by William Needham Finley IV™

Monster-Sized Development Beat: Historic Raleigh Business Relocates to South Wilmington

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Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders.

Week of October 30, 2017

Auto Interiors & Tops near 42nd Street Oyster Bar is moving

DECO to move in 2018

Southern Charred Opens on Glenwood South

Father and Son finds new home

bartaco coming to North Hills

Sommelier’s Roast opens on Glenwood

Progress on A Place at the Table

Noodle bar approved on Wilmington Street

Rainbow Renovation


Rufty-Peedin to Refurbish New Home for Auto Interiors & Tops

There’s an almost indescribable satisfaction in transforming something old, a little beat up and a lot worn down into something that’s almost better than new. Tommy Gardner has been doing that for more than thirty years at Auto Interiors & Tops, a business founded by his father in 1973 that reupholsters the interiors of cars, boats, and commercial properties.

Auto Interiors & Tops moved into its current space at 303 North West Street in 1977, when Gardner’s father relocated the business from its original Martin Street location. Now, Gardner says, the area has changed: the explosive growth of Glenwood South and its accompanying apartments, retail, and restaurant development made him think he should find a more suitable spot for his business.

Gardner eventually acquired a brick building on South Wilmington Street that has been home to everything from a grocery store — one where Gardner said his father remembers shopping — to a restaurant, which Gardner himself had dined. Most recently it served as a place of worship for the Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus Church until late last year.

We were able to take an inside look, thanks to the fact that our friends over at Rufty-Peedin Design Builders are serving as the general contractor for the extensive remodeling of this 59 year-old building.

Adam Zaytoun, a project developer at Rufty-Peedin, walked me through the surprisingly massive space, pointing out where the car bays would go, where the front office will be, what has to come down, what can be salvaged. Zaytoun provided such an extensive history that we wish we could hire him as a research assistant for the Development Beat.

Built in 1958 as a Colonial Stores Super Market, the building was a grocery store through the late 1970s.

Image courtesy State Archives of NC. Copyrighted by the News and Observer.

In 1979 it became “Friday’s 1890 Seafood,” which was shortly changed to “Fosdick’s 1890 Seafood.”

Before there was Foster’s, there was Fosdick’s

In the mid-80s it became Gardner’s BBQ — an odd coincidence — after which it reverted back to “Fosdick’s 1890 Seafood” until it was converted to a Christian Academy in the 90s.

Now, Rufty-Peedin is set to do for 2808 South Wilmington what Gardner has been doing for his customers all these years: restoring the interior to a customized, better-than-new condition. While permits for the project were issued last week, Gardner said the process has been going very smoothly so far.

“They were really helpful in getting things going and set up, the whole team over there has been great.”

Of course, this isn’t Rufty-Peedin’s first restoration of a historic Raleigh building: two years ago they turned the old Hillsborough Street Bookstore into a beautifully crafted restaurant.

“It’s always a pleasure when you have an Owner like Tommy who appreciates the character and history of Raleigh’s old buildings… we’ve uncovered the original terrazzo floors from the Colonial Grocery Store, which were hidden under several layers of carpet and vinyl flooring. Once resurfaced, they will be showcased in Tommy’s new shop as an homage to the building’s past,” said Zaytoun.


He added, “Auto Interiors & Tops move from 303 N West Street is yet another sign of Raleigh’s booming downtown and the benefits of infrastructure planning and investment. The new location on South Wilmington will contribute to the revitalization of Raleigh’s Southern Gateway Corridor, an area which will likely see a dramatic comeback with future public transit and infrastructure upgrades that the City of Raleigh has planned.”

For his part, Gardner couldn’t be more excited about the move.

“I think it’s a good spot, it’s got a little more room for what we do,” Gardner said. “On occasion we get larger things like boats and trucks; it can get a little cramped at our current location.”

Gardner still owns the building at 303 North West, and is looking to rent it out to a business more suited to the area.

Although nothing will replace the iconic Mr. Peanut sign that once sat across South Wilmington we’re glad to see that the area is being redeveloped by a historic Raleigh business and a local general contracting firm whose work we’d praise even if they weren’t a sponsor.


DECO To Move in 2018

In early Spring 2018, DECO Raleigh will move next door to a larger space, resulting in a single new storefront facing Salisbury Street that will house DECO and DECO Home. The larger space is located in the 208 Fayetteville Street building, which was recently purchased by MDO Holdings. DECO will be located at 207 S. Salisbury, occupying half of the street-level main floor.

From the press release sent to us by our friends at MDO Holdings, “the new space will be the largest footprint for an independent retailer downtown, allowing DECO to consolidate the offerings from DECO and DECO Home while adding new independent and local brands to the mix.”

DECO will celebrate their 5th anniversary November 1 – 5. After an anniversary clearance sale, DECO Home will close November 5, and that space will house a holiday Pop-Up Shop from online retailer Raleigh Vintage.

Southern Charred Opens On Glenwood South

We previously reported that work had begun on Matt Kenner’s newest venture, Southern Charred. With construction complete, Raleigh’s newest barbecue joint celebrated its grand opening at 510 Glenwood this past week, offering diners everything from pulled pork, sliced brisket, and smoked devil’s eggs to cocktails like the Front Porch Tea and a host of locally brewed beers.

Father and Son Gets New Home

Vintage thrift store Father and Son has found a new home, and they won’t have to move very far. The store will move from its location on Hargett Street to 302 South West Street. The move is the result of finding out in December that their building was in the process of being sold.

bartaco to Open in North Hills

Kane Realty announced plans for the newest North Hills restaurant, bartaco, “a hip eatery specializing in tacos and rice bowls.” Specializing in what they describe as upscale street food, the taco chain already has two locations in the Old North State – Asheville & Chapel Hill – making the North Hills location next to Mura its first in Raleigh.

Get Roasted on Glenwood

When we saw an announcement that a new place called Sommelier’s Roast was opening at 3700 Glenwood, we thought it was a bar/entertainment venue where patrons would have their taste in wine roasted by a master sommelier. “You’re pairing a sauvignon blanc with a bacon double cheeseburger? I’ll bring out a side of cat food since that’s how poor your palate is. Boom, roasted.”

It turns out that this is actually a gourmet cafe owned by Lance Odvody, whose training as a sommelier “uniquely qualifies Lance to bring out the subtle flavors of coffee, to create food and beverage pairings, and to bring excellent service to the everyday coffee experience.”

Work Begins on A Place at the Table

We previously reported that the nonprofit restaurant A Place at the Table had found a new home at 300 West Hargett Street in the space once occupied by Cafe de los Muertos.

The new location was officially announced a few weeks later, and will offer “fresh, healthy and affordable meals for diners of all backgrounds” between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Diners will be offered a wide range of payment options, including paying “what they can afford,” regular price + a donation, and payment via volunteerism.

Maggie Kane, executive director of A Place at the Table, told us that the space will be “100% different.” The $134,000 renovation of the 1,837 square-foot space will be handled by Riley-Lewis General Contractors.

“Riley Lewis is the best,” Kane said. “I have really enjoyed working with them. They are on top of things and it is only week 2. Dave Lewis gets what we are doing and is all in. He has sought us many other donations with his subs.”

Kane hopes that A Place at the Table will open by the end of November or in early December.

Wilmington Street Noodle Bar Approved

Tonbo Ramen, the noodle shop with an upstairs bar planned for South Wilmington Street that we first covered in late August, was approved with conditions by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission last week. The five conditions on the development include things like a requirement for clear glass to be used in the facade, and screening for the rooftop mechanical equipment.

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

“As a restaurant and night spot,” Van Dyk notes, “appearance and attractiveness, and connection between inside and outside are important.”

The building’s original facade has been completely missing for decades and the building itself is considered a “noncontributing” resource in the Moore Square Historic District. The new facade will be comprised mostly of glass and ceramic tile, and will “echo the ‘two-part’ composition of other facades on the street.”

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Rainbow Upholstery has been supplying Raleigh’s restaurants and retailers with fine furniture from its West Street location since the early 1980s, when founder Dolores Glenn began offering her wares to “people who demand the best.”

“If we’re the wizards of West Street,” joked Michael Iovino, President of August Construction Solutions, “[Rainbow owner Chuck Bullock] is the mayor.” ACS has previously transformed the former home of Peace Lighting and the warehouse at 907 N. West into stylish, modern office spaces. Soon, they’ll begin work on the Rainbow Upholstery space at 911 N. West Street.

Although Rainbow, which aided the Raleigh community by offering skilled job training to recently-released female prisoners, will continue to serve as a home to “Upholsterers with the Golden Thread,” it will be doing so from a smaller location.

Later this fall, ACS will begin rehabbing the interior of the existing two-story, 26,774 warehouse originally built in 1946. In addition to transforming existing storage and showroom space into offices, the street-level space will eventually be turned into spaces for locally-owned businesses and restaurants with outdoor seating.

“We’d love to see a coffee shop in there,” Iovino said.

During a tour of the space in September Iovino detailed plans to open and brighten the space by removing most of the existing walls and expanding the windows down to floor level. While the building currently offers a view of a kudzu-encrusted patch of overgrown land, the City will eventually be turning the space into a new park, allowing for a much more pleasing aesthetic.

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