Raleigh news, entertainment, and humor by William Needham Finley IV™

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Protests Erupt Across Raleigh in Support of Brunch Bill

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Massive protests took place in Raleigh Wednesday morning, all with the same goal in mind: free our brunches. Demonstrations were held in multiple locations, as citizens of all ages, races (but mainly Caucasian), and genders came together in support of ending brunch inequality.

“We’re all in this together. It’s not about party lines, it’s about brunch lines,” said Kelly Simpson, who helped organize the protests by creating a Facebook event telling people where to go.

The protesters were supporting SB155, also known as the “Brunch Bill”, which would let local governments allow restaurants to serve alcohol starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays. By statute, North Carolina currently allows alcohol sales statewide from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day, except Sundays, when alcohol service cannot begin until noon.


SB155 was referred to the House ABC Committee, projected to meet this week, which is most likely why so many protests sprung up on Wednesday morning.

Protesters chained themselves to tables and bicycle racks outside of popular brunch spots like Capital Club 16, Poole’s, NOFO, and Beasley’s Chicken + Honey.

“The mimosa has sat imprisoned, every Sunday until noon, for decades. I don’t want to be dramatic, but we might as well call it the “Nelson Mimosa” at this point,” commented Esther August, a barista at a local coffee pop-up wheelbarrow. (Apparently, it’s like a pop-up Taco Cart, but they use a wheelbarrow.)

“It’s pretty normal to have a crowd of about 20 plaid shirt-wearing bearded guys and their quirkily dressed platonic girl friends waiting for us to open so they can be the first to Instagram their food,” said an anonymous Beasley’s employee. “Chaining themselves to the trees outside was a little odd, but once they started singing a parody of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Mary Sunday” we knew something different was going on,” she added.

“We’ve suffered long enough. We’re live tweeting the protest hoping it will pick up national attention. Trust me, I work at Br&nd & Br@nd (a local digital marketing firm) I know how to leverage social media to amplify our key messaging,” said Leona Jordan, who considers herself an influencer despite having only 423 followers on Instagram.

The protests seemed to die down at Capital Club 16 once supporters finished dining on French Toast and cheese grit cake, commonly accepted as the best French Toast inside the beltline. “I honestly forgot what we were protesting. I could crush a Netflix nap right now,” said Davis Russell, who manages an Airbnb.


It wasn’t just the hipster crowd that came out in support of craft cocktails before noon. Over in Cameron Village, college-aged students formed a pastel colored wall of solidarity at the entrances to Harris Teeter, refusing to let anyone in.

“If we can’t have mimosas, you can’t have food.”

“If we can’t buy beer and champagne for our Glowmosas before noon, then no one can buy any groceries ever,” said Thomas Meyer Williams III, who added that he was “hungover AF” from the previous night’s band party at Delta Sig.

It seems that the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) has been effective in mobilizing support for the bill. They called on community leaders, industry professionals, restaurateurs and patrons alike to learn more about the benefits of the NC Brunch Bill and sign a petition at ncbrunchbill.com, which has over 6,200 signatures.


They’ve been posting about the impact of the bill across their social channels on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, encouraging supporters to use #FreeTheMimosa. Here are some examples of a coaster and social media ad that was created to spread the word.

Coaster Side 1
Coaster Side 2

NCRLA believes the change will increase tax revenue, benefitting both local and state governments. They also expect that, with more venues offering brunch on Sunday morning, the NC Brunch Bill will serve as a vehicle for job creation for people in the restaurant industry.

“We’ll keep an eye on the results of the House ABC Committee meeting,” promised Jordan. “Well, unless any more details come out about the Bachelor in Paradise investigation, then I’m totes going to have to drop what I’m doing to follow that.”

Learn more about the Brunch Bill at the NCRLA site.


Development Beat: Council To Decide on New Hillsborough Apartments

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of June 19, 2017

New apartments could come to the corner of Hillsborough and Bagwell

St. David’s School working on $8M middle school

New pizza shop opens in former Porter’s Spot on Hillsborough Street

CycleBar to open in North Hills

Raleigh Gymnastics Expands

Person Street fitness center closes

New Hillsborough Apartments Await Council Approval

The City Council will once again hear a rezoning case that would allow for an apartment complex at the intersection of Hillsborough and Bagwell Streets. The owner is seeking to build a four-story complex comprised of units that are three-bedrooms or less. In the March 7 public hearing, several Councilors expressed concern about the potential that the complex would be student housing that rents by the room, rather than the unit.

During the March 21 hearing, Ted Van Dyk of New City Design, the architectural firm responsible for this project, told Councilors the building would likely cap out at around 28-30 units. The owners have offered two new conditions, no ‘rent by the room’, and also that the building will be at the four story height as measured from Hillsborough Street. The small area plan is still under consideration, and may include broader height recommendations than the current UDO.

The developers have also offered a number of conditions relating to its facade, including a minimum of 75 percent masonry or brick siding, and a near-complete lack of EIFS (a sort of synthetic stucco) or vinyl as siding materials.

“We hope Council will appreciate the work we have done to address community concerns. This mixed use project could be a major investment in the revitalized Hillsborough Street, and bring business and residents who can live, work, study, and play to the street. The Phase 2 streetscape, at a cost of $17 million and currently under way, is meant to beautify the street and attract investment and redevelopment- we hope that our project can be part of the effort,” said Van Dyk.

The case has managed to win the approval of both the Planning Commission (a 9-0 recommendation) and the Wade Citizens Advisory Council. The CAC voted 19 in favor, nine against and nine on the fence. Council will have the option of holding the case open (which they have done since March), sending the item to committee (it was sent to the Growth & Natural Resources Committee in April) or voting to approve or deny the rezoning.

Pizza Place Opens in Former Porter’s Spot

Due to the lack of pizza options on Hillsborough Street, Bocci Trattoria & Pizza, an Italian restaurant with locations in Cary and Durham, opened its first Raleigh location this week in the former home of McDaid’s Irish Pub. Prior to McDaid’s, Porter’s Tavern operated in the space before closing in 2013.

We first reported on this new restaurant back in February. Bocci held a soft opening last week for “Friends and Family” – of which we are neither, but thanks to the miracle of Facebook, we were able to get a peek at the restaurant’s new interior.

CycleBar to Open Second Raleigh Location in North Hills

CycleBar, a “premium indoor cycling studio” will soon open a second Raleigh location, this one on the ground level of the Park Central Apartments at North Hills.

The franchise has a location in Brier Creek, so in a way, the North Hills spot will be its first true Raleigh location. Here’s how CycleBar described themselves in a press release announcing the North Hills location:

“At CycleBar, instructors lead classes for as many as 48 riders in a state-of-the-art CycleTheatre. Most classes last just under and hour, and heart rate, estimated calories burned, and power are all recorded and sent to the rider along with a playlist of the music from the ride. A leader board is also displayed for those with a competitive spirit.”

A leader board? As someone who will run an extra ten minutes on the treadmill just to make sure I leave after anyone who started before me, I like that idea a lot.

The facility will occupy 2,962 square feet of space, and its $238,000 fit-out will be handled by our friends over at the excellently-named Diamond Contracting.

St. David’s Begins Building New Middle School

St. David’s School, a private Episcopalian K-12 institution that first opened in 1972, will soon be adding a new $7.8 million middle school facility to its White Oak Road campus.

The building is part of a larger initiative being run by the school titled “Inspired Futures”, which seeks to expand the physical campus and the types of programs offered to its students.

The new middle school project, which also includes outdoor and courtyard improvements that will benefit the entire campus, looks to be the most significant of the new facilities planned. At nearly $8 million, it’s certainly the most expensive. A new upper school is budgeted at $3.3 million, and a satellite athletic facility on Yonkers Road has a price tag of $500,000.

If you’re curious what an $8 million private middle school looks like, we were able to track down this YouTube video that offers a virtual tour of the place.

Until 1990, St. David’s was known as Hale High School, and offered only a high school education, which was inferior to the education provided by Broughton High School. In the fall of that year, the school was combined with St. Timothy’s Middle School, which offered grades 6-8. The facility was renamed as St. Timothy’s-Hale School. They began offering fifth grade classes in 1994. In 2003, it added grades K-4 and changed its name to the St. David’s School. All of this information is irrelevant since it has nothing to do with Root, Lacy, Daniels, Martin, or Broughton.

The new middle school will be built out by Brasfield & Gorie, a national construction firm with an office here in Raleigh.

Person Street Fitness Center Set to Close

O2 Fitness, which operates 23 locations throughout North and South Carolina and whose headquarters is located in downtown Raleigh, will reportedly be closing its Person Street location at the end of this month.

An employee at the nearby Seaboard Station O2 confirmed that the Person Street location will be closing at the end of June. The site was previously home to Retro Fitness, although given the growing popularity of the Person Street corridor, we don’t imagine the property will be re-imagined as yet another gym.

Interestingly enough, the founder of O2, Michael Olander Jr., owns a number of downtown Raleigh properties, including the O2 headquarters at 135 E. Martin. Olander earlier this year purchased 208 Fayetteville Street for $3.75 million.

Raleigh Gymnastic Rolls Into New Space

The Raleigh School of Gymnastics on Hargrove Road will soon be expanding into an adjacent space, adding more than 1,000 square feet of space to its long-standing facility.

Founded in 1976, the school bills itself as “one of the most successful private gymnastics schools in North Carolina.” The fact they’ve stayed open for more than 40 years seems to back up this assertion. There must be some sort of gymnast-labor law preventing the owners from having their students handle the construction in a Rocky IV-esque training scenario. The $50,000 expansion will be handled by Alexander Design Build.

We aren’t sure why this isn’t legal

Wilmington Street Taco Bell Prepares for Major Renovation

The Taco Bell at 3224 South Wilmington Street in South Raleigh is set to undergo a major transformation: its owners will be spending more than $300,000 on renovations that will include a revamped dining area, renovated bathrooms, exterior facade and roof improvements and, most importantly for its car-bound customers, a new canopy over the drive-thru speaker box. The renovation will be performed by local firm Qualified Builders.

How a Fidget Spinner and a Fyre Festival Wristband Ended Up In the North Hills Time Capsule

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This is the story of how I got a fidget spinner and half of my Fyre Festival wristband added to the North Hills time capsule, extending my 15 minutes of Fyre fame to at least another 50 years. I also met a Hollywood director who told me he enjoyed my Tweets.

What a Time to be Alive

There’s nothing more ITB than reliving the past and reminiscing about the good ol’ days. So it came as no surprise that Raleigh residents were excited about the unearthing of a 50-year-old time capsule buried in the North Hills luxury retail destination center. On June 8th, 1967, before the beltline (BTB) even existed, a time capsule was buried in the sidewalk in front of The Cardinal movie theater to celebrate its grand opening. That capsule sat dormant for 50 years, waiting to melt people’s faces off like the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark.


For decades, residents wondered what was inside. I’d always thought it contained the founding documents for the pre-Algebra Club or maybe the original blueprints for the beltline. When North Hills announced that they would unearth the time capsule, and bury a new one, I knew I had to insert myself into the story somehow. Even though North Hills is now technically JOTB it has long been considered ITB, as long as you take Lassiter Mill to get there. Also, the annual revenue generated from ITB residents shopping in North Hills is greater than the GDP of Lithuania, so North Hills is clearly on #brand with our way of life. To make sure I was involved in this epic event I reached out to Bonner Gaylord, Broughton graduate and managing director of North Hills, about getting VIP access.

Bonner let me know that, like Fyre Festival, there wasn’t actually a VIP area at the unearthing. If I couldn’t get VIP then I at least wanted to contribute to the new time capsule. North Hills was accepting items from an exclusive group of businesses, nearby schools, and media outlets. Confused as to why I wasn’t included, since I’m both a business and a media empire, I politely demanded that they let me submit some items. They politely said they would consider it.


I thought long and hard about what I should add to this historic moment. It needed to be something ITB, but also something that represented 2017. I settled on an ITB Insider koozie, an ITBlessed wine glass, a can of LaCroix, half of my Fyre Festival wristband (I need the other half for the lawsuit, more on that soon), a letter to the future, and a rose gold fidget spinner engraved with “ITB 2017” and “WNF IV”. I wanted the fidget spinner to be shaped like the beltline, but I just didn’t have the time to get one made.

This is 2017.

On Wednesday, I met with Bonner and his North Hills colleagues for one of the most important decisions in Raleigh history. I laid out all of my items and waited nervously as they reviewed them. It was basically the same process used when selecting the next Dalai Lama. Bonner ended up choosing the fidget spinner and half of my Fyre Festival wristband, as you’ll see in the super dramatic film I made to commemorate the decision.

The next day I joined other residents traveling by Tahoe caravan along Lassiter Mill to get to the celebration. The crowd gathered around the spot on the sidewalk between what is now Bonefish Grill and the Verizon store, waiting to see what would emerge from the year 1967. History was being made.


John Kane, who bought North Hills to find out what was in the time capsule, gave a nice speech to kick things off. Bonner then took over the hosting duties and introduced a few people who spoke about what North Hills was like back in the day. Again, very ITB.

The old North Hills logo.

We were then treated to a speech from Broughton graduate and Hollywood Director and Producer, Peyton Reed. He talked about seeing various movies at The Cardinal movie theater while growing up in Raleigh. Reed went on to direct Ant-Man, Yes Man, The Break-Up, Bring It On, and many other projects.

Peyton Reed, Broughton graduate and Hollywood Director

They opened the time capsule and discovered that it had not been sealed properly, allowing water to seep inside. Apparently, the folks in 1967 thought that what looked like a metal ice cream bucket would be the perfect vessel for a time capsule. Some of the items were damaged, while others that had been wrapped in plastic were in decent condition. They finished the excavation and laid the items out on a table for people to view. (See pictures at the end of this post.)

They also laid out the items that would be going in the new time capsule. There was a yearbook and stuffed Rooty the Raccoon from Root, a newspaper from the News & Observer, a DVD from WRAL, the newest book from Raleigh native David Sedaris, and my fidget spinner and Fyre Festival wristband. I just hope the new time capsule is a YETI cooler so my items don’t get damaged.

Notice the fidget spinner just above the David Sedaris book.

After the event I spoke with Peyton Reed, who was nice enough to hang around for a bit to meet with fans. We talked about Fyre Festival, Twitter, and a few other topics and basically became ITBFFs. The only regret I have was not asking him if the scene in Bring It On where Jaime Pressly (also a North Carolina native) says “It’s already been broughten” is a reference to Broughton.

To impress Peyton Reed, and hopefully break into Hollywood, I filmed, directed, edited, and produced this documentary about the North Hills time capsule. Be sure to watch the part where Bonner approves my request to meet the Dalai Lama when he visits Raleigh later this year. You can also watch the full video of the event on the North Hills Facebook page.

UPDATE: This post has officially been endorsed by Peyton Reed.

Special thanks to Bonner and North Hills for including me in this historic event. The new time capsule won’t be opened until 2067. It is now one of my life goals to make sure I live to see the day my fidget spinner and Fyre Festival wristband are unearthed in front of a crowd of thousands. I even made a calendar reminder just so I don’t forget.

1967 Unearthed

The time capsule contents will be temporarily displayed at the City of Raleigh Museum.

The time capsule, not a YETI cooler.
John Kane holding a wet book.
Possibly the Zapruder film, but we’ll never know.
A letter
A key to the City
A letter confirming that Raleigh pretty much made the moon landing happen.

The Electric Storage Battery Company – ESB Exide Missile & Electronics Division

Time Capsule

I feel greatly honored in being asked to place an item of interest in the Time Capsule arranged for a ceremony at the new Cardinal Theater in the North Hills Shopping Center on June 8, 1967. Since this is the so-called Space Age, I am enclosing in the Time Capsule our ESB NEWS which is a company publication covering the news media of our company activities for May 1967.

In this issue is a rather interesting article on the batteries that were designed, developed and produced in Raleigh with Raleigh people that powered the Surveyor Spacecraft III that was launched in April and had a most successful flight to the moon, a softlanding on the moon, the taking and transmission of over 13,000 pictures of the moon surface, including a soil scoop or shovel which tested the moon surface for suitability for eventual manned landings. I am also enclosing a Western Union telegram in which Hughes Aircraft Company, who is the prime contractor of the Surveyor Spacecraft, congratulates our Division for our part in this successful program.

It is my understanding that this Time Capsule is to be opened 50 years from now. If this is so, I expect that by the time the Capsule is opened these initial attempts to explore space will be long forgotten, since at that time they will probably have hourly schedules to the moon, to Mars, Venus and other planets of our solar system. However, we are proud of our Raleigh area and the accomplishments of our people in this Outer Space Exploration Era.

By copy of this letter to Mr. C.E. Stone, Manager of the Ambassador Theater in Raleigh, I hope that this letter and the items mentioned will be suitable for placing in the Time Capsule at 11:00 A.M. on June 8, 1967.

L.E. Pucher

General Manager

Development Beat: Former Ham ‘N’ Egger and Oak City Diner Spot Being Developed

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of June 12, 2017

Development coming to Oak City Diner spot

Ridge Road gets pre-schooled

Stone’s Townhouses

Texas takes over Hargett Street block

Arrow Haircuts opening in North Hills

Remedy Diner could move down the street

New bar on Glenwood South

Blast from the past: Capital Boulevard’s abandoned hotel

Former Ham ‘N’ Egger and Oak City Diner Spot Being Developed

Once home to the Ham ‘N’ Egger diner, which later became the Oak City Diner before being torn down in 2008, the site just across the street from Mami Nora’s restaurant has sat empty for the better part of a decade.

Within recent weeks dirt has begun to move at the intersection of Wake Forest and McNeill Street. Over three years ago developers acquired the land and submitted the plan for McNeill Pointe, Wake Forest Road’s newest shopping center. Although no building permits have been issued yet, developers Dale Elmore and Bobby Lewis have begun the application process for the first two shell buildings. The permits, which call for two one-story, 8,400 square foot shell buildings that will be “mirrored from each other” are currently under review by City staff.

RIP Oak City Diner

When complete, McNeill Pointe will comprise a total of four structures and offer more than 30,000 square feet of space for office, retail, and restaurant uses. The leasing agent for the property, Avison Young, told the News & Observer earlier this year that the space was 45 percent leased and that tenants would include a nail salon, a Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar, a House of Hops, and more. The project is expected to cost around $7 million, and should open by the end of the year.

McNeill Pointe

Ridge Road Getting a New Preschool and Day Care

The Goddard School, a franchised early childhood education center will soon open its first ITB location. While four other Goddard Schools exist in Raleigh, the first ITB location will be across the street from Ridgewood Shopping Center.

The school, which boasts that its “unique nurturing approach will give your child the opportunity to develop into a joyful, confident learner who is prepared for success in school and in life,” opened its first location in Malvern, PA — not far from this reporter’s hometown! — more than 30 years ago.

Goddard now operates 460 locations in 36 states, so we can’t be sure this isn’t some sort of pre-pyramid scheme or day care cult. Why so many locations? Why so many states? In our area, they have schools located in Wake Forest, Cary, North Raleigh, and Brier Creek, which is basically Virginia. The ITB location will, naturally, be larger than the North Raleigh and Brier Creek schools at 11,000 square feet. When asked for his thoughts on this new school encroaching on ITB territory, Finley gave a typical measured response, “If it’s not White Memorial or St. Michael’s, then I don’t care.” Fair enough.

Townhomes Coming to Stone’s Warehouse

In March, we reported that work had begun on the redevelopment of the old Stone’s Warehouse on Davie, which will become Transfer Co. Olde East, a “food production hall, market, and gathering place” that will also include more than a dozen townhomes.

Last week, the City began reviewing the first round of permits for these new homes, which will be built on the southeastern side of the property along Chavis Way. While the submitted cost for each of the four townhomes is the same — $160,000 — one is slightly larger at 2,526 square feet, while the other three come in at 2,121 square feet.

While it’s hard to say exactly how long the review process may take — at this point, City records indicate that contact information for several subcontractors needs to be submitted in order to move forward — we take it as a good sign that the townhomes are moving forward so soon after work on the warehouse began.

Arrow Haircuts Coming to North Hills

Arrow Haircuts, a local barbershop chain offering haircuts, hot shaves, and — most importantly — free beer to its customers, will soon be opening a new location in the Park District at North Hills shopping center. The fifth location in the area for Arrow is projected to open in late 2017 in a 1,460 square foot space on the ground level of the new Park Central Apartments.

The company announced the new location on its Facebook page last week, thanking their loyal and amazing customers for the support they’ve shown over the past three-and-a-half years. Arrow currently has locations in Cameron Village, downtown on E. Hargett, on Wade Avenue, and on 9th Street in Durham.

Remedy Diner Moving

Popular vegan/vegetarian eatery The Remedy Diner on E. Hargett Street could soon be relocating to a new spot at the 927 West Morgan Apartments in the former home of P.G. Werth’s, which closed earlier this year after two years in business. Interestingly enough, the new location would put Remedy just down the street from Irregardless Cafe, another local restaurant popular with the vegetarian crowd.

Parliament on Glenwood South

A new bar from Jason Howard, who owned Brooklyn Heights and recently opened The Cardinal Bar on West Street, and Zack Medford, Ben Yannessa, and Brad Bowles of Isaac Hunter’s Hospitality, is coming soon to the ground floor of The Rockford in Glenwood South. The Parliament will be located at 322 Glenwood, which had had previously been home to Loud City Smoke Shoppe.

Texas Real Estate Firm Acquires Hargett Street Block

If it wasn’t for the excellent newsletter put out by Ashton Smith, we would have missed this one:  A real estate firm from Texas recently bought the entire 500 block of E. Hargett Street for $5.9 million. On that block sits the Wintershaven Apartments, a low-income housing community of 61 apartments, along with a few other lots. The block was purchased earlier this month by Artesia Real Estate, a property management and real estate investment firm based out of Austin, Texas. No word on whether they plan to redevelop the block, but the site is zoned for construction of up to three stories. We’ll keep our eyes open for any redevelopment plans that may be filed in the coming months.

Capital Boulevard’s Abandoned Hotel

Longtime readers of the Development Beat — Hi Mom & Dad! — may recall that we’ve written about the old Capital Plaza hotel on Capital Boulevard more than a few times. In my very first column I referred to it as “an ugly scar on the already pockmarked face of Capital Boulevard” and when plans began to surface about a potential redevelopment, I was so excited that I wrote two whole articles about it.

So I was thrilled when I saw a post on Reddit of what we’d call an urban explorer video shot at the Capital Plaza. The video’s author won’t allow embeds, so the best I can do is share this link, but it’s seriously worth clicking through. I’d been curious about this place for going on seven years now, and I know I’m not the only one who wanted to see what it looked like inside.

Pop-Up Suit Shop Opening Near Broughton

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We’ve all seen the commercials. “Buy 1 suit and get 7 suits, 5 pairs of pants, and 4 shirts free.” This sounds like a good deal, until you discover the suits fit about as well as a Hefty trash bag, and looks like something straight out of Mugatu’s Derelicte campaign.

JoS. A. Mugatu

Thanks to Raleigh’s newest pop-up shop, Hengs Suiting + Armoury, we are no longer faced with the dilemma of wearing trash bags or being forced to brave the mall crowd when going to Brooks Brothers. Just months after debuting an app to connect clients with their mobile tailoring service, Glenwood South Tailors is now offering high-end custom suits and off-the-peg (the ITB term for “off the rack”) suits through their Hengs pop-up shop.

Pop-up shops aren’t just for hipsters selling conflict-free organic vegetables grown in gluten-free soil. If done properly, these shops can actually serve a purpose. Starting June 21, Hengs Suiting + Armoury will be open for business by appointment. The best part, it’s one block away from Broughton, located in the same space as Glenwood South Tailors + Alterations.

Hengs will offer two options to start. The High-end Custom Suit, aimed at the attorney and accountant type, includes a custom-made suit, shirt, styling, and shoe shine starting at $1,000. The Young Professional is an updated style and fit on the classic workhorse suit that’s perfect for YPN meetings or networking events at bottle shops in Raleigh. That starts at $550 and includes free standard tailoring and alterations. They’ll also offer bulk groomsman suit ordering for 2018 wedding parties and provide clients with personalized styling sessions.

In classic entrepreneurial fashion, they are leveraging relationships with Nordstrom and Cole Haan. As the top rep in the area, they’ll offer made-to-measure suits from J.Hilburn. Their fabric is sourced from Italy (I’ve been there) and produced under humane working conditions in Portugal. They’re also actively interviewing local cut and sew tailors and seamstresses.

I talked to my ITBFF, Brian Burnett (recently profiled in Walter Magazine) about starting the pop-up suit shop.

“The inspiration for Hengs comes from hearing horror stories about the big-box suit retailer experience. Guys aren’t getting measured properly and there’s little to no style advice or consultation. Not only are our clients saving time and money, they’re getting free personal styling, alterations, and tailoring with each suit. We care more about your look than just selling you a suit,” said Burnett.

Hengs has also merged with HarperGaston Personal Styling out of Chapel Hill, where Brian serves as Creative Director, to take care of clients that need more attention to their wardrobe. They’ve worked with professionals in engineering, law, finance, and tech to assist in personal style.

“In 2017, it’s about quality, service, and a personalized experience. That’s what Hengs is about,” added Burnett. With Father’s Day coming up and Christmas right around the corner (only 199 days away!), Hengs makes a great gift for those in need of a new suit and styling.

You can follow Hengs on Instagram @hengstailorraleigh and Facebook @hengstailorraleigh. Tell them ITB Insider sent you and get 15% off your first Young Professional suit. Also, be sure to download their app.

We’ve partnered with Glenwood South Tailors and Alterations to bring you this story.


Five Points Couple Excited About Boylan Skyline Selfies

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A Raleigh couple can breathe a sigh of relief after over 15 months of waiting. The news of the Boylan Bridge Brewpub’s reopening has brought joy to a Five Points power couple who were beginning to give up hope.

Vance Craig VI, a 31-year-old Senior Super Duper Executive Broker at a boutique commercial real estate firm, spoke about how difficult the wait has been, “It’s my right as a Raleigh native to crush 12 beers and enjoy the view on that deck. Do you know how many deals I could have closed out there by now? At least two, I bet.”

Craig VI can now crush beers and close deals.

Mary Cameron Knoll Craig, Vance’s stay-at-home-wife, runs multiple Instagram accounts that have been impacted by the closing. During the bar’s hiatus she had no choice but to put her account devoted to images of skyline selfies on hold. “Ugh, you don’t even know how many likes I’ve missed out on with this place being closed. Where am I supposed to go for skyline selfies, Dix Park? You can’t even drink out there.”


Her husband added, “We didn’t know what to do. Sure, we could have driven all the way from Five Points and taken a skyline selfie on the bridge that’s 20 feet away from the bar, but that just looks like we’re trying too hard.”

“Exactly. Our skyline selfie needs to appear organic and authentic so we’ll get more likes. No one likes a try-hard,” explained Mary Cameron.

“Plus, if people saw us posing on the bridge for a picture they’d think we were doing engagement photos or headshots for a residential real estate website. Everyone knows we’re married and that I’m in commercial real estate. People would start asking questions,” said Craig VI.

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The couple seemed surprised to learn that the bar would now offer a new menu and expanded wine list.

“This place has a full menu? I thought they just served cheese quesadillas, pretzel cheese dip, and whatever that Summer Ale beer is,” said Craig VI.

The couple’s assumption was backed up by a social media analyst with Walk West. “We’ve analyzed thousands of social posts related to this location. We have never seen a single picture of food or beer. Users are taking the same exact picture with the skyline as a backdrop, especially women between the ages of 21 and 40. Typical images contain at least 5 girls wearing Aviator sunglasses, oversized t-shirts, and Jack Rogers sandals. Sometimes they’ll wear those gladiator sandals and a festival ready layered Bohemian dress or super chic cutoff jean shorts and a top with fringe. We expect a flood of skyline selfies from this location in the coming weeks,” commented the Walk West representative.

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Being at the mercy of the brewpub’s back and forth has been hard on the couple, but has also been an issue for another member of their family, Mabel the dog. “Thank God we can finally take Mabel to a bar where she can sit outside while we social climb by taking skyline selfies with other couples that we envy,” said Mary Cameron.

“It’s finally summer and I’m just ready to get lit on this deck. Now all we have to worry about is which Barbour apparel to wear,” said Craig VI.

Development Beat: Old Rex Hospital Back on the Market, Boylan Bridge Brewpub Reopens

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Week of May 29, 2017

Old Rex Hospital site for sale again

Boylan Bridge Brewpub is open, for real

Mural coming to South Wilmington Street

New apartment complex coming near Glenwood South

North Hills Target to get beer upgrades

Work begins on Alamo Drafthouse

Old Rex Back on the Market

Source: UNC Wilson Library

Following a review by Governor Roy Cooper’s new administration, the State has put the Old Rex Hospital site back on the market. The Raleigh Public Record reported last year that the property had been listed for sale through a Request for Proposals process that began in November 2016 and would have ended in March.

In a press release issued Friday, N.C. Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders announced that:

“After thoughtful evaluation, the State Property Office will resume actions to sell the old Rex Hospital site. This is a strategic decision in managing our state’s assets made in the long-term best interests of both the taxpayers and the state.”

Although owned by the State, the site’s development potential is controlled by the City of Raleigh, which rezoned it to OX-5 (Office Mixed-Use with a maximum height of five stories) as part of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan that went into effect earlier this year.

Situated at the intersection of Wade Avenue and St. Mary’s Street, the Old Rex campus was specifically singled out in the City’s Wade-Oberlin Area Plan, where it was described as the only site on Wade Avenue where new retail uses should be allowed. The City hopes to limit that retail use — no one wants to see a Brier Creek style development here — to about five percent of the total square footage.

An addendum to the original RFP includes an interesting “Program Summary Sheet” where the respondent is asked to break down by square footage the various uses they would develop on the site, including Condo, Apartment, Retail, Office, Hotel, and “Other.” We’ll keep a close eye on the project, as Finley has described this as one of the most sacred sites inside the beltline due to the “number of ITBabies born there”. We’re unsure if that will factor into the sale price.

Boylan Bridge Brewpub is open, for real, we promise

The Boylan Bridge Brewpub has finally reopened after being closed for 15 months to repair the damage caused by a collapsed wall in the building’s basement. After a few false reports, which we covered in March, we now have photographic evidence to prove the establishment is actually open.

Real customers at the Boylan Bridge Brewpub, which is open.

New Mural Coming to South Wilmington Street

Patrons of the Moore Square Parking Deck will soon be greeted with a 55-foot long mural on the brick wall adjacent to the entrance ramp off South Wilmington. David Meeker, a local developer, and co-owner of Trophy Brewing, submitted plans for a mural that would adorn the northern wall of 237 S. Wilmington, a property now home to Beasley’s, Chuck’s and the Fox Liquor Bar. Bryan Costello of Holder Goods and Jed Gant of Raleigh Murals Project are also involved in the project.

A major work application for the project was filed with Raleigh’s Historic Development Commission as the mural will be painted on a noncontributing resource in the Moore Square historic district. As the application notes, the wall is already painted, and “a mural is essentially changing the exterior paint color.”

Boylan Flats Begins to Rise

The Glenwood South area will soon welcome yet another new apartment complex: the 5-story, 48-unit Boylan Flats.

Situated in the vacant lot at 615 North Boylan Avenue behind the Peace Street McDonald’s, the new 45,610 square-foot apartment building will offer residents a 1,025 square-foot rooftop open space area. While this is an amenity that can be enjoyed by all, parking spaces will be a rarer commodity: only 37 off-street spaces are planned for the 48 units.

Given the site’s relative proximity to the downtown core and a number of other rapidly growing areas, we imagine a number of residents may be able to go without a car. Davidson & Jones is serving as the general contractor for this $6.5 million+ project.

A Spirited Renovation at Target North Hills

Retail giant Target is known for its almost supernatural ability to predict what its customers want. By that measure shoppers at the North Hills location must really love beer.

A $260,537 permit was issued last week to TDS Construction for a project described as an “interior showcase beer stand area fixture” that will include wall and door finishes. We aren’t sure from the permit if this is just another name for a walk-in beer cooler or something more elaborate. We’ll do some digging and keep you posted.

Work Begins on New Alamo Drafthouse

Raleigh will soon be home to the state’s first location of famed cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse, as permits for the new $5.5 million complex were issued last week to McDonald-York Construction.

Although we first reported on plans for this new cinema/eatery back in January, the project was not officially confirmed by Alamo until May. The 11-screen theater, which will also include a beer hall, is set to open by the end of 2017 in the Longview Shopping Center on New Bern Avenue. While the site plans originally called for a 58,000 square-foot structure, the size listed on the permits comes in at a more manageable 39,934 square feet.

If you’re wondering, yes, Alamo Drafthouse is the same theater chain that recently made the news for announcing a “Women Only” screening of the new Wonder Woman movie.

It’s Pho Time in North Raleigh

Visitors to North Raleigh’s Celebration at Six Forks will soon have something new to celebrate, as permits were issued last week for the new Vietnamese restaurant Pho Sure Cafe.

Scant details are available on the place, although we do know that $245,000 is being spent on “alterations and repairs” of the 1,992 square-foot space. 3Y Construction will be overseeing the work on this project.

Bath & Body Works Beautification

Bath & Body Works, a store whose wares offer customers the opportunity to cleanse and beautify themselves and their surroundings, will soon be undergoing a makeover of its own, one that will require a lot more than bath salts and coconut hand creams to complete.

The 5,384 square-foot store — which, by our estimation is packed with about 4,800 square feet worth of candles — in Crabtree Valley Mall received half a million dollars in permits last week for an “interior alteration” store renovation project that will be handled by Cahill Construction.

Development Beat: 616 Oberlin Residents Forced To Move

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Week of May 22, 2017

616 Oberlin residents forced to move

Shelton’s Furniture is moving back ITB

Rumors swirl over Village Subway

Work begins on Downtown Raleigh YMCA

Cary is getting an IKEA

BBQ planned for 510 Glenwood

Biscuitville set for upgrades

American Girl Store Will Return to Crabtree Valley Mall

616 Oberlin To Residents “You Don’t Have to Go Home, But You Can’t Stay Here”

616 At the Village is a new apartment complex on Oberlin Road located across the street from the Harris Teeter block of Cameron Village. Residents began to move in over the last few months, excited about being located next to the iconic Cameron Village. That excitement fizzled on Saturday when residents received an e-mail telling them they had until this Saturday to find a new place to live. Finley received an e-mail from a source who had moved into the building earlier this month. We called the now former resident to find out more.

“They terminated my lease completely, but promised to give me my application and administrative fee back. They say they’re offering up to $1,000 in moving expenses. They said the sprinkler system isn’t up to code so they have to tear out the ceiling, which means the people on the top floors have to move. Some people were allowed to move down to units in the lower floors, but I have no idea how they were chosen. They told us it would take 3 to 4 months. I don’t even understand how they got an occupancy permit to begin with. They started leasing in March and a good number of people had already moved in. There was a girl crying outside the building because she had moved in four days ago and was told she had to leave.”

This is the most amazing part:

“I walked by the office twice today and they were giving tours of the units. There was a mother with her college kids walking around touring the first floor. It was unbelievable.”

Oddly, the website is still listing a “Leasing Special” where people can “move-in today!”

According to our source, people living on the first and second floor are allowed to remain, but they received a notice that they’ll have to move up to the higher floors in November while work is done to their units. I guess the silver lining to all this is that the traffic on Oberlin won’t be AS bad since there are fewer people living there. But seriously, we feel terrible for the folks who’ve just been kicked out. We’ll keep you updated as the story develops.

Shelton’s Furniture Moving Back to Raleigh

In what can only be described as a “furniture miracle” Shelton’s Furniture is moving back to Raleigh. After saying goodbye to Shelton’s in March, we are pleased to report that they’ll be back in Five Points soon. According to their website they will be located at 233 Bickett Boulevard and will be open as soon as June 1.

Cary Is Actually Getting an IKEA

Although we don’t normally stray outside the city limits of Raleigh for this column, we did speculate back in January on the rumors of a new IKEA coming to Cary. It’s now been made official: a new IKEA will be moving into the space now occupied by the Sears and Macy’s department stores at the Cary Towne Center Mall.

The press release states that the Town Council will review the IKEA proposal for an approximately 359,000 square foot store and a two-level parking structure with 1,000 parking spaces. If approved, the IKEA could open as early as summer 2020.

As we wrote last time, Cary Towne Center has been struggling lately, and we hope this new store will serve as the shot in the arm the mall so desperately needed.

Work Begins on Fayetteville Street’s YMCA

Raleigh’s newest YMCA plans to open by the end of 2017 in the heart of downtown Raleigh in a 26,000 square-foot space in the recently renovated 227 Fayetteville. A press release issued last month noted that “LRC Properties acquired 227 Fayetteville in late 2012 and recently completed a $14.5 million renovation on the 10-story building. The developer received a 2016 Imprint Award from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance for its work.”

Permits issued last week indicate that in order to make way for the new gym, existing escalators and “abandoned stairs” will need to be torn out. There will reportedly be a ground-floor entrance from Fayetteville Street, although the YMCA itself will occupy two upper floors.

BBQ Planned for 510 Glenwood

Last week, we noted that the 17-year-old condominium 510 Glenwood was set for a serious face-lift. The N&O followed up later with news that Matt Kenner, owner of the Milk Bar, just a block away, will be opening a barbecue joint on the ground floor of 510. We’re just glad it won’t be another new Mexican restaurant.

Rumors Swirl Over Village Subway Plans

Last week, the Triangle Business Journal ran a “subscribers only” (as in, you gotta pay to play) article teasing a potential reopening of the famous Village Subway in Cameron Village. Other news outlets fell for it and ran some non-stories themselves. WNCN did some digging and reported:  “A spokesperson for York Properties, the company that owns Cameron Village, says it’s too early in the process to discuss any details and there’s no master plan, but there have been discussions about bringing back Raleigh Underground.”

Discussions! No offense to the good folks over at TBJ, but if this is the kind of “exclusive content” they’re offering subscribers, I’m glad I saved myself the $97 annual fee. Also, to clarify WNCN’s report, Regency Centers actually owns Cameron Village. Finley knows what’s going in the Village Subway space, in fact he even mentioned it in the story that no one read about The Fresh Market reopening over a year ago. This project is very early on and we respect York Properties too much to start throwing out clickbait stories. We’ll provide updates in the next few months.

Raleigh’s Only Biscuitville Set for Upgrades

There are approximately 51 Biscuitville locations in the State of North Carolina, and only one of them resides in Raleigh. Situated at the corner of Wake Forest Road and Hodges Street, the restaurant is a popular breakfast spot, especially with local commuters.

In fact, I’ve never driven by a Biscuitville location in the morning that didn’t have a line of cars snaking into the street, although it doesn’t look like this project will do anything to expand the parking lot/drive-thru area. The exterior/interior renovations will cost $43,000 and be handled by Qualified Builders, a business name we imagine leads to a lot of “Who’s on First?” type-situations.

She Was An American Girl (Redux)

Last fall, we reported on the opening of a unique holiday store at the Crabtree Valley Mall: it wouldn’t be selling Halloween costumes or Christmas ornaments, but rather, the beloved American Girl dolls.

Originally, this pop-up location was set to be open from October 1, 2016-January 31, 2017. But as Amanda Hoyle over at TBJ reported last week, the store is set to reopen in the same location (the former home of Rack Room Shoes next to Sears) beginning in July, although it will reportedly close again in January 2018.

Development Beat: New Tenants at Dock 1053, New Downtown Pizza and Beer Spots

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Week of May 15, 2017

Dock 1053 to get a new cafe and bar, and event space

Benny Capitale’s pizza coming to Fayetteville Street

Growler USA coming to Blount Street Parking Deck

North Ridge Country Club upgrades to Leisure Pool

North Hills is trying to create a Neighborhood Conservation District

510 Glenwood is getting a facelift

Hummingbird Cafe Coming to Dock 1053

The owner of PoshNosh Catering announced plans to open two new businesses inside the former food distribution warehouse on the corner of Whitaker Mill and Atlantic Avenue now known as Dock 1053. Hummingbird will operate as a cafe serving breakfast and lunch during the day. After 5 p.m. it will become a bar serving small plates, cocktails, wine, and champagne. According to the N&O, the stools will be repurposed from other venues, including Finch’s. Whitaker & Atlantic will be an event space that features an additional kitchen, bar, and bridal suite. Dock 1053 is currently home to several offices, artist’s working spaces, a furniture store, the Pinetop Distillery, and the Lynnwood Brewing Concern.

Grubb Ventures, which owns Dock 1053, recently acquired the nearby Peden Steel property, as we reported in January. The company is reportedly planning to develop a project similar to 1053, although the current tenant, Waste Management, still has several years remaining on its lease.


New Pizza Place Coming to Fayetteville Street

This pizza’s for lovers. Benny’s, a pizza chain billing itself as home of the “Virginia Slice” will soon take over the space at 121 Fayetteville Street previously home to Crema. The chain adds a different surname depending on its location, including a Benny Cappella’s in Chapel Hill and a Benny Pennello’s in Charlotte. The website notes that Benny Capitale’s will be opening in Raleigh this summer, offering $4 slices of cheese and $5 slices of pepperoni, sausage, and monthly specialty pizzas. Whole pies will be available ranging from $30-$38 dollars. Mama Mia, that’s a pricey pizza! The $28,000 renovation of the 1,615 square-foot space will be handled by Fusion Contractors.

They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot Pub

An endless array of draft beers are offered at Growler USA

The Blount Street Parking Deck is about to get a whole lot boozier. Microbrewery pub and restaurant chain Growler USA will soon open its newest location in a street-level space in the city-owned parking deck at 314 South Blount Street. Growler currently has ten locations across the country, including one in Charlotte. While the locations boast slightly different beer and menu offerings, they claim to offer up to 100 varieties of beer on tap. As the name implies, many of these beverages can taken home in a growler. The $358,000 renovation of the 2,152 square-foot space will be handled by Sparkman Construction.

Hilton Midtown Renovations

A massive 18-phase renovation of the Hilton Midtown Raleigh that will involve pricey, floor-by-floor renovations of the entire property is now underway care of Continental Contractors, which received permits with a combined listed cost of more than $4.7 million last week. We wonder if any of the contractors working on the job will be allowed to stay there during construction.

North Ridge Country Club Upgrades to Leisure Pool

North Ridge Members Forced To Practice Putting Due to Lack of Leisure Pool

Wading pools are out and leisure pools are in, apparently. The North Ridge Country Club on Falls of Neuse last week received permits for a $340,000 project that will replace the club’s existing wading pool with a brand-new leisure pool. For the unwashed masses who don’t know the difference, a wading pool is a “shallow artificial pool for children to paddle in,” while a leisure pool is just what you call a regular swimming pool when you’re in an amenities race with other country clubs in the area. Hopefully no one decides to throw a Snickers bar in upon completion. Aquatic Management Group will be handling the work on this project.

Progress on Exploris School

A 47,915 square foot building on Kindley Street just south of the Meymandi Concert Hall will soon be torn down — even the slab will be removed — in order to make way for the new home of the Exploris Charter School. Built in 1986 and previously the site of a Duke Energy data center, the building was acquired by Exploris for $4.4 million in April 2016. Exploris will consolidate both its middle and elementary schools into the new location, a ten-story structure that will also house commercial office space. Metcon will be handling the $50,000 demolition.

North Hills Neighbors Seek Shelter From Storm of Subdivisions

In an effort to “preserve and enhance the general quality and appearance of their neighborhoods,” residents of North Hills in February submitted to City Council a petition requesting consideration for a “neighborhood built environmental characteristics and regulations analysis.”

The analysis is the first step in creating a Neighborhood Conservation District, an overlay that helps preserve neighborhoods by regulating built environmental characteristics such as lot size, setbacks, residential density, building height, and vehicular surface area. Per the petition, the intent is to “maintain the current built character of the area and prevent subdivision of existing lots.”

City Staff performed an exhaustive analysis of the neighborhood in question, which we’ve linked here. At this point, the staff recommendation to Council is to authorize the initiation of a text change that would “incorporate the North Hills neighborhood built characteristics and regulations into the UDO.” The text change would also “modify the list of standards that can be regulated by the NCOD and contemplate a threshold for City Council authorization of a neighborhood study.”

Approval of the text change will require a public hearing before Council. We wish the neighbors the best of luck!

Land Swap Meet

A joint effort from Wake County, the City of Raleigh, and the Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness and Catholic Charities could soon lead to the development of the Oak City Center on Wilmington Street.

Before the site can be redeveloped into a new home for the outreach center, however, City Council will need to approve a minor property exchange with Wake County.

Per today’s City council meeting agenda, “The exchange will involve a 0.142 +/- acre portion of the City’s 41.84 acre property located at 1500 South Wilmington Street for a 0.261 +/- acre portion of Wake County’s 4.2 acre property located at 1430 South Wilmington Street. The property exchange will be shown on a recombination plat and title transferred with deeds between the parties.”

While this seems like an odd bit of bureaucratic red tape to have to jump through, its inclusion as an item in the consent agenda likely means the approval will go through without any trouble.

510 Glenwood Set for a Facelift

One of the first new developments in downtown Raleigh, 510 Glenwood was built in the heady days of 1999. The luxury condo building is fast approaching its 20th birthday and facing much stiffer competition than it did when it opened 17 years ago. As a result, the building’s owners have announced that a major exterior renovation will be starting as soon as this week.

Per City records, a permit for facade alterations has now completed its final review. The $123,795 project will be handled by JM Thompson Construction. Our friends at New City Design Group will be handling the design work.

Downtown Discotorium

While we aren’t sure what a “discotorium” is, that’s what will replace the Mosaic Wine Lounge at 517 West Jones Street, which closed at the end of April.

This week’s City Council agenda notes that the owner of the Five Seventeen Lounge and Discotorium requested a two hour parking zone in the daytime and a passenger loading zone in the evening be established on the south side 500 block of West Jones Street. The two-hour zone will allow for short-term restaurant parking, while the passenger loading zone will offer customers “the convenience of having a safe and convenient area for curbside drop off and pick up in the evenings.”

While we have no idea what kind of place Five Seventeen will be — although we hope the owners take some aesthetic cues from The Simpson’s Disco Stu — the former Mosaic Wine Lounge was, for more than 10 years, “a home for many underrepresented music genres in the Triangle.”

Development Beat: The Wade Breaking Ground Soon

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Week of May 8, 2017

The Wade luxury condominiums breaking ground soon

Outdoor driving range planned for West Raleigh

Empire Properties wants to build a new mixed-use development in DTR

Update on two of downtown’s new hotels

Moore Square renovation project out for bid, again

The Wade

One of Raleigh’s newest condominium projects will soon break ground. Located in Historic Hayes Barton at 620 Wade Avenue, The Wade will be a five-story building consisting of 27 condominium residences that come in two and three bedroom floor plans.

The project is being developed by Beacon Street Development, the same group behind the Fairview Row condominiums in Five Points. Beacon bills The Wade as “a meticulously designed community where no detail has been overlooked.” We met with Beacon to make sure they really weren’t overlooking any details.

“What’s great about infill projects like The Wade and Fairview Row is that they allow you to design around existing infrastructure. We believe that you can really limit a project’s impact while increasing density if you design it the right way. When you’re working with buildings in these locations you can encourage walkability, which contributes to that lowered impact on the environment and on the city infrastructure,” said Jim Wiley, President of Beacon Street Development.

From its location near the corner of Wade Avenue and St. Mary’s Street, The Wade will be in walking distance to Cameron Village, Fred Fletcher Park, Five Points, Glenwood South, and downtown Raleigh.

“We’ve worked on a lot of projects in a lot of different places. While visiting these great places we try to better understand the design and planning that contributes to the overall experience. We see great buildings and try to figure out how to use great planning principles. Architecture will change. Great planning principles are true, like adhering to age-old proportions seen in Greek columns, for example,” said Wiley.

In addition to 10-foot ceilings and over-sized windows, future residents of The Wade can choose from a wide selection of flooring, cabinetry, lighting and more when customizing their residence.

The Wade – Dining Room

“Our desire is to offer the highest quality possible. We want to give people exactly what they want,” said Justin Hime, Director of Sales and Marketing at Beacon Street.

The building will feature several amenities including an office conference space, rooftop terrace, dog washing station, virtual concierge service, fitness room, Google Fiber, and an outdoor rose garden. Beacon is working with Frank Liggett of Liggett Design Group to create a traditional southern landscape on the grounds. A video rendering of the project was recently released.

Even in its current state as an undeveloped piece of land, William Finley IV has confirmed that The Wade is already more luxurious than the accommodations at Fyre Festival. We’re working with Beacon to give you exclusive access and keep you up to date as this project progresses.

Outdoor Driving Range Planned for West Raleigh

A rendering of the Drive Shack Florida location

The Board of Adjustment heard a case yesterday for a proposed “outdoor sports arena” that would be located in West Raleigh at 1021 Corporate Center Drive.

The owners, an LLC by the name of AIS Forestry & Farming, were required to petition the City for a special use permit in order to operate an “Outdoor Sports and Entertainment facility in excess of 250 seats.” The facility would be located on roughly 66 acres of land that sits adjacent to Interstate 40.

A source with knowledge of, but not directly affiliated with the project, told us that the site would likely be the home of Raleigh’s first Drive Shack, a “golf-related leisure and entertainment business” that sets itself apart by selling batteries, circuit boards, and speaker wire. Kidding about that last part, we just love Radio Shack jokes.

Drive Shack is basically a 3-story indoor/outdoor driving range with suites and a restaurant and bar. While Drive Shack is new, consider it a competitor to Topgolf, which currently operates about 30 locations throughout the country. We’ll keep an eye on this as it develops.

Downtown as Destination

While downtown Raleigh isn’t lacking new condominiums and apartments, the number of available hotel rooms has failed to keep pace with the city’s tremendous growth over the past decade. Fortunately, a number of new hotels have either broken ground or been announced in recent months. Here’s an update on two of those.

Residence Inn Marriott in Downtown Raleigh
Finley got to check out the Residence Inn by Marriott last week, thanks to our friends at Raleighwood Media Group who were hosting a tour of the progress. Located at 616 South Salisbury Street, the hotel has some amazing views within the rooms and meeting rooms, as well as on the 10th floor rooftop bar that overlooks Memorial Auditorium aka the house that Ira David Wood III built. They’re planning to open in mid-June of 2017. We’ll take another look when they have a grand opening.

Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites – 200 West Davie
In an effort to shore up the number of hotel rooms in the City’s downtown core, Council reduced the number of parking spaces required for downtown hotels to 1/2 a space per room last year. This ordinance did not apply to the developers of the new Hilton Dual Brand Hotel coming to downtown. As a result, the developers had to file a variance request in order to benefit from the 1/2 space per room deal available to other downtown hotels.

The site plan for this hotel, which we covered back in January, describes a 13-story (bad omen), 259-room hotel that will be a “dual brand” Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites. I think “dual brand” means they charge you twice for the same room, but I could be mistaken.  The site plan also notes a proposed 14th-story terrace and differs from a 2015 proposal calling for a Hilton Garden Inn at the same location.

The Empire Strikes Back

With his latest project, Greg Hatem hopes to triple the number of stories allowed on the site at 404 and 406 South Dawson. Empire Consolidated Development, founded by Hatem, has filed a rezoning request with the City to allow for a mixed-used building up to 12 stories tall next to Crank Arm Brewing on Davie Street.

404 and 406 South Dawson could soon be home to a 12 story mixed-use building

As for the building’s occupants, it appears at this time that the only guaranteed uses will be office and ground floor retail. Residential use may be included as well, but it’s too early to say for certain. Despite its preliminary nature, construction could start on this development by 2018, if approved by the City Council.

Moore Square Redux

With the recent reopening of the former Moore Square bus station, Raleigh residents are now turning their eyes across the street to Moore Square park itself, wondering when the City will begin its long-awaited renovation of the space.

Although work on the project was bid out more than a year ago, Councilors ultimately decided to reject all submitted proposals and start the procurement process over from scratch. It’s a little complicated and a lot boring to explain why they did this, but long story short, there’s a million ways to bid out a government job, and Council decided to go with a more open process.

The job itself, as defined in the bidding documents, “consists of landscape renovations to Moore Square including the construction of a new public pavilion. The park improvements include a new central lawn, planted areas, pedestrian walkways and gathering spaces, sidewalk improvements, site lighting and furnishings, a play area, integrated public art and a jet-field water feature.”

The bids aren’t due until June 5, and we don’t imagine Council will be awarding that project until August at the earliest. This means we might see some dirt moving on this project by the end of the year, but that’s taking an extremely optimistic view of things. Planning on this project started more than eight years ago and construction is scheduled to last about 12 months.

Development Beat: Bidding Farewell to Finch’s

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Week of May 1, 2017

Finch’s has been torn down

Mellow Mushroom Expands

Happy + Hale Sets its Sights on North Hills

Renovations begin for historic downtown home

New Mexican restaurant to replace old Mexican restaurant on Hillsborough

Pizza delivery chain Toppers set to open in North Raleigh

Finch’s Bids Farewell

In January, Finch’s on West Peace closed their doors for the last time. By the end of April, those doors, along with the rest of the building, had been reduced to rubble.

Situated far back on a lot bordering the Capital Boulevard Bridge over Peace Street, the iconic eatery has now been torn down as part of a four-year $36 million NCDOT project to replace that very bridge.

While we haven’t been able to nail down an exact date for when Finch’s opened, the 1948 Hill City Directory lists 401 W Peace as being home to “Pinyoun’s Roy Drive Inn.” In 1963, it was listed as Finch’s Drive In. A nice write-up of Finch’s says it was opened by Howard Finch in the 1940s and went through a number of iterations over the years.

Finch’s most recent owner, Peggy Jin, took over in 1991, and has announced plans to relocate the famous Raleigh restaurant to Durham, citing downtown Raleigh’s high rents as a major factor.

Mellow Mushroom Plans New Location

Peace Street’s popular pizza joint The Mellow Mushroom will soon be joined by a second Raleigh location (sort of), as site plans were filed last week for a new Brier Creek location.

The new location — Mellow Mushroom’s 19th in the state — is listed in the site plans as 9600 Brier Creek Parkway, near the Meadows at Brier Creek apartments. The restaurant will be housed in a new, 6,435 square-foot building. The developer, BCRD Holdings, acquired the land in October 2016. A press release put out by CBRE states that “9400-9650 Brier Creek Parkway, a 13.24 acre site in Raleigh, NC was purchased by BCRD Holdings, LLC for $2,750,000.”

If 13 acres seems like a lot for a Mellow Mushroom — it is. The site plans list the Mellow Mushroom development as consisting of just over two acres.

While 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 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.

The Chapel Hill Location, after a renovation by Brookwood Construction

Happy & Hale to Open North Hills Location

Happy + Hale, a health food restaurant offering its customers “healthy fuel that nourishes the body, fulfills the soul, empowers the community and balances the planet” announced last week that it will be opening a second Raleigh location at the Park Central Apartments in North Hills.

Co-owner Tyler Helikson told Amanda Hoyle that he was so excited about the new location that he wanted to “scream it from the mountain top.” That’s a lot of passion! Not surprisingly, Hoyle reached Helikson “after a bike ride.”

Higgs-Coble-Helms House Begins Renovation

The Higgs-Coble-Helms House at 417 N Blount Street was first built in 1878 and remodeled sometime after 1950 following a major fire that destroyed the property’s “historic tower feature” and portions of the front of the house.

Its new owners are now undoing some of those mid-20th century modifications. Described in an application with the Historic Development Commission as “Eclectic Victorian,” the HCH House is set to undergo a number of renovations, including the replacement of six over six double hung windows with two over two double hung windows. Those numbers refer to the number of panes in the windows; double hung simply means the window has two “sashes” that open independently of one another. The design work was done by local firm Clearscapes.

In addition, the owners plan to reduce the enclosure at the front in order to reflect the footprint of the historic tower, and demolish the rear porch  and replace it with a wood and glass enclosure. While a number of other necessary renovations will take place, these are the ones we imagine will be most noticeable to passers-by.

As much as we like the owner’s “Eclectic Victorian” description, we found another one from the RHDC that probably paints a more precise picture:

The overall style of the two-story, wood frame Higgs-Coble-Helms house is Italianate but it has the asymmetrical composition typical of Queen Anne dwellings. Its second-story windows are capped by pedimented surrounds supported by brackets that are echoed throughout the house. It also features the only tin roof on N. Blount Street. The dwelling houses state offices.

Coco Bongo Coming to Hillsborough Street

La Rancherita, which replaced Chile Bomba in 2014, is now being replaced by yet another Mexican-themed restaurant, Coco Bongo.

Although permits were only issued last week, its signage has been up for quite some time. New Raleigh published a photo back on April 9 that included both the new signage and a “Coming Soon” window banner.

Not surprisingly, the required renovations for this project are quite small. The permits issued last week totaled only $4,000, which covers interior alterations but “mainly kitchen upgrade.” Carolina Design & Construction will be handling the renovation of this 2,650 square-foot building.

Toppers Pizza Coming to North Raleigh

North Raleigh residents will soon be able to rejoice in the opening of a new kind of pizza delivery/takeout joint: Toppers, which sets itself apart through its “more ‘hipster’ type menu offerings and culture.”

That’s a direct quote from an article about the expansion of this Wisconsin-based chain into Raleigh, in case you thought we were making that up. Toppers offers a wide range of menu items, including Mac N Cheese and Taco pizzas. If you’re wondering how the company’s plan to establish a hipster culture played out, we think this screenshot from their website is an excellent example.

Permits for the restaurant’s 1,400 square foot space at 1600 Ronald Drive were issued last week to Tom Sawyer Builders.

222 Glenwood Adds Nail Salon

Residents at 222 Glenwood will soon have to travel no further than the ground floor of their building the next time their nails are in need of some serious damage control. Permits were issued last week for the Polished Nail Bar, which we imagine will offer the standard range of nail salon services. Commercial 1 Construction will be handling the fit-out of this 267 square-foot space.

Pauline’s Grocery Store Coming to Bragg Street

It looks like a small grocer may soon be opening shop in a former residence on Bragg Street near its intersection with Fayetteville Street in South Raleigh. Although we couldn’t find much beyond the name — Pauline’s Grocery Store — of this future establishment, we do imagine the surrounding residents will appreciate having a grocer so near by. Permits for the $6,000 renovation were issued to Herman Alford’s Home Improvements last week, although one section of the permit notes that the work is already complete.

Game of Rezones

Case Z-33-16: The owners of the Hawthorne Ridge Apartments in North Raleigh are seeking to increase the permitted residential density on their property by 50 percent. We actually covered this project somewhat extensively last year. The rezoning would allow for adding up to 300 units to the 600 unit development and would “rehabilitate much of the existing site rather than demolishing all of the buildings.” Their case will be heard in tonight’s Council Meeting.

Case Z-13-16: Should Council choose to approve this rezoning case, a mostly wooded lot at the intersection of Benson Drive and St. Albans Drive near North Hills could be rezoned to allow for a maximum of 20 stories of commercial development. The property’s current zoning caps the maximum height at seven stories. While the rezoning documents offer no glimpse as to the development planned for this site, there is one note indicating that it will likely be a mix of ” residential, office and retail uses.”

Development Beat: A New Speakeasy, a new ITB High School, and a Game of Rezones

in Development by

Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of April 17, 2017

Watts & Ward Opens

A new high school was approved for Raleigh

Rezoning for North Hills, Country Club Hills, and Hillsborough Street

Two Roosters Ice Cream getting its first brick and mortar

Tama Tea coming to Fayetteville Street

New Townhomes for Centennial Campus

New Speakeasy Opens in Downtown Raleigh

Watts & Ward, Raleigh’s latest speakeasy, opened to rave reviews last week. Its sleek décor and specialty cocktails made up for its highway-robbery entrance requirement of a $1 membership fee. The speakeasy, located adjacent to Moore Square in the basement of the old Montague Building on 200 S Blount Street, is the latest offering from the Hibernian Hospitality Group. That same group operates a number of popular Raleigh venues, including The Hibernian, Solas, The Station, Dos Taquitos XoCo, and the Raleigh Beer Garden.

The renovation work for the elaborate space began nearly a year ago, back when it was known as “The Volstead.” Watts & Ward is now a 6,000 square-foot space made up of four rooms and three bars, and it looks fantastic.
As we reported, the original name was likely a reference to the National Prohibition Act of 1919, which later became known as the Volstead Act. Of course, booze was banned much earlier here in the North State: prohibition was passed in 1909.

While the speakeasys of today don’t have to worry about having their doors kicked in by the feds or the staties, it wasn’t that long ago that a thriving outlaw bootlegging community known as “The Harricanes” existed on the outskirts of Wake County. We’re glad Watts & Ward allows Raleigh residents to experience a new speakeasy without having to go outside the beltline.

New High School Approved for Capital Boulevard

On Monday, Wake County Commissioners unanimously approved the request from the Wake County Public School System to purchase the property once owned by Bobby Murray Chevrolet on Capital Boulevard to provide a site for a new high school. In 2016, WCPSS agreed to pay $6.4 million for the 12.13-acre property at 1820 Capital Boulevard with the plan to build a small high school.

Former site of Bobby Murray Chevrolet

With the approval from the County Commissioners they can now move forward in the process. They have yet to determine a theme, but since the property has been a car dealership for decades we’re assuming it may be automobile related. Good luck to the Capital Boulevard Cars!

Game of Rezones

Today’s City Council meeting will feature three significant rezoning cases. There’s a rumor that WNFIV may attend the meeting and live Tweet the event as if it were a Game of Thrones episode. Something about “House Kane seeks to expand their reach in the Land of the North Hills.” We’ll see how that goes…

North Hills East is Coming
Z-28-16 involves a significant expansion of the North Hills development known as North Hills East. The project will include 20 development tracts and three open space tracts which will be developed in a “pedestrian friendly, mixed-use fashion” in line with the rest of North Hills. It also seeks to “preserve the character” of the Farrior Hills neighborhood on the eastern side of St. Albans Drive.

Plans for North Hills East, located North of the Wall

While the development has already been approved, this new case seeks to allow the addition of “roughly 1,200 apartments and more than 800 hotel rooms.” So far, the case has won approval from both the local Citizens Advisory Council — 109 for to 37 against per a January vote — and the City’s Planning Commission, which unanimously recommended approval in March.

Future Land Use Map for North Hills East

2812 Hillsborough Street and Bagwell (Z-32-16)
A new five-story apartment building could emerge at the intersection of Hillsborough Street and Bagwell Avenue. The developer has offered a number of conditions on the property, including a restriction limiting three-bedroom units to less than 50 percent of the total, and a brick/masonry exterior. The local Citizens Advisory Council initially voted against the case 25-9 in December 2016, but just a month later voted to approve 19-9.

Future Land Use Map for Hillsborough Street and Bagwell

Country Club Hills – Randolph Drive
As we’ve previously reported, residents of the Country Club Hills neighborhood filed a rezoning case for 11 contiguous properties on Randolph Drive. The goal of the rezoning is to “preserve the existing character of the area and discourage teardowns and the construction of houses that are not harmonious with existing neighborhood development.”

Country Club Hills Will not go down without a fight

Residents believe the proposed subdivision into narrow lots with limited street frontage would have a negative effect on the value of existing Country Club Hills homes. Their hope is that approval of their case will prevent the subdivision from moving forward, and provide the greater Country Club Hills neighborhood with time to act to protect against overly dense development in the future.

Raleigh Rent Is Too Damn Stable

While there’s clearly no shortage of new apartments planned for Raleigh, the average rental rates in March rose only 0.1 percent from those in February, according to our friends over at RentCafe. The average rate in March, $1,086, was only 3.4 percent higher than it was in March 2016. These numbers are in keeping with national trends, where rates have only seen slight to moderate growth in the last year. Nationwide, the average rent is $1,317.

Krav Maga Studio Coming to Hargett

Plans have been submitted for a new Krav Maga studio that would operate on the edge of downtown Raleigh at 731 West Hargett Street. The 4,600 square-foot indoor recreation/martial arts studio will specialize in a form of self-defense initially developed for the Israel Defense Forces. Bill Mooney, who owns the entertainment merchandising and screen printing company Tannis Root, has owned the 55-year old building on Hargett since 2001 and is listed as the owner of the Krav Maga studio. Mooney’s love of the martial arts has been clear for quite some time: the e-commerce and fulfillment services company he owns is named KungFuNation.

Roosters Find a Nest

Two Roosters Ice Cream, a local brand that’s currently served out of a vintage camper, received permits last week for a space in North Raleigh, its first brick and mortar location. Set to open in June at the Greystone Village Shopping Center on Leadmine Road, the shop will reportedly rotate out four or five of its flavors, which range from Vanilla Honey and Milk Chocolate to Lucky Charms and Moravian Sugar Cookie, on a monthly basis. The renovations to the 1,100 square-foot space will be handled by Troy Hutchins Construction for $150,000.

Tea Time on Fayetteville

401 Fayetteville Street — a squat, one-story structure built in the early 1960s and most recently used as a travel agency and barbershop — will soon be the latest location of the Wilmington, NC based Tama Tea.

The shop, which bills itself as an alternative to the “typical coffee shop stuffiness, tastes, and overall experience,” purports to offer its customers over 50 types of tea served up by “trained tea-tenders.” A title like that makes it sound like they ought to be out guarding tea fields from marauding bands of raiders, which is probably a lot more fun than being an actual tea-tender. The upside, we imagine, is that they probably get a great discount on Tama’s super-sweet Bamboo Traveler mug:

Life on Lake Raleigh

Work has now begun on the “signature building” for North Shore, a new residential townhome style community on the Centennial Campus of NC State. Developer White Oak Properties lists three different townhome styles, ranging in size from 1,206 square feet to 1,798 SF. The largest unit type offers a separate den/alcove area on the second floor.

Future residents will be afforded not only the amenities of the surrounding campus — such as the magnificent new Hunt Library — but those offered by Lake Raleigh and the adjacent Lonnie Poole golf course as well. In other words, this probably isn’t an affordable housing community.

I Know Who Stole the Lake Boone Chicken

in Humor/ITBNN by

One of our most precious treasures is missing. The Lake Boone Chicken, a beacon of hope and all that is right inside the beltline, was stolen over the weekend. From its home at the Hight family’s driveway, the Lake Boone Chicken has spent the last 10 years dressed in various costumes for the enjoyment of passing SUVs and luxury sedans. People love this chicken. It even has its own Facebook page. One day the chicken was minding its own business, dressed in a Masters green jacket. The next day it was gone.

Many people alerted me to the crime over the weekend, but I didn’t want to draw attention to the story. I’ve seen enough episodes of Law & Order to know that during ransom situations you’re supposed to keep your mouth shut. I did call my lawyer Stacy Miller to see if we could put a bounty out on whoever did this. I didn’t want capital punishment, I wanted something worse. I wanted the thief to be banished from inside the beltline forever.


Click here to buy 10 classes for $200 and get TWO classes free. Offer ends 4/14

First, I had to figure out who was behind this. Who had the most to gain from a crime like this? After some digging, I now know exactly who stole the Lake Boone Chicken and why. But first, let’s look at the timeline of events:

April 7th – the chicken was enjoying the Masters.

April 8th – the chicken was first reported missing.

April 9th – the area officially became a crime scene.

April 10th – search and rescue teams roamed the streets.

At this point, I knew I had to help with the investigation. I wasn’t going to the police with a case like this. I went straight to the top by tweeting at the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA for help.

I waited patiently, then followed up with them.

They still didn’t respond.

April 11th – a new chicken arrived.

That still wasn’t good enough. I wanted answers.

None of our intelligence agencies ever replied to me. Think that over before paying your taxes this year, folks.

Inside the Biggest Conspiracy Ever

Fortunately, I’ve figured out who orchestrated the heist. Running a media empire means I have sources everywhere, even within the media. One such media source attended a secret meeting of local news outlets last week. They were there to solve a problem. They were there to save their networks, and their jobs. Here’s what went down.

Shadowy News Boss: We all know why we’re here. ITB Insider™ is killing us. Their Development Beat is the most reliable source of news in Raleigh. We know for a fact that his March traffic was record-breaking.

ABC11: Well all that traffic is probably because he broke the Cameron Village robbery news, the PR redevelopment story, and the news that Stacy Miller was running for City Council. His coverage of the fire was incredible and he beat us all to the story. His Facebook Live video has over 26,000 views!

TBJ: Did you see the poll he did for that? 92% of the people said he had the best coverage. And I bet the other 8% were just his asshole friends refusing to inflate his ego. It was a great poll though. We love doing polls. By a show of hands who thinks his poll was good?

Shadowy News Boss: Put your damn hands down. And yes, we know his traffic was up because he was breaking all of these stories. But how does he do it?

Inside Source: Maybe it’s because he’s actually from Raleigh and knows what his audience wants to read? And he doesn’t write clickbait stories and tweet them out 67 times a day with slightly different headlines. And he did go to Broughton.

Shadowy News Boss: Well however he’s doing it we have to stop him. Any ideas?

ABC11: We could run some more clickbait about potential suspects from the fire. I mean, technically everyone in Raleigh is a potential suspect. Oh wait, what if we started another fire ourselves and then we could be the first ones to cover it?!

Shadowy News Boss: No, too risky. And you guys would probably just double-cross us. What if we stole the Lake Boone Chicken?

WNCN: Hi, I’m young and desperately trying to fill the void left by the departure of Penn Holderness. I just moved here from Pittsburgh. What is the Lake Boone Chicken?

Shadowy News Boss: It’s a chicken statue at a house on Lake Boone Trail. People love it. We could steal it, everyone would freak out, then we could break the story. We’ll do it during the weekend when Finley’s incapacitated in a Rise Biscuit and Capital Creations food coma.

TBJ: Love it! We could do a slideshow of pictures from the crime scene and talk about how many companies are leaving the area because of it.

Shadowy News Boss: Sure TBJ, do whatever you want. But we can’t all write the same exact story. So, what angle is everyone else going to take with this?

ABC11: We try to make things as grim as possible, so we’ll go with “Missing chicken, possibly slain and mutilated, or sold into the chicken trafficking trade. A closer look, tonight at 11:00.”

Shadowy News Boss: Great, never change guys. How about you, N&O?

N&O: We’ll just have our web editor sift through all the articles that you guys do and then cut and paste and embed some tweets. We don’t have the resources to cover this. We’re too busy getting Big Daddy Dan Kane to take shots at the UNC scandal while we also promote UNC basketball. By the way, did you guys see that Luke Maye hit a game winning shot and then made it to his early class the next morning? We’ll put so many Kroger pop up ads and video ads on the story that you won’t even be able to read it on your phone. We get more pageviews that way.

Shadowy News Boss: Perfect. Finley doesn’t stand a chance.

Everyone left the room, except for the Shadowy News Boss who began making a phone call. My inside source lingered in the hallway to eavesdrop. She heard the man say, “Yeah, those morons took the bait. They’ll all be wasting their time covering this ridiculous story. Warm up the Sky 5 chopper, I’ve gotta get back for my 6:00 pm broadcast. We all know I’m the only reason people watch our station.”

And that, my friends, is how the Lake Boone Chicken was stolen. It was a classic conspiracy by all the other news outlets in town to create a panic, manufacture a story, and beat us to breaking it. We’ll give them 4 out of 5 beltlines for creativity. Now that I’ve blown the lid off this plot, it’s time to return the chicken.


Development Beat: Oberlin Animal Hospital Demolition, Country Club Hills Showdown, Crabtree Projects Canned

in Development/ITBNN by

Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of April 3, 2017

Oberlin Road Animal Hospital to be demolished and rebuilt

Oberlin Village could become a historic district

Capital Boulevard Storage open

Country Club Hills showdown

Two Crabtree projects cancelled

Sandy Forks Road sculpture moves forward

Oberlin Animal Hospital To Be Demolished, Rebuilt

The owners of a trio of office buildings at the intersection of Oberlin Road and Wade Avenue have submitted plans that would see the 37-year-old structures torn down and replaced with a single two-story building.

The Care First Animal Hospital and the offices of the NC Academy of Physicians and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will be relocated into the new 50,000 square foot space. Parking will be relocated into a two-story, 133-space underground garage.

We’re not sure when the work on this project will begin. Parents of Dogs of ITB can rest easy, as the animal hospital will remain open until the new building is finished, at which point the animals will be transported, two by two, to their new location before demolition begins.

Community Deli, Oberlin Village Could Become Historic

The Friends of Oberlin Village will present to City Council a plan that would establish a local historic district preserving the largest African American freedmen’s community in Raleigh. According to documents filed with the City, Oberlin Village “represents the most intact African American Reconstruction-era settlement in Wake County.”

The 34 sites in the core of Oberlin Village are part of a freedmen’s community that existed in the City from 1873-1970. Of those 34 sites, seven have already been designated as historic landmarks, including Oberlin Cemetery, the Wilson Temple Methodist Church, and the Hall House. The remaining structures consist of an array of homes, as well as the Oberlin Baptist Church and the Community Deli.

The group is seeking historic district status so that Oberlin Village can “retain its physical and cultural integrity, protect against unsympathetic alterations and unnecessary demolition, foster community pride, and enhance property values.”

The request to Council was scheduled to occur during the Requests & Petitions portion of tonight’s evening session, but has been postponed until the next Tuesday meeting.

Capital Boulevard Storage Now Open

The self-storage facility whose rooftop solar-panel system we’ve previously covered is now open and offering grand opening specials. This new 3-story, nearly 75,000 square-foot facility was built by none other than Rufty-Peedin Design Builders, which is why we weren’t surprised to learn the business already has a unanimous five-star rating on Rateabiz.com.

Country Club Hills Showdown

As we reported in January, residents of the Country Club Hills neighborhood filed a rezoning case for 11 contiguous properties on Randolph Drive to be rezoned from R-4 to R-2. The goal of the rezoning is to “preserve the existing character of the area and discourage teardowns and the construction of houses that are not harmonious with existing neighborhood development.”

How did all of this start? Residents were informed of a proposed subdivision of a lot on Randolph Drive into three new 66-foot wide home sites. However, they were not informed until three months after its submittal to the City. The filing of the rezoning case by the neighbors suspended the City’s review of the subdivision.

Country Club Hills will not go down without a fight

Residents believe the proposed subdivision into narrow lots with limited street frontage would have a negative effect on the value of existing Country Club Hills homes. Their hope is that approval of their case will prevent the subdivision from moving forward, and provide the greater Country Club Hills neighborhood with time to act to protect against overly dense development in the future.

The case will be the subject of a public hearing at the next Tuesday meeting in the second floor Council Chamber of the municipal building at 222 West Hargett Street. We’re expecting residents to show up in solidarity by wearing light blue Brooks Brothers button down dress shirts.

Crabtree Cancellations

We’ve written about a number of new developments cropping up around Crabtree Valley Mall over the years. That’s why we weren’t surprised when the Triangle Business Journal reported that two of these developments had been tossed into the dustbin, right alongside the failed Soleil Center.

Remember this? Lol.

First up was the ambitious Carolina Row, an 11-acre portion of the massive 20-acre Crabtree North project. Carolina Row was set to be “a mixed-use development where southern sophistication meets contemporary main street” with 708 residential units and a hotel. The project was to connect via a pedestrian bridge to Crabtree Valley Mall across Glenwood. The grand opening was slated for 2016, which has come and gone. Tragically, southern sophistication has yet to meet up with contemporary main street. The site is now being marketed to potential developers.

Carolina Row, We hardly knew ye

The other development to bite the dust was on Kidd’s Hill next to the Marq apartments. Once again, plans included a hotel, apartments, and some offices. The plans were scrapped and the property is back on the market. We’re not sure why developers are having so much trouble building out around Raleigh’s most popular mall, but we can’t imagine local residents — for whom traffic is already a complete nightmare — are too upset about these failures.

Work Begins on Sandy Forks Sculpture

An interesting new work of public art that’s somehow tied into the Sandy Forks Road Widening project received permits last week. Renderings show that the six-foot wide sculpture will stand 18 feet tall. This unique project has a listed construction cost of $71,250.

While we do have faith in sculptor Jim Gallucci, who was behind the Oak Leaf Light sculptures in City Plaza downtown, we’re pretty sure he was inspired by the popular video game “Myst”. We’re totally ok with that, because literally anything is better than another Light+Time tower.

Inspired by the Channelwood Age, we assume.

LogMeIn Moves On In to One City Plaza

Tech firm LogMeIn plans to move into the 17th floor of One City Plaza. The company had been housed in the Citrix Warehouse District Campus and was looking for a new space to accommodate its growing size. The nearly $2 million fit-out of the 16,754 square feet of space at 421 Fayetteville Street is being done by RCI Builders.

Aldi Expansion

The Aldi at Sunrise Valley Place will expand into an additional 2,000 square feet of space. Aldi, which took possession of the property in 2010, filed plans to add space onto the side of the building facing North Rogers Lane and four handicapped spaces on the side facing New Bern.

We’re curious if these plans have anything to do with one of Aldi’s German competitors, Lidl, building two new stores in Raleigh. Work on the Aldi expansion should begin later this year.

Demolition Derby

The City of Raleigh is soliciting bids for the demolition of three properties on Harden Road (3500, 3504, 3510) in order to make way for a new fire station. Bids are being accepted through May 2, 2017.

Eagles at Poyner Place Landing Near Triangle Town Center

A vacant out-parcel near Triangle Town Center could soon be home to the new Eagles at Poyner Place gas station. Plans call for a new, 4,200 square foot “C-Store” and six gas pumps. Eagles Enterprise LLC acquired the 1.2 acre site at 8050 Target Side Drive for a reported $250,000.

Considering its proximity to 540 and the relative lack of gas stations in the area, we imagine this new Eagles location could do well, and that after several years of life in the fast lane, the shop’s owners will be able to take it easy and enjoy that peaceful easy feeling that comes from retiring early.

Workout, Eat Tacos, and Drink Beer to Support Raleigh Firefighters

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Little City Brewing and Provisions Company and Heat fitness studio are hosting a fundraiser this Sunday, April 2nd to benefit the Raleigh Professional Firefighters Association.

As you may recall from our reporting a few weeks ago, a massive fire destroyed an apartment building under construction and severely damaged the Quorum Center and Link Apartment building. Over 100 firefighters worked throughout the night and totally dominated the five-alarm fire. To show their gratitude, businesses located a few blocks from the fire are putting on a fundraiser that includes a workout, tacos, and beer. All proceeds from all aspects of the event go directly to the cause.

The schedule:

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Heat fitness studio workout – 400 Glenwood Avenue

A free (donations are encouraged) group high-intensity interval training class. Class registration is required and space is limited. Reserve a spot by contacting Jake Giamoni at jake@heatstudios.com

Heat is also offering any Raleigh firefighters two weeks of free unlimited classes. Contact jake@heatstudios.com to set up the complimentary membership.

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Taco bar and beers at Little City Brewing – 400 W North St.

All are encouraged to head over to Little City Brewing to enjoy a pint of beer and a taco bar from Little City’s sister restaurant Virgil’s Original Taqueria and Chef Ryan Moore. The cost is $20 per person, with 100 percent of profits being donated. Firefighters, police, and first responders eat for free.

With a suggested donation of $5-$10 Head Brewer Burt Halbert will lead guided tours of their brewing process.

Mercedes-Benz of Durham as a company, along with individual employees of the store, have also contributed funds toward the event that are going directly to the cause.

The donation will be made to the Raleigh Professional Fire Fighters Association, a nonprofit association of career firefighters who are employed by, or retired from, the City of Raleigh Fire Department.

Former Broughton Quarterback Stacy Miller to Run for City Council

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I could not be more honored to announce that Raleigh attorney and former Broughton quarterback Stacy Miller will run for City Council in 2017. Stacy running for City Council is great news for a number of reasons. We have the chance to add another Broughton graduate to the council, and he’s got some great ideas for Raleigh. Plus, he let me announce this decision, which further legitimizes ITB Insider™ as a media empire and source for real news.

Stacy Miller for Raleigh City Council

Posted by Stacy Miller on Monday, March 20, 2017


Public service isn’t new to Stacy. He served on the City Council from 1996-1997 and his passion for public service actually dates back to his time at Broughton.

“I’m going to go throw the game winning touchdown, but I just want to say that our police and firefighters deserve to be paid more. Go Caps!”

It’s been great having Bonner Gaylord represent Broughton on the City Council, but we need to tip the scales a little more in our favor. That’s why I’ve spent the last few years encouraging Stacy to run. I know I had a lot to do with getting Bonner elected whenever the last election was, so I recently met with Stacy to talk campaign strategy.

“First, congrats on letting me announce your candidacy for City Council. To win a campaign you’ve got to have an iconic campaign poster, like the one that I made for Bonner.”

“Well, that sure is…. iconic,” Stacy replied.

“I’ve got a few themes for yours. First, you as Superman. Your name starts with an “S”. It just works,” I said.

“Ok…but then who’s Batman?”

“I can’t tell you, but his name starts with “B”, he works for a company that rhymes with Wayne, and he likes technology,” I replied.

“So it’s Bonner.”

“You didn’t hear that from me. I’ve also got this one that shows you’ll be a leader that cares about our police and firefighters, children, and Dix Park.”

Stacy looked confused for a moment, then finally spoke, “Am I riding a dinosaur?”

“That would be the LaCroixasaurus that we’re going to genetically engineer at Dix Park. Kids love them, which is clearly evident from all the thumbs ups you’re getting.”

Stacy was still taking it all in, “Is that Red Rocks?”

“It sure is. If Dix Park is going to be world-class then we need to move Red Rocks amphitheater from Colorado to Raleigh.”

“And what’s that one random bike doing in the background?” he asked.

“That’s the bike share program.”

“But there’s only one bike.”

“That’s why it’s called bike “share”. We can’t buy bikes for everyone, how would we pay for the downtown canal?”

“Look, these all sound like great ideas, but I’d like to be a little more practical. Let’s hold off on this poster for now,” he said.

“Good point, we don’t want to overwhelm the voters. I already came up with your campaign slogan: ‘It’s not about party lines, it’s about beltlines.’”

Stacy laughed, “While I understand you’re focused on ITB, I care about all of Raleigh. I do agree that it’s not about party lines though. There’s no Democratic or Republican way to fill a pothole. It’s really about what’s best for the city and the people who live here.”

“Good point, I’m just ecstatic that we may have another Broughton Capital on the council pretty soon. I’ll keep working on some photoshops,” I said, ready to take on another grueling campaign season.

I’ll let Stacy and his campaign team fill in the details about his platform. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook to learn more.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.


Development Beat: 9,000 Restaurants Opening and the Demolition of Shelton’s Furniture

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of March 27, 2017

Shelton’s Furniture building will be demolished

Brewery Bhavana opens this week

Level7 opening at North Hills AC Hotel

New tenants and openings in Cameron Village

Raleigh Provisions now open

Mulino moving in, Babylon moving to new location

BBQ reincarnation

Hotel to Replace Shelton’s Furniture

Before James gets to this week’s Development Beat of literally 9,000 new restaurant and bar openings, I would like to give a proper goodbye to Raleigh icon Shelton’s Furniture. Olde Raleigh posted this great picture from when the building first opened in 1942.

The building at 607 West Morgan Street will soon be demolished to make way for Two Glenwood, a 150-room hotel and parking deck. This news comes less than a month after demolition permits were issued for the property across the street to make way for One Glenwood at the corner of Hillsborough and Glenwood. As we reported in February, the One Glenwood project will be a 10-story mixed-use commercial/office building.

To be clear, Shelton’s is not moving due to fears of another downtown fire, although I wouldn’t blame them if that were the case. They’ve been in the process of moving over the last few months and are now located in Clayton. Sadly, I don’t know where that is. Raleigh residents will miss filling their SUVs up with everything from antiques to dorm room furniture from this fine establishment. I’m going to go pour out some Murphy’s Oil in honor of Shelton’s moving and pray that the new hotel doesn’t catch on fire and ruin Moonlight Pizza next door.


Brewery Bhavana Opens Wednesday

Brewery Bhavana, the collaboration between Patrick Woodson, co-founder and Head Brewer, and Vanvisa and Vansana Nolintha, the siblings who own the popular restaurant Bida Manda, opens this week at 218 S Blount Street in Moore Square. The transformation from Irish Pub (Tir Na Nog moved out in 2015) to Brewery Bhavana began in May 2016 and has resulted in Raleigh’s first ever brewery, flower shop, bookstore, dim sum restaurant, and taproom.

They offer a selection of 10 core beers, 10 provisional beers that rotate periodically, wine and cocktails, and a wide range of dim sum dishes. Vansana and Vanvisa Nolintha will also operate the small flower shop and bookstore in the space.

Downtown’s newest brewery will house its operations in two spaces: the restaurant and taproom at Moore Square, and a 7,200 square-foot space in a warehouse about a mile south at 1401 South Bloodworth Street. Built in 1915, the warehouse was acquired in 2015 by a local investor and is now leased and managed by York Properties. The renovation of the warehouse was designed by local firm Maurer Architecture.

William N. Finley IV attended a soft opening and will have an in-depth review soon.

Rooftop Bar at New North Hills Hotel

Monday night saw the soft open of Level7, the rooftop bar on the seventh floor of the new AC Hotel at North Hills. The hotel is branded as an AC Hotel by Marriott, which are described as “European-inspired design hotels”. AC Hotels can be found across the globe, from Marseille, France to Pisa, Italy…and now Raleigh, North Carolina. To be fair, there’s also one in Kansas City. We imagine this will be a popular after-work spot for the North Hills corporate tenants.

The bar serves wine, beer, and liquor from local distilleries, along with tapas. William N. Finley IV got a preview last week thanks to Tabletop Media Group. (Note: Instagram now lets you add multiple images/videos in a post. Swipe or click to watch both videos.)

New Shops in Cameron Village

In non-booze related news, Cameron Village will soon welcome a whopping five new tenants, including a new and improved Starbucks, which we first reported back in January. The current Starbucks in Harris Teeter will move into the building across the street.

Also coming soon:

Alumni Hall – a college sports apparel store will open in the spot occupied by Pendleton Woolen Mills

Steven Shell Living – a home décor and furniture shop expected to open in early June in the former Party Shop space

Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming – a pet food and supply store will move from its current North Hills location to the spot formerly occupied by Accipiter Gallery.

Stewart Physical Therapy – opening in the former home of North American Video, which closed in 2015 after nearly 40 years in operation.

Never Forget: Be Kind, Rewind. RIP North American Video.

so•ca Now Open

so•ca is now open in the space formerly occupied by Faire. As we noted in February, the “cocina Latina” (Latin kitchen) style restaurant is operated by the owners of the popular downtown restaurant bu•ku. WNFIV attended the soft opening, because apparently that’s all he does anymore. I’m not even sure why this isn’t just called “Soft Opening ITB Insider” at this point.

Raleigh Provisions Opens in Downtown Raleigh 

Raleigh Provisions, a small grocery store offering natural, high-quality products, is now open downtown at 107 E Davie Street. Work began on this project back in September 2016. Owner Kim Hammer, who also owns and operates the cocktail bar Bittersweet, intends to source locally.

Although Provisions has more in common with Standard Foods on Person Street than say, the Harris Teeter at Cameron Village, we imagine it will be quite popular with nearby residents.

Mulino to replace Babylon, Babylon Moving to New Location

Babylon, an award-winning Moroccan restaurant, will be moving to a new location soon. Owner Samad Hachby will turn the current space at 309 N. Dawson Street into Mulino Italian Kitchen and Bar.

According to the Mulino website, the focus will be on “homemade pastas, pizzas, and breads cooked in the woodfired oven, locally sourced meats and seafood as well as traditional Italian fare and an expansive Italian wine selection.”

Babylon will be open until April 2nd and Mulino is expected to open in mid-April.

As one BBQ Door Closes, Another BBQ Door Opens

Out in North Raleigh, Capital Boulevard’s beloved Barbecue Lodge closed its doors for good last week after more than 35 years. No word on what’s coming next for the space.

North Raleigh residents will soon have a new option for BBQ, as award-winning national chain City Barbeque opens its first Raleigh location, which we first reported back in January. Permits were recently issued to install outdoor seating for the restaurant, which will reside at the Olive Park shopping center at 9400 Falls of Neuse. The center will be anchored by another Raleigh first, the Sprouts Farmers Market.

Auntie Anne’s Getting a Facelift

This is a relatively minor project, but one we know likely matters a great deal to its regular Crabtree customers and mall walkers. The Auntie Anne’s at Crabtree Valley Mall received permits last week for a $42,000 renovation of its existing 535 square-foot space, care of Macallan Construction.

Demolition for Duke Raleigh Outpatient Rehab Center

Located on Executive Drive, the two existing buildings at the Duke Raleigh Outpatient Rehabilitation center will be demolished by Alabama-based firm Robins & Morton. The 16-acre site off Wake Forest Road has been owned by Duke University since 1998. The two two-story medical office buildings set for demolition were built in 1972 and 1973. The services once available at this outpatient location can now be accessed across town at the Duke Specialty Rehab Services Midtown at 5920 Sandy Forks Road.


Development Beat: Players’ Retreat Plans Unveiled

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of March 20, 2017

Players’ Retreat plans unveiled

Hargett Place is holding a Designer Showcase Open House

Historic fire sets back development

Nightclub replacing Harry’s Guitar Shop moves forward

Domino’s is coming to downtown Raleigh

Holt Brothers doing work on Sheetz

New ITB cottages

Plans Unveiled for Players’ Retreat Redevelopment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hargett Place Designer Showcase and Open House

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

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

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

Fire Destroys Apartment and Damages Buildings

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

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

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

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

Real Estate Report

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

With Your Permit-ssion

Desperately-Needed Nightclub Replaces Raleigh Icon on Glenwood South

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

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

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

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

Downtown Domino’s

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

Construction Starts for Raleigh’s Eighth Sheetz

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

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

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

New ITB Cottages

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

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

Raleigh Fire Recap

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

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

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

Raleigh Rallies Around Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hibernian – donating a portion of today’s proceeds

ITB Insider™ Covers Downtown Fire Better Than Anyone Else

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Additional coverage:

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


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


Development Beat: Changes Ahead for Players’ Retreat?

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of March 13, 2017

Plans for a prospective development around Players’ Retreat

Boylan Bridge Brewpub reopens this week

Hillsborough Street Target moves forward

Norris-Heartt historic home restoration underway

City proposes “Teardrop LEDs” in Historic Downtown Districts

Urban Garden Planned for Raleigh

Players’ Redevelopment?

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

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

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

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

Real Estate Report

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

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

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

With Your Permit-ssion

Hillsborough Street: Target Acquired

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

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

The Norris-Heartt House

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

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

Renderings of the renovated Norris-Heartt House

Bright Lights in the Capitol City

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

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

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

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

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

New Urban Farm Planned for Raleigh

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

The future site of LM Restaurant’s Urban Farm

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

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

WNFIV’s proposed rendering of the urban farm

Five Points Couple Struggles with Barbour Choices Amidst Record-Breaking Weather

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80 FreshUse this link or enter the code “ITB” to save 30% on your first order.

After a February that set a record for being the warmest ever in Raleigh, Five Points residents are struggling with how to handle the current conditions. Temperatures have fluctuated from the 30s to the 80s in the last month, sometimes changing from one extreme to the next in the same day. While many enjoyed the warm weather by spending time outside drinking Trophy Wife or relaxing on the patios of Raleigh’s 6,284 breweries and bottles shops, one Five Points couple dealt with a fashion nightmare, which Barbour jacket to wear.

Five Points resident Vance Craig VI, a 31-year-old Senior Vice Super Duper Executive Broker at a boutique commercial real estate firm, has not been pleased with the current weather. “Do I wear my Classic Barbour jacket, or my quilted Barbour Vest? It’s March, so my body thinks it should be wearing the Classic jacket, but it’s 80 damn degrees out. I’d look like an idiot sitting outside at Nickelpoint drinking a Scotch Wee Heavy wearing a full on jacket when the weather feels like it’s June.”

His wife Mary Cameron Knoll Craig, who runs an Instagram account featuring images of the best Wine and Design paintings in Raleigh, seemed more prepared to deal with the current climate, but still voiced concerns. “I mean, obvi my Barbour vest goes perfect over my chambray button-down but it still pisses me off that I can’t get the full wear of my quilted Barbour jacket this winter. Sometimes I’ll get ready, we’ll go to Churchill’s, and the temperature drops 30 degrees by the time we’ve taken 15 Jell-O shots. The walk from the front door of Churchill’s to the Uber that’s 10 feet away can be unbearable. How do you even dress for that?”

The hassle of being at the mercy of the changing weather is hard enough for the couple, but has proved to be an even bigger problem for another member of their family.

“We’ve had to increase the Xanax prescription for our dog, Mabel, because she has no idea what season it is. One day her Barbour coat is on, the next day it’s off. Her anxiety is through the roof.”

Mabel, net worth of $3.2 million, has no idea what season it is.

“The ice in her LaCroix filled dog bowl melts before she can even take it out and chase it all around the kitchen. Sure it’s less of a mess for the housekeeper to clean up, but that’s Mabel’s favorite part of the day. The ice in dog bowls is melting, y’all. And that’s sad,” lamented Mary Cameron.

Refusing to let the weather control their lives, the couple will spend the next two months island-hopping between the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.

“We’re going to where we know the weather will be constant and we won’t have to wake up every day faced with these decisions. If I could sue the weather I totally would, and I’d get Stacy Miller at Miller Law Firm to handle it,” said Craig VI, unaware that one cannot sue the atmosphere.

“I can see why they call it “climate change” now that I have to change my entire wardrobe multiple times on a daily basis. This is a fashion nightmare,” added Mary Cameron.

Special thanks to Dale Moody at Cornerstone Properties for selling this lovely couple their home in Five Points.

If you’re struggling with what to wear during these difficult times, download the new app from Glenwood South Tailors that we covered last week.

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