Development Beat

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Friday, May 8, 2015

We here at the Development Beat just can’t get enough of the Meredith Heights project. Well, the ex-Meredith Heights project. The developer eventually gave up, after strong neighborhood opposition and a zoning denial from city council.

The project had initially called for a five-story structure that would have held between 90 and 110 units housing 300-350 students and may have included ground-floor retail as well. Neighbors raised concerns over potential noise issues and which types of retail uses would have been allowed.

This area off Hillsborough Street could eventually be home to a new housing complex

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

This area off Hillsborough Street could eventually be home to a new housing complex

After these plans were scrapped, a new company quickly stepped in. Charlotte-based FMW Real Estate announced plans earlier this year to develop the site, although it did not say, specifically, what it was going to do there. At the time, it was still trying to get approval to submit a new plan for the site from the city council, which it has since received.

Typically, once a zoning case has been submitted, applicants must wait 24 months before submitting a new one. City council granted a waiver on the grounds that “the applicant is bringing forth something substantially different,” according to councilor Russ Stephenson.

Well the new zoning plans have been submitted; a week ago today, as a matter of fact. They are not terribly descriptive. On the application, it states that the rezoning would allow for a mix of office, retail and residential. However, the application also included notes from a public meeting held by Jim Zanoni, a principle at FMW Real Estate.

Held April 6, the meeting was apparently attended by around a dozen people. Surprising, actually.

At the meeting Zanoni indicated he had not settled on a specific building plan. From the minutes:

“[Zanoni] envisions either townhomes or “townhome flats” at Furches Street. A townhome would contain each unit vertically within the building. A townhome flat would contain each unit horizontally within the building.

“FMW is developing townhome flats on Ashe A venue at this time so Mr. Zanoni can relay an example of this product type. Attendees expressed a preference for townhomes over townhome flats. Mr. Zanoni pointed to the project under construction at 1301 Hillsborough Street (IHOP property) and the existing 2604 Hillsborough Street (Saxby’s coffee) as examples of a four-story building.”

Zanoni is also developing the space next to the IHOP, which will be a four-story, 320,231-square-foot multifamily mixed use.

Work on a new student-housing development next to the IHOP has just begun

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

FMW Real Estate is also behind his development next to IHOP

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Welcome back to another edition of the Development Beat. Today we’re going to take a look at the largest — and the smallest — renovation permits issued last week.

The smallest project will actually be taking place on quite a large piece of land — Ravenscroft Academy, located off Falls of Neuse in North Raleigh.

While Ravenscroft’s original campus on St. Mary’s was much smaller, and much more closely resembled the kind of school that a name like “Ravenscroft” conjures up, the school moved to its current location in 1969.

Ravenscroft Academy

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

Ravenscroft Academy

It’s not a bad looking campus, but in a city that’s home to a school as architecturally impressive as Broughton, it feels like the private academies should really be stepping up their game. Broughton looks more like a private school for rich kids than Ravenscroft does. And this recently permitted job likely won’t change that — it’s the replacement of rooftop HVAC units on an auxiliary gym. Exciting work that is listed on the permits at $1,000, and which will be done by Newcomb & Company.

The largest job permitted last week, incidentally, will be taking place on quite a small parcel of land: the Waffle House on Hillsborough Street. First built in 1979, the 1,909 square-foot building is now set to undergo $326,571 worth of renovations.

Any recent, astute passers-by may have noticed that the last letter of the establishment’s name is missing from the side of the building, so that it now reads “Waffle Hous.” However, if Wheel of Fortune has taught us anything, it’s that buying a vowel only costs $250, so what the other $326,320 will be spent on is a total mystery.

The Waffle Hous on Hillsborough Street

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

The Waffle Hous on Hillsborough Street


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

It was a year ago yesterday that the first permits were issued for the Creekside at Crabtree apartments, a new multifamily development adjacent to the 1.3 million square foot Crabtree Valley Mall.


James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

A shot of the site of the new apartments from July of last year.

While those permits were for the relatively minor task of constructing some retaining walls, the serious construction permits were issued in July of last year. Last week, those permits were renewed, allowing construction to continue, all legal-like.

For more information about the potential impact the project would have, you can click here for the initial report we did. Newer readers may not be used to the longer format of the old Development Beat, so here’s the TL; DR: A massive new multifamily complex is getting built in a floodplain that also happens to be one of the most congested areas of the city. What could possibly go wrong?

This only happens every couple of years, so no biggie

2006, NCDOT

This only happens every couple of years, so no biggie

Sure, the occasional flood might shut down the mall, and it might take 20 minutes to get from the intersection of Creedmoor and Glenwood to the beltline in bad traffic, but there’s no way adding more development could possibly exacerbate these problems.

While the argument could be made that its proximity to the mall means people will need to use their car less for shopping, the fact that the mall lacks a “general goods” type of store, like a Target, and the fact that the nearest grocery stores are about a mile up the road on Creedmoor, we’re pretty sure these new residents are going to be doing a lot of driving, regardless of the fact that they can walk to Barnes & Noble or the Cheesecake Factory.

The project is being developed by a Houston, Texas-based company named Martin Fein Interests. Hey, some people are interested in trains, some people are interested in comic books, and some folks, like Mr. Fein, are interested in developing apartment complexes in the Houston region. Whatever floats your boat.

Fein is also handling the general construction work associated with building the complex, although, naturally, most of the trade work — plumbing, electrical, fire protection, etc. — is being handled by contractors that, if not necessarily local, are at least based out of North Carolina.

Creekside at Crabtree will be Fein’s first residential development outside of the Houston, Texas market, a place where they’ve developed a number of upscale multifamily residential communities.

A rendering of Creekside at Crabtree from the owners web site

Martin Fein Interests

A rendering of Creekside at Crabtree from the owners website

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Welcome back to another edition of Teardown Tuesday, where today we look at the impending demolition of an apartment complex on Wilshire Road.

The property in question, located just off Oberlin Road, is not an apartment building in the traditional sense. First built in 1956, the building looks more like a single-family home, blending in with those around it. However, the 5,757 square-foot structure was actually a 6-unit apartment complex.

This apartment house is scheduled for demolition

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

This apartment house is scheduled for demolition

When out reporting on this story over the weekend, this reporter observed a car parked in the driveway, and another one out front. A man appeared to be moving out of the home.

The demolition will be done for $10,000 by J & S Grading. Within Raleigh, J & S has heretofore only demolished single-family homes, most recently in November of last year. A house built in the 1950s might present some unique challenges, remediation-wise, but we’re sure J & S is up to the task.

The property’s current owner first purchased it in 1991, which is almost 25 years ago. We can’t imagine how many hundreds of residents have called the place home over that time. To paraphrase what we said yesterday; Dust. Wind. Dude.

So you see, our lives are but specks of dust falling through the fingers of time

Internet Movie Database / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

So you see, our lives are but specks of dust falling through the fingers of time

Monday, May 4, 2015

Welcome back to another week of the Development Beat, where we’re going to kick things off with our recurring feature “By the Numbers.”

That’s right, another month has come and gone; like sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. Which means we’re going to take a look back on the number of permits issued and real estate transactions completed for the month of April, 2015.

Downtown Raleigh is currently facing a hotel room shortage.

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

The overall value of permits and real estate transactions in Raleigh in April both dipped from the five-year average

A standard warning: this data was compiled from information provided by both the city of Raleigh and Wake County. Any errors are our own.

That being said; we almost hope our math was off for this month, because the April numbers were not looking too good.

In fact, the only category that rose above the previous five-year average was number of permits issued; everything else, from the value of those permits to the number and value of real estate transactions, dropped.

There were 585 residential and nonresidential permits issued in April, up from 455 in April of 2014 and comfortably above the five-year average of 523. However, the overall value of these permits was a mere $110 million; down from $133 million the year before and a five-year average of $144 million.

The largest permit issued in April was issued to Balfour Beatty in the amount of $24.4 million for the Pine Hollow Middle School. Balfour was also responsible for the second largest permit of the month, a new medical office building for Wake County, which was listed on the permits as costing a little more than $6 million.

A rendering of Pine Hollow Middle School

RATIO Design

A rendering of Pine Hollow Middle School

April 2015 saw a total of 618 real estate transactions, less than the 880 in April 2014 and the five-year average of 659. These transactions were valued at a total of $223 million; the five year average was $249 million, and April 2014’s transactions were valued at a total of $280 million. Ouch.

The largest sale in April was for an office building known as the Crabtree Overlook, situated off Lead Mine Road near the Crabtree Valley Mall. Built way back when in the year 2000, the building was sold April 14 to the Starwood Capital Group, a private investment firm headquartered in Connecticut.

The Crabtree Overlook office building

Wake County

The Crabtree Overlook office building

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