Development Beat

Print More
Friday, April 3, 2015

Yesterday we touched on some of the biggest renovations of last week, both of which were public jobs, but it’s interesting to note that there were six total permits issued last week that exceeded a million dollars.

Three of the other big-ticket items all took place in roughly the same neck of the woods— the Crabtree Valley Mall area.

First up is a 668 square-foot addition to Diamonds Direct. While not physically attached to the mall itself, the jewelry store rests on the mall property on the edge near Glenwood. Kodiak Constructors will be handling the $1.65 million dollar job, which is approximately the market value for a radiant, 10 carat, colorless, internally flawless, excellent diamond. At least according to the internet.


Speaking of, this reporter would like to commend Diamonds Direct on their 4.3-star average on Google reviews. Personally, it’s hard not to imagine feeling a little ripped off after buying a stone whose price and availability was manipulated by an international cartel. Even drug cartels don’t stockpile their wares just to intentionally drive up prices; probably because they’re selling things that people don’t have to be manipulated into liking.

Holiday Inn Crabtree

Hotel Planner

Holiday Inn Crabtree

Moving on— the other two Crabtree area permits were both for work at the Holiday Inn. A total of $2.23 million in renovations will be handled by Hendrick Construction. According to the permits, the bulk of the work will take place on the first floor; although about $1 million of the cost is for a “corridor and ramp addition.”

The final million dollar project was smaller in scope; it’s described as a new fire sprinkler system for the Select Group on Capital Center Drive. Fountainhead Design & Build will be handling the job. Other renovations receiving permits last week were another pair of Food Lions, the interior completion of the Mattress Pro that we discussed previously, a couple of Starbucks, including one at St. Alexander Place and another at Wakefield Commons and a bunch of work at the Advanced Auto on Hargrove Road.

Next week – the return of By The Numbers, a look at the real estate and permit data from March of 2015.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

While the new Walgreens was, in this reporter’s opinion, the biggest new construction project permitted last week, the biggest by the numbers was actually a new self-storage building.

Imperial Design builders received permits to build the new Millbrook Self Storage at a cost more than twice as much as the new Walgreens —  $3.7 million.

The site was once home to a Fitzgerald Seafood, but building records indicate this was demolished in January of this year.

The space upon which a new Storage Facility will be built

Bing Maps

The space upon which a new Storage Facility will be built

The other new building permitted last week was much smaller —  $625,000 for a AAA Raleigh Fleet Building at 3201 Glen Royal, located just off Glenwood near Umstead State Park.

Williams Realty and Building Company will be handling the build out on this empty parcel of land.

The biggest renovation project from last week was a $2.8 million renovation at the Wake County General Services Administration, to be done by Vision General Contractors. This reporter wonders if this kind of out of control spending on necessary renovations to public facilities was one of the issues the state legislature hoped to address with their redrawing of the election maps for Wake County Commissioners. Probably. We don’t see what other motivation they could have had.

Does this look like a building that needs more than $3.7 million in renovations??

Wake County

Does this look like a building that needs more than $3.7 million in renovations??

More evidence this might be the case —  the second largest renovation from last week was also a Wake County job —  a $2.1 million renovation of the elevators at the Wake County Courthouse. Anyone who’s ever been to the court house (and it’s not just for criminals —  you need to go there to access certain public records!) knows that you can’t fix perfection, so it’s hard to imagine what could be done to possibly improve the top of the line elevators found there. Make them all glass? Allow them to travel sideways, ala Willy Wonka? Time will tell.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Yes, it’s April 1, and in an hilarious prank, this column will not be replaced by a fake or misleading news item. Sorry.

What we’re going to talk about instead is a project first mentioned here last November, when an old sports bar and a AAA car care center off Avent Ferry were permitted for demolition.

The former home of the Gorman Street Pub

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

The former home of the Gorman Street Pub, before it was torn down

Its replacement – a 14,450 square-foot Walgreens – received its final construction permits on March 24. Prior to that, permits had been issued in January and February for various site and utility work.

The project, listed at $1.6 million on the permits, will be handled by Wimco Construction. Prior to this job, Wimco has built out new Walgreens in Chapel Hill and in Creedmoor, and renovated at least four Walgreens in Raleigh.

A quick perusal of Wimco’s web site will turn up YouTube videos for both of those new construction jobs; but be prepared, the two videos are worlds apart.

The one for Creedmoor is about what you’d expect – basically a time lapse video beginning with an empty lot and finishing with the store. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

Wyld Stallyns!

Wikimedia Commons

Party on dudes!

The other one. Well. It’s mostly just slow pans and money shots of the finished store, paired with a unique soundtrack that sounds like it was produced by the Wyld Stallyns.  We’d say it was “interesting,” but to be honest, this reporter couldn’t bear to sit through an entire two minutes of it. After about 20 seconds it was kind of like, I get it. It’s a Walgreens.

One fun fact about this project – Wimco is based in Washington, NC, about two hours from here. Practically right next door to their office, there’s a Hardee’s. And what fast food restaurant is it that sits next to the site of this new Walgreens, you may be wondering? A Hardee’s, of course! A little taste of home for the hardworking folks at Wimco.

The site of a new Walgreens

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

The site of a new Walgreens

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Welcome back to Teardown Tuesday here on the Development Beat, where today we look at a small demolition project at a local funeral home.

Permits were issued March 25 for a $10,000 demolition of an accessory structure at the Lea Funeral Home on Poole Road. In 2006, $180,000 in permits were issued to RLT & Associates to build a detached garage. Believing this to be the likely target of demolition, this reporter called the funeral home to inquire.

Two photos of the Lea Funeral Home from 10 years apart . The top picture is from 2007 after the garage was built.

Wake County

Two photos of the Lea Funeral Home from 10 years apart . The top picture is from 2007 after the garage was built.

Instead of confirming a hunch, an unidentified man who answered the phone asked, after an extended period of silence, that if we were going to write about the project, we wait several months. This is a $10,000 demo project of a garage. It’s barely relevant enough to cover it while it’s happening; let alone months after the fact. Perhaps the concern was that the knowledge there would be construction on the property would drive away business.

If this is the case, than perhaps the business owners would be content to know (if they don’t already) that the contractor they hired for the job, R & L Builders & Sons, has previously done work at a similar business in the area — in November of last year, they were permitted for a $365,765 project at City of Oak Cremations. And according to their website, they’ve done at least one church project as well. The long and the short — they’re professionals.

So we doubt very much that any potential customers at the funeral home will be disturbed by the minor work associated with this project.

Monday, March 30, 2015

On Friday in the Raleigh Rewind, we promised an update on two development projects from 1985 — a downtown hotel building and an office park off Jones Franklin near Cary.

The Sheraton in Downtown Raleigh

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

The Sheraton in Downtown Raleigh

Ah. Finding out what happened with these projects turned out to be much more difficult than anticipated. Yes, even this reporter is not omnipotent. We looked into hotels on Fayetteville Street; the only two, of course, are the Marriott and the Sheraton. While the Marriott was built quite recently, the Sheraton was built in the early ’80s. Not by Marsh though. What today is a Sheraton was once the unsuccessful Radisson we wrote about it the Rewind.

Beyond that, we looked into property records over the last forty years, and could not definitively identify what property Marsh once owned and intended to develop on Fayetteville.

We had equally bad luck with the office park on Jones Franklin. We found more than 260 properties owned or once owned by H.S. Lichtin and various subsidiaries, but none were in the area discussed back in 1985. There is an office building off Jones Franklin just outside the 440 beltline that was built in 1986, which would match the timeline.

The building in 2011

Wake County

The building in 2011

Oddly enough however, ownership records only trace back to 2003, to a company that doesn’t appear to have any association with Lichtin. We were able to find renovation and alteration permits issued for the building before 2003, but there was no owner information on them.

Let this be a lesson kids — unless you’re working for Sony or Disney and trying to get Spider-Man into the Avengers movies, don’t mess around with synergy. We thought it would be cool to tie in different pieces on this site. We were wrong. Tomorrow, we’ll jump back into current construction information starting with Teardown Tuesday. Plus, later this week we’ll get into a new self-storage building, a new drugstore and a new AAA center. And don’t worry — that’s a promise we can actually deliver on.



2 thoughts on “Development Beat

  1. I can confirm that Capital Center (on Jones-Franklin and pictured in your article) was developed by H.S. Lichtin. I also believe there was a second tower planned which would match the current one, but was shelved.

  2. Matt,

    Thanks so much for the confirmation! I drive past that building on my way to work every day and I really like the design/layout, glad to know who the original developer was!