by William Needham Finley IV™

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Development Beat: Finishing the Bell Tower, Apartment Plans Near Broughton Expand

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Week of June 11, 2018

NC State Memorial Belltower progress

Developers revise plans for apartments near Broughton

Plans unveiled for new office building at Glenwood Place

Work begins on new Chamberlain Apartments

Barcelona Wine Bar coming soon to The Dillon

The ZEN Succulent coming to Wilmington Street

Kimbap to close

Contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com with news or to be featured in the Development Beat.


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Memorial Belltower Progress

The Memorial Belltower on Hillsborough Street is one step closer to being completed. When NC State began planning their bell tower as a monument to honor NC State alumni killed in World War I, it was intended that the tower would actually contain bells. Unfortunately, financial difficulties forced the university to cut back and cancel an order for a 54-bell carillon.

The plans, first drawn up in 1920, included a number of features that did not make it to the final stages, such as a bell playing console, glass clock faces, and a spiral staircase. A letter to the original architect, William Henry Deacy, notes that the university’s plan to install a “false speaker system” in place of the bell carillon was only supposed to serve as a temporary solution.

Multiple fundraising efforts have been undertaken over the last few decades. One consisted of a middle-aged woman standing near the bell tower while rattling a tin can for donations and shouting “Finish the bell tower!” as she handed a flyer to a young Marty McFly.

In 2009, students led a campaign to raise money to purchase bells for the tower. Thanks to a 2017 gift from Bill and Frances Henry, NC State can complete the 54-bell carillon and interior stairs of the Memorial Belltower.

The university issued a request for proposals to find a design-build team to manage the $6.1 million project, which also includes stabilization work and upgrades to the surrounding plaza.

We recently got a look at slightly-redacted versions of the submitted proposals along with projects they’ve worked on.

Clancy & Theys Construction and Davis Kane Architects: Davis Kane led the feasibility study for the bell tower’s completion

Frank L Blum Construction and Williard Stewart Architects: reconstruction of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro

Holt Brothers Construction and RATIO Architects: renovation of the Reynolds Coliseum

LeChase Construction Services and EYP Architects: Duke University’s Cromwell Quad Residence Hall Renovation

New Atlantic Contracting and Walter Robbs Architecture: Winston Salem’s Union Station Renovation

Smith’s Bell and Clock Service and The PACCARD Foundry: Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis bell installation

It seems like the obvious choice here is Holt Brothers and Ratio Architects, since the Holt Brothers both played football at NC State. We’ll let you know who NC State ends up choosing.


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Developers Revise Plans for Apartments Near Broughton

Last summer, we reported that the Ligon Building located across the street from Broughton at 800 St. Mary’s St. would be torn down. A new four-story, 55-unit apartment building from Charlotte-based developer Selwyn Property Group would go in its place. Selwyn purchased the property in March of 2015 for just over $2 million.

Last week, Selwyn filed a brand new site plan for the complex, which has now grown to 129,639 square feet with 61 apartments. There will be two three-bedroom units, forty two-bedroom units, and 19 one-bedroom units. The existing 63-year-old office building will need to be torn down before the apartments can be built. This building houses many dental offices that we assume were frequented by Broughton students. Fortunately, our sponsor Downtown Dental is right down the road and more than happy to take in these students.


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Glenwood Place Office and Retail Space

Plans for an 85 foot tall, 120,000 square foot office and retail space at Glenwood Place were unveiled last week. The plans show ground-floor retail, with at least four levels of office space above it.

The building is part of Glenwood Place, a Grubb Ventures project that was first announced more than three years ago. Glenwood Place was to have around 800 dwelling units, 900,000 square feet of office space, a 250-room hotel, and around 110,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space. In 2016, the project was scaled back to fit under the property’s current zoning conditions.


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Work Begins On Chamberlain Street Apartments

The Chamberlain Street Apartments, located off Hillsborough Street, received permits valued at more than $17 million last week. Wells & Wells Construction will work on a new three-story, 53,410 square foot, 42-unit student apartment building.

There will be three one-bedrooms, 16 two-bedrooms, 14 three-bedrooms and nine “four or more bedroom” units. The site plans for 113 Chamberlain were filed around the same time as plans for a slightly larger complex nearby at 102 Logan Court. It appears that demolition permits have been issued for the existing structure, and that permits for the apartments have been applied for but not issued.


ITBlake Learns How To Wash Cars And Be A Penguin Mascot


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Wine Bar Coming to The Dillon

Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar, a chain of Spanish tapas eateries, will soon open its first North Carolina location at The Dillon. Permits valued at $807,596 were issued last week to the KBE Building Corporation for the new restaurant at 430 W. Martin Street.



The ZEN Succulent Coming to Wilmington Street

Popular Durham terrarium and plant craft business The ZEN Succulent will soon open a new location in downtown Raleigh. The company announced plans for the new shop at 208 S. Wilmington last week.

The space was formerly home to Moon and Lola, which announced plans in March to close both its Raleigh and Charleston, SC retail locations to focus more on e-commerce. The 1,238 square foot space should be filled with terrariums, plants, and gifts by the end of July.

Kimbap Closing This Weekend

Kimbap, a Korean-inspired restaurant in Seaboard Station, will be closing on Saturday, June 16. We’re sad to see it go, as their food was exceptional. The owners posted the following on Facebook last week.

Dear customers and friends near and far,We are sad to bring you this news today, but the time has come. Kimbap will be…

Posted by Kimbap on Tuesday, 5 June 2018


Dads Won’t Stop Fly Fishing In Orvis Parking Lot

Development Beat: Condos Coming to South Street, Tractor Sign Saved, Sky Terrace Opens

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Week of June 4, 2018

Condos planned for South Street

Sky Terrace opens at The Dillon

ITBlake the intern was in The N&O for saving the tractor sign

Davie Street Pub coming soon to former Calavera location

Mixed-use planned near Metropolitan

Wade Avenue Whole Foods set for renovations

Viva Chicken in North Hills opens June 13

Details on Revisn Hotel near Glenwood South

Contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com with news or to be featured in the Development Beat.


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Condos Coming to South Street

Lambert Development, the group behind the luxury townhomes at West + Lenoir, have filed plans for their latest downtown Raleigh venture: a condominium project at 611 West South Street.

According to a source (the renderings we found on The Raleigh Architecture Company’s website) the South Street Condominiums will be a modernist luxurious living space located in the heart of downtown.

Our source (the plans) notes that the development will consist of two three-story buildings housing a total of 87 units (55 one bedroom, 32 two bedroom). The buildings will sit on a now-vacant 1.76 acre site and comprise a total of 105,084 square feet. 126 parking spaces will be provided.

The lot was previously home to Bennie’s Auto Services, Inc. Lambert acquired the land in early 2016.


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Sky-Walking At The Dillon

The Dillon, Kane Realty’s new mixed-use development in the Warehouse District, held a special First Friday event this past weekend to open the Sky Terrace. We obtained this information from a confidential source (see Tweet below).

The Sky Terrace offers stunning panoramic views of downtown Raleigh. While we could not attend the First Friday event, William Needham Finley IV posted pictures from a super exclusive VIP event he attended weeks ago.

5/5 beltline rooftop views at The Dillon. @thedillonraleigh

A post shared by William Needham Finley IV (@wnfiv) on


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Tractor Sign Saved, Thanks To ITBlake the Intern

The iconic tractor (or bulldozer) sign that sat atop the N.C. Equipment Co. building on Hillsborough Street has been saved.

Breaking news: the sign is safe. cc: @n8tastic

A post shared by William Needham Finley IV (@wnfiv) on

We can all thank ITBlake the intern, who created a social media campaign using #savethesign and handcuffed himself to the sign for weeks in order to prevent it from being demolished. He was even recognized by The News & Observer’s Josh Shaffer in an article last week. Here’s a full story on ITBlake’s hard work.

The N&O Praises Intern For Saving Iconic Sign

Davie Street Drinking at the Palladium

Work is now underway on The Davie Street Pub. Located at the corner of Blount and Davie on the ground floor of the Palladium Plaza condos, the new pub will reportedly open later this summer. We can’t glean much about what the new bar will be like based on the permits.

The $110,946 renovation of the space that once housed Calavera Empanadas will be renovated by local contracting firm Carolina Design & Construction.


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Mixed-Use Rises From the Nearby Ashes

Photo: Brian James Patrick Oschwald

Six months after a devastating fire — causes still unknown — destroyed the in-progress Metropolitan Apartments in downtown Raleigh, Banner Development began rebuilding the complex from the ground up.

Many wondered what the future would hold for a 2-acre trio of properties at the corner of Jones and Harrison streets. The properties are currently owned by the NC League of Municipalities, the NC Association of County Commissioners, and the Local Government Federal Credit Union.

A source (The News & Observer) says that the owners joined forces and enlisted the help of national real estate firm CBRE to seek out redevelopment proposals. Those proposals could bring everything from more apartments to a hotel or a new mixed-use project to the corner.

Zoning currently allows for a maximum of 12 stories, but it’s likely this could be changed. Since Banner ignored our suggestion to re-christen The Metropolitan as The Phoenix, it’s our hope that whatever the site may become, the future developers choose to use this brilliant, if obvious, moniker.

Thankfully, Not a Whole Store Renovation

Small changes are in store for the Whole Foods on Wade Avenue. Permits valued around $65,000 were issued to Raleigh’s own Ten Penny Construction for a job described simply as “alterations and repairs.”

We don’t imagine the renovations will be too visible to the public eye. Subcontractor permits list an electrical company, a fire protection company and mechanical and plumbing companies. So it’ll probably involve the building’s sprinkler and mechanical systems. Let’s just hope they’re using organic, BPA-free, non-GMO, fair trade certified, gluten-free building materials.



Viva Chicken Opening June 13 in North Hills

Photo: Don Delphia

A new restaurant offering Peruvian-style chicken will soon open in North Hills. Viva Chicken is known for its “pollo a la brasa, a delectable herb-enhanced rotisserie chicken cooked in a charcoal-fired oven imported from Lima, Peru.” One of our sources (an e-mail we received from a PR firm) shared the menu highlights:

  • Rotisserie chicken (served as a quarter, half or whole) marinated for 24 hours with herbs and spices
  • Sides including solterito (Peruvian corn salad), canary beans, cilantro-infused rice, plantains, yuca or sweet potato fries
  • Signature juices such as herbal limeade (lime, basil, rosemary and mint), Maracuya passion fruit juice and the Chicha Morada (Peruvian purple corn, cinnamon, cloves, pineapple, apple and limes) made in-house daily.

Located at 4361 Lassiter at North Hills Ave, the dining room seats 70 and a patio seats 34. They plan to open on June 13 and will be open daily from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Revisn-ist Future: Glenwood South’s New Extended Stay Hotel

We previously reported that plans for the Boylan Flats apartments in Glenwood South had been scrapped in favor of building an extended-stay style hotel to be named Revisn.

One of our sources (the hotel website) seems to indicate the hotel is for guests who need accommodations for 30 days or longer. Another source (a hotel brochure) promises that Revisn will be worlds apart from the competition, offering everything from smartphone control of the space, in-unit laundry machines, and Amazon Echo Dot.

The 48 one and two bedroom units will boast “fully-equipped kitchens with GE appliances, modern, designer furnishings by Yannis (or is it Laurel?), 4K SmartTVs in the living room and each bedroom.”

If this all sounds fancy, it may be due to the fine tastes of Revisn developer Dicky Waila, who was involved in the mythical Soleil Center, which I covered previously.

Soleil was a proposed 43-story hotel/condominium development across from Crabtree Valley Mall that, at 480 feet, would have been the second-tallest building in Raleigh. The Soleil Center actually made it as far as the permit stage in early 2008 before it was scrapped. Fortunately, Revisn is a little further along, and is expected to open in September.


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The N&O Praises Intern For Saving Iconic Sign

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A Broughton High School senior is finally being recognized by the media after a year of hard work. The News & Observer, a newspaper located in Raleigh, North Carolina, reported on the incredible story of how ITBlake the intern single-handedly saved a piece of history. Seriously, here is the article that features ITBlake the intern in the newspaper.

Over the last year, ITBlake spent countless hours managing a social media campaign using the hashtag #savethesign. The goal was to draw attention to the N.C. Equipment Co. building’s tractor sign (or is it a bulldozer?) that was in danger of being demolished along with the rest of the building. The campaign generated over 60 million impressions on social media and dominated brunch and dinner party conversations for months.


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ITBlake initially planned on taking legal action. “At first I thought about taking this to the Supreme Court of the world, but Stacy Miller was too busy dealing with Fyre Festival™ lawsuits. And if you can’t have Stacy as your attorney then there’s no point in even trying,” said ITBlake the intern.



In a last-ditch effort, ITBlake handcuffed himself to the sign for weeks, surviving on LaCroix and Rise biscuits alone. His dedication to the cause worked, as developers announced plans to save the sign and incorporate it into the new student housing development being built on the site.


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ITB Insider™ posted the news of ITBlake the intern’s victory on Instagram and Twitter.

The News & Observer’s Josh Shaffer saw the story and began to investigate. ITBlake’s story was so powerful that Shaffer featured it in his article on the history of the sign. Here’s ITBlake the intern’s big newspaper debut.

Once you get through the Kroger and Netflix DVD rental pop-up ads, you’ll see ITBlake featured in the article.

Many Raleigh residents were pleased to see the heartwarming story get the attention it deserved.

“It’s great to see the media covering stories that matter, instead of wasting time on articles about where Amazon will put their headquarters based on some “source”,” said Five Points resident and commercial real estate broker Vance Craig VI.


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“I don’t read the news because of my crippling addiction to micITBit and other buy/sell/trade Facebook groups. But I did see this on Facebook as I scrolled by a Kissy Kissy Dogs Day Out footie that was too small for lil Vance VII and it made me happy,” added Mary Cameron Knoll Craig, who runs an Instagram account featuring images of the best Wine and Design paintings in Raleigh.

As for ITBlake, he reacted to the news of his appearance in the news as any 18 year-old would. With a simple “Omg”.

Omg indeed, ITBlake. Omg indeed.


Development Beat: Cantina Coming to Five Points, Chipotle Coming to North Hills, Trophy Expansion

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Brought to you by York Properties.


Week of May 21, 2018

Lola’s Cantina in Five Points

Chipotle coming to North Hills

Orvis grand opening at Ridgewood

Demolition set for old NC Equipment Co. building

Peace Street hotel finally approved

Trophy expanding their Morgan Street location

Work underway on The Dillon’s Urban Outfitters

Metropolitan apartments receives pool permits

Contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com with news or to be featured in the Development Beat.


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EXCLUSIVE: Lola’s Cantina Coming To Five Points

We covered the news of Lola’s coming to Five Points in an article last year and didn’t have many details on what exactly it would be. We aren’t even sure if it’s called “Lola’s Cantina” or just “Lola’s.” William Needham Finley IV decided to investigate by taking a picture on his way to a power meeting at Third Place last week.

As you can see from these exclusive images, we can now deduce that this establishment will be serving beer, margaritas, and cocktails.

We were also able to uncover that they will serve street tacos, burritos, and nachos.

We’re not sure of an exact opening date, but the landlord of the space said it should be ready towards the end of June/beginning of July. This should be a hit with the Five Points neighborhood.


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Chipotle Coming to North Hills

Kane Realty Corporation announced that Chipotle will be opening in the Lassiter District (between Verizon and Panera Bread) in the fall of 2018. The North Hills location will be their sixth restaurant in Raleigh.


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Dads Already Fly Fishing In Orvis Parking Lot

Photo: Zach Hearon

When we first reported that the beloved Tripps restaurant at Ridgewood Shopping Center would become Raleigh’s second Orvis location, we joked that fly fishing fans would be camped out in YETI cooler igloos waiting for the grand opening.

It turns out we weren’t that far off the mark.

Orvis, which has offered “Quality Clothing, Fly-Fishing Gear, & More” since 1856, currently operates a location at the Triangle Town Center Mall. The new location, designed by our friends at New City Design Group,  celebrated its grand opening this past weekend, and already appears to be a hit among Raleigh’s fly fishing fans.


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Demolition Set For Old NC Equipment Co. Building

Demolition permits have been issued for the old North Carolina Equipment Company building, a property best known for the iconic tractor sign resting on its roof. Taking its place at 3101 Hillsborough Street will be The Standard, a 5-story student apartment complex and 452-space parking deck.

As part of the 2017 rezoning request, a condition was offered by developer Landmark Properties that ensured they would do everything they could to preserve the iconic sign. We’re pretty sure ITBlake the intern’s protest contributed to this decision.

“The tractor sign will be placed on the Hillsborough Street frontage and lighted,” the rezoning application stated, although it should be noted there is not a 100% guarantee this will happen. Landmark Urban Construction Raleigh will handle the demolition.

Peace Be With You, And Also With Hotels Featuring Rooftop Amenities

After weeks of discussion, City Council finally bestowed its blessing upon the long-delayed boutique hotel at 615 W Peace Street, located between the Peace Street McDonald’s and Starbucks.

The approval of the case allows the developers to create an unenclosed deck, patio, or shade structure on the top of the building that can extend 12 feet above the maximum height limit.

Developer MJM Group, which specializes in hospitality projects, is in discussions to select a boutique brand to manage the hotel. The 40-45 room hotel is expected to open in 2020.


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Trophy Expanding Morgan Street Location

 

Our friends at Trophy Brewing are expanding their Morgan Street location. Known for producing the best beer (Trophy Wife) and the second best beer (Cloud Surfer) in America, Trophy has operated in their 827 W. Morgan Street location since 2012. Part of that building has been occupied by a laundromat and convenience store for decades.

Trophy will expand into that space and also add more outdoor seating. Construction should start in late fall and finish in summer or fall of 2019. We were planning on making the announcement in a sit down 20/20 style interview between ITBlake the intern and Trophy owners David Meeker, Chris Powers, and Woody Lockwood. However, ITBlake isn’t old enough to interview breweries yet. For more details, check out the N&O’s story.



Urban Outfitting The Dillon

Permits have been issued for the Urban Outfitters that will be located in The Dillon. Our friends over at August Construction Solutions, known for their work in transforming a large portion of North West Street into sleek, stylish office spaces, will be overseeing the Urban Outfitters fit-out.

Although ACS has done many retail projects across the country — it’s their bread & butter — owner Michael Iovino told us he’s especially excited about the chance to work on such a key project in the heart of downtown Raleigh.

“This is the first time since our inception that one of our national clients has built a location in Raleigh. We are excited to showcase our abilities. The Dillon is a high profile project and UO is a likewise tenant. The opportunity to work with Kane Realty Corp. to prove there is a local asset with such a national reach so close to The Dillon, Peace and North Hills amplifies the magnitude of this Urban project for ACS” said Iovino.

Work on Urban Outfitters is expected to wrap up by the middle of August, and is currently scheduled to open to the public on August 23.



ITBlake Flips A House


Metropolitan Pool Party

Captured by photographer Brian James Patrick Oschwald.

It was never determined what started the fire that destroyed the Metropolitan apartments that were under construction near Glenwood South. The 241-unit luxury apartment building was set to open in the fall of 2017. The fire, of course, delayed those plans. ITB Insider’s exclusive on-the-scene coverage was Pulitzer-worthy and saved at least one life. You’re welcome.

In November 2017, a set of permits for the rebuilding of The Metropolitan were issued to Clancy & Theys, who will serve as general contractor. Last week, permits were issued for the apartment’s fancy new pool, whose construction cost was estimated at just under $400,000.

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Development Beat: Roundabout Condos Coming to Hillsborough Street, For Real

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Week of May 14, 2018

Luxury condos coming to Hillsborough Street

Historic house holds up Fairweather condos

Potential buyer looks to restore Gables Motor Lodge

New bar planned for Glenwood South

Lumina Clothing closes

La Stella on Hillsborough Street is La Gone

Peking Duck & Dumplings replaces Pho Vietnam on Hillsborough Street

Contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com to be featured in the Development Beat.


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Luxury Roundabout Condos On Hillsborough Street

Hillsborough Street is no stranger to new housing projects. The last few years have seen a wave of development, mostly in the form of luxury student housing featuring ground-floor retail.

Last week, the developers of The Paramount and the Aloft hotel unveiled plans for a different kind of Hillsborough housing project: a five-story luxury condominium building dubbed “The View on Pullen Circle.”

The 35-unit condo building will be situated at the roundabout connecting Hillsborough and Pullen, offering views of the NC State bell tower, the Gregg Museum of Art and the Aloft Hotel.

William Needham Finley IV is talking with his attorney Stacy Miller of Miller Law Group, to determine if the developers infringed upon the Five Points roundabout apartment complex concept that he unveiled in 2016. This could potentially reach the Supreme Court.

The one and two-bedroom units, ranging in size from 900 to 1,300 square feet, will start in the upper $300s. Development partner Mark Andrews noted in the press release we were sent that, “The View on Pullen Circle offers residents a remarkable location and upscale features.” Those upscale features include a rooftop terrace and deck, along with parking and bike storage underneath the building.

Work on the property will be overseen by the South Atlantic Construction Company, and is expected to begin later this year with a completion date of late 2019 or early 2020.


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Move House, Get Out The Way

When we first reported on plans for The Fairweather, a new five-story luxury condo development boasting spectacular views and proximity to Dix Park, we noted that its construction would require the teardown of a warehouse and two single-family homes. One of those buildings, at least, has now been saved from the wrecking ball.

Last week, it was announced that one of those homes, known as “The Rogers House” will be relocated across town by well-known historic home saver and walking proponent, Matt Tomasulo (aka Mike Tomatosoupasaurus).

It seems that “historic” is a bit of a tricky term when it comes to describing the 87-year old, 1,188 square-foot house currently sitting on the lot at 517 S West Street. Its age alone seems to qualify it, but it technically isn’t considered an “official” historic house.

A letter from the State Historic Preservation Office dated March 18, 2013, lists the home as falling under the “Old Fourth Ward Historic District,” although it was determined that the district was not eligible for listing in the National Register. Apparently, “this area lacked sufficient integrity, primarily as a result of numerous demolitions over the years.”

The home will be moved to the corner of Hargett and Bloodworth, not far from where Tomasulo’s other historic home relocation project, Guest House Raleigh, ended up.

Once it’s moved and the other home at 523 S West and the Motor Parts Warehouse fronting Harrington are demolished, work will begin on The Fairweather.


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Renewal of Raleigh’s Gables

In the first ever edition of the Development Beat, we reported on a plan to sell the iconic Gables Motor Lodge. After much speculation (Mordecai Outraged Over Rumored Buyers of Iconic Property) that included a Dave & Buster’s, a Wahlberg-themed Food Hall, and a Big Lots, it looks like the property has finally found a buyer with a plan worthy of the space.

A group of buyers, including musician Tift Merritt and hotel developer Daniel Robinson, have plans to redevelop and expand the property. Representatives from Gables Lodge LLC appeared before the Mordecai Citizens Advisory Council last week to unveil their plans, which include adding a pair of two-story buildings, bookmarking the existing lodge and bringing the total number of rooms to 19. In addition, the group is looking into the possibility of adding a water feature, and fencing around the property line.

The developers noted that they want to make something that “pays tribute to Mordecai,” and in so doing, will do everything they can to ensure the iconic sign out front would be incorporated into the project.

New Bar on Glenwood South

The one-time home of the David Wade Salon and, more recently, Feelgoodz fair-trade footwear, will soon be transformed into a two-story bar/nightclub.

Site plans for the building at 612 Glenwood indicate the space will be developed by the Bunch of Fives Hospitality Co. The plan for the structure is to add a second story “for bar area” as well as an “addition of 789 SF outdoor bar area with improved site area at rear.”

The preliminary sketches make it look as though there will be outdoor seating in the front of the building, with an outdoor bar and metal staircase out back. We don’t know when this new bar will open, or even what it’s going to be called.


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Lumina Clothing Company to Close

Lumina Clothing Company, a staple of the North Person Street district, will be closing its doors for good at the end of the month.

The company announced last week its plans to close their flagship location, located at 215 E Franklin Street. The store will be holding sales through the end of the month, and a closing party will be held before the store shuts down for good as a way of thanking all of those who “helped make [Lumina] such a vibrant part of the community.”

0 For 2: Second Restaurant in Former Hillsborough Street Bookstore Closes

It seems like only yesterday we were reporting on the permits issued to our friends over at Rufty-Peedin Design Builders to transform the former Hillsborough Street Bookstore into the stylish, if short-lived, H-Street Kitchen.

In the time since, H-Street has come and gone, replaced — briefly — by a second location of La Stella Wood Fired Kitchen, which still operates out of a space on Fayetteville Street. On Friday of last week, La Stella announced they would relocating their Hillsborough Street location to a space on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary.



A Defeated Pho on Hillsborough

Speaking of short-lived Hillsborough Street haunts, just two years after permits were issued for Pho Vietnam on the ground floor of 2811 Hillsborough, a brand-new restaurant, Peking Duck & Dumpling, has opened in its place.

The restaurant, whose motto is “We believe good times deserve great food,” offers diners everything from roast duck to spicy pork ear. Credit to Triangle Food Blog for bringing this to our attention, and credit to Philadelphia’s Chinatown for helping us appreciate how delicious duck can be.

Development Beat: Pizza Coming to Dock 1053, More Apartments On Glenwood

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Brought to you by York Properties.


Week of May 7, 2018

Pizza restaurant coming to Dock 1053

Sterling Glenwood (formerly the Beckanna) apartments set for expansion

Progress on McNeill Pointe shopping center

Neon art coming to Dix Park

Wahlburgers finally opened downtown

Construction commences for 22-story FNB Tower

Raleigh’s newest Dog Park opens

Soft opening for Seoul 116

Contact wnfiv@itbinsider.com to be featured in the Development Beat.


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Lynnwood Bringing Pizza Place to Dock 1053

Credit: LoadingDockRaleigh.com

Lynnwood Brewing Concern, which operates a grill and taproom in North Raleigh and a brewery and bar at Dock 1053 on East Whitaker Mill Road, will soon add a new restaurant to Dock 1053.

Wilson’s, named after Lynnwood’s owner’s dog, will focus on “flatbread pizzas and crafted sandwiches” and will feature “several house-made sodas & mixers” in their craft cocktails. Check out the full article from Broughton alumnus Hart Roberts. Wilson’s is set to open in late August.

More Apartments Planned on Glenwood Near 440

Grubb Properties is planning to expand the Sterling Glenwood apartment complex, formerly known as the Beckanna, from 254 units to 493 units. The property, which Grubb purchased in 2013, is located directly across the street from the recently opened 296-unit Sojourn Glenwood luxury apartment complex owned by Grubb Ventures. Grubb Ventures is owned by Gordon Grubb and based in Raleigh, while Grubb Properties is owned by Gordon’s brother Clay Grubb and based in Charlotte. We can reasonably deduct that this apartment expansion is the product of an intense sibling rivalry.

Site plans were filed by Grubb Properties indicating plans to renovate the two existing apartment towers at Sterling, which were originally built in 1964. They also plan to add two new apartment towers and a parking deck to the site.

The new buildings will stand 128 feet tall and appear to be about 10 stories tall. No word on when construction might begin.


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Progress On McNeill Pointe

Once home to the Ham ‘N’ Egger diner, which later became the Oak City Diner before being torn down in 2008, McNeill Pointe is now under construction just across the street from Mami Nora’s restaurant. When complete, McNeill Pointe will comprise a total of four buildings and over 30,000 square feet of space for office, retail, and restaurant uses.

Work has begun on the first round of tenants, House of Hops and The Simple Greek. This is the second location for Raleigh’s House of Hops craft beer retail store, which has been serving a variety of beers since July 2014. The Simple Greek is the brainchild of Marcus Lemonis, host of the CNBC reality show “The Profit” and promises “real Greek food made with fresh, healthy ingredients using authentic family recipes.”

This is a real billboard promoting The Profit television show. This is not photoshopped.

The $7 million project is getting built out by the Raleigh-based Centre Construction Group, although Triangle Enterprises out of Cary is listed as the contractor for the House of Hops build out.



Neon Art Coming to Dix Park

Dix Park will soon play host to “Light the Woods with Sound,” an interactive public art installation from Raleigh visual and neon artist Nate Sheaffer. The installation will be displayed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from May 11 to May 27. The event is free but they ask that you register in advance.

More about the installation:

“Sheaffer created 384 neon light tubes which will hang in the trees of Dix Park. Connected to a theremin, an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact, artists will perform songs and musical interpretations that will Light The Woods with Sound.”

Sheaffer owns and operates Glas, a teaching facility/gallery/art factory/studio, and has over 30 years of glass blowing experience. “Light and music appeal to us on primitive levels, reaching into the core of our minds’ response to the world around us. For me, music, light, and art are inseparable, essential.”

This project is made possible by the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy, the Office of Raleigh Arts, and the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. Partners for this public art project include Glas Neon, Optic Artworks, and Emily Alexander.


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Wahlburgers Opened

After what felt like years of anticipation, Raleigh’s first location of the celebrity-chain burger joint Wahlburgers opened on Fayetteville Street last week. The restaurant offers a “upscale fast-casual” burger menu, which we imagine falls somewhere between Five Guys and Chuck’s.

The burgers will all feature “Wahl Sauce” — a blend of ketchup, mayo, pureed caramelized onions, pickles and other spices. The restaurant’s biggest draw has to be the chance to spot Donnie or have Mark rap “Good Vibrations” while bringing out your order.

According to the News & Observer, the most famous brothers have yet to visit the Myrtle Beach, S.C. location, which opened a year and a half ago (can you really blame them?). We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the Wahlbergs.



22-Story FNB Tower Breaks Ground In DTR

The new 22-story FNB Tower on Fayetteville Street broke ground last week. Located next to the building that houses Stacy Miller’s office and Miller Law Group, the tower will have 239 residential units spread throughout 13 stories, six stories of commercial office space, and two floors of amenities/tenant storage space.

Developed by Dominion Realty Partners, the building will serve as the regional headquarters for First National Bank. Choate Construction, which is based out of Atlanta but operates a regional Raleigh office, is overseeing construction on the $116 million project. For more on the project, check out the video.

The Dog Days of Spring

Birdie, so fresh and so clean. @golden_girl_birdie

A post shared by Dogs of ITB (@dogsofitb) on

Pet owners, rejoice: your dogged search for a new place to cajole with your canine friends has come to an end. Raleigh’s newest dog park officially opened this past weekend.

Grand opening ceremonies for the new Buffaloe Road Dog Park were held on Sunday, May 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 1.5-acre park is located next to the Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center at 5908 Buffaloe Rd and features two separate areas, one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs. The fenced-in off-leash area also offers multiple entry gates, dog waste stations, a drinking water pad, and shade for you and your pets. Sounds like a howling good time!

A Soft Seoul 116

Less than two months after work began on their space at 116 N. West Street, City Market Sushi’s sister restaurant Seoul 116 held a soft opening in a space that was once home to the famed Blue Martini.

Our friends over at NC Triangle Dining were on hand for the opening, and shared some of Seoul 116’s succulent dishes on Twitter.

 

Time Warp at the City of Raleigh Museum

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As the state capital, and the most important city in North Carolina, Raleigh has a unique history worth celebrating. If you’re looking for a night on the town where you can celebrate history by reliving the past, then look no further. Raleigh’s hottest party is Time Warp, and it’s coming up on April 21st. This 1970s themed blast from the past is the creation of the City of Raleigh Museum.

Since opening in 1993, the museum has collected and cared for artifacts, curated exhibits, and provided programming related to Raleigh’s history and heritage. Time Warp supports the museum’s mission to “Preserve Raleigh’s Past for the Future.” This party has everything, including:

Beer, wine, an assortment of LaCroix mixers, and a signature cocktail poured by ITBlake the bartender

Hors d’oeuvres and plates from some of your favorite Raleigh restaurants

A dance contest and a costume contest judged by our friends Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Joe Ovies, co-host of the Adam and Joe show on 99.9 FM The Fan

A Trolley Pub piñata filled with Bose noise cancelling headphones so you’ll never hear another WHHHOOOOOOO again

An auction of local art and a silent auction of items from Raleigh’s finest businesses and restaurants

Exhibits of ancient artifacts found in Raleigh, including:

Blueprints for the Weather Dome™

The street light from the DrunkTown ad. This will be available for photo opportunities.

Holy water blessed by the Pope during his visit to Raleigh

Recently discovered dinosaur fossils from Dix Park that will be used as a liquor luge

Plans for the Downtown Canal™

The mimosa glass from the first pre-noon brunch

There will also be an after party at Foster’s, where “Murder On The Dancefloor” will play on repeat.

An after-after party will be held in the Village Subway, where The Connells will perform.

We may have misunderstood some of these details while talking with the museum. Check out the Time Warp event website for accurate event information and tickets. If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, check out the sponsorship opportunities.

What: Time Warp 2018

When: Saturday, April 21, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: City of Raleigh Museum – 220 Fayetteville Street

Patagonia Unveils Seersucker Line

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Raleigh Residents First In Line For Patagonia Seersucker Collection

Patagonia fans had been waiting months for this moment. The famously preppy outdoor brand entered the world of Seersucker on Thursday, just in time for Easter. Patagonia held a secret pop-up shop at Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Cameron Village to debut the new line.

“We wanted a look that would be multifunctional. This line is perfect for folks who will never set foot on a hiking trail, but still want to display the prestige of Patagonia. We also included items that cater to the .06% of our customers who do go outdoors and want to do so in style,” said Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia.

The Patagonia Seersucker line consists of the following:

Patagonia Seersucker Suit – $499

Classic seersucker stripes trace a sharp, clean-lined design on this suit. Self-stuffs into chest pocket with carabiner clip-in loop. This luxe layer is perfect for your collection.

Bucks – $100

While these aren’t seersucker, they do pair perfectly with the other items in the collection. Four eye lace-up with a non-marking rubber outsole.

Seersucker Dress (monogramming available) – $329

This structured skater dress is perfect for an Easter service at St. Michael’s or White Memorial. The half sleeves feature an eye-catching flared design, while the upper thigh length hemline maintains a babydoll look.


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Fleece Vest – Men – $99

Classic vest made with midweight Synchilla-sucker polyester fleece. Great for hiking the paved Raleigh Greenway.


Down Vest – Women – $99

This classic Down Sweater-sucker Vest is lightweight and windproof, thanks to the 800-fill-power Traceable Down. The perfect warmth for waiting in your climate controlled SUV in the Root or Lacy pickup lines.


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Down Sleeping Bag – $519

An elegant, real-world bag, built with the best materials available. Performs in all conditions, including summer camp at Sea Gull or Seafarer, and neighborhood sleepovers.

The collection was an immediate hit. A manager at Great Outdoor Provision Co. said that about 200 people were waiting in line for the store to open on Thursday morning. The Patagonia Seersucker items were gone in approximately 16 minutes.

A Five Points couple hired ITBlake the intern to wait in line overnight and hold their spot. “This stuff is going to sell for triple in micITBit,” said Mary Cameron Knoll Craig, referring to the secret closed Facebook buy/sell/trade group with over 9,000 members.

Her husband, Vance Craig VI, added, “Now we can slightly stand out while still wearing the same clothes as everyone in our peer group.”



Administrators at White Memorial Presbyterian Church rejoiced upon hearing the news. “Every Easter we try to break the world record for most Seersucker at a religious service. This clothing line will definitely help,” said an unnamed church official. The current Seersucker world record is held by White Memorial and was set in 2017.

Patagonia has already increased production of the Seersucker line after seeing the success of the pop-up shop.


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Development Beat: North Shore Ready For Residents, Union Station Progress

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Week of March 26, 2018

North Shore townhomes now available on Centennial

Slingshot Coffee relocating to South Bloodworth

Union Station progress

Seoul 116 Coming to West Street

lou lou boutique opens at North Hills

Slim’s to upgrade fencing

Mellow Mushroom coming to Brier Creek


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North Shore Ready For Move In

Work has finished on another building at North Shore, a new residential townhome community on Centennial Campus that we wrote about last April. The project, developed by White Oak Properties and being sold by The Glenwood Agency, is located next to Lake Raleigh and is near the Lonnie Poole Golf Course and Hunt Library.

Centennial Campus has come a long way in the last 20+ years and it’s nice to see high quality residential development added to the mix of commercial tenants and hotels in the area. North Shore offers several different floor plans, ranging in size from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet.

The new units range from 2 to 3 bedrooms with 2.5 to 3 full baths, large screened in-porches, and a one car garage with a one car parking pad. Master bedrooms have a large walk in closet, en suite bath with dual vanity and tiled shower, and kitchens come with quartz countertops, hardwoods, and stainless appliances. There’s also a new swimming pool on the property, which we assume offers better pH levels than nearby Lake Raleigh.

With all the existing amenities, the location close to downtown Raleigh, the State Farmers Market, Dix Park, and direct greenway access, we can’t imagine these stay on the market that long.


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Slingin’ Coffee

Work is now underway on a brand new manufacturing facility for the popular Raleigh based company Slingshot Coffee, which specializes in cold brewed coffees. Slingshot currently operates out of a 5,00 square-foot space on Brookside Drive. Its new facility is a 12,555 square-foot warehouse at 1415 S Bloodworth Street. The $304,832 addition/renovation project is being handled by Ellington Contractors.

Slingshot recently reached a deal with Publix to offer their wares in 300 of its stores. The cold brewed coffee can currently be found at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Target. We imagine their new facility will go a long way to making sure it’ll never go out of stock.

State of the Union Station

Raleigh’s hottest train station will be unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 30th at 9:30 am. The Hogwarts Express is expected to tear through the oversized ribbon while traveling approximately 150 miles per hour to officially open Union Station in downtown Raleigh. Rail service should begin some time in May.

Here are a few updates from our friends at York Properties. Approximately 13,000 square feet of office and retail space is available for lease, including two ground floor/plaza level retail suites at 1,732 and 2,115 sf., a second floor mezzanine office suite available at 6,262 sf., and a third floor retail suite overlooking parking and Martin Street at 2,700 sf. Contact John Koonce at York for more information, and tell him we sent you. We’re trying to win free train passes for life. We’ve also included photos from Ashton Smith, Raleigh’s top tour taker and author of Raleigh, over-easy, the best newsletter in circulation.


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West Street Seoul

City Market Sushi will soon open a sister restaurant, Seoul 116, on North West Street near Clouds Brewing. The new Korean restaurant will operate out of the former home of More. Kitchen & Bar (previously home to Blue Martini, RIP) at 116 N. West Street.

Permits were issued for the $252,037 alteration of the 3,717 square-foot space last week. Brookwood Builders, a local company that was also behind the International Breakfast & Burgers spot at 222 Glenwood and Bolt Bistro & Bar on Fayetteville Street, is doing the work.


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lou lou For You You

lou lou boutiques, a store that apparently loathes capital letters, celebrated the grand opening of its first Raleigh location at 4120 Main at North Hills. lou lou, not to be confused with lululemon, offers “quality, affordable women’s fashion accessories, jewelry, scarves, bags, & more.” A grand opening celebration held on March 23 offered free gifts to the first 50 customers, which was a let down to their 51st customer, Bonner Gaylord.



Black Fences Can Be Very Slim’ing

The back patio at Slim’s on Wilmington Street will soon get an aesthetic upgrade in the name of public safety, as the owners plan to replace the existing chain-link fence with a new, 8′ tall wrought-iron fence. The new fence will be about three feet taller than the one currently in place, a measure that will “prevent injuries to trespassers attempting to climb over a fence of less height.”



Mellow Out in Brier Creek

A new Mellow Mushroom is one step closer to sprouting, as final sitework permits were issued recently to Bailey, NC-based IB General Contractors. The restaurant will be located at 9600 Brier Creek Parkway, currently an empty lot. As we noted when we first reported on this, Mellow Mushroom’s locations in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill all feel like a natural part of their environment; unique and identifiable as the design is, each restaurant gives off a sense of belonging. We’re curious to see whether that effect can be replicated in a soulless place like Brier Creek, especially on a parcel surrounded by a lot of vacant land, but in the end, all that really matters is that they continue serving up their most excellent pizza. We imagine it could be open by this fall, but no opening date has been announced yet.

Making Animé Real

A unique new shop offering animé, manga, figures and merch, along with live screenings and a virtual reality experience, has opened in the Oak Park Shopping Center off Glenwood Avenue. Animé Paradaisu is located at 5208 Hollyridge Drive in the former home of the Oak Park Tea Room.

Although traditional comic-book stores have suffered in recent years, Paradaisu’s neighbor, Capitol Comics II, has so far remained successful, and I imagine Paradaisu’s unique concept and niche appeal will help it stand out.


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Development Beat: Peace Out, Seaboard Station For Sale

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Week of March 19, 2018

Seaboard Station For Sale

Olde Towne to be developed again

Update on Capital Boulevard’s new park

Raleigh Rite Aids rebranding as Walgreens

Work begins on Publix at new Leesville Marketplace


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Peace Out, Seaboard Station For Sale

William Peace University is selling most of the Seaboard Station property that it acquired for $20.75 million back in 2013. On Tuesday, the university announced plans to put up 5.68 acres for sale in early April. That includes a parking lot, the lot where the university tennis courts are located, and three retail buildings that house J. Betski’s, Oak & Dagger, and O2 Fitness. TradeMark Properties has been managing the property for Peace University. Don’t worry, Peace doesn’t own Logan’s and Sunflower’s Cafe isn’t going anywhere.

What we all really care about is the status of the much anticipated Harris Teeter. In June of 2016, it was announced that Harris Teeter would be coming to Seaboard Station. This was before Publix was confirmed for the nearby Kane development on Peace Street, which is actually under construction.

According to this article from WRAL, Harris Teeter was supposed to open in Seaboard in 2017. In this article covering the 2017 Peace China lawsuit against William Peace University and TradeMark Properties, TradeMark indicated the Harris Teeter would be breaking ground in 2018.

We did some digging and discovered that it is currently March of 2018 and Harris Teeter has not broken ground. Notice in the aerial photo from Google that there are no Harris Teeters to be found. None.

This week, the N&O reported that “Harris-Teeter remains committed to Seaboard, TradeMark says, and delayed its opening to take into account future development of the property.” Some are skeptical.

Whoever buys the property will probably have to build up in order to make their money back, with or without the Harris Teeter. So expect some 3-5 story (or higher, depending on zoning) stick-built apartment buildings with retail on the first floor. Getting to Seaboard Station is already a nightmare due to the construction of the Capital Boulevard improvements and the demolition related to Kane’s Peace project.

Don’t forget that the City of Raleigh plans to tear up Peace Street between St. Mary’s and Glenwood to put in underground utilities and make other improvements. We imagine tenants will be dying to sign a lease in Seaboard Station with all these great improvements in progress in the area over the next five years. TradeMark Properties and Urban Investments are representing the university in the sale. They are not publicly stating the anticipated sales price, but if it sells for less than $40 million we’d say Peace really botched this whole real estate play. We’ll keep you posted.


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Everything Olde Is New Again

In 2007, Greystone Development announced it would begin work on a new golf course community known as Olde Towne on a 600-acre parcel of land in Southeast Raleigh near the intersection of Rock Quarry Road and New Hope Road. Two years later Greystone abandoned the project, having already cleared the land required for the golf course and the first 531 homes.

Olde Towne was to have housed 5,000 people, and included 500,000 square feet of retail and an 18-hole golf course. Nearly 10 years after Olde Towne’s demise, a new development team has stepped in with plans to redevelop the land for single-family housing, a grocery store, a park, restaurants, and retail.

We look forward to seeing what becomes of this massive, underutilized parcel of land. We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available. For more details check out the article from the N&O.


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Capital Idea for a Park

It’s been almost four years since I first covered the City’s plans to turn a dilapidated strip of Capital Boulevard — once populated by such icons as The Foxy Lady, The Milner Inn, and Capital Inn — into a public park. Last week, City staffers presented an overview of the Devereux Meadows Park Project to the Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board. Details on what will become downtown Raleigh’s first water-front park were shared.

UPDATE FROM WNFIV: Hi, thanks for reading. We know that Devereux Meadows is not where the Foxy Lady was. We were simply stating that this park is part of the larger plan to improve Capital Boulevard. You can stop emailing me with this correction. We’ve never been wrong, and never will be. Have an ITBlessed day!

“Devereux Meadows Park will cover approximately 14 acres, consisting of all the area between Capital Boulevard on the east, West Street on the west, Dortch Street on the north, and Peace Street on the south, with the exception of the parcels containing existing commercial and/or industrial buildings between West Street and Pigeon House Branch.”

The project will be completed in phases, and is now undergoing an environmental review. Design of the park should be finished by Summer 2019. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2020, after the DOT has wrapped up their Capital Boulevard Project. Devereux Meadows Park is expected to be finished by January 2021.


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Rite Aid Rides Off Into The Sunset

Raleigh’s Rite Aids will soon be going the way of Happy Harry’s and Kerr Drug, both of which were absorbed by the Walgreens empire. Some of Raleigh’s Rite Aides have already been rebranded to Walgreens, and we imagine we’ll see a number of signage permits issued over the coming months as the transformation moves forward.

Of course, this change is not limited to Raleigh. Walgreens is purchasing 1,932 Rite Aid stores nationwide, for which it will pay $4.4 billion.



Publix Coming to Leesville Marketplace

While many residents eagerly await the Publix coming to Kane’s development on Peace Street, another Publix is coming to North Raleigh. Permits totaling more than $5 million in listed value were issued for a Publix that will anchor the Leesville Marketplace shopping center. The work at this stage includes the new 50,000 square-foot Publix and a two-story 15,000 square-foot “shell building” that will host the center’s future tenants.

According to its website, the 7.8 acre Leesville Shopping Center, located at the corner of Leesville and Strickland, will feature 13,000 square feet of specialty retail and dining space, and is expected to open in December 2018.


Development Beat: Hayes Barton Baptist Schism And Our Solutions

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Week of March 12, 2018

Hayes Barton Baptist plans to tear down 6 houses to add parking

Moore Square seeking contractor

House of Swank finds a new home

Gusto Farm to Street begins work on first Raleigh location

1965 State Capital Plan Envisioned a Different Future for Raleigh

“Mystery Room” coming to Triangle Town Center


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Church Wants To Pave Paradise, Put Up A Parking Lot

Note: This section is co-authored by William Needham Finley IV. He’s seen how controversial this issue has been and figured that if we co-authored this, people wouldn’t know who to get mad at.

Hayes Barton Baptist Church at Five Points created quite a stir last week when they made public their plans to demolish a row of 6 rental homes they have owned since the 1960s. Was this a Crusade to evict 6 Satanic families from Five Points? Not quite. The church wants to put 78 parking spaces where the houses, built between 1920 and 1925, currently sit.

We assume HBBC got the idea from Mark 4:22, which recalls how Jesus turned 6 dwellings into 78 donkey stables to accommodate all the townsfolk lining up to check out His water in to wine miracle. These parking spaces would add to approximately 170 parking spaces already on the property. HBBC told the News & Observer that the spaces are needed to accommodate the 500 to 600 members who attend the 11:00 am Sunday service.


We’re unclear as to why this plan is being proposed at this point. For decades, local businesses have opened their lots to church members on Sunday, while the church has allowed Five Points customers to park in their lot during the week, a deal that was struck during the First Council of Nicaea.

Members of the church spent last week informing thy neighbors of thy plans. We first heard about it from an Olde Raleigh post on Facebook, since we’re millennials. We then obtained a document covering the church’s plans, since we’re basically Spotlight-level journalists.

The document states these are “concepts only!”and summarizes a report by the Long Range Capital Planning Committee. The report was presented in a February 10th meeting to the members of the Diaconate, which apparently has something to do with Deacons and is not the name of a dragon from Game of Thrones.

In the document, titled, “Change for the Next Generation,” seven points are listed under “Parking and Rental House Solution.”

-Provides covered drop-off area with closer access to nursery, sanctuary, chapel, and educational building.

-Provides additional handicap parking with closer access to the sanctuary.

-Helps eliminate longstanding parking issue – adds 78 spaces.

-Costs less than half of the parking deck option.

-Retains real property for expansion and other uses.

-Provides truck delivery entrance, reducing the need for food service and other deliveries coming through the Welcome Center and the main church corridor.

-Creates a more attractive and welcoming entrance from White Oak Road.

Missing from the list was “Announce plans that infuriate neighbors and cause them to start a petition,” which is exactly what happened.

The petition on Change.org, created by Five Points neighbors, has received 751 signatures as of 11:13 am, March 15th. The authors of the petition offer the following alternatives:

-Continue using the houses for affordable housing, refugee support, or a community home for people with intellectual disabilities (essentially some use that lines up with the Church’s overall mission).

-Sell those homes to families that would love them and use the money to find another option (such as paying for shuttle buses and/or alternate parking solutions).

-Adding additional Sunday services to mitigate the high volume late Sunday mornings and alleviate some of the traffic and parking needs.

Those all sound reasonable. However, we understand that this property belongs to HBBC and they can do whatever they want with it. Since we don’t want to piss off the Five Points residents, and also don’t want to piss off God, we’re offering our own solutions.

1.) Add parking to the front of the church.

It’s a well known fact that this area has been mistaken as parking for years now. Why not just make it official?

2.) Put parking spots on existing land that no one is using.

We found plenty of potential parking spots in front of HBBC on White Oak.

And on the Whitaker Mill side of HBBC.

And behind HBBC.

HBBC will have to cut down some trees if they go with our plan. But just think of the money they’ll save on landscaping and leaf blowing.

Our main concern is the use of White Oak as the pick-up and and drop-off spot for HBBC preschool. I can already see a line of 15 Yukon XLs stretching out onto Glenwood from White Oak and creating a traffic apocalypse.

Hopefully our ideas will create constructive conversations that lead to a solution that appeases everyone. We aren’t trying to tell anyone what to do with their land. We’re just here to make the world a better place, one photoshop at a time. And remember, if you’re upset with our coverage of this, Jesus would have wanted you to forgive us. Have an ITBlessed day!


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Moore Square Seeking Contractor

The City of Raleigh is seeking a contractor for an exhibit in the Moore Square Visitor’s Center. This will be separate from the $10.3 million renovation contract awarded to American South General Contractors in September 2017.

The City is looking for a design that incorporates “interactive elements, interpretive panels, and complimentary displays” in a 14.5′ x 14.5′ room and an adjoining 26′ x 4′ hallway.

The exhibit will “shed light on Moore Square’s evolution since 1792, as well as its uses over time.” The exhibit will “identify how Moore Square has been at the center (both figuratively and literally) of Raleigh’s history since the city was founded.”


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A House of Swank Makes A Home

House of Swank, a local screen printing shop, is moving to 119 E. Hargett St, in the historic Raleigh Furniture Building. Co-owner John Pugh said, “Our goals for the new location are twofold. First to establish the House of Swank shop as a retail fixture in the downtown. Second to have a space that is easily accessible to host music and maker workshops for community engagement and corporate events.”

The new location is a three-story brick building built in 1914 in the late Romanesque Revival style. The Raleigh Furniture building was a furniture store for much of the 20th century.

House of Swank is having a sneak peek popup shop at the new location from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday, March 17. They will also be discussing their new interactive Maker concept floorplan for the retail space, as well as selling Raleigh and NC-inspired clothing.


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Gusto Farm to Street Coming to Wake Forest Road, JITB

Gusto Farm to Street, a healthy fast casual restaurant specializing in pizzas and salads, is coming to Wake Forest Road, in the same shopping center as Trader Joe’s.

Gusto boasts of its “scratch kitchens,” which complement their “vibrant farm-to-table flavors.” They make promises of using “healthy grains” and “antibiotic free meats.”

Permits were issued for the fit-out of Gusto’s 1,820 square-foot space to Battino Contracting Solutions just last week, so we imagine it won’t be opening for at least another month or two.


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Blast From the Past

Courtesy of Oak City CRE

Oak City CRE, which puts out a weekly newsletter covering commercial real estate in Raleigh, uncovered a real gem last week when they published an excerpt from the 1965 North Carolina State Capital Plan. The plans were for future land use and development in the city. They offer imagery of some things we wish had come to fruition, like the lake across from the Governor’s Mansion, which would feed nicely in to the larger downtown canal. Take a look.

Courtesy of Oak City CRE
Courtesy of Oak City CRE
Courtesy of Oak City CRE

Side note: I love how they thought Raleigh would be so classy that people would be wearing tuxedos and formal dresses while eating at “Terrace Restaurant,” wherever that is.

Magical Mystery Mall

What has anchors, railings, sales, and floats on a sea of concrete? An indoor shopping mall, of course. Solving mysteries much tougher than that will soon be part of a new venture at the Triangle Town Center mall.

“Mystery Room: Detective Story” (as listed on the permits) will soon open in a 3,780 square-foot space in the mall. We’ve deduced from the name that it will be a detective-themed “Escape Room” where participants must solve a crime in order to “escape” the room. This is an interesting addition, considering that most people think Triangle Town Center itself is one giant escape room.

I found examples of places like this in NYC, where I’d make everyone call me Briscoe, and Los Angeles (Sergeant Joe Friday). If I make it out to the grand opening I’ll be going by Sheriff Andy Taylor and bringing ITBlake the intern along as Barney Fife.


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Development Beat: More Townhomes For St. Mary’s

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Week of February 26, 2018

More townhomes planned for St. Mary’s Street

One Glenwood Developer acquires nearby land

North Ridge Country Club adding Golf Swing Building

Rebus Works to add convenience store and coffee shop

Calavera closed

More Apartments coming to Crabtree


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More Townhomes Coming to St. Mary’s

When plans were announced in late 2014 for a new, upscale townhome community on St. Mary’s street, it was a welcome break from the countless apartments that were quickly cropping up all around the Glenwood South district.

While the 17-home complex known as The Saint, located between W Jones St. and W Lane St., won’t be complete until next year, a smaller townhome complex known as “St. Mary’s Subdivision” is being planned just a few blocks down.

Set on a .302-acre parcel of land between Tucker St. and W North St., this new complex will feature a total of six adjoining units designed by the Dynamic Design Group out of Cary.

According to current plans, the townhomes will stand no taller than 40′, range in size from 1,600 SF to 2,290 SF, include amenities such as a bike rack, a mail kiosk and a public alleyway, and have willow oak and golden juniper trees planted on-site.

The parcel consists of three separate properties; 414, 416, and 418 St. Mary’s. Although a one-story, 1,348 SF single family home built in 1920 sits on the lot at 414, the other two addresses sit vacant, their homes torn down several years earlier.

The subdivision plans for this project are currently undergoing a rigorous staff-review process, and we imagine it could be some time before any work begins on these new homes.


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One Glenwood Developer Buys Surrounding Land

11 S Boylan Avenue, a 70s-era office building currently home to the NC Department of Insurance, and 623 Hillsborough Street, currently home to Dram & Draught, were both recently purchased by Heritage Properties.

Heritage Properties is the same developer behind One Glenwood, a 10-story, 219,500 square foot mixed-use commercial office building located at 605 Hillsborough Street (former home of the legendary Blue Tower Restaurant). The .39 acre site on S. Boylan sold for $5.2 million, while the .28-acre site at 623 Hillsborough sold for $1.5 million.

The developer has not commented on plans for the newly acquired properties. If history is any indication, they may find themselves going the way of the aforementioned Blue Tower building, and Shelton’s Furniture on West Morgan, which was also demolished last year by Heritage Properties.

The $86 million One Glenwood development is scheduled to open in 2019.


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A Swinging Good Time

North Ridge Country Club began work last week on a 2,127 square-foot “golf training facility” that will allow its members to work on their swings.

At first, we assumed this swinging facility was being built in a certain neighborhood in Cary. Then we dug deeper into the permits, which refer to the project both as a generic golf training facility, and a slightly more specific “golf swing building.” Callahan Construction of Raleigh is handling the $220,994 construction of North Ridge’s training facility.

“No matter how many golf swinging facilities they build, they will never produce a player as phenomenal as Broughton legend and U.S. Open winner, Webb Simpson,” said an anonymous representative from the Carolina Country Club.


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Rebus Works Wrestles Retail

According to our friends at iheartretail.com, Rebus Works, the popular art gallery and event space at 301 Kinsey Street off Boylan Avenue will soon add a local convenience store and coffee shop. Open Monday-Friday from 7-10 a.m., the market will offer locally-sourced breakfasts, baked goods, and coffee.

The setup will seek to mimic, to an extent, Rebus Works’ popular Saturday Market, and will offer patrons the options to purchase a variety of local and artisanal products.

Calavera Closes

Calavera Empanadas & Tequila, a well-loved Mexican Cantina that’s been operating out of a space at 444 S. Blount Street since 2011 is now closed. Earlier this month they announced plans to shut down by the end of February.

“Our kitchen and its small size has kept us from really growing the menu and allowing us to change and add where we would like. We’ve entertained the idea of looking for a location more suited to what we want to do for awhile but have never found anything that matched our needs and wants. We were out of the blue approached with an offer to sell, and while we weren’t actively exploring that, with our new restaurants on the horizon we felt this was the best time to step away.”

Co-owner of Calavera Kenneth Yowell, noted that they were working to place staff at their other restaurant, the Oak City Meatball Shoppe, as well as their upcoming ramen restaurant Kaiju Bowl and Bao. Kaiju is set to open in mid-April.

County records indicate that unit 101, home to Calavera, was sold in October 2017 to HHH Investments, LLC. As the firm was registered through an attorney, we’re not sure who’s behind it, so we can only assume it’s none other than Hunter Hearst Helmsley himself, the WWE superstar better known as Triple H.

Triple H and his business partners.

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Developer Finds Way to Build Even More Apartments Near Crabtree Mall

Work has now begun on the latest apartment complex in the overcrowded area of Crabtree Valley Mall off Glenwood Avenue.

The Crabtree Lakeside Apartments, an upscale 221-unit complex whose amenities will include a “resort-style” swimming pool, received its first batch of building permits last week, including the seven three-story residential buildings that will house between 20 and 56 units each.

Developed by Dominion Properties, the construction on Crabtree Lakeside — which overlooks a small pond off Homewood Banks Drive behind the mall — is being handled by VCC General Contracting out of Irving, Texas. The $40 million complex is expected to open by mid-2019.


Development Beat: Work Begins on Peace, Raleigh Plans New Government Complex

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Week of February 19, 2018

Permits issued for Peace (Smokey Hollow) development

The Creamery building sold

Raleigh is planning a new civic campus

Regal North Hills is getting new seating

Work begins on Raleigh’s newest fire station


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Work Begins on Peace

In early 2016, Kane Realty announced plans for a new residential mixed-use development along West Street just north of downtown. Initially named Smokey Hollow in honor of the long-gone neighborhood, the project was later renamed “Peace,” and although permits issued last week hinted at yet another name change, we were told by Kane Realty that the official name is Peace.

On February 13, Clancy & Theys Construction received a total of nine permits with a combined listed value of $192 million that will allow for the construction of the first nine phases of Peace.

According to the permits, the phases are as follows:

Construct an 11-story shell building at 417 West Peace (the former site of Peace Camera and other retailers) that will host a parking deck and a ground-floor Publix that everyone is obsessed with

Build a seven-story parking deck at 600 N. West, the former site of the Southland Ballroom

Build out the 11-story 417-unit apartment/retail complex, also at 417 West Peace.

The project is expected to be completed by 2020.


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Creamery Building Sold

Glenwood South’s iconic Creamery building was recently purchased by a Chicago developer. Northpond Partners finalized their $24.4 million purchase of four parcels, including The Creamery building, which was built in 1928 and was once home to the Pine State Creamery.

Creamery Limited Properties paid just $3.37 million for the parcels back in 1999. The building and surrounding parcels are home to Milk Bar, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, and a law firm. According to the Triangle Business Journal, the developer has no immediate plans to redevelop the parcels, which also include a smaller building that houses Heat Studios gym and two parking lots along North West Street.


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Raleigh Planning to Centralize City Government Buildings

The City of Raleigh is planning to build a brand-new civic campus that will consolidate all city downtown administrative services into one centralized location. Before we get into the plans, here’s a timeline of how Raleigh got here:

Currently, the City owns four buildings in downtown. They also lease over $1 million worth of office space in three privately-owned buildings each year. The new campus would be located at the existing municipal building at 222 West Hargett, and consist of three main sections.

At the ground level, a “Piano Nobile” (Italian for “noble floor”) would house activated plazas, a gallery, and council chambers.

Atop the nobile would sit two adjacent office towers, providing space for administrative functions and staff amenities.

Behind these public structures, the City plans to allow third-party development that could include residential, retail, co-working, parking, and office space.

The plan would also see the expansion of Nash Square, which sits across Hargett from the municipal campus, as well as an investment in “lush, walkable streetscapes” in the surrounding area. The City was kind enough to send over a copy of the presentation, available here.

A timetable included in the presentation seems to imply construction could be underway within five years. Sadly, we saw no mention of LaCroix fountains, or references to the downtown canal. We’ll keep an eye on this as it develops.


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Sitting in Style at Regal North Hills 14

Regal North Hills 14 is getting some upgrades. A series of permits were issued last week to Bailey Construction for seat upgrades for all 14 of the theater’s auditoriums. We aren’t sure if the seats will be the same reclining style that can be found in the Regal Brier Creek 14 theater. “I don’t care if they recline. North Hills could replace their seats with a bed of nails and I’d gladly sit on those instead of going to Brier Creek,” added WNFIV.


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February’s Hottest Permits

Work is now underway on Raleigh’s newest fire station. Mike Legeros, the city’s premier expert for all things fire-department related, has discussed this new station at length in the past, most recently in January when the construction bid for the project was awarded to Pro Construction, Inc. for $6.8 million. The company received permits to proceed last week.

The 18,162 square-foot fire Station 14 will be located at 3510 Harden Road and include three apparatus bays. According to Legeros, while the building construction itself is standard “the location of the building requires considerable site work consisting of grading, filling and backfilling, retaining wall, utilities, concrete parking and fire truck aprons, and concrete sidewalk.”


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Development Beat: Carmichael Gym Demolition, Restaurant Openings

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Week of January 29, 2018

NC State’s Carmichael Gym to be demolished and upgraded

Work begins on new hotel on West Morgan

Downtown’s latest pizza joint opens

Michael’s English Muffins opens first retail location

O-Ku Sushi coming to The Dillon

LoveSac store coming to Crabtree Mall

South Moon Under coming soon to North Hills


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Carmichael Gym Looks to Improve Its Physique

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

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

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


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New Hotel’s Origin Story

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


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Cowabunga Dudes, It’s Pizza Time(s)

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

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

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


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The English (Muffins) Are Coming

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

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



LoveSac, Baby LoveSac

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

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


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



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

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

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

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


ITBest of the Week January 26


South Moon Under, It’s a Natural Wonder

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

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

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


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ITBest of the Week January 26

in Humor/ITBNN by
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Welcome to ITBest of the Week, a look at the most important events of the last week. It’s like if an e-mail newsletter and Buzzfeed (who follows me on Twitter) had a baby at Rex Hospital.

Twitter is lit over Taco Bell Cantina news

Fyre Festival Still Burns

Chrissy Teigen follows me on Twitter

Grandma tries to sell 30+ years of Playboys on Facebook

UNC System spends $250,000 on a new logo

Dogs of ITB of the Week

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Inside Taco Bell Insider

When James Borden covered the Taco Bell Cantina in this week’s ITB Insider Development Beat I figured we’d get the standard replies of “Ugh, Hillsborough Street is losing its character.” While that reaction was shared by many, it was heavily outweighed by people who were ecstatic over this news. Exhibit A: the engagement stats for my Taco Bell tweet.

That’s a lot. The blog post had over 12,000 pageviews in less than a week. As a result, ITB Insider will now be known as “Inside Taco Bell Insider” and will cover everything Taco Bell related. I was going to put all the Twitter reactions here, but there were too many. Here are the ITBest.




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Fyre Festival Still Burns

Earlier this week, Vice published a story about how Fyre Festival attendees were getting e-mails that could potentially be scams. Vice and a few others had seen my Tweets about these emails that I posted in December.

Since I have a PhD in Fyre Festival, I was quoted in the story: Fyre Festival attendees are worried they’re getting scammed again.

The e-mails we received were offering things like dinner with LeBron James, meet and greets with Taylor Swift, and tickets to The Masters, Burning Man, the Met Gala, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, and other events that I’m sure will be lit, fam. I’m just speculating, but I assume the guy/company sending these e-mails probably bought the Fyre Festival email list from Billy McFarland, the founder of Fyre Media, and is now using it to offer Fyre attendees tickets to these events. I don’t know if these offers are actually legit, so I’ll probably just buy tickets to each event and see how things go.


The Vice story brought Fyre Festival up in the news again, which resulted in this:

Which leads to my next topic…


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Chrissy Teigen Is My Best Friend

Well, now it’s official. #itbffs #bffs

A post shared by William Needham Finley IV (@wnfiv) on

When I saw Chrissy Teigen’s tweet about the Fyre Festival e-mail story, I assumed it meant that she now thought of me as a friend. I figured this was as good a time as any to see if she would help ITBlake the intern get a date to Broughton’s upcoming Queen of Hearts formal. So I tweeted the following:

I followed up by Tweeting a link to a video of ITBlake the intern.

ITBlake the intern doesn’t actually need any help getting a date to Queen of Hearts, but I knew it would be great for him if he could put “Chrissy Teigen knows of my existence” on his college applications.

And now, he can.



Grandma Tries to Sell Playboys in My Facebook Group

This is not a joke. The title says it all, but there’s so much more to the story.

Grandmother Attempts to Sell Three Decades’ Worth of Playboys In Facebook Group

UNC System Logo Unites All

The UNC System paid $250,000 for a new logo that has now unified all 17 of its academic institutions. From Appalachian State to UNC-Wilmington, fans of every school were united over the fact that spending $250,000 on a new logo and rebranding is absurd. Yes, I realize that includes research, branding, marketing and so on, but it’s still an absurd number for a logo that no one even cares about to begin with. That didn’t stop me from throwing my hat in the ring for the next time they need a new logo.

Full disclosure: I am red/green colorblind. But it looks like that won’t be a problem based on their approval of the new logo.


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Best Dogs of ITB of the Week

Look, Palmer, everything the light touches is ITB. 📷: @zaa1169

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Snow dog staring contest. Swipe ➡️. 📷 @helickteeva

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Sampson, kicking the week off with a good dig. @goldendaysofsampson

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This brunch isn’t going to make itself. 📷 @marksanchezsimmons

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Snow golden loves the snow. 📷@katiezsmith

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Jalapeño the Frenchie, fashionable AF in the snow. @jalapenothefrenchie

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@rowyn_the_giant_coyote playing snow fetch.

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Grandmother Attempts to Sell Three Decades’ Worth of Playboys In Facebook Group

in Humor by
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ITBreakdown: A grandmother posted “30++ years of playboys” for sale in micITBit, a private Facebook group that I run. People had a lot of questions. This serves as a historical record of the event. Everything in this post is real.

A Funny Thing Happened in the Facebook Forum

Something magical happened on Sunday night in micITBit. First, let me explain micITBit.

micITBit is a secret and private Facebook group used mainly by Raleigh moms as a forum to buy and sell smocked clothes, furniture, Lilly dresses, and other mom stuff. Like many other buy/sell/trade or “BST” groups, micITBit cannot be found by simply searching on Facebook. To gain entry, one must be added to the group by a friend who is already a member.

The group operates like Craigslist, but on Facebook and without the serial killing (so far). It even has its own language and rules (yes, there are rules, otherwise World War III could break out at any moment). In short, a seller posts a picture and description of an item to the group and buyers comment “Interested!” to purchase. If someone has already commented “Interested!” the person next in line will comment “Next” in hopes that the person ahead of them will get stuck in the White Memorial pickup line or get hit by a bus, preventing them from following through with the purchase. It’s very cutthroat.

The majority of transactions are “porch pickups” or “PPU” which means the seller leaves the item on their front porch and the buyer leaves cash under the doormat after picking the item up. It is an entire economy that I knew nothing about until last year. I’m convinced that because of these groups there is roughly $4 million in small bills sitting under the doormats of Raleigh homes on a daily basis.


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So why does a 33 year-old single guy start a Facebook group for moms? Like pretty much everything I do, it started as a joke. In April of 2017, a similar group with 15,000 members shut down. That’s a whole other story for another day, but it resulted in mass hysteria and I became a hero for these people when I created micITBit. Members joined my group and began using it for real. A lot. Here are the stats on group activity from the last 28 days.

Over 64,000 posts, comments, and reactions from 8,570 members. That is insane. Here’s the demographic information for all you advertisers out there. (Email me at wnfiv@itbinsider.com if you want to talk ITBusiness.)


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You may be thinking, “Wow, you’ve got a captive audience of thousands of people with similar interests. You must be making a fortune off of the people using your Amazon affiliate link and your eBates link. What a great decision!” Yeah, not really. Creating this group was the worst decision I have made while running a media empire, and possibly the worst decision of my entire life. Yes, Fyre Festival was a dumpster fyre, but I at least made some money off of it and got to spend time with my lawyer and ITBFF Stacy Miller because of all the lawsuits. As the father of micITBit, I have to deal with constant complaints from total strangers. I have some wonderful moderators that help me run the group, but it’s still a huge time suck.

The silver lining of micITBit is that it provides some of the most hilarious #content on the internet. I am now ready to share these moments with the world. We begin by taking a look at a night micITBit will remember the same way they remember the moon landing or the New Year’s Eve episode of The O.C.


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Without further ado, I now present “And the Playboys Gonna Play Play Play Play Play: A Screenshot History of 30++ years of playboys.”

The names and faces of the innocent have been redacted. We’ll call the original poster “Martha.”

At approximately 8:04 pm on January 21, 2018, Martha posted the following to micITBit:

Here are the pictures she included in her post:

One odd thing I noticed (I’ve been watching The Wire recently) was that the date on the computer clock was 10/18/2017. Was the clock wrong or were these pictures taken over three months ago? Were these pictures from an earlier attempt at selling 30++ years of Playboys? If so, why was she unsuccessful?

Now, I’m not judging Martha at all. I just think she should have known her audience better. You’re offering hundreds of Playboy magazines to a group that consists mainly of married women. Sure, the handful of guys in the group could have been Interested!, but do you not realize that the same internet that you’re using to post these Playboys was actually invented to replace these types of magazines (or so I’m told)?

A member of micITBit mentioned me in a comment, alerting me to the post.

What followed resembled being in an AOL chat room with 50 friends who were all freaking out over this real time train wreck. I was genuinely amazed by the post and wanted to know more. I even thought about buying these and reselling them. They’ve got to be worth more since Hugh Hefner passed away.



There were questions about whether Martha was real. Someone discovered she had posted another item for sale in the group, proving that she at least was a real person selling more than just hundreds of Playboys.

That’s when the most important question of the night was brought up. (GUC and EUC mean Gently/Good Used Condition and Excellent Used Condition).



I wanted more answers on the number of Playboys.

micITBit members did some investigative work to confirm this was real.

Someone pointed out that the $1,350 price was a bit high.



 




Someone offered a trade for some Teen Vogue issues.



 

The comments were coming in so fast that I got distracted while playing my first HQ trivia game and lost.

People started suggesting that ITBlake the intern look into this.



Since we were on the topic of magazines, I figured most of the group members would jump at the chance to own an issue of 16 with JTT on the cover. Note: I don’t actually own this, but I was sure I could find it on eBay if someone wanted to buy it from me.



 

The group continued to investigate.

At this point, I believe Martha began to understand that there would be no buyers in this group. She deleted the post and I removed her from the group. I felt somewhat bad about doing that, but I was honestly doing it for the greater good. The comment sections in these BST groups are not for the faint of heart. One time in a different group a mother told another mother she hoped her child “breaks its neck” in a dispute over a pair of snow bibs. I’m not making that up. Plus, I have a #brand to uphold. What if one of those Playboys fell into the wrong hands and ruined a marriage? I can’t have that on my conscience.

 

There were many more comments, but I couldn’t keep track of them all. As a founder, it is my duty to recap this event for all the micITBit members who uncharacteristically were off of Facebook for 30 minutes and missed this saga. I truly hope Martha finds a buyer for all of those Playboys.


ITBest of the Week January 19


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Development Beat: A Place At The Table and Other Restaurant Openings

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Week of January 8, 2018

A Place at the Table opens

Brookside Pizza opens

Pooleside Pie practice

Work begins on the News & Observer’s new offices

The Willard on Glenwood South

Manhattan Pizzeria coming to Falls Pointe

Renovations to North Carolina Railroad Company offices

Finding A Place at the Table

After years of planning, Raleigh’s most charitable restaurant has finally opened its doors. A Place at the Table is now serving breakfast and lunch from its brand new space at 300 West Hargett.

Monday was the first official day of business for the pay-what-you-can eatery, and if the lunch crowds we witnessed are any indication, the restaurant should be able to provide low and no-cost dining options to Raleigh residents for years to come.

The set up isn’t too different than the space’s previous tenant, Cafe de los Muertos. You order at the counter, choose a seat at the bar or at a table upstairs or downstairs, and your meal is brought out to you. I enjoyed a late breakfast of mouth-watering waffles and bacon, while my dining companion, none other than William N. Finley IV himself, had a panini.

How the pay-what-you-can concept works: you can choose to pay the “suggested” menu price, set your own price, pay for your meal and someone else’s, or eat for free in exchange for some volunteer labor. Any gratuity added counts as a donation rather than a tip. Nearly every employee there was actually a volunteer, as A Place at the Table only has five paid employees.

I went in prepared to love this place, mostly because I think the concept is fantastic, but I had no idea how a restaurant staffed almost entirely by volunteers would operate. It operated just fine, and then some. In addition to the volunteers, A Place at the Table received support from partners including: York Properties, Plan A Architecture, Kevin Israel, Venture Law, Riley-Lewis General Contractors, Bagchi Law, bu•ku, so•ca, and more.


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Brookside Pizza is Open

The long-awaited upgrades to Brookside Market are starting to take shape. The shopping center, located at the corner of Brookside Drive and Glascock Street, saw the opening of Brookside Market & Pizza last week, bringing the number of pizza restaurants in the downtown and nearby areas to…..we’ve lost count by this point. Fortunately, you can never have enough pizza.

We haven’t had time to try it out, so we checked out their Yelp review and came across some major drama. An Elite Yelper had given the restaurant a 3 star review back in December. That caused another Yelper to call her out for abusing her Elite Yelper status. The Elite Yelper went back and updated the review, which you can read below if you have nothing better to do. What a time to be alive.
Read Cassie B.‘s review of Brookside Market & Pizza on Yelp

Pooleside Pie Pizza Practice

Speaking of pizza, acclaimed chef Ashley Christensen has been working on some pizza recipes of her own. Her new pizza restaurant, Pooleside Pie, is expected to open in 2018.


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Renovations Underway on N&O’s New Offices

Permits have been issued for the future home of the N&O’s offices, which will be on the 14th floor of One City Plaza on Fayetteville Street. The roughly $1.6 million alteration of the 20,583 square-foot space is being handled by Inner-Tech. We hope the renovations end up nicer than their holiday party, which looked like a scene from the Saw movies.

No word on whether construction will be held up due to constant Kroger pop-up ads. The good news is they’ll be located right next door to our favorite lawyer, Stacy Miller.


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A Peek at The Willard’s Paperwork

The developers of Glenwood South’s new seven-story hotel/condo combo known as The Willard appeared before the Board of Adjustment to receive the necessary approvals to move forward with the project.

Despite being mind-numbingly boring, the paperwork gave us a glimpse at the plan review process. For starters, there’s a minimum of eight(!) City staffers working on this project, each analyzing a different trade aspect of the job, from stormwater and fire protection requirements to urban forestry and transportation impacts. Take a look at the list of questions the City has for just one of those eight trades.

We’ll keep you updated as the project progresses.


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Made in Manhattan

A new pizza joint will be opening soon at the Falls Pointe shopping center at 9660 Falls of Neuse Road, as permits have been issued last week for the fit-out of Manhattan Pizza. The restaurant will open in the space once occupied by Greek Fiesta, following $232,034 worth of renovations.


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Railroad Tycoons Redecorate Lavish Offices

When we learned that the North Carolina Railroad Corporation had offices in Raleigh, we imagined their offices would be a spectacle of mid 19th-century Biltmore extravagance: Persian rugs, leather sofas, fine wood-paneled walls, rich mahogany desks.

It turns out, this isn’t the 1850s, and the corporation isn’t staffed by robber barons. NCRC is actually housed in a 1,413 square-foot space in a 1980s-era brick office building on Highwoods Boulevard. The amenities apparently include a kitchenette and an outdoor picnic area; no mention of a billiards room or even a bowling alley. The $95,870 renovation will be handled by Spec Con Inc.

2017 Year in Review

in Humor/ITBNN by


What a year. After recovering by watching 49 hours of Netflix (2 seasons of All or Nothing and 3 seasons of Bloodline) in five days after Christmas, I took some time to look back on 2017. In late 2016 I decided to go full-time with ITB Insider because nothing sounded more fun than working constantly and having weekly anxiety attacks. Here are some stats and highlights from my first year as a full-time media empire startup.

In 2017, ITB Insider had 114 blog posts, 382,038 pageviews, and 126,136 visitors.

For context, in 2016 ITB Insider had 38 blog posts, 119,371 pageviews, and 61,948 visitors.

Special thanks to James Borden for writing the Development Beat every week and keeping me informed of actual news in Raleigh.

My tweets in 2017 had over 56.2 million impressions, thanks to Fyre Festival (it was lit). My family still doesn’t understand what this means. Or maybe they just don’t care. Regardless, I’m putting this on my tombstone.


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Before I get to the year in review, I’d like to say thank you to a lot of people. Special thanks to all of the sponsors and companies we worked with in 2017, especially Miller Law Group, Stacy Miller, Beacon Street Development, Rufty Peedin Design Builders, Seaboard Wine & Tasting Bar, Downtown Dental, PBX®, Rise Cameron Village, Walk West, Humdinger Juice, Glenwood South Tailors + Alterations, Express Yourself Paint, Tradition Scarves, Trophy Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, Southern Ego Clothing, High Cotton, and more that I’m probably forgetting.

Thanks to all the dogs who were featured on Dogs of ITB. We’re going to do a better job with this account in 2018 now that I know how much ITBlake the intern loves dogs.

Thanks to all the customers of the new fashion and merchandise empire.

ShopITB.com

Thanks to Broughton for giving me ITBlake the intern.

And most importantly, thank you to all of you for reading, sharing, and following along as the media empire grows. We’ve got even more planned in 2018. And now, some of my favorites from 2017.


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January started off with a robbery in Cameron Village that was thwarted by a heroic York security guard. If you actually dig into this story it’s pretty insane. I’ll leave it at that. Full story.

A Five Points couple, and their dog, struggled to deal with the unpredictable weather. Life can be so hard sometimes. Full story.



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Mordecai residents were outraged when they heard rumors of Dave & Busters coming to the neighborhood. Full story.

The Velvet Cloak Inn came down. RIP.

Cary passed an ordinance requiring beige colored Easter Eggs. Full story.

Someone stole the Lake Boone chicken. Full story.


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Goodberry’s kept using pictures from my Sunday night anxiety digital art installation without my permission. This issue is still unresolved.

We literally saved lives with our Raleigh fire coverage. Full story.

Photo from Photojournalist Brian James Patrick Oschwald

I incorrectly predicted that The Rock would play football for NC State. Side note: The Rock retweeted @spencerspicy the other day and I’ve never been happier for one of my friends. Full story.

Thanks to Bonner Gaylord, I got to put a fidget spinner and half of my Fyre Festival wristband in the North Hills time capsule that will be unearthed in 50 years. That’s right, in 50 years people will still be talking about Fyre Festival. Full story.


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I helped Meredith College bring attention to their campus lake dilemma. The President of Meredith sent me a nice thank you e-mail. For real. Full story.

Protests spread across Raleigh in support of the Brunch Bill. The mimosas were freed and the streets ran red with Bloody Marys. Full story.



A Hayes Barton family camped out for brunch at NOFO. Full story.

Five Points residents filed a class action lawsuit against a train for blocking their view of the July 4th fireworks. Rumor has it that Stacy Miller settled the case for $7 billion. Full story.

A Hayes Barton mom tried to sell her child online for Pullen Park Holiday Express tickets. Full story.

“The chalkboard, Charles. The fucking chalkboard.” A dad faced divorce after ruining the back to school picture. Full story.



I totally botched a Tweet about the top Broughton graduates. Fortunately, Peyton Reed understood after I wrote him a letter, recorded a video of me reading it, then tweeted the video at him. Full story.

As always, Raleigh dominated the 2017 Deb Class. Full story.

I was on a panel with actual journalists.

ITBlake the intern joined the media empire. Yes, he’s getting school credit for this. Yes, the fame of being recognized at Starbucks and in Cameron Village is going to his head. No, he is not my son. Full story.

I came up with the most ITB Halloween pumpkin carving templates. Full story.

A Five Points family spent weeks preparing for the Angus Barn Trail. Thanks to multiple YETI coolers and Go-GURT laced with Ambien, no one died of dysentery. Full story.

ITBlake the intern and JDog the YouTube star covered their first Raleigh Christmas parade and almost won Sundance. Full story.

ITBlake the intern turned 18. Full story.

Residents were distraught over Starbucks closing for roughly two days. Full story.

I was asked to speak at the Raleigh PR Society awards dinner.

This was really one of the few bright spots of 2017. Our story about a Raleigh couple living in Panama and saving orphans. Full story.

The fashion and merchandise empire launched in December and everyone loved it. ShopITB.com.

Finally, I survived Fyre Festival, which was probably the best representation of 2017 as a whole. My coverage was in pretty much every news outlet on the planet. Thanks to Bloomberg, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, VICE, and a few others for covering it accurately. Full story.

I was in Vanity Fair. Full story.

I was in Vanity Fair in Spain. Full story.

My coverage was on Andy Cohen’s television show. Full story.

As soon as our lawsuit against Billy McFarland, Ja Rule, and others wraps up, I’ll be able to launch the Dumpster Fyre Podcast. It’ll be like Serial and Dumb & Dumber had a baby, then left that baby on an island with nothing but a cheese sandwich. It’s gonna be lit.

Best Tweets of 2017

 

Development Beat: Vita Vite Coming to North Hills and More Grand Openings

in Development/ITBNN by

Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.


Week of December 18, 2017

Vita Vite adding location in North Hills

Shop ITB opens

Grand opening set for A Place at the Table

Update on the hotel replacing Shelton’s Furniture

Seaboard Ace Hardware acquired by Ace Hardware

Bookstore at RDU to close

Bella Mar opens in Cameron Village

Another brewery plans to open in February

Ramen bar coming soon to South Wilmington


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Vita Vite Opening Another Location in North Hills

Vita Vite, a wine bar and art gallery located in downtown Raleigh, is opening its second location. Branching out from downtown, the new North Hills location is scheduled to open in late spring 2018. Vita Vite Midtown will “unveil a welcoming, comfortable wine bar complemented by craft beers, small plates, Southern art and local goods for purchase”.

According to the exclusive press release that WNFIV received from North Hills, the 6,000 square foot space will have a mezzanine level with outdoor seating and bars on both levels. Located in the Park Central building, Vita Vite Midtown will also display a collection of southern art along with goods from local artisans and vendors. Make sure you take Lassiter Mill to get there.

Shop ITB Opens

Shop ITB, an e-commerce startup focused on the inside the beltline market opened this month. Founded by William Needham Finley IV, who also created this website, the shop features ITB fashion, merchandise, and glassware lines. “People have been asking for t-shirts for years, so I started a fashion empire,” said Finley IV. In addition to the signature ITB t-shirt, customers can purchase koozies, onesies, stickers, and ITBlessed wine glasses.

Last week, ITBlake the intern and JDog, known for their work covering the Raleigh Christmas parade, debuted their home shopping video to promote the grand opening. The video was met with rave reviews and has been viewed over 4,400 times. Be sure to shop ITB this holiday season, or else your family will disown you.


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A Grand Opening at the Table

A Place at the Table announced their pay-what-you-can cafe’s grand opening in the former Café de los Muertos Space on W Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh. The first day of opening will be January 8, 2018.

A Place at the Table will be open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. According to the press release, their menu includes “buttermilk biscuits with sage sausage gravy, an assortment of sandwiches including delicious smokey chipotle pimento cheese, and a delectable waffle selection like the chai spiced waffle with butter, warm maple syrup, and whipped cream.”

All food and beverages will be pay-what-you-can. The model allows patrons to pay for their meal in one of five ways: to pay what they can afford, to pay a suggested donation, to pay what they would typically pay plus a donation, to pay specifically for someone else’s full meal, or to pay by volunteering.


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Updates On the Hotel Going In the Old Shelton’s Spot

In March, we reported that the historic Shelton’s Furniture was set to be torn down, bringing an end to the building’s 75-year life. The building at 607 West Morgan Street was demolished to make way for what was being called Two Glenwood, a 150-room hotel and parking deck. Further details have now been unveiled about the future boutique hotel, which will be named Origin.

The 126-room 7-story hotel will be developed by a company named the Thrash Group out of Mississippi, and will be one of a number of “Origin” hotels it builds across the country.


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Seaboard Ace Hardware Acquired by Westlake Ace Hardware

In what seemed like an odd bit of news, the Triangle Business Journal reported last week that the Seaboard Ace Hardware at Seaboard Station was being acquired by Westlake Ace Hardware out of Kansas. Which means it will remain an Ace Hardware. The new owners have even announced plans to keep “the store’s name, management, employees and product lineup.”

So Ace Hardware is getting bought out by Ace Hardware? And there won’t be any big changes? So does it matter? We’re glad to hear the management and employees will remain in place, and figure, if the store has to be sold, it might as well be to a company willing to keep everything the same.

The acquisition will be completed in February, and apparently will give Westlake a total of nine North Carolina Ace Hardware locations. We assume they’ll be having a celebratory glass of wine at Seaboard Wine.

2nd Edition Goes Out of Print

In a bit of tragic news this week, it was announced that the 2nd Edition Used Bookstore at RDU would be closing its doors for good at the end of December, following more than 30 years and a variety of locations at RDU Airport.

The owners, Walter and Karen High, both former librarians, plan to sell off the majority of their merchandise through closeout sales, although they will be holding on to a number of books for themselves. It’s impressive the store managed to remain open so long in the advent of Amazon and e-readers, and it makes sense the couple who owns it want to retire and do some traveling of their own, after decades of serving customers who were set to fly around the world.

Women’s Clothier Opens in Cameron Village

Bella Mar, a women’s clothing boutique based out of Wendell, held a grand opening celebration Saturday for its new Cameron Village location. We first reported on work beginning on the new store back in September. The store will feature  “trendsetting brands for women’s everyday style.”

Grand Opening today from 2-6pm or later 😉 #saturdaystyle

A post shared by Bella Mar (@bellamarnc) on

New Brewery Will Sprout Up in February

Funguys Brewing announced last week that they will be holding a grand opening celebration of their new Raleigh brewery on February 24, 2018. Funguys, which is currently seeking to raise money for the venture on Kickstarter, describes itself as a “start-up microbrewery”. They’ll be located off Wake Forest Road near Mami Nora’s.

Ramen Bar Coming Soon to South Wilmington Street

Permits issued last week will pave the way for the long-awaited Tonbo Ramen noodle shop on South Wilmington Street that we first covered in late August.

Drawn up by friend of the media empire Ted Van Dyk of New City Design, the design is intended to “honor the Moore Square Historic District, while bringing a contemporary interpretation to the aesthetic.”

“As a restaurant and night spot,” Van Dyk notes, “appearance and attractiveness, and connection between inside and outside are important.” The building’s original facade has been completely missing for decades. The new facade will be comprised mostly of glass and ceramic tile, and will “echo the ‘two-part’ composition of other facades on the street.”


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Development Beat: Paint the Town Yellow

in Development/ITBNN by

Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.


Week of December 4, 2017

City of Raleigh to Repaint 20,000 Fire Hydrants

Cafe Lucarne Reopens As Lucarne

5 Lounge & Discotorium Comes to Glenwood South

Tapas and Wine Bar Announced for The Dillon

DriveShack Begins Work on Three-Story Driving Range

Iron Yard Coding School Copies and Pastes New Coding School

Penn Station Coming to The Stanhope

O2 Fitness Opens Fourth Raleigh Location


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Paint the Town Yellow

Driving through Raleigh over the past year, you may have noticed an odd phenomenon: the changing color of fire hydrants. In June of 2016, the City announced a massive repainting project involving about 20,000 public fire hydrants. Public hydrants in Raleigh, Garner, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell, and Zebulon were all to be changed from red to yellow. Chrome yellow, if you want to be specific about it. Friend of the media empire, Andy Specht, covered this last year.

We recently noticed that the City’s Public Utilities department is looking for a contractor to “plan and execute a project” that will involve the application of a “Safety Yellow” primer coat, and a final coat of Chrome Yellow on our beloved hydrants. Proposals for the painting are due on December 22nd and we would like to officially endorse our sponsor Express Yourself Paint for this project. Sure, they’re mainly focused on exterior and interior painting of residential and commercial buildings. But we’re confident they could handle 20,000 fire hydrants.

The City notes that the project is expected to take about two years, with the contractor finishing about 10,000 hydrants per year. If you want to know even more about the “why” behind this project, Mike Legeros has more information.

Notes from WNFIV: While researching this story, we found that many of these yellow hydrants are often painted to resemble Minions, the lovable characters originally seen in the movie Despicable Me.

There was even a Mario hydrant. 

So, why can’t we have these? Why not LaCroix themed hydrants or Lilly Pulitzer themed hydrants? Or hydrants for each neighborhood. I want more fire hydrant diversity and I want it now. Your move, Raleigh.


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Cafe Lucarne Drops the Cafe

After nine months in operation on Blake Street in City Market, Cafe Lucarne shut its doors in March, only to reopen last week after another nine months as “Lucarne” — a late night spot serving small plates, craft beers, and cocktails.

When it opened in July 2016, Cafe Lucarne was a “casual, counter-service” restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The same group behind both incarnations of Lucarne also opened the high-end Royale restaurant (which WNFIV gave a 5 out of 5 beltline rating to) in November 2016. The new Lucarne was designed to serve as a companion restaurant to Royale and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.


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5 Lounge & Discotorium Opens

Glenwood South’s newest bar comes with a twist — and we don’t mean the citrusy garnish they’ll be serving with the craft cocktails. It turns out, the owners of 5 Lounge & Discotorium want the bar’s patrons to “Party With a Purpose!” as the five owners of 5 will be donating five percent of their proceeds to a different charity each month. No word on if they’ll offer $5 footlongs as well.

While  it’s wonderful the owners are looking to give back to their community through these donations, we’re pretty sure most Raleighites would prefer a charitable bar/nightclub in the vein of A Place at the Table; that is, a pay-what-you-can concept for booze.

Until then, drinkers tragically paying full price for their cocktails can take solace in the fact that some of the cost is funding a local charity, such as the Women’s Center of Wake County. 5 Lounge is located at 517 W. Jones Street off Glenwood Avenue.


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Barcelona Wine Bar Planned for The Dillon

The latest tenant for Kane Realty’s The Dillon development in downtown’s warehouse district has been announced: a wine and tapas bar that’s chosen Raleigh as its first North Carolina location.

Barcelona Wine Bar, which features dozens of tapas and charcuterie and cheese dishes ranging from Drunken Goat — semi soft goat’s milk soaked in red wine — to spiced beef empanadas with Piquillo sauce, currently operates in six states and Washington D.C.

We love a good tapas bar, and the menu prices for the Philadelphia location were surprisingly reasonable. The chain currently operates locations in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. We’re excited they chose Raleigh as their first location in the North State, but we’re even more excited they didn’t choose Charlotte.

Driving it Home

DriveShack, the TopGolf competitor whose plans to open up shop in Raleigh were announced exclusively here on the Development Beat back in May, received permits last week for their three story driving range with a “large bar and dining area.”

The new 63,885 SF, $8 million facility is getting built by Ashland Construction and will be located on Corporate Center Drive in West Raleigh next to Interstate 40.

Former Home of Iron Yard Coding School To Be Assimilated by New Coding School

Control C. Control V. The Iron Yard Coding School, a sort-of franchised venture that sought to train workers for a career change with three months worth of schooling, shuttered its Raleigh and Durham locations this past summer. Now, some of the former owners of Iron Yard are planning to open a brand-new coding school, Momentum, which, like its predecessor, will be housed in the American Underground building at 213 Fayetteville. In an interview with the Triangle Business Journal, Momentum CEO Jessica Mitsch said the intense local focus of Momentum would set it apart from Iron Yard.

New Sub Joint Coming to the Stanhope

Penn Station East Coast Subs will soon be serving their signature sandwiches from the ground floor of the Stanhope at 3001 Hillsborough Street. Permits for the interior completion of the 1,622 square-foot space were issued last week to Callahan Construction and Development, which is unfortunately not a subsidiary of Callahan Auto Parts.

O2 Fitness Opens at North Ridge

Raleigh’s fourth location of the popular O2 Fitness chain is now open at North Ridge on Falls of Neuse in North Raleigh, less than four months after permits were issued for construction.

Although we noted this is O2’s fourth location — they’ve got gyms at Brennan Station, Seaboard Station and another one on Falls of Neuse — this location will technically be the fifth to open in Raleigh. An O2 Fitness on Person Street closed earlier this year.

Raleigh Couple Moves to Panama, Saves Orphans

in Charity by

Being a growing media empire means we sometimes have to look outside of Raleigh. Today, we’re covering an amazing story out of Panama with deep ties to Raleigh. Since it’s also Giving Tuesday, we’d like to encourage everyone to donate to Heart’s Cry Children’s Ministry to benefit the work being done in Panama.

Starting an orphanage for special needs children in a foreign country, where adoption law is basically nonexistent, is simple. You just need a couple with a background in international adoption law and real estate development to drop everything they’re doing, move to that country, and devote their entire lives to the cause. Fortunately for Panama, that’s exactly what Matt and Misty Hedspeth did.

Matt at Fort San Lorenzo, where he often takes his steady stream of volunteers visiting Panama.

I met Matt Hedspeth in November of 2016. I was just beginning to run my media empire as a full time job and Matt was entering his 9th year living in Panama with his wife Misty and saving orphans with special needs through their non-profit, Heart’s Cry Children’s Ministry. We were both doing the Lord’s work. Matt and I were introduced by a mutual friend (Broughton legend Will Roach) and met for lunch in Cameron Village to talk about an upcoming banquet for Heart’s Cry.

“You’re coming to Panama, you just don’t know it yet.” That was one of the first things Matt said to me during our lunch. I quickly learned how intense and passionate he was, about everything. He had some incredible stories about his time in Panama. From having machine guns pointed at his face by local law enforcement over a simple misunderstanding, to how Heart’s Cry literally wrote the adoption laws in Panama, their current life seemed like a movie or a TV show.

Their former life in Raleigh was much more relatable. Matt and Misty had met on a blind date while they were both attending NC State. Misty was studying accounting and Matt was pursuing a degree in Forest Management. Misty earned her law degree and MBA from Campbell University and eventually opened her own law practice in Raleigh. She began focusing on adoption law and became an expert on the Hague Convention. She went on to help a local adoption agency, Amazing Grace, form a new adoption program in Panama.

Matt and Misty Hedspeth with their children (from left to right) Rosie, Peter, and Isaac.

As Misty progressed through her career, Matt was busy finding his niche in real estate development. As the manager and owner of a 95-unit town home development, Matt honed his skills in management and building rehabilitation. In his spare time, Matt pursued his love of music by writing and playing in a band with John Teer and Chandler Holt, two of his Broughton classmates, who went on to form the band Chatham County Line. Years later, they would play together at the Heart’s Cry Banquet that Matt and I had discussed over lunch.

Shortly after marrying, Matt and Misty discovered they weren’t able to have their own biological children. They decided to adopt internationally from Panama through a new program Misty had helped forge at Amazing Grace. They booked a 2-week trip to submit the adoption paperwork, establish the international adoption program, and go on vacation in Panama. 

The vacation never happened. Upon arrival, Matt and Misty somehow ended up meeting with prominent Panamanian officials who were desperate for someone to help the government fix the adoption and orphan care system. They even ended up talking with Vivian Torrijos, the First Lady of Panama at the time. 

The main crisis was, and still is, within the government. However, a few other factors contribute to Panama’s unusually large amount of orphaned or abandoned children. Panama is a Catholic country, where abortion is illegal and birth control is frowned upon. Somehow prostitution is legal and you can actually get a prostitution work visa. This combination results in a lot of abandoned babies. The Panama Canal also provides a gateway to the world for every kind of human trafficking, which also contributes to the crisis. Poverty obviously plays a role, with the mean annual income per family in Panama at $5,500 per year.

After several trips, Matt and Misty realized they needed to move to Panama to help fix the country’s orphan crisis. They sold everything, shut down the Hedspeth Law Firm, kept the real estate Matt owned as a source of income to live off of, started their own non-profit (Heart’s Cry Children’s Ministry), bought a condo in the middle of Panama City, and began the adventure. What they thought would take a few months turned into six months. Nine years later, they are still in Panama. 

Over those 9 years, Matt and Misty adopted Peter, a brilliant, beautiful child with special needs. They then adopted Rosemary, who was hearing impaired and now thriving in the family.

Matt and Misty with a Panamanian judge being granted full custody of their adopted daughter Rosie.

In 2013, against all odds, the Hedspeths had a child, Isaac (also a special needs child with Autism). As if one miracle wasn’t amazing enough, Matt and Misty are now currently expecting their fourth child, Josie, in April.

While taking care of a growing family they also ran Heart’s Cry, which has made an incredible amount of progress to date. They set out to evaluate the systems in place in Panama, create improvements or new systems, then implement those solutions with their ongoing in-person support. For example, here’s Matt at Panama’s medical distributor buying $7,000 worth of Pediatric HIV meds for orphans who, at the time of the picture, had gone 2-months without medicine critical to their survival. The Panamanian Minister of Health had forgotten to order it that quarter.

Heart’s Cry, but mainly Misty, wrote the new adoption law (Law 46, passed in 2013) which shortened the time and limited the number of family members requiring investigation by the government for the Family Investigation period. The law also included guidelines for a new foster care system.

Heart’s Cry signing the new adoption Law and their formal working contract with the Panamanian Government.

They also funded the creation of Case Manager, a software enabling the government to track every case file (orphan) according to the requirements of Law 46. They then created and implemented Panama’s first Foster Care system, so that the orphanage is no longer the only choice of placement once a baby is abandoned. They also established Heart’s Cry Family Services, Panama’s first local adoption and foster care agency. The agency currently has an attorney, social worker, clinical psychologist, and office administrator to provide free services to Panamanian residents.

The project that Matt currently gets most excited about is the renovation of a 43,000 square foot former U.S. Army building. This building will house Casa Providencia, Panama’s first and only special needs orphanage and therapy center. Scheduled to open in February 2018, it will house some of Panama’s most severely disabled orphans, and provide the best in all therapies, education, nutrition, and healthcare.

Casa Providencia – Panama’s first Special Needs Orphanage and Therapy Center

Matt called me a few weeks ago to see if I’d be able to make it to their second banquet in December. His day had consisted of managing the renovation of the new orphanage, bartering with local Panamanians for some hard to find construction supplies, and visiting with orphans at several orphanages. Misty had spent the day in and out of the Heart’s Cry offices scheduling short-term missions teams to help with construction, negotiating foster care legislation over the phone with Panamanian officials, and taking care of their three children in their own home. The least I could do, before going to Panama at some point, was to share their story here.

So on this Giving Tuesday I’d highly encourage everyone to visit their website to donate to Casa Providencia. Donate $100 and send me the receipt and I’ll send you a free soon to be released ITB t-shirt and koozie.

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