” is coming to the Main District at North Hills. Permits were issued last week to Management Resource Systems for the fit-out of the 3,032 square foot space next to Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

South Moon Under got its start as a “surf shack”  in Ocean City Maryland in the summer of 1968, and currently has about 28 brick and mortar locations. The chain has been described as a “multi-brand boutique” that is known for carrying an “ever evolving and eclectic mix of women’s and men’s clothing, swimwear, accessories and gifts.”

The store was originally set to open in Spring 2018, and with construction now underway, we imagine they’ll be able to hit that deadline.


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