Peace University Eyes Seaboard Station

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William Peace University has expressed interest in possibly purchasing Seaboard Station, which is in the middle of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Rumors were flying through social media on Monday, expressing fears of a teardown or redevelopment. Some residents and businesses are urging the community to speak out.

Triangle Business Journal reported in March that Gregory & Parker Inc., filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last year with $18.7 million in liabilities and $2.8 million in assets. Seaboard Station, located just north of Peace Street, is completely leased.

The school confirmed interest Monday in an email statement attributed to the university that was provided to the Record by the school’s public relations firm.

“The Seaboard Station property is in bankruptcy and we understand that there are several parties interested in it, including William Peace University,” the statement said.

In an email provided to the Record by Raleigh resident Matthew Brown, college president Debra Townsley said if the school were to acquire the property it would be used for income.

“Seaboard is one more attraction in Raleigh that makes WPU an excellent place for students to attend college and employees to work,” she wrote.

Seaboard Station

Seaboard Station, as seen from across Peace Street. Photo by Leo Suarez.

Seaboard Wine Warehouse owner Doug Diesing said that during a bankruptcy hearing that he attended in March, an attorney representing the university said the school was willing to make an offer on all or part of the properties.

The Ace Hardware located in the shopping center posted something similar on its Facebook page.

“The majority lender, Regions Bank, is trying to (1) move the proceedings to Chapter 7 to force the court to order immediate liquidation of the property or (2) dismiss the Bankruptcy and take possession of the property whereupon they will sell to William Peace University,” said the post.

Ace representatives did not return calls requesting comment.

Adding fuel to the fire is a public hearing during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The school has applied for $16 million in tax exempt bonds through a public finance authority in Wisconsin, which, according to a memo from an attorney representing the school, will be used for refinancing existing debt, renovating and building residence halls and educational facilities and the construction of Delway Street.

While the city does not have any financial stake in the bond money, it will be holding the public hearing during the City Council meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Mordecai CAC Co-Chair Kim Gazella said that she would like the Council to hold off on the public hearing until the school is able to give the community more information about its plans.

Gazella isn’t against the school applying for bond money, but would like more information as to what will be done with it.

Diesing, who has been a Seaboard tenant since 1985, has been following the bankruptcy proceedings closely, but the possibility of a new owner was news to Phydeaux Manager Paul Duke.

Duke found out from his employees Monday morning.

Phydeaux has 10 years left on its lease with Seaboard, so Duke said he has no immediate concern for the store’s future.

With all of the development in the area, Duke said, “I think we’re in a sweet spot.”

He went on to say that if the store couldn’t continue after its lease is over, there are plenty of communities that would take it.

As more information comes to light, Diesing said that he just wants the process to be transparent and if it comes down to a sale, he’d like for all interested parties to have a chance to bid.

Representatives of Gregory & Parker, the owner of Seaboard Station, could not be reached for comment Monday.

7 thoughts on “Peace University Eyes Seaboard Station

  1. Seaboard has grown to be a great example of reinventing old space into a viable,walkable collection of shops, services and restaurants and is frequented by many from downtown, Mordecai, Five Points and other areas. I hope that Gregory & Parker, the owners of Seaboard, will protect this great asset and not sell it to Peace for development of dorms or parking.

    Carole Meyre
    Hanover St

  2. I live in the neighborhood and will be greatly saddened if Seaboard and its tenants are uprooted. I trade frequently with the vendors, both shopping and dining. It would be a great disservice to a community that is dependent upon accessible shopping within walking distance, especially the Capital Park residents.
    I literally live across the street from Peace William College and while I’m glad for them that they are growing – it should not be at the expense of other establishments that serve our Mordecai community well. Go up or use some of the ballpark space to expand. Don’t destroy this historical treasure.

  3. Unfortunately, it is not up to Gregory & Parker. The bankruptcy judge will make the final decision. G & P have been trying to scrape together money, but the debt is $19 million. What this article does not include that, regardless of what Peace president Townsley said at the city council meeting, is that at the bankruptcy hearings the Peace rep said they intended to use the land for dorms, athletic fields and parking. The president and her attorney said at the city council meeting that the bonds would partly refinance current debt and had nothing to do with a Seaboard purchase. She neglected to mention the current bond debt allows only use for improvements on existing facilities. Refinancing would mean no restrictions and free up just enough to make a good bid on Seaboard. Hmmmm! They already own other lots along the west side of Halifax and around the corner on Peace.
    The city of Raleigh should not help this tax-exempt entity obtain interest-free money to put taxpaying businesses out of business.
    I do not blame Peace for the desire to expand, but many other universities in cities have solved their space problems by having facilities in other areas of their cities. Peace can, too, and leave these folks that have struggled to build businesses alone.
    Any conscientious investors out there who want to maintain Seaboard?

  4. If Peace takes over Seaboard and gets any ideas about knocking it down I hope the city will refuse to change the zoning.

    That area is a gem and needs to be supported, it’s far more important to the city than yet another parking lot and dorms.

  5. “The city of Raleigh should not help this tax-exempt entity obtain interest-free money to put taxpaying businesses out of business.” – Abbey.

    Well said, Abbey. ..powerful words – which I cannot argue against.

  6. Good article. Sadly, our city councilors will sell us out to any corporation — non-profit or otherwise — in a heartbeat. Universities should not be playing economic developers and local real estate investors in our city. These land-banking practices have ruined Hillsborough Street where NCSU already owns more than half the commercial property and keeps buying more and more, and is poised to bulldoze several decades-old businesses — including Sadlack’s Heroes — for a hotel that they were given free land to build on in the form of 1,000 acres they call Centennial Campus. While I feel sorry for Peace College having been betrayed by our local architects who built the ugliest building in Raleigh right across the street from them to serve as their NCAIA headquarters, Peace has no business buying up all the viable land around it and if they do, just like has happened on Hillsborough Street, neighbors can be guaranteed that the hardware store will close (like the one that closed on Hillsborough Street). And boos and hisses to Mary Ann Baldwin for suggesting this is merely a PR problem, as if there are not legitimate public policy and long-term economic vitality and quality of life issues here that should concern neighbors/residents. It sounds like Baldwin is looking for PR consulting contract for herself or friends.

  7. If Peace wants to expand, there are plenty of other options.
    There’s a huge swath of empty land just across Peace Street. And half of those historic homes in the Blount Street commons area have sat empty for decades waiting to be renovated. (And the Person Street Center and City Farm area sat empty for years, and Peace didn’t take that opportunity while they had the chance….doh!)
    So many other options other than Seaboard.