by William Needham Finley IV™

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

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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.


  1. How long does something have to be opened until it is no longer described as new? I wouldn’t say a house I bought in 2013 was new.

  2. Hey Brad,

    Good question; I’m of the opinion that “new” can be a fairly subjective term, and Hunt Library to me still has the feel of a new building.

    I also used new here as a quick shorthand to differentiate Hunt from Hill, which may have been unnecessary.


  3. James, very true. Those geniuses at State naming the newer library something so similar to the other library, way to go guys.

  4. you commented on the probable lack of affordable housing for the Centennial site development. But, you made no mention of the plans for affordable housing for the North Hills East site. Affordable housing seems to be at the fore of most conversations at council. Hard to believe they would miss this opportunity to get a commitment when approving such a massive development.

  5. North Hills is getting extremely large and dense. This is wonderful, but it makes traffic on Six Forks unpleasant (to say the least). Time to think even bigger, John Kane! Put a bridge over (or tunnel under) the beltline so that commuters can get to and from North Hills East without having to use Wake Forest or Six Forks. (Need inspiration? Look to Lassiter Mill and Yadkin Drive.)

  6. Yes! Yes! Yes! An enclosed but see-thru walk way over Six Forks is a great idea.
    I think it would help with parking and traffic.

  7. Congrats Jared (Two Roosters) on having a perminant home! Hope that truck sticks around 🙂

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