Welcome to a new chapter in ITB Insider™ history. Today, we expand our media empire to cover the world of real estate development in Raleigh. More than 60 people move to Raleigh every day, and I want to know where they’re living and what they’re doing here. That’s where my new investigative journalist, James Borden, comes in. While at the Raleigh Public Record, James has covered everything from the Dix Park controversy to breaking the epic story about the North Raleigh party mansion. (Seriously, go read the party mansion story.) James is first to a lot of stories because he’s an actual journalist that digs through records and finds facts instead of just tweeting all day about La Croix. He’ll be contributing a weekly article focused on development to ITB Insider™ and will keep me informed on a variety of issues going on in Raleigh. James announced the move last week and people seemed pretty excited about it.
We may tinker with the content and format, so let us know what you think. Now that we’re the number one place for development news, we’re also open to sponsorship deals from real estate brokers and developers (e-mail me at email@example.com if interested). Without further ado, I present James Borden’s first Development Beat for ITB Insider™.
Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Builders
Week of January 9, 2017
Since William Needham Finley IV has the attention span of a White Memorial pre-schooler, I’ll hit the highlights before digging into the details:
Dix Park gets first tenant
Real Estate Report: 19 Bedroom ITB house goes on the market
Two new Mexican restaurants coming to Glenwood
Progress on the new restaurant from the Pho Nomenal Dumplings duo
Updates on Tower IV at North Hills
News on a downtown Raleigh hotel
Welcome…to Dorothea Dix Park
The first new tenant for downtown Raleigh’s premier destination park was approved by City Council last week through a memorandum granting a nine-year lease to the nonprofit Dix Park Conservancy.
The Conservancy, which has a public-private partnership with the City to help develop the Dix Park Master Plan, will most likely occupy the early-20th century Flower Cottage at 2105 Umstead Drive for the staggering cost of $1/year. In addition to leasing the property, The Conservancy has agreed to contribute $2 million for the development of the Master Plan, and may add another $1 million for other planning costs.
Built in 1910, the 1,200 square foot cottage was initially used as a residence but currently sits dilapidated and unused. The Conservancy will be responsible for all renovations and improvements, of which we imagine there will be plenty. On the upside, the organization will also have access to the adjacent 2.75 acres of open space, which can be used for “public and/or private events.”
Rumor has it that an early screening of William Needham Finley’s long-in-the-works “Dix Park” film will be held here. As long as it’s not organized by the Junior League of Raleigh, we’re sure it’ll be a smashing success.
Real Estate Report
Every week, we plan to highlight an interesting Raleigh property that’s currently on the market, be it commercial, industrial or residential. In the future, we’ll leverage local realtors to get their properties listed here. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in featuring a listing here. Credit where it’s due: the one and only Triangle Explorer brought this one to our attention over the weekend.
The Gables Motor Lodge Property in Mordecai
*Note* As it happens, my new editor was so excited about this property that he demanded additional research so he could write his own separate post, which contains answers to some of the questions we’ve seen asked on social media in the last few days.
The Gables Motor Lodge is now for sale. Listed for a cool $1.5 million we imagine this 19-bedroom, 14-bathroom property could sell for well above asking price. The three-lot property is located at 1217, 1219, and 1221 Wake Forest Road in the historic Mordecai neighborhood.
The 8,000 square-foot Victorian motor lodge was first built in the 1920s and is located on a .51 acre lot just outside of downtown Raleigh. This is truly one of Raleigh’s most iconic properties, and no matter what happens to it, we hope the buyer leaves the old signage in place.
With Your Permit-ssion
On December 30, permits were issued for the latest iteration of the long-suffering Helios Cafe at 413 Glenwood Avenue. The issued permit is for “The Cortez Restaurant,” a new concept from the brothers Ibarra (Hector and Charlie) and their chef, Oscar Diaz from Jose and Sons. This was first announced in early December, and LLC filings indicate plans have been in the works since at least June of 2016. Hutchins Construction will handle the $28,000 worth of renovations.
Also coming to Glenwood South is the new La Santa Cantina Mexican restaurant, which received permits January 4. The $12,000 project by Morris Construction will renovate the space formerly occupied by the Tobacco Road Sports Cafe at 222 Glenwood Avenue. Like most local Mexican joints, it appears the walls will be adorned with enchanting artwork. Tobacco Road itself just reopened this past weekend in the former home of Natty Greene’s at 505 West Jones Street.
Work on the recently announced Mofu Shoppe restaurant from for the award-winning folks behind the insanely popular Pho Nomenal Dumplings food truck also received its final permits on December 30. For those of you in the dark: Raleigh’s most famous food truck was the 2015 winner of the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Also, the slogan on their webpage is “Two Girls, One Truck.” That’s pho-cking funny. And a little bit gross, to be honest. Integrated Commercial will be handling the $89,000 worth of renovations at 321 South Blount Street in City Market.
Speaking of first time storefront locations, Sweetheart Treats, a local purveyor of delectable desserts such as cupcakes, cake push pops, Rice Krispy treats, brownies and more, will soon be opening its doors in suite 105 at the Falls River Shopping Center on 10930 Raven Ridge Road. Owner Mary Hinton, who previously operated Sweetheart Treats out of her home, told us they hope to open by the end of the month. Hinton said in addition to the standard dessert fare, the shop will also be offering a Cupcake Bar with alcohol-infused cupcakes.
Rounding out our restaurant news for the week, permits for the first Raleigh location of the award-winning national BBQ chain City Barbeque were issued December 30 for a spot at the new Olive Park shopping Center, where work is also underway for Raleigh’s second Bad Daddy’s burger joint. The fit-out of suite 108 will be handled by Wimco Corp for $375,000.
Speaking of Olive Park: the center also received permits on December 30 for Happy Smiles Dental, which will be built out by Old Fields Construction for $250,852.
Other recent permits of note:
- A $105,785 interior alteration for an RPD training center at 4205 Spring Forest Road to be handled by Diamond Contracting
- A trio of automotive shops including 1-800 Radiator, Lucho-Lube (heh) and Bryan’s Auto Repair at 2407 Paula Street, all of which will be done by Greensboro’s Bar Construction
- $25,000 “stair and platform” addition at Finley’s favorite club Still Life at 401 N. West Street. That work will be handled by JBK Construction.
A wave of site plan reviews were filed in the final weeks of 2016, an appropriate finale to a year that’s seen tremendous growth within the City of Oaks. Amanda Hoyle over at the Triangle Business Journal did the hard work of actually talking to the relevant parties for most of these projects, so we’ll just link to her articles when we can.
SR 1-17: The first site plan of 2017 was for a proposed Alamo Drafthouse cinema/eatery in the Longview Shopping Center at 2000 New Bern Avenue in East Raleigh. According to Hoyle, no deal has been inked with the owners of Alamo Drafthouse, which operates 25 locations around the country but none in North Carolina. Raleigh already has, of course, Raleighwood, and there’s the CineBistro over at Waverly Place, plus a number of other chains that serve beer or liquor, which we believe is one of the main appeals of the Drafthouse chain. If built, the site plan notes the new theater would clock in at around 58,000 square feet.
SR 103-16: Local developer and hero of the historic preservation movement James A. Goodnight filed site plans proposing to turn an existing gas station at 502 W. Lenoir Street into a brand new restaurant. Our friend James Willamor brought this one up on Twitter a few weeks ago, where we also heard the rumor that the new joint will be titled “Raise Up.” No such information is contained on the site plans, which only indicate that Goodnight plans to turn it into a restaurant/bar, and reduce the size from 5,084 square feet to 4,583 square feet. Built in 1948 and most recently home to Dusty’s Service Center, Goodnight has owned the property since 2014.
SR 101-16: More mixed-use for North Hills, new plans for the long-in-development Tower IV. We’re glad Hoyle wrote about this one, because the informational pages on the project found on the North Hills and Kane Realty websites contradict each other, and the site plan drawings only add to that confusion. It turns out Tower IV is actually *two* towers: a 20-story office tower and a 31-story residential tower. They’re also planning to cram a hotel and some retail use in there somewhere. The site plans indicate the towers will come in at a whopping 735,665 SF, with, 1,046 parking spaces, 35,199 SF of open space, 300 residential units and 198 hotel rooms. We cannot confirm nor deny whether WNFIV will be given the penthouse suite based on the “IV” at the end of his name.
SR 102-16: There’s been a lot of fear mongering in recent years, especially by those lunatics over at the Raleigh Public Record about an alleged lack of downtown hotel rooms, so hopefully this site plan will shut them up for a little while. This site plan describes a 13-story (bad omen), 259-room, 260,890 gross square-foot hotel that will be a “dual brand” Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites developed by CN Hotels. I think “dual brand” means they charge you twice for the same room, but I could be mistaken. The hotel will be located at 200 West Davie near the intersection with South McDowell. 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. This project was first brought to our attention by the ever-dutiful James Willamor on Twitter last month.
SR 108-16: Greystar, the apartment developer behind a number of Raleigh multifamily projects including The Gramercy, The Devon Four25, the Devon Seven12 (yes, those are the real names), 927 West Morgan and more, is now planning to expand outside the downtown core. Greystar plans to develop the Overture Centennial apartments on Western Boulevard across from Pullen Park. The site plans describe the Overture as a 182,720 SF, three-story 180 unit complex that will include 235 parking spaces. As of now, the plans call for 108 one-bedroom units and 72 two-bedrooms. Given Greystar’s track record, we imagine this will be another upscale complex catering to wealthy Raleigh urbanites who want to live in proximity to both Pullen and Dix Parks.
A Zest for Zoning
While rezoning cases are a lot rarer in the era of the Unified Development Ordinance than they were in days past, there were a pair worth looking at filed in the month of December.
Z-45-16: A minor request to remove a restriction on a property — it would remain zoned commercial mixed use — for some acreage out by Triangle Town Center at the intersection of Triangle Town Center Road and Old Wake Forest — filed by apartment developer Faison Inc. In 2008, Faison submitted plans for the Triangle Place Promenade Apartments, and it looks like they’re still hoping to build some multifamily with limited retail out on the site.
Z-47-16: Most rezoning cases are filed by developers seeking to increase the allowed use on a given parcel of land; this one caught our eye because it was put together by residents of the ITB Country Club Hills neighborhood off Glenwood Avenue and a little south of Woman’s Club Drive in an effort to reduce the overall zoning from R-4 to R-2. According to the applicants, this would “preserve the existing character” of the area and “discourage teardowns and the construction of houses that are not harmonious with existing neighborhood development.” Normally one of the only ways residents can fight encroaching development is to purchase surrounding lots; we like this more realistic — and legalistic — approach a lot better!