by William Needham Finley IV™

Development Beat: Rainbow Luncheonette Progress, Krispy Kreme Renovations

in Development by

Brought to you by York Properties

Rainbow Luncheonette progress

Krispy Kreme Renovations

Seaboard Wine Tasting 12/7

Row homes coming to St. Marys Street

Empire buys Kimbrell’s building

Developer selected for GoTriangle project

Cameron Village Post Office finds a new home

Crafty Crab coming to old Applebee’s spot?

We have a new Mayor and City Council members

To be featured in the Development Beat, contact


Progress On Rainbow Luncheonette

More than two years after renovations kicked off on the historic Rainbow Building at 911 N. West Street, work is underway on the building’s titular restaurant. Permits were recently issued for the Rainbow Luncheonette, a small, old-school diner that will offer breakfast and lunch all week, and dinner on the weekends.

Jason Howard, of The Cardinal and The Atlantic Lounge, told us in an exclusive interview (we called him on the phone) that the luncheonette will be a “25-seater” offering standard breakfast and lunch fare. He indicated that the menu would be “short order grill type food.”

“I’m not trying to win a James Beard award. I want to bring normal food back to Raleigh’s food scene,” he said. Howard was more tight-lipped about the weekend dinner offerings, saying it would be “something special,” that he wants to keep under wraps until the space opens.

The Rainbow Luncheonette will be open from 7:00 am – 3:00 pm every day. On Friday and Saturday they will also be open for dinner from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

While there’s no set opening date – Howard said it could be anywhere from 90-120 days or more – he did note that he’s planning to open another adjacent business at the same time – The Pink Boot.

“It’s a mini-modern honky-tonk type bar,” Howard said, “or at least my take on one.”

And that’s not all: Howard told us he had signed a lease to open “Friendship BBQ” at the Topps Building at 303 North West, a move that would solidify him as West Street’s premier restaurateur.

Krispy Kreme Preps For Renovation

Your downtown doughnut experience is about to get a whole lot nicer. Permits were recently issued for a $112,000 interior alteration to the 2,050 square-foot Krispy Kreme location at 549 N. Person. This is the first major renovation to the space in nearly 10 years.

The property came under new ownership last year when Krispy Kreme’s parent company sold the building to a New York-based real estate investment firm for nearly $5 million. We were the first to investigate.

Despite fears that downtown would lose a historical icon, it was announced not long after the sale that Krispy Kreme had signed a lease to remain in the space through 2038.

The renovation work is being handled by Squared Corners Construction of Raleigh and appears to include the installation of a new, 4′ LED exterior wall sign as well.

Seaboard Wine Tasting 12/7

Our friends at Seaboard Wine at HighPark Village will host a tasting on 12/7 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm featuring Iberian Peninsula Wines with Andoni Uroz. He’ll be pouring a selection of Spanish and Portuguese store favorites, all discounted 25% off by the case mix & match today!

Seaboard Wine’s 23rd Annual Champagne Tasting will be held on December 4th and 5th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm or 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm. They will be sampling Champagne and sparkling wines from around the world. Admission is $39 per person. Visit their Eventbrite to reserve your date and time.

Cameron Crest Row Homes Coming To St. Marys Street

Six high-end row homes are coming to St. Mary’s Street near Glenwood South. The project, known as Cameron Crest, is being built out by Edinburgh Development. 

An exclusive press release put out by Edinburgh stated that Cameron Crest will be a “mix of urban sophistication and traditional southern comfort,” and “reflect a timeless marriage of classic and contemporary styles, complementing the historic charm of the surrounding neighborhood.”

Per the press release, each home will stand four stories tall, average over 2,700 square feet, include a garage with tandem parking, and feature a large rooftop terrace with a spacious fourth-floor loft area.

Back in February of 2018, we reported on plans for a new six-unit townhome project on the same parcel of land that Cameron Crest is being developed. The company that filed those plans sold the land to Edinburgh back in July and does not appear to be playing a role in Cameron Crest.

The press release from Edinburgh noted that work is underway on these homes. City and County records showed that some preliminary utility and site work permits had been applied for. We’re glad to see that these lots – which have stood vacant since around 2016 – are finally being developed.


Empire Buys Kimbrell’s Building

The Kimbrell’s Furniture building recently became the latest downtown property to be acquired by Empire Properties. Built in 1954, the two-story, 30,870 square-foot building at 210 Fayetteville Street started as a W.T. Grant department store. It was acquired by the Kimbrell Investment Company in 1977, at which point it was turned into the Kimbrell’s Furniture Store.

The Kimbrell’s building was not one of the properties to fall under the recent rezoning case allowing several buildings along the 200 block of Fayetteville to be developed up to 40 stories. Of the ten buildings included in that rezoning case, Empire owns three – Boylan Pierce at 216 Fayetteville, the Carolina Trust Building at 230 Fayetteville, and the Odd Fellows Building at 19 W Hargett.

While looking through the records for this story, we discovered that Empire owns quite a lot of buildings in Raleigh. Most, but not all, of these properties are owned by subsidiaries that use “Empire” in their name. Empire’s Greg Hatem gets a lot of credit for helping to breathe life back into downtown, but really, his true genius seems to lie in naming these LLCs. For example, Kimbrell’s Furniture was acquired by “Ottoman Empire.”

A few of our other favorites:

1810 Fayetteville Street (the historic Bain Waterworks Building): Aqua Empire

1001 Wade Avenue (the old Occidental Life Insurance Building): Empire in the Occident

416 S Dawson (the old Dr. Pepper Complex): Ten Two and Four LLC (Dr. Pepper’s slogan in the 1920s-1930s was “Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2, and 4”)

We’re not sure what’s next for the Kimbrell’s building, but we’ll keep you posted.

Developer Selected For GoTriangle Project

GoTriangle recently announced that a developer had been selected for their new bus terminal and mixed-use development, known colloquially as either RusBus (meh) or ITBus (preferred). 

The transit company’s board of trustees voted to authorize the agency’s interim CEO and president to begin negotiations with Hoffman & Associates, a Washington, DC-based developer that is also redeveloping Seaboard Station.

The ITBus project, which GoTriangle described in a press release as “transformational” will include “a street-level bus transfer facility topped by up to 40 stories of market-rate and affordable housing options, office and retail space, and perhaps a hotel.”

Per GoTriangle’s interim CEO and president Shelley Blake Curran, “This project has incredible potential to connect critical transit access to housing and jobs and educational opportunities in ways we haven’t seen in the Triangle, and the proposal that Hoffman & Associates submitted best captures our vision.” 


Cameron Village Post Office Finds New Home

Our friends at York Properties shared the news that the U.S. Postal Service office that was once located in Cameron Village is now open in the back of Oberlin Baptist Church. The Post Office was previously located at 505 Oberlin Road. In 2018, WakeMed announced plans to redevelop that property into a medical office building.

Crafty Crab Coming To Former Applebee’s?

Will a seafood chain out of Florida finally be the one to break the curse of the former Hillsborough Street Applebee’s? Our friends over at the Triangle Food Blog recently reported that a “Coming Soon” sign had appeared in the window of the longtime Applebee’s at 3625 Hillsborough Street. The sign was for Crafty Crab, a chain with a focus on seafood fare that currently operates about 14 locations in five states.

Since shuttering in December 2017 as part of an effort by an Applebee’s franchisee to close down underperforming restaurants across seven states, the site has already been home to two more failed ventures.

TLC Wings & Grill Sports Bar was the first, and lasted only a few months after opening in the middle of 2018. That was followed by the Eastern Gate Cafe, a hookah bar/cafe that opened in October 2018 and closed around October of 2019. 

A cursory search of business licenses and LinkedIn seems to show that both these ventures were run by the owners of Peace Street’s Sahara Cafe, but we weren’t able to confirm this. County records indicate that the building itself has been owned by the same real estate holding company since Applebee’s closure in late 2017. 

While the Raleigh location isn’t listed on the chain’s list of “Coming Soon” locations, it does appear poised for a larger expansion into NC with spots set to open soon in both Winston-Salem and Concord.

Other News

New Mayor and City Council Members Sworn In

Photo: City of Raleigh

We’d like to welcome our new Mayor and City Council members, who were sworn in and held their first meeting this week. Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, who previously served on the council from 2007 to 2017, was sworn in Monday night at a ceremony held in Union Station. She was joined by returning council members Nicole Stewart, Corey Branch, and David Cox, along with newly elected members Jonathan Melton, Patrick Buffkin, Saige Martin, and David Knight.

We’re excited to see what this group has in store for Raleigh. However, we aren’t going to go easy on them just because they have expressed a lot of ideas we agree with. We will be closely monitoring where they stand on important issues like the downtown canal and bringing dinosaurs to Dix Park.

We would also like to thank former Mayor Nancy McFarlane for her leadership and for replying to us on Twitter.

You can view the meeting below. It starts around the 7:30 mark.

Here are a few highlights:

Poole’side Pies Open For Lunch Weds/Thurs/Fri

James Beard award-winning chef Ashley Christensen shared the news that Poole’side Pies will be open for lunch from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm Wednesday through Friday.

Trophy On Morgan Gets A Green Roof

David Meeker shared a photo of the progress on the green roof that is being installed at the Morgan Street location of Trophy Brewing.

Union Station Adds More Trains

Union Station will be home to the North Raleigh Model Railroad Club’s N Scale Model Railroad Display every weekend through the end of December, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. This display is family friendly and free to the public.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

1 Comment

  1. Would you please send Blake out to Ridgewood SC to see why the old First Citizens Bank location has not been converted into an eastern NC barbeque restaurant. This sort of important information is critical to our lives. Even an old dude with a pig cooker parked there (if he could find a spot) would be cool. Thanks in advance!
    A food court in the old Overtons place would be good too. What!? that is still there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Development

Go to Top