by William Needham Finley IV™

Development Beat: Cary Mayor Fuels IKEA Rumors

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Week of January 23, 2017

Cary Mayor drops IKEA bombshell

Permits approved for Hillsborough Street apartment complex

Super ITB townhouse for rent

Two historic demolitions of last resort

A new Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen planned for Capital Boulevard

IKEA Rumor Mill Continues to Churn
Rumors continue to circulate about an IKEA coming to Cary. On Monday, another cryptic bombshell was dropped. On his blog “Harold’s Blog”, Harold Weinbrecht wrote:

“Tuesday I met with the town manager to go over several issues….We also talked about the redevelopment of the mall called project emerald. Apparently, the potential business wants it to remain a secret even though it was on the front page of the News and Observer. All I can say is that project emerald equals blue and yellow. We will see how this is presented to the council in the future.”

At first, we weren’t sure if Harold Weinbrecht was Cary’s version of WNF IV. It turns out Harold is the Mayor of Cary. So is the Mayor of Cary cryptically blogging out real facts? Or is he trying to stir up publicity to attract IKEA? In the age of alternative facts we honestly don’t know what to believe anymore.

Rumors of IKEA coming to Cary kicked off nearly a year ago on Reddit:

IKEA coming to Cary? from raleigh

This was followed by some speculation in November from GoGoRaleigh and the Triangle Business Journal, and then a report in the News & Observer last week that a planned redevelopment of the Cary Towne Center may include North Carolina’s second IKEA store.

My two cents: those first two reports were mostly speculative, while the N&O article reads more like a hopeful rumor started by the mall’s owners as a way of signaling they’d be willing to bend over backwards to accommodate the Swedish furniture chain. As a huge fan of DeadMalls.com and an occasional visitor to the Towne Center, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the latter end up on the former. That is to say: the mall needs IKEA a lot more than IKEA needs the mall.

Another interesting comment in the original Reddit thread, someone claims that a “high up guy” at IKEA said they would never come to Cary, but had looked at coming to North Hills.

After informing WNF IV of this, he scrambled to get Bonner Gaylord on the phone to convince him to get North Hills to outbid Cary for the IKEA. I tried to explain that the process doesn’t work that way, but he doesn’t listen well. We’ll keep an eye on this story.

Real Estate Report

While this section is usually reserved for listing residential properties for sale in the Raleigh area, we’re mixing it up this week to help out a friend with a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom townhouse for rent.

Located near the corner of St. Mary’s and Nichols Drive, this is one of the best locations in Raleigh. Hardwoods and crown molding throughout, updated kitchen appliances, new washer and dryer, newly tiled bathroom and shower, large back deck and yard for only $1,375/month. The full listing is on Zillow, but as you can see, people are finding that ITB Insider™ is a much more exclusive method for featuring property. Contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com for listing options.

Hillsborough IHOP Saved!!! For now…
Forlorn and forgotten, the once-iconic Hillsborough Street IHOP shut its doors for good in April 2016 and has sat vacant and alone ever since.

The IHOP on its last day of operation, April 9, 2016

It won’t be alone for much longer, as permits were issued last week for the construction of the new 109 Park Avenue apartments, which will go up on the lot behind the old restaurant. FMW Real Estate, the firm behind the new complex, plans to build an 87-unit, 4-story, 100,909 square foot apartment building. The work on the new building will be handled by Liberty Oak, Inc. for a permitted cost of $8,998,348.

According to site plans, the old IHOP building will remain in place; it’s described on the drawings as an “existing structure.” Despite being based out of Charlotte, FMW enjoys a good enough local reputation — largely thanks to its role in developing Dram & Draught at 623 Hillsborough. However, we’re a bit miffed that they didn’t pay homage to IHOP by building an apartment complex that resembled a stack of pancakes. We sent them this brilliant concept based on City Hall in Thames, London and they never even returned our e-mails.

If you don’t think this is a perfect fit for Hillsborough Street, you’re an idiot

Permit Party

A just-outside-the-beltline (JOTB) location on Amber Lane in North Raleigh will soon be home to a very-OTB retailer: Family Dollar. The discount retailer and fake dollar store (some of their products cost more than $1…) received permits to open its 12th outlet in the City of Oaks. Located near the intersection of Trawick and New Bern Avenue, this new 8,320 square-foot store will be built out by Wimco Corp for $500,000.

Family Dollar has a very dishonest name

A retailer specializing in “green cleaning solutions” is set to open at 201 Walker Street in South Raleigh. There’s got to be a Walking Dead joke in here somewhere. See, because the zombies are called “walkers”, and their skin sometimes has a greenish pallor… Anyone? No? Ok, well, the tenant, Green Bull Products, is apparently a purveyor of “Tough, Effective Eco Friendly Industrial Cleaning Products and Concentrates.” Dalton General Contracting will be handling this $295,000 project.

You can tell it’s been a slow week in permits, so we’ll spare you the forced pop-culture jokes and just do a quick run down:

  • The Hardee’s at 5601 Creedmoor Road will receive a $71,830 interior renovation done by Commercial Millwork & Installation
  • Some place named Wolf Flooring, which we hope is run by the makers of Wolf Cola and Kitten Mittens (Remember when I said I’d spare you the forced pop-culture references? I lied.), will soon be opening shop at 5500 Atlantic Springs Road, following a $64,602 renovation from BPG Management Company
  • The Pizza Hut at 3116 Hillsborough Street is set to undergo an expansive $275,000 interior renovation. No matter how much money they dump into the place they’ll never compete with Gumby’s. Dellinger Building Company will oversee the construction.
  • The Oakwood Mausoleum at the Oakwood Cemetery will be the recipient of a $150,000 roof renovation project care of Williams Realty & Building Co.

Sir Walter’s Legacy

Two cases set to be heard at Raleigh’s Historic Development Commission this week call for the demolition of historic Oak City homes, but only one of those cases is likely to become a reality.

Lemuel & Julia Delany House
The applicant for the teardown of 210 N. State Street, Stuart Cullinan of Five Horizons Development, described the case as a “Plan B” and a “worst-case scenario” in an interview with The Development Beat.

Cullinan, who in October had an application approved (we covered it here) that allowed for the complete restoration of the property, said the demolition request was made in the event he is unable to subdivide the property into three separate lots, one of which would be deemed “nonconforming” due to the encroachment of the 210 N. State Street home.

Lemuel & Julia Delany House

Also known as the Lemuel & Julia Delany House, the structure was built in 1917 and designated a Raleigh Historic Landmark in 2009. Although Cullinan originally wanted to tear down an attached apartment, staff and members of the commission convinced him of its significance and he agreed to restore it as well. That decision is what led to the current situation, as the apartment is what encroaches onto one of the new lots.

“The subdivision process requires a variance, then we have to go to City Council for approval,” Cullinan said. “The plan is to restore the house completely, put a protective covenant on the house so its protected kind of forever and put it on the national register, then build two new houses — so it’s kind of like this little historic trio. But if the Board of Adjustment or City Council says no, my attorney said we need to have a backup. We didn’t want to, but we submitted this demolition request.”

The request, Cullinan explained, is merely a bulwark against Council or the BOA rejecting his original plan to restore the home and create two new ones on the newly subdivided land.

“We’ve got a great plan; I think it’s an example of a win-win of preserving but also meeting the demands of the market, so we’re hoping that the Board of Adjustment will be favorable to it, and after that City Council will see the bigger picture, see this is a good thing. The Historic Development Commission fully supports what we’re doing. It’s been a great collaboration, but you never know.”

Weaver House
The other historic demolition appears to be a measure of last resort as well, but one that will unfortunately have to move forward. Built in 1922, the beautiful Weaver House at 1203 E. Lane Street is a two-story frame dwelling that “combines elements of the Queen Anne and Craftsman styles.”

The Weaver House

Designated a Raleigh historic landmark in 2008, the home suffered damage caused by a collision from an uninsured motorist in June 2016. According to the Certificate of Appropriateness application, “a police chase resulted in an uninsured vehicle colliding with the sunroom and causing substantial damage to the right half of the structure…despite ongoing negotiation with our insurance company, we are not confident that the payout timeline or the terms of the payout will provide us the opportunity to pay the current fines of $500/day or a satisfactory rebuild.”

That’s terrible. While we wish the owners had been able to find a way to save the house, it seems like they were left with no choice. While Raleigh has no shortage of historic homes, we really enjoyed the aesthetics of this one — before the car accident, of course. We recommend checking out the full Historic Landmark Report for more information on this near-century-old home.

The Weaver House, post-car accident

Site Unseen

I’m pretty sure Finley tunes out everything I write past word 251 or so, and who knows how much patience the rest of you have — so we’ll try to make this section quick. Two moderately interesting commercial site plan reviews were filed in the past week that are worth looking at:

  • SR-6-17: This site plan calls for a new 6,934 square foot building at the Greenway Village Shopping Center at 7500 Ramble Way off Louisburg Road in North Raleigh. Details are sparse at this point, the application only mentions a new “commercial building and ice machine drive through.” We’re going to go ahead and speculate that the new commercial building at Greenway will accompany the ice machine at Starmount: Pelican’s Snowballs.
  • SR-4-17: It looks like Starmount Shopping Center will soon be adding a new tenant: Popeye’s Chicken. While the application doesn’t include an exact square footage, a sales flier from Hobbs Properties, the owners of Starmount, seem to indicate it will be built out on a .54 acre “out-parcel” (aka, big empty section in the parking lot) in the center.
The giant star — for Starmount, we assume — is where the new Popeye’s will be located

Howdy, Neighbor
Nearly two-and-a-half years after his purchase of an empty lot off South Wilmington Street, friend of the Development Beat Russ M. finally received permits to build the single-family dwelling he’s been developing for years. Russ told us he’s faced a number of obstacles — and spent nearly $10,000 — to get to this point. Many of the difficulties, he said, lay with the South Park Neighborhood Conservation Overlay District for the area, which places a number of restrictions on development.

Russ, who works in construction and has shared with us a number of creative ideas for residential development, hopes to build much of the house himself. We’re excited to see how it turns out. As we like to keep things positive, we won’t be repeating his comments on what he’s gone through so far. The only way I’d be comfortable quoting him directly, in fact, is if I pulled a Herb Powell on him:

Herb Powell from James on Vimeo.

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