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Development Beat: Players’ Retreat Plans Unveiled

in Development/ITBNN by

Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of March 20, 2017

Players’ Retreat plans unveiled

Hargett Place is holding a Designer Showcase Open House

Historic fire sets back development

Nightclub replacing Harry’s Guitar Shop moves forward

Domino’s is coming to downtown Raleigh

Holt Brothers doing work on Sheetz

New ITB cottages

Plans Unveiled for Players’ Retreat Redevelopment

Following up on our story from last week, the fate of the Players’ Retreat may soon fall into the hands of the City Council. An unfiled rezoning case requiring Council approval would allow for the development of offices, apartments, retail, and town homes on the lots surrounding the beloved Raleigh restaurant.

Local developer Craig Davis told an overflow crowd at last week’s Hillsborough CAC meeting that plans for the redevelopment had kicked off two years earlier.

“Gus Gusler, the owner of the Players’ Retreat, started an adventure to attempt to acquire his building and the surrounding buildings. He wanted to secure the future of the PR.”

A year into that adventure, Davis said he was brought into the equation “to see if we could achieve that dream of his.” In that time, Davis said they were able to negotiate the acquisition of several of the surrounding lots, which will allow for a more cohesive development approach. “Our vision from day one has been to take this up a notch, quality-wise,” Davis said.

The current plan for the site includes the following:
-A 7 story and 3 story, 70,000 square-foot, 60-unit condo building with ground floor retail on the site where BB&T is currently located.
-A 140,000 square-foot office building with ground floor retail on the site of the David’s Dumpling & Noodle Bar building.
-A 5 story, 75-unit apartment complex on the site of a parking lot and duplex across Oberlin from the PR
-14 town homes, built on the parking lot and duplex site
-A three-level 500-space underground parking garage that will be accessible through the traffic circle
-Sam and Bill’s Hair Salon will be preserved
-A pocket park, contingent on the acquisition of additional land abutting the future apartment site

Local architect Michael Stevenson said the project is a “Planned Development,” meaning its approval would be based on the design.

The seven-story buildings exceed current zoning restrictions, so Gusler et. al will need to rezone several of the lots to move forward. Davis was hesitant to say whether the development was dependent on the approval of that rezoning. He did note that financing was very “project specific.”

Here’s how we interpret it: in order to ensure the PR stays, this development is necessary. In order for this development to move forward, the rezoning must happen. We don’t want to jump to the conclusion that “no rezoning = no Players’ Retreat”, as it is still early on in the process.

Another presentation of the plans will be made during The Wade meeting on Tuesday, March 28th at 7:00 pm at the Jaycee Park Community Center. All CAC meetings are open to the public; however, you can vote only at meetings of the CAC where you reside.

Hargett Place Designer Showcase and Open House

Hargett Place, a project consisting of 19 luxury rowhomes, is currently being built in downtown Raleigh at 133 S. Bloodworth Street, just a few blocks from Moore Square and City Market. We got to tour the place last week and it’s definitely the nicest new construction we’ve seen in the area. The rowhomes include Viking appliances, quartz countertops, 10 ft. ceilings on the main level, hardwoods, and an option for an elevator or dumbwaiter.

Hargett Place is being developed by Hyde Street Holdings, built by Greg Paul Builders, and sold and marketed by Fonville Morisey Barefoot. Trish and John Healy, of Hyde Street Holdings, came up with the idea of a Designer Showcase Home event and open house, featuring Raleigh-based designers and local businesses for the benefit of the Southeast Raleigh YMCA.

A benefit preview party will be held on March 24th, followed by an open house on March 25-26, April 1-2, and April 8-9. The Showcase Home offers around 2,300 square feet of interior living space, two-car parking, plus 1,000 square feet of outdoor living, including a rooftop garden with great views of downtown Raleigh.

Fire Destroys Apartment and Damages Buildings

Tragedy struck downtown last week when a five-alarm fire destroyed the unfinished Metropolitan Apartments on West Jones Street and severely damaged several surrounding structures, including the Quorum Center. A firefighter sustained minor injuries.

ITB Insider was on the scene and had the best coverage in the area during the fire. WNFIV even worked with Raleigh’s Aerial Look to provide more coverage you can ITBelieve in with the video below.

A brief history of The Metropolitan: Originally known as The Greyhound, the complex was being built on the former site of Raleigh’s Greyhound bus terminal, abandoned in 2014 and demolished in April 2016. Clancy & Theys began construction on the five-story project in July 2016.

Designed by JDavis Architects, it was originally scheduled to open in the fall of 2017 with a number of high-end amenities to be included. The building was about 40 percent complete at the time of the fire.

Real Estate Report

Our friend Ryan Boone is listing a lovely 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo at Parkridge Lane, between Cameron Village, Five Points, and Glenwood South. For under $170k, this is a steal. Call Ryan Boone at 919-438-0548 for a showing. Note: Taylor Swift may no longer reside in the area.
To feature listings here, contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com for options.

With Your Permit-ssion

Desperately-Needed Nightclub Replaces Raleigh Icon on Glenwood South

The iconic Harry’s Guitar Shop is gone. In its place will be a new club from business owner Dan Lovenheim, who owns local bars Alchemy (formerly 606 Lounge) and Cornerstone Tavern.

First built in 1966, 616 Glenwood became home to Harry’s Guitar Shop in the mid-1980s when proprietor Harry Tueting purchased the building. WNFIV tells me that if you grew up in Raleigh and took guitar lessons, you took them here. In September of 2015 the shop relocated to 556 Pylon Drive, off Blue Ridge Road.

The property was sold for $1.35 million to an LLC tracing back to a private individual in Chapel Hill. The most notable change to the property will be the addition of a covered patio area in front of the building. It will include a small bar and handicap-accessible restrooms. We were told last year that in order to make room for the new patio, the front wall on the building facing Glenwood will be knocked down and moved back.

The interior will be renovated to include a bar area, a stage, a DJ booth, a cooler, and two multiple occupancy bathrooms. The work, which has a permitted cost of more than a quarter-million dollars, will be handled by Carolina Design & Construction, which is owned by Lovenheim.

Downtown Domino’s

Permits were issued last week for downtown Raleigh’s most hotly anticipated restaurant of 2017: a Domino’s Pizza. The pizza chain will soon be opening on the ground floor of the Edison on Davie Street. WNFIV is now starting a campaign to get another Capital Creations location in that spot instead, but it’s probably too late for that. The $80,000 fit-out of the 2,254 square-foot space will be handled by Westroc Construction.

Construction Starts for Raleigh’s Eighth Sheetz

That was fast! Just over a month after permits were issued for a former recycling center at 8101 Glenwood Avenue, work has begun on the city’s newest Sheetz. The 6,407 square-foot convenience store will be built out by prominent local contractors Holt Brothers Construction for a permitted cost just shy of a $1 million.

Terrence Holt, former NFL and NC State football player, told us, “The Glenwood Avenue project is our second with Sheetz. Permits have been pulled and site work has begun. Along with the new structure, we will be cleaning up environmental issues on the site, upgrading infrastructure, as well as adding new traffic signals to reduce congestion.”

As it happens, Holt Brothers is also one of the sponsors of Habitat for Humanity’s Build a Block program, which is working to build 11 homes on Lake Wheeler Road to raise awareness and address the need for affordable housing in Wake County. Those interested in lending a hand to this great cause can do so in the coming weeks. A complete list of dates and times is available here.

New ITB Cottages

Site work is underway for one of Raleigh’s newest residential developments: The Cottages at Filmore. Located on Filmore Avenue near the intersection of Glenwood and Wade, the seven homes in this new cottage court would be a mix of single-family and attached two-story structures.

The site was previously home to an apartment complex and a single-family home, which were torn down in November 2015. The land had been owned since 1986 by G Henry Temple and Vicky Huband, the developers of the Cottages at Filmore. Although Temple & Huband were both listed on the site plan filings for the Cottages, the property was purchased in October 2016 by The Hamilton Company. When the property was initially listed for sale, it was described as: “One of the last ITB infill development lots left with alley access.” so I assume this has WNFIV’s approval. Permits to build the homes themselves have not yet been filed with the city.

Raleigh Fire Recap

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Fires have always been a hot topic inside the beltline. If you’ve lived here long enough, you know what I mean. Thursday night was unlike anything Raleigh residents have seen, unless you’re pushing 100 years old. The Metropolitan, a new apartment complex across the street from the Quorum Center near Glenwood and Hillsborough, caught fire just before 10:00 pm. This wasn’t your typical “Wake County closing school because they heard it might snow a tenth of an inch” dumpster fire. This was a legitimate “it’s the end of days, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are coming” level fire.

Most importantly, Raleigh’s firefighters, police officers, and emergency workers did an incredible job of keeping the fire contained and everyone safe. 100 firefighters contained the fire after three hours. If you live in a building that was evacuated, call 919-996-2999 for information on when you can get back in to your building.

I’ll recap the entire night in a moment, but first let’s look at how Raleigh is coming together to help those in need.

Raleigh Rallies Around Fire

Plenty of Raleigh residents and businesses immediately offered support to those impacted by the fire. Within hours after the fire began, the Holiday Inn, or “Clarion” for those of you who recently moved here, offered rooms to those who had been displaced by the fire. By Friday morning, the Red Cross, First Baptist Church, and many others were setting up shelters.

Below are ways that you can help. We’ll update this as we get more information.

The Raleigh Police Dept. says the Quorum Center is hard hit due to extensive water damage from the sprinkler system running all night. Residents from both the Quorum Center and Link Apartments will probably not be able to get back into the building for a few days.

A relief center has been set up at 301 W Jones St – United Methodist Church Annex Building, where they are feeding firefighters and responders if you want to deliver food. Residents in need can contact Sergeant Dave Eckert (919-524-4527) who is coordinating overall efforts.

SportsChannel8 – is donating, and encouraging others to donate, to The 200 Club of Wake County, which “provides immediate financial help for the spouse and children of police officers, sheriff deputies, firemen, EMS squad members and North Carolina State Highway Patrol serving in Wake County who lose their life in the line of duty.”

Isaac Hunter’s Tavern – hosting a BBQ dinner Friday night at 6:00 pm. All proceeds go towards RFD and to support those affected by the fire.

VCA Triangle Tower Animal Hospital – offering to board pets. Call 919-231-8030.

Crank Arm Brewery – holding a clothing drive at its W. Davie Street location from open to close on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

518 West, or “Google Fiber” for those of you who JUST moved here, offered food, internet, charging, and a place to stay warm

Rise Cameron Village and North Raleigh – offering meals to any firefighter, police officer, EMT, or first responder

The Gramercy – letting people use their Clubroom, located at 650 West North St.

The Hibernian – donating a portion of today’s proceeds

ITB Insider™ Covers Downtown Fire Better Than Anyone Else

Around 10:08 pm on Thursday night, Brian Oschwald, a contributing ITB reporter who lives at the West condo, called to tell me the building across the street was on fire. I went to investigate, thinking it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I drove down West Morgan Street and immediately saw a tower of flames as I passed Moonlight Pizza. Turning left onto Glenwood, then right onto Hillsborough, I took this video.

It truly was like something you would see in a movie. I parked on West Street, in between Hillsborough and Edenton, and began a Facebook Live from the gravel parking lot before moving to the bridge on Hillsborough Street over the train tracks. My phone battery died, but only after I provided everyone with the best news coverage ever. I’m working on putting together a shorter video.



Posted by William Needham Finley IV on Thursday, March 16, 2017

To put this in context, here’s a clearer picture of where the fire started.

Here’s exclusive footage from the West rooftop, from ITB contributor Brian Oschwald.


Posted by Brian James Patrick Oschwald on Thursday, March 16, 2017

This was taken from right outside of Clouds Brewing, less than a few hundred feet from the site of the fire.

On Friday morning I kicked off another delirious Facebook Live from the West condo, in which I rambled on for about an hour.


Update from the scene of the fire. Didn’t expect to ramble for almost an hour. Just trying to bring you coverage you can ITBelieve in.

Posted by William Needham Finley IV on Friday, March 17, 2017

Additional coverage:

View from the roof of the West condo. Photo: Brian Oschwald


Another view from the West rooftop. Photo: Brian Oschwald
View from the HT parking lot in Cameron Village


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

Raleigh Tailor Goes Mobile With New App

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Glenwood South Tailors + Alterations Releases Game Changing App

A native of Raleigh, Brian Burnett also happens to be the best dressed man in Raleigh. He should be, since it’s his profession. For almost two years, Brian has operated Glenwood South Tailors and Alterations, Raleigh’s premier mobile tailoring and alterations venture. They’re located in Glenwood South, right around the corner from Broughton, which makes them the most ITB tailor in town. They also just released a new app that makes it even easier to use their services.

Since I’m a media empire startup that covers technology, local businesses, and Raleigh, I sat down with Brian for an exclusive interview. I learned about how he and his team of fashion experts have brought back the element of concierge service and communication to the tailoring world. We also talked about the new mobile app, which is available in the AppStore.

WNFIV: First, let me say that you really are the best dressed guy I’ve met in Raleigh. And that’s coming from someone who still wears New Balance 991s with khaki pants.

Brian: Yeah, I’ve been wanting to talk to you about that…

WNFIV: We’ll get to my style later. I’m going to need an overhaul for Fyre Festival in a few months anyway. Let’s talk about the app. Why does a tailor need one?

Brian: Well, we pride ourselves on our professional communication, in-person and digitally. We already offer mobile alterations and tailoring, where we come to your home or office, fit you, and return your items. And we also offer iStyling™…

WNFIV: Sorry to interrupt, but what is iStyling™?

Brian: iStyling™ is how we offer tailoring consultation and virtual alterations through FaceTime, texting, Instagram, you name it. With so many forms of communication available today, it’s a perfect solution for customers who can’t get to us. Just let us know your question and we’ll advise you.

WNFIV: So since I’m partially colorblind I could FaceTime you and you’d tell me what to wear so I don’t look like an idiot?

Brian: Exactly. Someone could ask what to wear to a business school or job interview. In your case, you could ask “Which pastel polo goes best with this Barbour jacket?”. So as you can see, we’re mobile in every way, which our executive clients value. Creating an app puts us in your pocket and makes that communication even easier.

WNFIV: So would you say you’re the Netflix and Uber of tailoring?

Brian: I’d say we’re the Raleigh of tailoring, and this app lets our clients reach us faster and easier than ever.

WNFIV: A lot of people build pointless apps just so they can tell people “I’m building an app.” when they’re at networking events. What does your app actually do?

Brian: Our clients can use the app to easily schedule appointments for all of our services, including both in-store and mobile tailoring and alterations, and iStyling™.

WNFIV: Have you thought about letting your clients add profiles on the app to show off how great they look in their tailored clothes? Then clients could match with each other based on how good they look. You could swipe right if you liked them and if you’re a match there’d be a catchy slogan like, “You two are a good fit!” you know, because it’s a play on words.

Brian: Yeah, we’re probably not going to do that, but let me walk you through our app. You can see all the services we provide on the main screen. At the bottom you can tap to schedule an appointment.

Brian: Then choose the type of appointment you want to schedule.

Brian: Select the time and date.

Brian: Enter your information.

Brian: The appointment is now scheduled and you can add it to your calendar right from your phone. You’ll also get a follow up e-mail.

WNFIV: This is amazing. I had to stop going to Crabtree for tailoring after the fake mall shooting, so I’m really glad someone took the initiative to make an app like this.

Brian: Thanks, we worked really hard on it.

WNFIV: So when I do a breaking news story on this I need a good title. I’m thinking “Raleigh Takes Its Clothes Off For New App” or “Raleigh Undresses for New App”.

Brian: How about just “Raleigh Tailor Goes Mobile With New App”?

WNFIV: That sounds good.

With this new app, Glenwood South Tailors and Alterations is definitely the most cutting edge outfit inside the beltline. Yeah, I went there. So go see Brian, tell him I sent you and he’ll give you 15% off your first item (slacks or suit jacket, no outerwear or fur) once you’ve downloaded the app.

We’ve partnered with Glenwood South Tailors and Alterations to bring you this story. We’ll follow up with Brian in the coming months as part of our People of ITB series where we take a closer look at the most interesting people in Raleigh. 

Development Beat: Washington Terrace Demolition Begins

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of February 20, 2017

Washington Terrace Demolition Begins

La Madeleine French Bakery & Café Coming Soon

Brier Creek Is Getting a Holiday Inn Express

RHDC meeting this week on the Weaver House

Washington Terrace Demolition
Washington Terrace, a low-income housing project in the heart of East Raleigh, will soon be torn down to make way for one of the City’s largest affordable-housing projects to-date.

An aerial view of Washington Terrace

Built in 1950, the 23-acre, 245 unit development is known as “the first rental community built for African American professionals” and has housed a number of prominent and well-known members of Raleigh’s African American community, including Clarence Lightner. Lightner was the first popularly elected Mayor of Raleigh and the first African American elected mayor of a metropolitan Southern city, serving from 1973 to 1975.

The aging neighborhood fell into foreclosure and was purchased in 2014 by the nonprofit housing agency DHIC, with the help of a $2.1 million loan from the City. Following a yearlong process that saw input from more than 300 residents, civic and nonprofit leaders, and other area stakeholders, a master plan for the future of Washington Terrace was unveiled in December 2015.

The multiphase redevelopment process, in which the City will invest about $6.8 million, began in earnest last week when 36 demolition permits were issued for the teardown of the affordable housing development.

Phase I of the new development — titled “The Village at Washington Terrace” — will see the construction of 162 apartments, a new community center with a children’s play area and recreation space, a community garden, and a child care center. Residents also drew attention to the need for health care services and retail, which will likely be addressed in later phases of the redevelopment.

A rendering of The Village at Washington Terrace

Phase II will include 72 units of affordable housing for seniors, while later phases will likely include homes-for-sale. The DHIC plan also includes a “pilot financial capability workshop series in the neighborhood that will help to build a local pipeline of mortgage-ready families who want to extend their roots in the community”.

It’s hard to see the loss of a historic Raleigh neighborhood as a good or positive thing, but from all accounts DHIC has gone to tremendous lengths to ensure The Village at Washington Terrace will be as important an asset to the community in 2017 as the original Washington Terrace was in the 1950s.

A rendering of the future Village at Washington Terrace

With Your Permit-ssion

La Madeleine French Bakery & Café Coming Soon 
Ooh-la-la! North Raleigh will soon be home to North Carolina’s latest location of the French-inspired cafe chain La Madeleine. The cafe will open in the former Mimi’s Cafe space at the Plantation Point shopping center near Triangle Town Center.

The chain obnoxiously refers to its menus as “Les Menus,” a flaw we were willing to overlook once we saw some of the goods they have to offer: chocolate croissants, lemon madeleines, apple turnovers and much, much more. But come on: Les Menus? French-inspired, sure, but the chain is based out of Texas. The $150,000 fit-out for this new space will be handled by Ganaway Contracting Company.

La Madeleine can get away with calling its menu “Les Menus” because this is what its food looks like

Garland gets an upgrade AND their Chef is up for a James Beard Award
The only other dining establishment to receive permits last week was downtown Raleigh’s Garland, an Asian fusion restaurant that will soon be the recipient of a new basement cooler. This exciting $16,000 project at 16 W. Martin Street will be handled by Greg Paul Builders. I’m sure they’re more excited about the fact that co-owner and Chef Cheetie Kumar was recently named a 2017 James Beard Award semifinalist.

Construction Begins on Flex Office Space
Work on a new flex office space has begun out by the airport at 8801 Westgate Park Drive, where Ragland Properties recently received permits for a one-story, 11,364 square foot industrial building. According to site plans filed last year, the building will house a mix of light industrial uses, office, and retail space. The $470,000 building shell will be built by Jeffrey Cheney, who, as far as we know, bears no relation to the former Vice President.

Is Brier Creek in Raleigh? No, But I Did Stay at a Holiday Inn Express Last Night
Over in Brier Creek, permits were issued for a new, four-story, 112 room, 68,088 square foot Holiday Inn Express. In case you were wondering, the difference between a Holiday Inn and a Holiday Inn Express is the latter’s lack of a restaurant. The new hotel will be built at 10450 Little Brier Creek Lane by Palmetto Design Associates for $7.3 million.

Holiday Inn Express Breakfast Buffet: It’s the most important meal of the day, although we’d swap that pancake machine out for a waffle maker.

Fire Station Gets Sprinklers
Permits were issued for a sprinkler installation at Fire Station 15. While we don’t imagine the occupants of this building are the type to trigger the need for said sprinklers, the building is 42 years old, and there’s probably some kind of building code requiring the new sprinklers. This $70,000 project at 1815 Spring Forest Road will be handled by Engineered Construction. One interesting fact about Fire Station 15, courtesy of our friend Mike Legeros: in 2009, a solar panel system was installed to help power a thermal hot water heater. Cool!

Fire Station No. 15

Sir Walter’s Legacy

Raleigh’s esteemed Historic Development Commission is set to meet again this week, where they’ll discuss projects ranging from a new two-car garage in the Glenwood-Brooklyn neighborhood to a deferred demolition case for a home on East Lane Street that we covered a few weeks ago.

The Weaver House

Built in 1922 by David and Ernestine Weaver, 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 demolition case was scheduled to be heard at last month’s meeting but was postponed until this Thursday.

When we first wrote about this project, we noted that this historic Raleigh landmark had suffered damage caused by a collision from an uninsured motorist in June 2016.

The Weaver House, post-car accident

Like many of our readers, we wish the owners had been able to find a way to save the house, but 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. Plus, the Weavers were a big part of Raleigh’s history. David Weaver managed the dance hall in the Masonic Temple at 427 South Blount Street, which stood at the edge of Raleigh’s African American commercial district and was a vital part of the community. He operated a social club, beer garden, billiard parlor, and a soda shop. Weaver was also the local booking agent of the New York-based Gale Agency. Through the agency, Weaver, a musician himself, brought jazz greats like Count Basie and Duke Ellington to Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium. Check out the full Historic Landmark Report for more information on the Weavers.

There was one other RHDC case that caught our eye: a second-story addition for a home at 322 E. Davie Street in the Prince Hall historic district.

322 E Davie was recently renovated

This one‐story frame house with “weatherboard siding, an asphalt‐shingled triple‐A gable roof, a front porch with replacement metal supports, replacement windows, and diamond‐shaped gable vents,” could soon increase greatly in size, should the RHDC and the City decide to grant its owners permission.

The application, prepared in part by the fine folks over at In Situ studio, notes that the addition will be constructed “so there is the least possible loss of historic fabric and so that the character-defining features of the historic building are not destroyed, damaged or obscured.”

These historic features, the applicants note, are “primarily embodied” in the front of the house, and while the original footprint also included an L-shaped portion along the rear/east side of the house, it did not contain the same “character-defining features.” The addition will sit atop the original L-shaped portion.

A rendering of the new rear portion of the home

Site Unseen

It’s doubtful any of our readers will find this coincidence as interesting as I did, but it just so happens that the two site plans we’re looking at today are for the same exact building types as the two new building projects we examined above. And yes, unlike Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I believe in both coincidences and leprechauns.

Our first coincidence of the day comes care of Highwoods Properties, which recently filed site plan documents for a new 92,075 square foot, three-story office building on Corporate Center Drive in West Raleigh near the I-40 interstate and a little north of Hillsborough Street.

The area highlighted in red is where the new building would go, but you knew that already, didn’t you, smarty-pants?

Preliminarily titled 751 Raleigh Corporate Center, the new office building will be built on a 10.467 acre space and include about 305 parking spaces. The site plan documents list HagerSmith Design as the main consultant. Personally, we’d have gone with either 751 or “The Raleigh Corporate Center” as both seem to afford better branding opportunities, but who knows. At least it’s convenient to the highway.

The second site plan of the week is even more coincidental: another Brier Creek hotel! Set to be located on Lumley Road just west of 540 and conveniently close to both the Brier Creek Target and the Brier Creek Regal Cinemas, this new 10-story, 247,728 square foot hotel is being developed by Winwood Hospitality.

The site of the proposed Lumley Road Hotel

The site plans list the name of the project simply as the “Lumley Road Hotel”. As Winwood operates under the Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites, and Hilton Garden brands, we can’t say for sure what type of hotel this will be, although that decision isn’t usually made until later on in the process. It will offer a total of 259 guest rooms and a 259 space parking deck to match, as well as nine Maidenhair Trees, 19 Nuttal Oaks and 14 Athena Elms. Because what those 259 future guests will *really* care about is the species of the trees they won’t be able to see through their blackout curtains.

How ITB Insider™ Won A Major Award

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Being a startup is all about winning awards. And after being in existence for over six months I have yet to win any. That all changed last night when Raleigh’s hottest startup, ITB Insider™, took home a major award at the 2017 Downtown Raleigh Alliance annual meeting. Commonly known as the “DRA”, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance “supports downtown’s revitalization by contributing to its economic success”. They do a lot of great things for the city, which you can read about here because I’m too overwhelmed with joy to explain them to you right now.

One of their biggest events is the annual meeting, where they talk about Raleigh, give out awards, and probably do other stuff that I’m unaware of because I’ve never actually been to one. My standard protocol is to avoid the crowds by staying home and tweeting about the event. By using the hashtag they’ve selected for the evening, my tweets will show up on the big screens at the event for all in attendance to see. In the past I had just used Twitter to provide commentary on the evening, but this year I knew I needed more. It was time to take control of the event and give myself an award.

After realizing the event was being held last night, I checked with a source and began my work. 

With the keys to the castle in hand, I proceeded to captivate the audience.

I leveraged synergies and mentioned my wonderful lawyer Stacy Miller and Miller Law Firm, who I knew were in attendance.

I knew my plan was working because I received a text from another person at the event who thought I was there. 

And then, it happened. I won my first award as a startup media empire. The Downtown Best Media Empire Award was given out to me, by me, so that I could get the respect and adulation that I think I deserve.

I assume there was a 10 minute standing ovation and that people were crying tears of joy. “Finally, he did it! He’s worked so hard,” said someone really important, probably. “All those Tweets and Instagrams, all those impressions and pageviews he’s gotten over the last six months, this is so deserved,” said another CEO, I assume. “His investigative work on the Trolley Pub almost ruining the Raleigh Christmas parade, and that piece on The Alley closing, no wonder he won this,” added another attendee.

I obviously had a ton of people to thank.

It truly was an amazing experience and a great night for all. Congratulations to the other award winners as well. I look forward to going to Johnson-Lambe to get them to make an actual award for me that I’ll proudly display at our startup media empire headquarters. Here’s to more success in 2017.

Development Beat: Luxury Townhomes Coming to St. Mary’s

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Week of February 13, 2017

St. Mary’s luxury townhomes break ground

Real Estate Report: an ITB home from Ryan Boone Real Estate

Work begins in the old The Velvet Cloak spot

so•ca in Cameron Village to open in March

German grocery store Lidl coming to Raleigh

Raleigh is getting a Chronic Tacos

The Saint
Hallelujah. After more than three years, construction has finally begun on 220 The Saint, a long-awaited upscale townhome development on St. Mary’s Street near downtown Raleigh.

Leo Suarez over at The Raleigh Connoisseur was the first to break the news back in October 2013. We’ve also written about the project in the past. After a lack of updates, we looked into the project again in August 2016 with little success: the lots were vacant, that was it.

The Saint was pitched as a development of 17 luxurious townhome units that would feature elevators, rooftop gardens, two-car garages, European style kitchens, and “other expensive touches”. The units originally ranged in size from 2,700 to 4,700 square feet and in price from $750,000 to $1.4 million.

This may have changed, as permits were issued last month for four of The Saint’s new townhomes, being built by Pomarico Construction Corp. The four new townhomes will come in two different sizes, 3,294 sf and 3,454 sf and will start at a cost of $624,695.

We were also able to track down eight additional permits for The Saint that the owners have applied for but have not yet been issued, bringing the total number of units to 12. Of course, additional townhomes may be added at some point in the future, but none of the permits applied for or issued drop below 3,294 sf in size, while two of them are larger than the originally announced 4,700 sf.

We’ll keep an eye on this as the project progresses.

Real Estate Report

Prime Wade Avenue location for less than $270,000
Raleigh real estate agent Ryan Boone, ITBRealtor.com, brings this beautifully maintained 1,200+ square feet, three bedroom ranch to the ITB market this week.

This home features a large living room with a fireplace and built-ins, and gorgeous hardwoods throughout. There’s room to grow with 1,158 unfinished square feet in the basement, and a hedge-lined fenced front yard provides plenty of privacy. Check out more photos and details here. With a price tag under $300k, it’s probably going to be sold by the time you finish reading this sentence. Email Ryan@HudsonResidential.com or call 919-438-0548 for a tour.

To feature listings here, contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com for options.

With Your Permit-ssion

Work Underway In Former Velvet Cloak Inn Spot
Work is officially underway for 1505 Hillsborough, a student housing development that will be built in the legendary Velvet Cloak Inn location on Hillsborough Street.

The former Velvet Cloak Inn was torn down last month to make way for 1505 Hillsborough

You may recall we wrote about the demolition of the Velvet Cloak back in December, which resulted in many readers asking us for information on how to reclaim pieces of the iconic hotel. We tried (honestly!) but to no avail, which we suppose means the countless memories made at this once-grand Raleigh hotel will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. I’m told Finley is working on an oral history of the place, so stay tuned for that.

Permits were issued for both 1505’s five-story, 217,786 square foot apartment building and its six-story, 113,322 square foot parking deck. The work on the complex, which has a listed cost of nearly $29 million, will be handled by Summit Contracting.

so•ca Receives Final Permits
The owners of the popular downtown restaurant bu•ku recently received their final interior alteration permits for so•ca, a “cocina Latina” (Latin Kitchen). They’re set to open in early March in the space previously occupied by Faire in Cameron Village.

While Raleigh already has its fair share of both midrange and upscale Mexican restaurants — with many more on the way — we’re actually really excited about this one. With seating for 150 inside and 100 more outside, so•ca will offer a menu that will draw inspiration from “Colombia and Mexico, Trinidad and Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Chile.”

North Carolina Gets Its First Lidl
Up in North Raleigh, vertical construction is set to begin on Raleigh’s latest grocery store, German chain Lidl (lee-dil). Go ahead and Google it, we didn’t know what it was either. It will be the chain’s first North Carolina location and will open at 4308 Wake Forest Road, in what is now an empty lot between McDonald’s and Red Lobster.

At a neighborhood meeting concerning the project held last year, a Lidl representative was surprisingly tight-lipped with details on the new store: he wouldn’t even confirm what kind of products would be sold. We reached out again last week after noticing some site work was underway for the project, but were stonewalled once again. Our guess: it’s going to be a lot like German competitor Aldi, which has a location just down the street.

The $1.98 million job will be handled by Fulcrum Construction, who we heard narrowly beat out Level Contracting and Fixed Hinge builders for the project. Yes, that was a physics joke.

The new Lidl store will likely resemble its European counterpart

Chronic Tacos Coming To Raleigh
Chronic Tacos, a popular quick-service Mexican chain, that of course originated in California, is coming to Raleigh. Judging by its website, Chronic Tacos looks to be a slightly more upscale version of Chipotle with a Día de los Muertos aesthetic and all-day breakfast options. The restaurant will open at the new Sprouts grocery store anchored Olive Park shopping center on Falls of the Neuse Road (again, Finley made me add in “the”) and the $215,000 fit-out is being handled by Piccola Builders.

Won’t You Be M.E. Valentine?
That didn’t take long. Built just four years ago, the owners of Valentine Commons student apartment complex off Hillsborough Street on M.E. Valentine Drive are already looking to expand.

A rezoning case filed last week requests that the property be rezoned to a higher-density designation, which would “allow sufficient flexibility for redevelopment so that existing facilities can be updated and new facilities added to meet the demands of the market for quality student housing.”

We’re not sure what kind of improvements the Valentine Commons might need at this early stage: it already boasts a great location, countless amenities, ranging from tanning beds to game rooms and much more, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

The Valentine Commons apartments

How Raleigh Races Should Be Run

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Runologie Wins ITB Gold By Not Closing Raleigh Streets
On the nicest Sunday afternoon in February that I can ever remember, five runners raised money for charities and didn’t negatively impact anyone in Raleigh. The first ever “Run For Good” consisted of five runners on three treadmills placed on the sidewalk outside of Runologie and State of Beer on Hillsborough Street. No roads were closed. No businesses lost money from streets being shut down. No one was standing on the corner ringing a cow bell at 7:00 in the morning. No one had to drive all over town just to get to Rise Biscuits and Donuts or brunch. No drunk concert “performance” by the lead singer of Smash Mouth. No fake studies that say a race had an $8.13 million economic impact were conducted. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. So amazing that I made a film about it that I’ll probably send to Sundance.

Two individuals and a relay team ran for four hours on those treadmills to raise money for three different organizations. Jason Tischer, Umstead 100 defending champ, raised funds for Team Tassy, an organization that pays for job creation and job training programs to eliminate poverty in Haiti. Omer Abdulrahman, a refugee from Sudan, raised money for the ACLU of North Carolina. The relay team of Brent Francese, Alex Warren, and Gavin Coombs (Uwharrie 20 Miler defending champ) raised funds for Common Cause NC, a group working to end gerrymandering. Runologie donated 15% of sales that day to the non-profits. Over $4,000 was raised at the event, which was sponsored by Runologie and State of Beer, with donations from Lysaght & Associates, John Montgomery Violins, and many more.

Before the event, I offered to jog lightly for 4 minutes, but ended up opting out. I didn’t want to throw the other runners off their pace. My Mom forced me to run Cross Country at Broughton, where I learned that pace is a pretty big deal.

This is how all races in Raleigh should be done from now on. Have five people run while everyone else drinks beer and raises money for good causes. I’ve always said we need to run road races on the beltline. It’s roughly the distance of a marathon and it wouldn’t impact any ITB roads. But this is an even better solution. Why stop at 3 treadmills? I don’t care if every sidewalk in downtown Raleigh is lined with thousands of treadmills, as long as it means the streets are never shut down and I never miss another brunch. And it’s not just for running, the possibilities are endless. Dogs of ITB treadmill runs, babies of ITB treadmill first steps parties. This is a billion dollar idea.

I hereby, quid pro quo, move to only run Raleigh races in this manner from now until the end of time. I second that motion and will now send it along via Twitter to the City Council so that they can make it into a law. I’m pretty sure that’s how laws work now, but I still need to check with my lawyer, Stacy Miller.

Raleigh Parents Nearly Riot Over Summer Camp Site Crash

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I received the following Tweet on Monday morning:

“Seriously. If my kids don’t get into Pullen art camp and camp at Jaycee, I will have a rage blackout. #ITBproblems cc @WNFIV”

This is how I was alerted to what turned out to be a near riot over the City of Raleigh’s Summer Camp sign-up process. Apparently, the city offers summer camps for children from ages 3 to 16 in 36 locations in Raleigh. Parents were told that camp sign-up would be handled through a website that opened at 5:30 am on Monday morning. The website did its best Healthcare.gov impression and totally failed, crashing repeatedly and causing parents to lash out. Here is a brief sampling of the reaction: (these are real)

“Raleigh Parks and Rec has gone way downhill the last few years. Can’t say I’m surprised once again a major fail by them! I would not recommend them!”

“It was hung up, we HAD to cancel the transaction which logged us off. This is an AWFUL way to book camps!!!!”

“AWFUL. I was almost in tears at 5:50 AM on a Monday morning. My friends and I were in a text freak-out string. What is being done to fix and prevent it in the future? Would love to know.”

Hell hath no fury like an ITB mom text freak-out string. According to Andy Specht’s coverage, the city processed more than 8,000 summer camp registrations Monday morning, which caused the site to crash, resulting in a total panic among parents.

I totally understand the backlash. Having to deal with your kids during the summer is an ITB parent’s greatest fear. That’s why most parents send their kids to Camp Sea Gull or Seafarer for as long as they possibly can.

My first reaction to the news of the site being down was to view this as an opportunity. If I could log on to the site and reserve as many spaces as possible, I could then resell the spaces to parents who weren’t lucky enough to register. Basically I would create the Airbnb of summer camps.

I logged on and read through the camps and was dumbfounded. I figured these camps would consist of throwing some kids in a gym all day for dodgeball and limited water breaks. I had no idea how much time and effort the city puts into these. Below are just a few that I would sign up for if I hadn’t already aged out.

Bricks 4 Kidz – Jurassic Brick World with LEGO® Bricks
You’re about to enter Jurassic Brick Land! Build a world with LEGO4 Bricks that comes to life with a gentle Brontosaurus, ferocious Velociraptor, and terrible T. Rex.

Bricks 4 Kidz – LEGO® Bat League: Heroes and Villians!
Enter the dark city where a dangerous jokester and other evil villains wreak havoc. Thankfully there is a bat hero who comes out each night to fight against these evil-doers! Campers will improve their building skills and crime-fighting passion in this thrilling camp of bat heroes and villains!

CSI Forensics
Who done it? Campers will investigate a mock crime scene, finding clues through scavenger hunts, fun activities and discussions. They will use experimentation and forensic technology to explore, gather and analyze evidence to solve the mystery of the week. Campers will participate in a mock trial, acting as lawyers, judge and jury.

Holt Brothers Football Camp
Torry and Terrence Holt, former NC State and NFL football stars, will lead this one-week camp experience for boys AND girls interested in learning about sportsmanship and teamwork.

First of all, where were these camps when I was a kid? These sound incredible. Jurassic Park and Batman LEGOs that you get to keep at the end of the week, CSI: ITB and Law & Order: ITB Victims Unit rolled into one camp, and a football camp with former NFL players! I now see why parents had a full on meltdown over the possibility of not getting their kids into these camps.

Unfortunately, the registration wasn’t working for me either, which led to plan B. I would create my own summer camp where kids could come and learn how to run a media empire. At Finley’s Fun Work Camp, kids learn valuable life skills through the following activities:

Wash the Suburban, Tahoe, or Yukon – learn teamwork skills as you attempt to wash and detail these Wade Ave 500 road warriors.

Manage a La Croix stand – not only are the profit margins huge at $5 per can, your little one will learn about supply and demand, managing inventory, sales, and marketing.

Constructing the downtown Raleigh canal – kids love heavy-duty construction equipment. So why not let them use it?  Kids will have access to the finest heavy-duty equipment as they begin to dig out the canal.

Excavate Dix Park – we all know what lies beneath Dix Park. Let your kid be one of the first to uncover fossilized remains of the dinosaurs that used to roam these lands. (Any dino-DNA discovered during excavation will remain property of ITB Insider™ for future use in genetically engineering actual dinosaurs.)

Pick up my morning Rise biscuits and donuts so I won’t have to deal with the delays from road closures.

You’re probably thinking that all these activities are going to be super expensive. Fortunately, I figured out how to incorporate my sponsors to decrease the cost to campers. Snacks and lunch will be catered by 80Fresh and the SUV pick up and drop off lines will be brought to you by Thompson Buick GMC Cadillac. I’ll also be sure to use Walk West for my sign-up website so it won’t crash and cause an outrage. For just one case of La Croix a day, you can sponsor a child to attend Finley’s Fun Work Camp.

My lawyer Stacy Miller, with Miller Law Firm, said I’d be violating all sorts of child labor laws, no matter how silly and outdated they were. I suggested he represent the ITB parents who were unable to sign up for camp in a class action law suit against the city and let me take a referral fee for every client he got. He said that probably isn’t the best course of action.

Anyway, this was quite the fiasco. I fully expect the Holderni to do a parody video titled “Website Crashes” based on “Lightning Crashes” by Live.

Website crashes, a new mother cries,

Her Macbook Air falls to the floor…

I’ll let them take it from here. I’ve got to go to another ITBusiness meeting. Feel free to share your experience with signing up for summer camp in the comments.

Development Beat: Iconic Blue Tower Restaurant To Be Demolished for One Glenwood

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Week of February 6, 2017

Blue Tower Restaurant to be demolished for One Glenwood project

Kane Expands Plans For Smokey Hollow

HQ Raleigh begins work on new space in the historic Capital Club Building

A new plan for the Spencer Ridge mixed-use development on Falls of THE Neuse Road (WNFIV made me include “the”)

New Retail Planned for Glenwood Near Crabtree

Demolition Begins On Iconic Blue Tower Restaurant
Once home to the legendary Blue Tower Restaurant, a 24-hour greasy spoon diner, the 67-year old structure at 605 Hillsborough Street will soon be torn down. It will be replaced by the One Glenwood development, a 10-story, 219,500 square foot mixed-use commercial/office building planned for the intersection of Hillsborough Street and Glenwood in downtown Raleigh.

One Glenwood

Developed by Heritage Properties out of Towson, Maryland, the building will include 14,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and a 650-space parking deck on a separate site across W. Morgan Street. A brochure from project architect JDavis explains the design as one that intends to “create a building of its place and part of the ever-evolving city by tying the old with the new.”

Does that mean we’ll be seeing a 24-hour greasy spoon diner included as part of that ground-floor retail? Doubtful, although we did reach out to both Heritage Properties and leasing agent Trinity Partners to see if they would be willing to share any potential tenant information.

As for the space’s previous tenants, Bruce Garner, founder of Raleigh’s iconic Char-Grill hamburger chain, opened the Blue Tower sometime in the late 1940s. While county records indicate the structure was built in 1949, the first listing for the diner was in the 1948 Hill’s Raleigh City Directory. Described in a later directory listing as a place that offered “Excellent Food, Quick Service From A Sandwich to A Meal, Open 24 Hours A Day”.

Garner purportedly opened the diner, which offered “a long bar and cheap coffee”, after his neighborhood restaurant raised the cost of a cup of coffee to a whopping ten cents. Garner’s competitor is said to have closed his doors soon after the opening of Blue Tower. Garner went on to open Char-Grill in 1959. Blue Tower has been described as an “infamous diner” that offered “excellent eats at odd hours.” Some have claimed that the place was mobbed up at one point, and that the East Coast Syndicate operated out of the back. We have no evidence of this and didn’t want to risk our lives investigating.

At some point, the space was turned into a chiropractor’s office. County photographs show it has been used as such since at least 1996.

605 Hillsborough Street in 1996

The $11,750 worth of demolition permits for the old building were issued to Whiting-Turner Contracting. One Hillsborough is slated to open sometime in 2018.

Smokey Hollow Expands
As first reported last week by Amanda Hoyle in the Triangle Business Journal, Kane Realty and Williams Realty’s ambitious plans for the 12-story Smokey Hollow development at the intersection of Peace and West Streets downtown have already begun to grow. Recent purchases made on behalf of Kane and Williams have nearly doubled the size of the 4.2 acre lot. In December, they received approvals for 616 apartment units and a 51,300 square foot grocery store, which is strongly rumored to be a Publix.

While no plans have yet been announced for the newly acquired sites, we would expect them to be a mix of office, residential and retail, not dissimilar from Kane’s nearby Dillon project, expected to open next year. Kane told the TBJ he hopes to break ground on Smokey Hollow by this summer.

While the Smokey Hollow development is significant on its own, when combined with the work being done by Lundy Group at the nearby intersection of Peace and North West, the State’s plans for Capital Boulevard bridge replacements, and the City’s plans for a Capital Boulevard corridor revitalization, it can be seen as a key part of a much larger revitalization of a part of the City that has seen comparatively little change over the last few decades.

A rendering of the proposed Smokey Hollow development

With Your Permit-ssion

A space that once housed the offices of the Capital Club, a group described in a historic landmark application as “one of the oldest and most prominent organizations for men in the South,” will soon be transformed. HQ Raleigh, a co-working space in downtown, will occupy five floors of office space in order to offer its members shared conference rooms, a cafe, and a bar in the flexible workspace.

The Capital Club building at 16 West Martin Street

The 12-story building at 16 West Martin Street was designed and built in 1929 in a style described as one that embodied “the combination of Art Deco motifs with traditional regional architectural practice.”

HQ Raleigh will be taking over the top five stories of the building, a $2.2 million project, that will renovate about 20,000 square feet of space. While much of the building was originally designed and utilized for office space, floors nine through twelve originally offered the Capital Club space for its own offices, “as well as a billiard room, lounges, kitchens, dining rooms, and a ballroom,” which makes it sound more like the mansion from Clue than a standard office building. It seems these amenities were a must have since, according to the historic landmark application, “the Capital Club Building is associated with the lives of the individuals who dominated the governmental, commercial, and industrial affairs of the state during the five decades beginning in 1885.”

The 12th floor will be transformed back into a lounge that will be completely restored to its original Art Deco iteration. The project’s designer, Maurer Architecture, specializes in historic building renovation projects, and we imagine the lounge especially will be a sight to behold.

A few other permits worth mentioning:

  • A new Handee Hugos will open across the street from Brier Creek Elementary at 9910 Sellona Street, just south of the Brier Creek Parkway and slightly east of Aviation Parkway. The 4,520 square foot convenience store will be built for $790,978 by Bunn Brantley Enterprises.
  • A new $2.5 million, 7,797 square foot structure for online auto retailer Carvana is coming to a space on Navaho Drive. Apparently, you can buy a car off the website and have it delivered within one day, a concept that could really take impulse online shopping to a whole new level. The one-story sales and storage building will be built by Parkway C&A.
  • Permits were issued for the new $3.9 million Gresham Lake Storage Facility. The three-story, 97,832 square foot building will be constructed by the MTC Corporation.
  • A dozen $100,000 permits were issued to Balfour Beatty Construction for an extensive interior renovation project at the First Citizens Bank building at 100 E Tryon Road. The permits indicate that about 9,000 square feet of space, about 10 percent of the building’s total, will be fixed up as part of this project.
  • Feel the burn: fitness franchise Burn Boot Camp will soon be opening its fourth area location at a space in the Lake Boone Shopping Center on Wycliff Road. As the center is also home to the delectable Chubby’s Tacos, we hope the future Boot Camp bros don’t end up consuming more calories than they burn. American Enterprises LLC will handle the $77,884, 8,081 square foot project.

Now What’s the Next Step in Your Master Plan?

If at first you don’t succeed…

While D&N Development’s original plans for Spencer Ridge — a $50 million mixed-use development anchored by a 50,000 square foot grocery store at the intersection of Falls of the Neuse and Raven Ridge — didn’t work out as they’d hoped, the developer refused to give up the ghost.

A newly submitted master plan describes a scaled-back version that includes less retail and more residential. According to the application, this 17.32 acre site located north of 540 will “blend between 150-220 residential dwelling units, including Raleigh’s first voluntary rezoning commitment of affordable housing with a mix of commercial uses, including retail spaces, eating establishments, office spaces, and medical office spaces. The residential dwelling units will have most, if not all, of their designated parking spaces underground to ensure that land area impacts are minimized.”

Stormwater retention plans for Spencer Ridge

So far, so good.

The plans describe Spencer Ridge as a “pedestrian oriented community” where residents can “live, work, dine and/or shop.” At least they didn’t say live, work and play. The community will have a number of “pedestrian walks” throughout, and 10 percent of the site will be dedicated to open space that can be used for things like community gatherings and dog walking.

While the original plan faced rejection from both the neighborhood — the North Citizens Advisory Council voted 224-89 against it last August — and the Planning Commission, which voted to recommend denial in October, the developer hopes its new focus on walkability and improving the surrounding traffic flow may help this version find acceptance.

The property will contain:
-3 one-story general use buildings no larger than 10,250, 20,000, and 49,500 square feet.
-A two-story mixed-use building that won’t exceed a total of 31,250 square feet, with a maximum of 16,750 square feet of retail or eating establishment, and a maximum of 14,500 square feet of office or medical office space.
-An apartment or condo building that will have no more than 150 and no less than 190 units.

Rezoning for Retail

A vacant 1.25 acre parcel at 5710 Glenwood Avenue not far from Crabtree Valley Mall and next to a new Enterprise Car Sales lot may be transformed into a low-key retail development.

This site on Glenwood Avenue could soon be home to a small retail development

Rezoning case Z-3-17 would, according to applicant RD Construction, rezone the parcel from Residential-4 to Office Mixed-Use 3. Ty Armstrong from RD Construction told us that when they purchased the property it contained a home that had been condemned by the City of Raleigh, an eyesore the company tore down last summer. The rezoning application noted that the site has suffered from “vagrancy and loitering” in the past.

While the OX-3 designation would allow for RD to build up to three stories, Armstrong said they plan to keep an existing conservation overlay in place that would, among other restrictions, limit the maximum height to two-and-a-half stories.

“Given its immediate proximity to Glenwood Avenue, we do not feel a single-family dwelling is a feasible option,” Armstrong said, explaining that this is in line with goals laid out in the City’s Comprehensive Plan, which discourages single-family residential on major thoroughfares such as Glenwood Avenue.

While Armstrong says they are still ironing out many of the specifics, the rezoning application describes the overall plan as a “small scale development that is pedestrian and transit friendly in massing and layout” and notes that the rezoning would enable “the potential provision of retail uses on the site.”

A meeting held in December allowed neighbors to make their voices heard about the project. Among the issues discussed were a preference for single-family or office over retail, an opposition to anything open at night, and concerns about light pollution, noise and traffic. Residents also argued that because the neighborhood isn’t walkable, there is no need for neighborhood retail. Sounds like RD Construction has their work cut out for them!

5710 Glenwood

Development Beat: Another 20-story Tower Planned for Hillsborough Street

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Week of January 30, 2017

Another 20-story tower coming to Hillsborough Street

Real Estate Report: Super ITB Office Space

Lilly Pulitzer and Copper Penny coming soon to North Hills

Kickboxing chain coming to Raleigh

Glenwood is getting a new Sheetz

Gordon Grubb buys Peden Steel property for $10M

20-story Tower at 400 Hillsborough Street
If ever there were a section of Hillsborough Street that would actually be improved by the addition of yet another residential mixed-use project named after its address, it’s the 400 block.

Home now to a group of one and two-story commercial buildings built in the 1930s and 40s, site plans call for a 20-story, 540,867 square foot tower. Tentatively named “400 H”, the tower will include residential units, 129,000 square feet of office space, and 16,500 square feet of retail space. A development team led by Gregg Sandreuter filed the plans last week. We’re not sure whether current tenants C U Fitness or the long-standing Artcraft Sign Company Inc. will become tenants in the new space.

We’re sure the Lundy Group, which earlier this month unveiled renderings for their long-in-the-works City Centre that will include multiple 20-story towers and combine residential, office, retail, and hotel space at 301 Hillsborough, is thrilled.

301 Hillsborough

Sandreuter, a partner at Charlotte’s Beacon Partners and the president of Cary’s Hamilton Merritt, told the Triangle Business Journal that he wants 400 H to be a “smaller, newer” version of downtown’s PNC Plaza; a building that would foster a “vertical community.” Does that mean he hopes residents will work in the building’s office spaces? Unbeatable commute times for sure, but I think I’d start to feel a bit cooped up.

The 244′ high building will include 220 residential units: 120 one-bedrooms, 90 two-bedrooms, and 10 three-bedrooms. 674 parking spaces will be provided for the residents and building tenants. As the property is already zoned to allow for a 20-story development of this nature, the developers will be able to move forward as soon as the site plan is approved.

400 H

While project architect Gensler has designed a number of interesting projects across the globe, including the new headquarters for the Alfred Williams Furniture Company over at 201 S. Salisbury, our favorite has to be the Shimao Shenzhen Qianhai Canal City in Shenzhen, China. Hopefully, the design of 400 H will mimic the Shiamo. The architectural rendering could pass for a matte painting from the new Bladerunner movie, it’s that cool:

Shimao Shenzhen Qianhai Canal City

Real Estate Report

If you’re in the market for some premier office space, our friends at NAI Carolantic Realty have an outstanding ITB location for you. Located at 3515 Glenwood Avenue, this 75,000 SF, 3-story Class A office space is super ITB. How ITB is it? Well there’s an Audi in the rendering if that tells you anything.

Office may or may not come with an Audi

According to the TBJ, Raymond James and Associates Inc. just signed on to take up about 12,000 square feet on the second floor. William Needham Finley IV hinted on Twitter about expanding his media empire and leasing the top floor, but it turns out you have to rent more than 50 square feet and they don’t take La Croix as a form of payment. Contact the listing broker, Jimmy Barnes (919-832-0594), if you’re interested. Tell them you saw this post and they’ll give you the first 10,000 square feet for free. (No they won’t.)

Note: To feature listings here, contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com for options.

With Your Permit-ssion

Raleigh’s First Copper Penny
Permits were issued for Copper Penny, a high-end women’s clothier that will open soon at North Hills. We’re not sure about the etymology of the store’s name, although it seems an odd choice given that most of their clientele has likely never handled currency in denominations of less than $50. The North Hills location will be the first Triangle location. Cline Contracting will handle the $73,000 fit-out of a 2,492 square foot space next to Scout & Molly’s boutique.

North Hills wins Lilly Pulitzer Prize
As William Needham Finley IV reported in June, Lilly Pulitzer is coming soon to North Hills. The popular “resort wear designer” Lilly Pulitzer — not to be confused with the pharmaceutical company that was the first to mass-produce penicillin — will open in the former home of Learning Express Toys. The $175,000 renovation of the 2,428 square-foot space will be done by Horizon Retail Construction.

iLoveKickboxing is Coming
Fitness franchise iLoveKickboxing received permits to open their first Raleigh location at 8629 Glenwood Avenue. The $250,000 renovation of the 3,372 square foot space will be handled by Zachary Michael, Inc. Instead of using a portaband saw to cut the interior trim for the space, we heard the contractor chose instead to smash the Cherry Oak wood into pieces using only kickboxing moves. Just a rumor though. If the intense music in this video doesn’t scare 10 pounds off of you then we don’t know what will.

Night at the Museum of the Lost Ark
This one’s kind of interesting: in December, the State put out a bid for the relocation of about 500 artifacts for the Museum of History, which were being stored at a warehouse on Navaho Drive, to a space at the Hammond Road Business Park. Both spaces are probably too small for any kind of Ark of the Covenant/”Top Men” situation, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the collection contains the Golden Tablet of Pharaoh Akhmenrah. That’s probably why the bid specifications stated very clearly that all work must be done during the day.

Self-Storage Sprawl
Site work permits have been issued for yet another Self-Storage facility, this one to be located off Glenwood Avenue on Doie Cope Road. The 4-story climate controlled Class A facility is being developed by Johnson Development Associates and the site work is being handled by Sitescapes. What is going on in Raleigh that we need so many Self-Storage units? I learned from Breaking Bad that they’re *not* a good place to cook meth, but there has to be some other nefarious purpose.

A rendering of JDA’s newest Self-Storage facility

Retaining Wall Permits Approved
Speaking of site work permits — well, retaining wall permits, to be exact — Oak City Contracting received a quintet of them for “City Walk”, a new townhome complex near Triangle Town Center. I covered this project back in December 2015, and I’m *still* not sure why something built eight miles from the downtown core is titled “City Walk,” but hey, there is a bowling alley within walking distance, which almost makes up for it. The development from the Lennar homebuilding company will consist of 132 attached townhomes, apparently separated into clusters of no more than five apiece.

Aw Sheetz
While I may be of the opinion Raleigh has far too many self-storage facilities, there’s one type of development the city could always use more of: gas station/convenience store hybrid Sheetz. As far as we can tell, there’s only seven of them located within city limits, and while that seems like a good amount — think about it, 7-Elevens, 7 dwarves, 7 chipmunks twirlin’ on a branch — there are approximately 121 self-storage facilities, which means Sheetz has a lot of catching up to do.

So I was very excited to see that demolition permits “For Future Sheetz” were issued last week for a space at 8101 Glenwood Avenue that previously housed Eatman’s Carpets Outlet and a City of Raleigh recycling drop-off site. In a pretty unusual twist, I was actually able to find some details on the construction bid for the new building. It looks like those bids are due either today or tomorrow, so if you’re a subcontractor who’s reading this, reach out to CBI General Contractors or Wimco Corporation ASAP.

Floor plans for the new Sheetz

Per the plans and specifications, Raleigh’s eighth Sheetz will be 6,407 gross square feet in size and stand 24′ 7″ (when you include the roof) high. Apparently, the bid does not include a gasoline distribution system or the canopy, so we’re not sure if that’s getting built separately or what. The plans were drawn up internally by Sheetz in-house architect Convenience Architecture & Design PC while the engineering work was done by Keller Engineers.

The demolition portion of the project — which involves tearing down a 22,941 square foot structure built in 1971 — will be handled for $50,000 by Bristol Environmental. As we mentioned, the construction portion of this job is still out for bid, but we’ll be sure to announce the winner here as soon as they’re issued permits. Try not to let the suspense kill you.

Eatman’s Carpet Outlet at 8101 Glenwood in the glory days of 1996

Who Recycles the Recyclers?
While it won’t be long before the former city-owned recycling facility is repurposed into a new Sheetz, it looks like the Waste Management recycling center on Atlantic Avenue could eventually be transformed into a new “creative class space.” Amanda Hoyle reported last week in the Triangle Business Journal that Gordon Grubb, who developed the Dock 1053 project on Whitaker Mill Road, recently purchased a 19-acre site at the intersection of Atlantic and Whitaker Mill. Known as the Peden Steel — not to be confused with our wonderful sponsor, Rufty-Peedin Design Builders — site, the property is now occupied by a 60,000 square foot exposed steel warehouse and an accompanying 7,500 square foot cinder block office building, both constructed in 1957.

Grubb purchased the property from the Peden family on January 19 for $10 million and intends to develop a project similar to Dock 1053, which houses a brewery, a distillery, a neon art studio, and more. A spokesman from Grubb Ventures told the TBJ that while Waste Management has a number of years left on its lease, Grubb worked out an agreement that allows for some flexibility, which means some Raleigh artisans may soon have a new place to call home.

Old School Foster’s Cookout

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My heart skipped a beat when I saw the title of the Facebook invitation. It read “Old school Foster’s cookout”. I immediately had flashbacks to the NDF (Nelson’s Dance Floor), parking lot band parties, Chris the bartender, and so much more. I miss Foster’s every single day. Every time I see news about a new Harris Teeter, or Starbucks moving out of Harris Teeter and across the street, I start to come up with wild conspiracy theories that result in Foster’s returning. It turns out this is a party and cookout at the new Red Cup Bar & Arcade, located at 2910 Hillsborough Street.

Red Cup is Raleigh’s newest barcade concept that mixes a traditional bar with classic arcade games, air hockey, pinball, skee-ball, and Hoop Fever, which is the best game ever. Co-owner Ralph Nelson, who brought us Foster’s and Nelsons (aka Mecca), has not commented on whether they will have a Nelsons Dance-Dance Floor Revolution game available.

To reminisce about Foster’s and celebrate the new venture, Red Cup is holding a cookout this Saturday at 5:00 pm. Kids and dogs are welcome. While it isn’t the return of Foster’s, we shouldn’t lose hope that there will one day be a glorious reopening of that icon in Cameron Village. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.

Finley’s First Podcast Appearance

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Podcasts are all the rage right now and I need to start one. After owning the right equipment for over a year and Tweeting about how I was totally going to start a podcast, it was time to start practicing. So last week I was a guest on Richard Averitte’s “People I Follow” podcast, which is actually not a podcast about being a stalker or potential serial killer. “People I Follow” refers to people that Richard follows on Twitter. Richard is a great guy who interviews guests from all walks of life for this podcast that runs on Raleigh & Company.

We covered a lot of important issues which I’ve recapped below.


2:20 – The origins of ITB Insider. We talk about how it’s the “year of ITB” since ITB Insider™ is now 10 years old.

5:15 – Richard says I’ve morphed into a news source.

6:30 – We talk about how ITBNN was born.

7:10 – Richard says I have an image of a playboy living off a trust fund, hungover on a Sunday and eating Capital Creations pizza and Goodberry’s. I explain that I don’t have a trust fund and that I’m now looking to work with local companies interested in sponsoring or advertising on a platform that gets 20,000 pageviews a month and has thousands of followers on social media.

8:25 – We discuss Abercrombie & Fitch, Woods cologne, and how ITB parents used to drop their kids off at Crabtree to get rid of them for a few hours.

10:15 – Richard talks about how I’m a startup and that I have to do a little bit of everything. I remind him that I do ALL of the work, and that this is a real full time job. I talk about James Borden’s new Development Beat column and how he’s a real journalist.

13:35 – We discuss my new partners and sponsors, Miller Law Firm and 80Fresh.

15:03 – We talk about La Croix and how I’m tired of giving them free advertising.

16:00 – Richard asks “Can something not inside the beltline be ITB approved?”

17:55 – I talk about Twitter and interacting with the Mayor and City Council.

19:40 – Dix Park and the upcoming screenplay.

20:17 – Richard asks what will happen in Raleigh in 2017. I tell him I’m starting a podcast, writing a book, possibly a children’s book as well, we’ll hold ITB Beer dinners, events, and more.

23:00 – We discuss the Trolley Pub and how I loathe it.

29:27 – I talk about Walk West and how I brokered the merger with Greenroom Communications because I wrote about the Holderni signing a puppy to a multi-year deal a few weeks ago.

30:30 Richard calls me a job creator. I thank him for all his work with the Lumberton relief effort and for letting me tag along with Blue Sky and Smithfield’s. We mention the power of the ITB garden club.

I’d give myself probably 2.5 out of 5 beltlines for this appearance. While I enjoyed being a guest on Richard’s show, I realized after listening that I need to be the one calling the shots and asking the hard hitting questions. So it’s time to finally start my own podcast. I’m going to spend the next two weeks planning and will have more details soon. Stay tuned.

York Security Guard Saves Cameron Village

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Cameron Village is back to normal after a wild night that included a visit from police and SWAT teams. We are all safe thanks to the heroism of a York Security Guard who will be awarded the ITB Medal of Honor for his bravery. Around 7:45 pm on Thursday evening, some Twitter users began to report hearing police sirens in Cameron Village and on Wade Avenue. I was on my way to the Chick-fil-A and confirmed that cops were flying down Oberlin, assuming something was happening downtown. It turns out that an attempted robbery was taking place at the Cheshire Cat Gallery, an antique store that sells some of the finest ITB heirlooms, and Chris Brunner’s “A Beautiful Experience” photography book. Fortunately, I was informed of a witness, Daniel Nolan (@DannyNolls), who was live streaming the events while sitting in his car in the parking lot.

I joined others as Daniel watched and narrated the action from the literal front row for almost an hour, providing us with #ITBNN coverage that was better than any of our competitors. That’s coverage you can ITBelieve in. I pulled out the most important parts of the video to bring you one of the best interviews I have ever seen.

We learned so much from this man. For the past week, someone has been trying to rob the Cheshire Cat Gallery. Last night was the fourth night that the store has been broken in to this week. The store manager said that the crime lord had previously tried to use drills to get in through the back doors, but was unsuccessful. The savage crime lord then started tearing holes into the wall as a way to enter the store. Earlier in the week he was able to steal some precious ITB jewelry and Samurai swords (that’s not a joke).

According to our hero, he noticed a hole in the wall in the Cheshire Cat Gallery and called the police. When they arrived, our hero let an officer into the building, who immediately called for backup. Police cars came from everywhere and were soon joined by SWAT teams. The crime lord tried to make his escape through the roof of the old ABC store location, which is where the police and SWAT team caught him. A member of the SWAT team said the reason they had so many responders is because the Cheshire Cat sells antique guns.

Since I’m a media empire, I obviously used Daniel’s live stream as a chance to plug my wonderful lawyers and sponsors, Miller Law Firm and 80Fresh, because that’s just good leverage.

Everyone owes Daniel Nolan a beer for his service to ITB last night. I’m going to start working on plans to erect a statue for the York Security Guard. 

Full broadcast:

We’ve received some additional reports from people on Facebook that I’ll update as the story develops:

“Talked to Cameron Village Bar & Grill crew. One of their cooks was also held at gunpoint by an individual during this whole thing.”

The Development Beat

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Welcome to a new chapter in ITB Insider™ history. Today, we expand our media empire to cover the world of real estate development in Raleigh. More than 60 people move to Raleigh every day, and I want to know where they’re living and what they’re doing here. That’s where my new investigative journalist, James Borden, comes in. While at the Raleigh Public Record, James has covered everything from the Dix Park controversy to breaking the epic story about the North Raleigh party mansion. (Seriously, go read the party mansion story.) James is first to a lot of stories because he’s an actual journalist that digs through records and finds facts instead of just tweeting all day about La Croix. He’ll be contributing a weekly article focused on development to ITB Insider™ and will keep me informed on a variety of issues going on in Raleigh. James announced the move last week and people seemed pretty excited about it.

We may tinker with the content and format, so let us know what you think. Now that we’re the number one place for development news, we’re also open to sponsorship deals from real estate brokers and developers (e-mail me at wnfiv@itbinsider.com if interested). Without further ado, I present James Borden’s first Development Beat for ITB Insider™.

Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders

Week of January 9, 2017

Since William Needham Finley IV has the attention span of a White Memorial pre-schooler, I’ll hit the highlights before digging into the details:

Dix Park gets first tenant

Real Estate Report: 19 Bedroom ITB house goes on the market

Two new Mexican restaurants coming to Glenwood

Progress on the new restaurant from the Pho Nomenal Dumplings duo

Updates on Tower IV at North Hills

News on a downtown Raleigh hotel

Welcome…to Dorothea Dix Park
The first new tenant for downtown Raleigh’s premier destination park was approved by City Council last week through a memorandum granting a nine-year lease to the nonprofit Dix Park Conservancy.

The Conservancy, which has a public-private partnership with the City to help develop the Dix Park Master Plan, will most likely occupy the early-20th century Flower Cottage at 2105 Umstead Drive for the staggering cost of $1/year. In addition to leasing the property, The Conservancy has agreed to contribute $2 million for the development of the Master Plan, and may add another $1 million for other planning costs. 

The Flower Cottage at Dorothea Dix Park

Built in 1910, the 1,200 square foot cottage was initially used as a residence but currently sits dilapidated and unused. The Conservancy will be responsible for all renovations and improvements, of which we imagine there will be plenty. On the upside, the organization will also have access to the adjacent 2.75 acres of open space, which can be used for “public and/or private events.”

Rumor has it that an early screening of William Needham Finley’s long-in-the-works “Dix Park” film will be held here. As long as it’s not organized by the Junior League of Raleigh, we’re sure it’ll be a smashing success.

Real Estate Report

Every week, we plan to highlight an interesting Raleigh property that’s currently on the market, be it commercial, industrial or residential. In the future, we’ll leverage local realtors to get their properties listed here. E-mail wnfiv@itbinsider.com if you’re interested in featuring a listing here. Credit where it’s due: the one and only Triangle Explorer brought this one to our attention over the weekend.

The Gables Motor Lodge Property in Mordecai
*Note* As it happens, my new editor was so excited about this property that he demanded additional research so he could write his own separate post, which contains answers to some of the questions we’ve seen asked on social media in the last few days.

This three-lot property is located at 1217, 1219, and 1221 Wake Forest Road in the historic Mordecai neighborhood. Listed for a cool $1.5 million we imagine this 19-bedroom, 14-bathroom property could sell for well above asking price. The 8,000 square-foot Victorian motor lodge was first built in the 1920s and is located on a .51 acre lot just outside of downtown Raleigh. This is truly one of Raleigh’s most iconic properties, and no matter what happens to it, we hope the buyer leaves the old signage in place.

The Gables Motor Lodge

With Your Permit-ssion

On December 30, permits were issued for the latest iteration of the long-suffering Helios Cafe at 413 Glenwood Avenue. The issued permit is for “The Cortez Restaurant,” a new concept from the brothers Ibarra (Hector and Charlie) and their chef, Oscar Diaz from Jose and Sons. This was first announced in early December, and LLC filings indicate plans have been in the works since at least June of 2016. Hutchins Construction will handle the $28,000 worth of renovations.

Jose and Sons was recognized by City Council in September as part of Hispanic Heritage Month

Also coming to Glenwood South is the new La Santa Cantina Mexican restaurant, which received permits January 4. The $12,000 project by Morris Construction will renovate the space formerly occupied by the Tobacco Road Sports Cafe at 222 Glenwood Avenue. Like most local Mexican joints, it appears the walls will be adorned with enchanting artwork. Tobacco Road itself just reopened this past weekend in the former home of Natty Greene’s at 505 West Jones Street.

La Santa restaurant shared some of their future artwork from Alexa Paint and Design on their Facebook page

Work on the recently announced Mofu Shoppe restaurant from for the award-winning folks behind the insanely popular Pho Nomenal Dumplings food truck also received its final permits on December 30. For those of you in the dark: Raleigh’s most famous food truck was the 2015 winner of the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Also, the slogan on their webpage is “Two Girls, One Truck.” That’s pho-cking funny. And a little bit gross, to be honest. Integrated Commercial will be handling the $89,000 worth of renovations at 321 South Blount Street in City Market.

Speaking of first time storefront locations, Sweetheart Treats
, a local purveyor of delectable desserts such as cupcakes, cake push pops, Rice Krispy treats, brownies and more, will soon be opening its doors in suite 105 at the Falls River Shopping Center on 10930 Raven Ridge Road. Owner Mary Hinton, who previously operated Sweetheart Treats out of her home, told us they hope to open by the end of the month. Hinton said in addition to the standard dessert fare, the shop will also be offering a Cupcake Bar with alcohol-infused cupcakes.

Ma’am, have you been drinking tonight?
No, but I had about four cupcakes…

Rounding out our restaurant news for the week, permits for the first Raleigh location of the award-winning national BBQ chain City Barbeque were issued December 30 for a spot at the new Olive Park shopping Center, where work is also underway for Raleigh’s second Bad Daddy’s burger joint. The fit-out of suite 108 will be handled by Wimco Corp for $375,000.

Speaking of Olive Park: the center also received permits on December 30 for Happy Smiles Dental, which will be built out by Old Fields Construction for $250,852.

Other recent permits of note:

  • A $105,785 interior alteration for an RPD training center at 4205 Spring Forest Road to be handled by Diamond Contracting
  • A trio of automotive shops including 1-800 Radiator, Lucho-Lube (heh) and Bryan’s Auto Repair at 2407 Paula Street, all of which will be done by Greensboro’s Bar Construction
  • $25,000 “stair and platform” addition at Finley’s favorite club Still Life at 401 N. West Street. That work will be handled by JBK Construction.

Site Unseen

A wave of site plan reviews were filed in the final weeks of 2016, an appropriate finale to a year that’s seen tremendous growth within the City of Oaks. Amanda Hoyle over at the Triangle Business Journal did the hard work of actually talking to the relevant parties for most of these projects, so we’ll just link to her articles when we can.

SR 1-17: The first site plan of 2017 was for a proposed Alamo Drafthouse cinema/eatery in the Longview Shopping Center at 2000 New Bern Avenue in East Raleigh. According to Hoyle, no deal has been inked with the owners of Alamo Drafthouse, which operates 25 locations around the country but none in North Carolina. Raleigh already has, of course, Raleighwood, and there’s the CineBistro over at Waverly Place, plus a number of other chains that serve beer or liquor, which we believe is one of the main appeals of the Drafthouse chain. If built, the site plan notes the new theater would clock in at around 58,000 square feet.

The Longview Shopping Center could eventually be home to North Carolina’s first Alamo Drafthouse

SR 103-16: Local developer and hero of the historic preservation movement James A. Goodnight filed site plans proposing to turn an existing gas station at 502 W. Lenoir Street into a brand new restaurant. Our friend James Willamor brought this one up on Twitter a few weeks ago, where we also heard the rumor that the new joint will be titled “Raise Up.” No such information is contained on the site plans, which only indicate that Goodnight plans to turn it into a restaurant/bar, and reduce the size from 5,084 square feet to 4,583 square feet. Built in 1948 and most recently home to Dusty’s Service Center, Goodnight has owned the property since 2014.

Dusty’s Service Center in 2011

SR 101-16: More mixed-use for North Hills, new plans for the long-in-development Tower IV. We’re glad Hoyle wrote about this one, because the informational pages on the project found on the North Hills and Kane Realty websites contradict each other, and the site plan drawings only add to that confusion. It turns out Tower IV is actually *two* towers: a 20-story office tower and a 31-story residential tower. They’re also planning to cram a hotel and some retail use in there somewhere. The site plans indicate the towers will come in at a whopping 735,665 SF, with, 1,046 parking spaces, 35,199 SF of open space, 300 residential units and 198 hotel rooms. We cannot confirm nor deny whether WNFIV will be given the penthouse suite based on the “IV” at the end of his name.

A rendering of the proposed Tower IV at North Hills

SR 102-16: There’s been a lot of fear mongering in recent years, especially by those lunatics over at the Raleigh Public Record about an alleged lack of downtown hotel rooms, so hopefully this site plan will shut them up for a little while. This site plan describes a 13-story (bad omen), 259-room, 260,890 gross square-foot hotel that will be a “dual brand” Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites developed by CN Hotels. I think “dual brand” means they charge you twice for the same room, but I could be mistaken. The hotel will be located at 200 West Davie near the intersection with South McDowell. The site plan also notes a proposed 14th-story terrace and differs from a 2015 proposal calling for a Hilton Garden Inn at the same location. This project was first brought to our attention by the ever-dutiful James Willamor on Twitter last month. 

A rendering of the hotel proposed for the site in 2015

SR 108-16: Greystar, the apartment developer behind a number of Raleigh multifamily projects including The Gramercy, The Devon Four25, the Devon Seven12 (yes, those are the real names), 927 West Morgan and more, is now planning to expand outside the downtown core. Greystar plans to develop the Overture Centennial apartments on Western Boulevard across from Pullen Park. The site plans describe the Overture as a 182,720 SF, three-story 180 unit complex that will include 235 parking spaces. As of now, the plans call for 108 one-bedroom units and 72 two-bedrooms. Given Greystar’s track record, we imagine this will be another upscale complex catering to wealthy Raleigh urbanites who want to live in proximity to both Pullen and Dix Parks.

The proposed location for the new Overture apartments

A Zest for Zoning

While rezoning cases are a lot rarer in the era of the Unified Development Ordinance than they were in days past, there were a pair worth looking at filed in the month of December.

Z-45-16: A minor request to remove a restriction on a property — it would remain zoned commercial mixed use — for some acreage out by Triangle Town Center at the intersection of Triangle Town Center Road and Old Wake Forest — filed by apartment developer Faison Inc. In 2008, Faison submitted plans for the Triangle Place Promenade Apartments, and it looks like they’re still hoping to build some multifamily with limited retail out on the site.

Some new apartments could be built near Triangle Town Center

Z-47-16: Most rezoning cases are filed by developers seeking to increase the allowed use on a given parcel of land; this one caught our eye because it was put together by residents of the ITB Country Club Hills neighborhood off Glenwood Avenue and a little south of Woman’s Club Drive in an effort to reduce the overall zoning from R-4 to R-2. According to the applicants, this would “preserve the existing character” of the area and “discourage teardowns and the construction of houses that are not harmonious with existing neighborhood development.” Normally one of the only ways residents can fight encroaching development is to purchase surrounding lots; we like this more realistic — and legalistic — approach a lot better!

Residents of this Glenwood neighborhood want to preserve its character

Lawyer Up: Miller Law Firm to Serve as Legal Counsel for ITB Insider

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One of the most important parts of running a startup media empire is having great lawyers. That’s why we are excited to announce that Miller Law Firm has agreed to serve as legal counsel for ITB Insider in 2017. As many readers know, I routinely threaten to sue people and call my Dad’s lawyers whenever I’m the slightest bit offended by something going on in Raleigh. Since Dad has told his lawyers to stop taking my calls, I’m thrilled to have Miller Law Firm on board to guide ITB Insider through its legal endeavors.

Owned by Stacy Miller II, a first ballot ITB Hall of Famer, Miller Law Firm, PLLC specializes in personal injury, workers’ compensation, business litigation cases, and more. When I heard they had achieved several multimillion-dollar results for their clients I knew I had to retain them for my media empire. For example, Stacy could have helped all of us in a class action suit against Apple over that battery fiasco in December.

Here’s a picture of what would be Raleigh’s Christmas tree being lit. I am beyond livid with Apple right now. I just left a meeting downtown for my startup empire and noticed the tree lighting was going on. I stopped by to get some great Christmas content. As I was about to capture the perfect video of the tree being lit my phone died despite saying the battery was at 67%. The tree was lit and I now have no evidence to post to Instagram. We all know if it isn’t on Instagram it didn’t happen. I now need two things. 1.) my favorite lawyer, Stacy Miller, needs to sue Apple for ruining my brand. 2) my favorite mayor/City Council people, Nancy McFarlane, Bonner Gaylord and Mary-Ann Baldwin, to put wireless charging stations all around downtown so that this never happens again. I’m going to go listen to Finley’s Fire Christmas playlist now to try to calm down but I am beyond livid with Apple for ruining Christmas.

A photo posted by William Needham Finley IV (@wnfiv) on

I can already see the headlines now, ‘Raleigh Rejoices as Miller Law Firm and ITB Insider Win Millions from Apple In iPhone Battery Lawsuit’.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your case is, Miller Law Firm takes the same approach to every case they see so that they can get fair settlements before going to trial. And if they do go to trial, it’s basically like Tom Cruise in ‘A Few Good Men’. (SPOILER ALERT: he wins.)

Aside from running his firm, Stacy is a former quarterback at Broughton, defensive back at Wake Forest University, former Raleigh City Councilman, and long-time Raleigh resident. He’s also got some great stories from Raleigh and the courtroom that we’ll share over the next year. Sort of like “The Most Interesting Man in ITB” meets “Law and Order: ITB SUV” (that’s not a typo, he also handles SUV and car accidents).

We’re super excited to be working with Stacy and his team. If you’re in need of legal services, Stacy can be reached at 919-348-4362. Miller Law Firm, PLLC is located in downtown Raleigh, right on Fayetteville Street at 555 Fayetteville Street, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27601.

Follow Miller Law Firm
Twitter: @MillerLawFirmNC
Facebook: Miller Law Firm
LinkedIn: W. Stacy Miller II

If you’re interested in partnering with the only growing media empire in Raleigh, contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com.

Finley’s Favorite Things: An ITB Holiday Gift Guide

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Shopping for holiday gifts is hard, especially when you have to buy those gifts for other people. As a service to our readers, I’ve thoroughly searched through the finest companies Raleigh has to offer to find the best gifts for this holiday season. I proudly present to you, Finley’s Favorite Things: An ITB Holiday Gift Guide.

Tradition Scarves

Tradition Scarves, a Raleigh company founded by Broughton alumni Blaine Smith and Will Roach, offers scarves, beanies, banditos, and more. With products featuring more than 70 schools, Tradition Scarves surely has a gift for someone you know.

Banditos are the hottest new apparel item inside the beltline. Made from 100% polyester, with sweat absorbing and SPF 30 treatment, these are perfect gifts for those with active lifestyles or if you just want to look cool in general. They also look good on dogs of ITB.


A great man once said, “Tradition scarves uniform a crowd.” That great man was Will Roach. So educate a friend or loved one’s wardrobe this Christmas with a gift from Tradition Scarves.

tradition-scarves2Pricing: products range from $12 to $22

Where to buy: online at Traditionscarves.com. Use coupon code “WNFIV” for $10 off an order of $30 or more.

Follow Tradition Scarves: FacebookInstagram, Twitter

Olly Oxen

Located on Hillsborough Street, Olly Oxen is a family-owned Raleigh company started by NC State alumna, Charlotte Guice.  They offer classic, collegiate, apparel and accessories made in the USA. Olly Oxen has great gift options for men, women, and children, with a wide variety of schools to choose from.


They’ll be doing a holiday pop-up shop this Sunday the 18th from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Vita Vite in downtown Raleigh. They’ll even wrap the gifts for you.

They’re running some great deals for the holidays, including:

$10 off orders of $50 or more
$25 off orders of $100 or more
$40 off orders of $150 or more
Free shipping on all orders over $75

Pricing: products range from $22 to $195

Where to buy: online at Ollyoxen.com

In person at the following locations: The Red & White Shop, NOFO, Alumni Hall, and Wolfpack Outfitters (NC State Bookstore).

Follow Olly Oxen: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest

H-Street Kitchen


Located in what was once the Varsity Theater, H-Street Kitchen is the hottest new restaurant on Hillsborough Street, and one of the hottest additions to Raleigh in some time. Designed by New City Design, the finest architects inside the beltline, H-Street does a great job of honoring the past while celebrating the new Hillsborough Street. You’ve probably seen some of my Instagram posts that awarded their food 5 out of 5 beltlines. The food is better than anything else on Hillsborough Street and the atmosphere and service can’t be beat either.

An H-Street gift card would be perfect for friends and family who haven’t dined there yet. ITB Tip: Be sure to make your friends or family pick up your tab with the gift card you bought them.

Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11am – 10pm, Friday – Saturday 11am – midnight

Where to buy: Swing by H-Street to pick up a gift card at 2420 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC 27607

Follow H-Street: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

PBX® – Pilates Barre Extreme


Let’s be honest, you’re going to put on some holiday weight, if you haven’t already. You’re going to need to get rid of that holiday weight between now and swimsuit season, or if you’re lucky enough to attend the Fyre Festival. There’s no better way to do so than by taking fitness classes at PBX®. A combination of modern pilates, yoga, barre, and weight training, experience the PBX® method at their Raleigh studio.

PBX® was founded by Broughton alumna, Libby Bradley Burton. Using her background in dance, gymnastics, and pole vaulting, Libby combined the best of pilates, barre, and yoga to create a new method for working out, PBX® pilates barre extreme. This method provides a whole body workout that’s easy on the joints, but with the same results of high impact exercise.

While the workouts are intense, PBX® is for everyone. They offer a variety of classes that fit all fitness levels. From “I eat an anxiety pizza and frozen custard every Sunday night” to “I’m training for my 7th marathon….this month” they have a class that will fit your fitness level.

They offer private classes, group glasses, health counseling, cleanse options, high-end activewear and more. The best part is the printable gift cards so you don’t even have to leave the house to go shopping.

For the holidays they’re offering new clients 4 classes for $50, and the 6 month unlimited package is available for $225 per month, instead of $300 per month.

If you’re lucky, you’ll even see Pickle, a dog of ITB, at your class.

Pricing: classes start at $25, high performance activewear ranges from grips socks ($12-$20) to leggings and crops ($60 to $100).

Where to buy: Shop online for classes and memberships here. Shop online for gift cards here.

In person at the following location:
11211 Galleria Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27614

Follow PBX: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Humdinger Juice


Humdinger Juice offers fresh, raw and 100% organically grown, cold-pressed juice that keeps Raleigh residents alive. Seriously. While they can’t make claims like that because of the FDA or whatever, I can say anything I want. This juice is legit.

They’re a family run company started by the brother and sister team of Colin Fickes and Mary Holt Collins (Broughton grads, obvi). They’re also Raleigh’s first organic raw cold-pressed juice delivery company. Humdinger offers a full line of single juices, juice cleanses, and weekly subscriptions.


Humdinger has great gift options available for a variety of uses. Cleanse between the holidays, use their juices as mixers for holiday cocktails, set up a weekly recurring order for January, or grab a bottle to calm your nerves when fighting the gridlock of the Harris Teeter parking lot.

During the holidays, buy $50+ in gift certificate(s) and receive a free t-shirt.


Pricing: products range from $4 to $50+ for cleanse packages

Where to buy: Shop for juice online here. Shop for gift cards online here.

In person at the following locations:
Humdinger Juice – Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 3pm and Friday: 11am-2pm
5024 Departure Drive, Unit H
Raleigh NC 27616
Bottega Hair Salon
The Farmery
The Morning Times
NOFO @ The Pig
Ladfingers Caterers
Open Door Yoga
Hungry Leaf
Evolve Movement

Follow Humdinger Juice: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Quail Ridge Books


Quail Ridge Books is an independent shop with a friendly, knowledgeable staff that provides the best in customer service. Founded in 1984 by Nancy Olson, Quail Ridge offers a wide variety of carefully selected books, events, book clubs, and town hall meetings. Owner Lisa Poole bought the store in 2013 and is dedicated to keeping it local.

Housed in their new location in North Hills (annexed to ITB by Bonner Gaylord), their spacious yet cozy store carries exclusive autographed books, CDs, Vinyl, Cards, Gifts, Calendars, and more. There’s nothing more ITB than getting your Mom a book and telling her you spent hours picking it out, when you really grabbed the first thing you saw on the “Employee Favorites” shelf.


Quail Ridge is running a great holiday sale through 12/31. Get $10 off your purchase of $25 or more and free shipping on all online orders over $35. Just print or show them this coupon on your phone or tablet at checkout.


Pricing: products range from $5 to $150

Where to buy: online at Quailridgebooks.com.

In person at:
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road
Raleigh, NC 27609

Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9am – 9 pm; Sunday: 10am – 6pm

Phone: 919-828-1588

Follow Quail Ridge Books: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Thompson Buick GMC Cadillac


Last but not least, the finest car dealership inside the beltline. In fact, they were inside the beltline before there was a beltline. Thompson is one of the largest Buick GMC & Cadillac dealers in the Southeast. Check out Thompson to find the perfect stocking stuffer, a key to a 2017 Cadillac Escalade.


They’ll be running a Christmas BOGO (buy one get one free) special* if you tell them I sent you. Seriously, go tell them that you’re buying a car because you saw them featured in Finley’s Favorite Things: An ITB Holiday Gift Guide. I want someone to say those words in public. There’s a lot riding on this.

Head down to Thompson, but watch out, they employ the classic “you can’t say no to a cute toddler” sales technique.

Pricing: used models starting at $6,700. Escalade pictured above listed at $72,740.

*BOGO deal not actually valid, but it would still be great if you asked them about it.

Where to buy: Thompson is located at
2600 Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC 27609

Website: http://www.thompsoncars.net/

Phone: 919-926-7680

Follow Thompson Cars: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

This concludes the 2016 Finley’s Favorite Things holiday gift guide. I’ve basically done all your holiday shopping for you, so you’re welcome.

All of these wonderful companies were kind enough to sponsor this post, which supports another local business, ITB Insider™. Contact raleighitb@gmail.com for sponsorship information for 2017.

Google Timelapse Shows Raleigh Over 32 Years

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walk-west-fullToday’s post is brought to you by Walk West, a full-service digital marketing agency in Raleigh that provides web design, development, and strategy that meets the needs of their clients.

Apparently, Google Timelapse is a thing. I think I had heard of this before but never paid much attention to it. Google Timelapse is a global, zoomable video that lets you see how the Earth has changed over the past 32 years. They combined “over 5 million satellite images over the past three decades from 5 different satellites” to bring us this amazing view. Today, Google released an update adding tons of new data and four more years of imagery that results in the sharpest view of Earth, and more importantly Raleigh, than ever before.

When hearing about this amazing technology, my first thought was “how can I get some pageviews out of this to help my growing media empire?”. The obvious answer is to curate three Timelapse views of Raleigh (embedded below) for your viewing pleasure. I can’t wait to watch this in the next 32 years when we can see the development of the Downtown Raleigh Canal, Dix Jurassic Park, the completion of the weather dome, the Five Points roundabout apartment complex, and many more projects our citizens deserve.

Note: before viewing, you may want to change the setting in the bottom left corner from “Fast” to “Slow” so you can truly take in the horror of watching new apartments being built inside the beltline.

ITB Up Close



Check out Google Earth Engine for more.

Trolley Pub Almost Ruins Raleigh Christmas Parade

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80 FreshBrought to you by 80Fresh, a local company that delivers balanced, home cooked meals to your door. Use this link and enter the code “ITB” to save 30% on your first order.

The events in this story are 100% accurate. This is not a joke. Post updated to include a response from the Trolley Pub owner.

The Raleigh Christmas Parade was almost derailed by a rogue Trolley Pub on Saturday. As you know, the Raleigh Christmas Parade, presented by Shop Local Raleigh, features a variety of groups and organizations from our community that we all know and love. For some reason, the Trolley Pub is allowed to participate, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with Christmas and brings joy to no one. While it is worth noting that the Trolley Pub partners with the American Diabetes Association for the parade, I still loathe 95% of their customers. This year, four Trolley Pubs were scheduled to ride in the parade, yet only three of them ended up participating.

When I posted this Zapruder-like film of the Trolley Pub being extremely loud and obnoxious at 9:30 am I had no idea that I was capturing the moments immediately before this rogue agent would be leaving the Christmas parade.

After seeing the video, sources reached out to inform me that this particular Trolley Pub was kicked out of the parade because they were being too loud, drunk, and obnoxious. Apparently, the riders had rented the buzzkill on wheels for a 30th birthday party and were told by the company that they would be able to ride in the Christmas parade. A chance to get drunk AND be the center of attention is what these people dream of.

According to two separate sources, the riders began drinking in the early hours of the morning. A parade official approached the group and informed them that alcohol was not allowed in the parade, to which one rider replied, “What?! But the point of this is to get DRUNK.” The parade official clarified that while getting “DRUNK” may be the point of the Trolley Pub, the point of the Christmas parade was to provide family entertainment for the people of all ages in attendance. The riders countered, “But we already paid for this, we’re riding in the parade whether you like it or not.” The parade official warned them that the Raleigh Police Department would have the right to cite them for having open containers in public. They resisted again, gave the official the one finger salute, at which point the parade official gave up to go check on Santa Claus. (Apparently, Santa’s tour rider demands check ins every 15 minutes) The Raleigh Police Department approached the Trolley Pub riders, determined that they were too intoxicated and obnoxious to be in public, and pulled them from the parade. One down, three to go.

A response from the Trolley Pub owner shed more light on the matter:

“This year I was out of town and apparently a tour asked/or was invited to join but were not informed of the rules. Our mistake. When one of the parade officials came up one of the customers got upset but quickly settled down. Management found out and we decided it was best for that group to exit the parade at a convenient point, and the tour agreed. That Trolley was cleared to enter the parade and participated for part of it but left early. So no Trolley Pub was “kicked out”.”

The parade began and crowds looked on in disgust as the remaining unholy trinity of Trolley Pubs slowly chugged down Hillsborough Street.

Most parents shielded their children from the horror. Some used it as a teaching experience on what not to do in life.

After the Trolley trio had terrorized everyone and almost ruined the entire parade, a miracle happened. The sweet sounds so familiar to many of us could be heard coming down the street. It was the Broughton marching band, bringing the joy of Christmas to all. Once again Broughton saved the day, and no one even had to buy a mattress from them. (I still don’t understand why Broughton moved from selling fruit to selling mattresses to raise money for the marching band.)

Overall, the parade was a huge success and enjoyed by all in attendance. I do have a few minor suggestions for next year:

Parade Improvements

1.) Ban all Trolley Pubs

2.) Add a Dogs of ITB float

3.) Include more Tahoes

4.) Hoverboards – not those fake ones that people break their legs on, the real ones from Back to the Future II. That movie already predicted the Cubs winning the World Series and the rise of Trump (Biff Tannen). Hoverboards can’t be that far off.

5.) More giant inflatable balloons. A Lemon La Croix can, for example.

6.) Famous live performers on floats, including: The Connells, a hologram Michael Jackson, and a hologram Nat King Cole.

7.) A Rise Biscuits float with a biscuit/donut canon that shoots biscuits and donuts out to the crowd.

8.) Felson’s Dance Floor Float – no explanation necessary

While it was good to see one less Trolley Pub in the parade, that’s not enough. I’ll be speaking with parade officials in the coming weeks to determine how to remove the Trolley Pub from the Raleigh Christmas Parade entirely. Stay tuned. And Merry Christmas!

A Beautiful Experience Launches in Raleigh

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80 FreshToday’s post is brought to you by 80Fresh, a local company that delivers balanced, home cooked meals to your door. Use this link and enter the code “ITB” to save 30% on your first order.

Chris Brunner looked sharp. Wearing a dark blazer, dress shirt, khaki slacks, and loafers, he stood by a table in downtown Raleigh’s Vita Vite ready for his big launch. On the table next to him were dozens of copies of his new book, A Beautiful Experience. He had worked for months to self-publish and promote the book, which features a selection of his pictures taken over the past few years.

Chris has always enjoyed taking photographs, especially of Raleigh and especially of sunsets. He began sharing these photos on his personal Instagram account, @brunner_chris. After receiving a ton of positive feedback he decided to launch his own venture, CLB Images, with an accompanying Instagram account, @CLB.images. In just over a year, the account has amassed over 1,300 followers from all over the country, including fans in Raleigh, New York, Denver and more. (I’ve included a few of my favorite CLB images at the end of this post.)

To capitalize on this popularity and growing following, Chris obtained a booth in the Cheshire Cat Gallery to sell prints of his photos. He also set out on creating a photography book that would feature some of his favorite images. After months of work he finally had a finished product. Chris began building anticipation for the book, offering giveaways from local businesses leading up to the launch party at Vita Vite.

The crowd inside Vita Vite grew larger as the night went on, filling with friends from Broughton and Raleigh, all eager to purchase A Beautiful Experience. Attendees sipped rosé and snacked on charcuterie plates while entering contests to win prizes from the likes of Bald Head Blues, Gena Chandler, Tradition Scarves, and more. In between taking group pictures and selling copies of his book, Chris took time to speak with friends and thank everyone for attending. “Turning my love of photography into this new venture has truly been a life changing and amazing experience for me! I’m looking forward to many exciting things ahead. Thanks to everyone for all the support!,” said Brunner. Obviously, the evening would not be complete without a photograph.

By the end of the night, Chris had lost his voice from talking with each and every guest. When asked how everything went, he raised the roof, gave two thumbs up, and hoarsely said, “This was fantastic.” It was a beautiful experience, indeed.

A Beautiful Experience is now available for $18 in the heart of ITB at The Cheshire Cat Gallery, located in Cameron Village.

Courtesy of CLB Images

2016 NC State Fair. @clb.images #raleigh #ncstatefair #sunset #northcarolina #onlythreemoredays

A photo posted by Clb Images (@clb.images) on

First signs of spring in Downtown Raleigh. @clb.images #downtownraleigh #spring

A photo posted by Clb Images (@clb.images) on

Downtown Raleigh Warehouse District this past weekend. @clb.images #downtownraleigh

A photo posted by Clb Images (@clb.images) on

Don’t Vote for William Finley IV

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80 FreshToday’s post is brought to you by 80Fresh, a local company that delivers balanced, home cooked meals to your door. Use this link and enter code “ITB” to receive 30% off of your first order.

Whatever you do, DO NOT write in “William Finley IV” for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor. I know I asked for your vote less than 24 hours ago, but let me explain. I know a ton about water, specifically La Croix. I even designed a special can for inside the beltline a few months ago.

I drink three cans of La Croix each day and I’m pretty sure it’s why I have indigestion. It was this dedication to water that compelled me to run for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor the day before the election. I’ve run for office in the past with varying degrees of success.

In 2014

In 2015, (I don’t recall what I ran for in this election. City Council maybe?)

The 2015 election taught me a valuable lesson. I needed to rally my base around a single name. So last night I asked everyone to write in “William Finley IV” if they wanted to support my dream of being Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor. I came up with campaign slogans, made a campaign commercial, touted my experience, and developed my platform.

Campaign Slogans
A case of La Croix in every refrigerator and an SUV in every garage.

Read my lips, no new La Croix flavors.

Are you better off than you were whenever we last voted on the Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor?

It’s soil and water, stupid.

Campaign Commercial
My PAC spent $60,000 dollars making this commercial.

My Experience
2007 – Founded ITB Insider™ (originally nelsonsbroughtonitb.blogspot.com)

2012 – Went to the London Olympics.

2016 – Started a startup – created 1 job.

2016 – Launched Dogs of ITB on Instagram to give Raleigh citizens a break from the never ending election coverage.

2016 – Brought Foster’s, Nelson’s, and Felson’s back for an anti-campaign music festival, Don’t Jump, It’s Almost Over.

My Platform
Build a pipeline to the La Croix factory so that Raleigh residents can have La Croix on tap.

Flood downtown to create the downtown Raleigh canal.

After talking with campaign staff, I realized that there would be meetings, decisions, and a lot of work associated with the position. That’s way too much for someone who is already running a growing media empire. Plus, I don’t know anything about soil and that’s like half the job apparently. As a result, I fully endorse Marshall Harvey for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor. I’m proud of the race that I ran, but I just don’t really want to do the job. Thank you all for your support.

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