by William Needham Finley IV™

Development Beat: Changes Ahead for Players’ Retreat?

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.


Week of March 13, 2017

Plans for a prospective development around Players’ Retreat

Boylan Bridge Brewpub reopens this week

Hillsborough Street Target moves forward

Norris-Heartt historic home restoration underway

City proposes “Teardrop LEDs” in Historic Downtown Districts

Urban Garden Planned for Raleigh

Players’ Redevelopment?


The view from the patio of the iconic Players’ Retreat could soon look a lot different. Plans for a prospective development at Hillsborough Street and Oberlin Road, currently occupied by a BB&T branch and parking lot, will be presented by local architect Michael Stevenson later this week at the Hillsborough Citizens Advisory Council meeting.

In addition to this prospective development, an interesting set of proposed amendments to the city’s Comprehensive Plan invite an upzoning of the Players’ Retreat building, David’s Dumpling & Noodle Bar, and Liquid State to 5-story entitlements. This would allow all of these properties to be redeveloped into larger, higher-density projects: we’re imagining apartments/condos with ground-floor dining and retail, but it’s too early to say what might be coming.

Plans were approved in 2015 for the lot at 1912 Hillsborough, between the PR and the Hillsborough Street roundabout, to be turned into a 54-unit apartment complex. The plan was to build studio and one-bedroom units alongside some sub-350 square feet “micro-units.” No permits have been filed for the Studio 1912 development, however, and we haven’t heard anything since July 2015.

It seems that a lot of things are up in the air right now with respect to this section of Hillsborough Street. Fortunately, we will have more details on these projects, and what they might mean for the Players’ Retreat, next week.

Real Estate Report

Want to live ITB for less than $170K? Of course you do! Call Ryan Boone at 919-438-0548 to make this dream come true. Listing goes live soon but you can call him now for a showing.
To feature listings here, contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com for options.

Boylan Bridge Brewpub Back
It has been over a year since WNFIV broke the news about the water main break that caused the Boylan Bridge Brewpub to shut down. This week, they will finally reopen.

According to the SouthWestRaleigh website, the year-long restoration to secure a collapsed foundation wall is finished and the brewpub will resume operations this week, just in time for freezing temperatures and thunderstorms. We’re sure this place will be packed as soon as the weather clears up.

With Your Permit-ssion

Hillsborough Street: Target Acquired

When the news broke last fall that The Alley would be replaced by a Target, Raleigh residents rushed to get in one last game at the iconic bowling spot on Hillsborough Street. William Needham Finley IV wrote a great piece looking at the past, present, and future of The Alley.
With The Alley now gone, work has begun on turning the space into an upscale discount retailer. Permits were issued last week that allow contractor Davidson & Jones to modify the exterior to reflect the traditional Target look, and clear out the interior to make way for the build out of the new store. The estimated cost for this first portion of the project is listed at a over $1.5 million.

Historic Home Restoration Begins
In December 2016, we took a look at a report filed with Raleigh’s Historic Development Commission for the restoration of the Norris-Heartt house, a two-story Italianate home built in 1879. Located at 421 North Blount Street, the house, owned by the State of North Carolina, had fallen into slight disrepair in recent years. In 2014, the State determined the property was in need of “significant repairs.”

The Norris-Heartt House

While our December article delves into many of the specific details of the renovation, the most noticeable change will be the removal of the non-historic double-height Georgian style porch, which is set to be replaced with new canted bays (windows) and a center porch.

On March 10, two permits with an estimated project cost of more than $3 million were issued to Sigmon Construction for “restoration/addition” work. The work is described as a rear porch addition and the “restoration of existing historical structure.”

Renderings of the renovated Norris-Heartt House

Bright Lights in the Capitol City

In September 2015, the City of Raleigh began its LED Streetlight Replacement Program, which sought to replace 30,000 streetlights across the city with cheaper, but brighter, LEDs. The move was projected to save Raleigh about $400,000 per year once all the lights were installed. The N&O’s Andy Specht wrote a great rundown on the showdown between Raleigh and a few historic neighborhoods over these lights last year.

The plan hit another snag last month, when a subcommittee of the Raleigh Historic Development Commission voted to reject the streetlight replacements in a number of historic downtown areas, including Capitol and Moore Squares and Boylan Heights.

This month, the commission is scheduled to hear a proposal that would replace the halogen-lamp teardrop style lights adorning the Capitol and Moore Square areas in downtown Raleigh with teardrop LEDs.

Although the teardrop LEDs are, at 4,000 kelvins, just as bright as the unpopular overheads, the teardrop design includes a globe/drop lens that helps diffuse the light source. One of the main complaints lodged is that the new LEDs are too bright or blue, producing a vastly different effect than the existing halogens.

By matching the “historical” look of the existing teardrop lights and adding the diffusing lens to take some of the edge off the harsh LED, we think the City will have more success with this plan than it did the last time it appeared before the RHDC, but time will tell.

New Urban Farm Planned for Raleigh

LM Restaurants is taking the concept of “locally sourced” to a whole new level. The management firm behind several local restaurants including the Carolina Ale House, Taverna Agora, Vidrio (which was reviewed by WNFIV in January) and more, has filed plans with the City to build an urban garden on a piece of land adjacent to their headquarters on Chapel Hill Road.

The future site of LM Restaurant’s Urban Farm

The eight-acre site, located  just-outside-the-beltline at 6500 Chapel Hill Road, would be utilized to grow “tomatoes and possibly other vegetables and/or herbs,” according to LM’s submittal. Two greenhouses would also be built on the property, although they wouldn’t have permanent foundations.

In their letter to the city’s Board of Adjustment, LM Restaurants notes that “our company manages and owns several restaurant brands, and we want to establish this small urban farm in order to provide our restaurants with the freshest vegetables possible.” Not surprisingly, LM states that the farm will be “privately operated” and not open to the public. With 50 wines on tap, and 300 more from the bottle, at LM Restaurant owned Vidrio, we expect the farm to look something like the following.

WNFIV’s proposed rendering of the urban farm

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