Development Beat

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Friday, September 18, 2015

The week of September 7, 2015 was not a big one for commercial renovation permits. Only 22 were issued; and they totaled out to around $1.2 million; many weeks see multiple projects each worth more than that paltry total.

Pictured: Not the mascot for Amber Road, unfortunately

Pictured: Not the mascot for Amber Road, unfortunately

Oh well. The biggest project of the week was a $218,000 office upfit for a company named Amber Road that’s actually located on Corporate Center Drive. Don’t let the name get your hopes up though: Amber Road is not a genetics research company looking into the possibility of extracting dinosaur blood from mosquitoes trapped in amber.

Instead, according to their website, they specialize in “global trade management.” Not sure what that is really, but it sounds fascinating. Still, it’s hard not to read their slogan, “Tapping into a hidden source of value” as some kind of sly Jurassic Park allusion. Or not. Probably not.

The owner of the building, Highwoods Realty Partnership, will be handling the construction work on the 4,800 square-foot space.

This office complex houses the Raleigh office of Amber Road

Wake County

This office complex houses the Raleigh office of Amber Road

The next biggest job is probably of a little more interest, at least to those who live and work downtown: the completion of a B Good restaurant at Charter Square on Fayetteville. The healthy quick-service chain, whose menu includes everything from a “Kale Crush” shake to hamburgers, has locations in a number of east coast states, and recently opened a spot at North Hills.

Charter Square's glass windows do not absorb heat, making it much easier to cool and light the building

James Borden

Charter Square

It should likely be a welcome addition to downtown Raleigh, which doesn’t really have a plethora of quick-service options. Of course, the ones that do exist are right in that same area of Fayetteville Street, but so it goes. The job will be done by Westroc Construction for $180,000.

Next up is another restaurant job; this one dealing with fire damage repairs at the Twisted Fork at Triangle Town Center. The $150,000 worth of work — that must have been some fire — will be handled by Belfour USA Group.

Rounding out the trio of eatery upfits is a place called simply “More Restaurant.” It will be located at 116 N. West Street, on the same parcel that once housed Napper Tandy’s, before it migrated over to Glenwood South. The $145,000 job will be done by RCI Builders. Note – we originally said the same building that Napper Tandy’s was: this is inaccurate as it is only on the same lot. Cloud Brewing is in the former space. Thank you to reader Mike for clearing this up!

The former home of Napper Tandy's

Wake County

The former home of Napper Tandy’s

The only other job worth mentioning — many of the permits from last week were for things like parking lot lights or screen doors, seriously — was the fit-out of a space at 207 West Davie Street for a new “Misfit Mercantile” named Gypsy Julie.

The store will, probably not surprisingly, sell everything from crystal necklaces and Tokyo Milk Excess hand creme to fedora-style hats and leather cuff bracelets emblazoned with things like “Nomad” and “Born to Roam.” Honestly this place is begging to be picked on, but I won’t take the bait. Some weird gypsy curse is really the last thing I need in my life right now.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Apartment dwellers seeking to escape the high rents and apparently unlivable conditions of downtown Raleigh will soon have a new option in the suburbs of North Raleigh near the intersection of Millbrook and Old Wake Forest.

Doesn't look all that hilly...or windy

Google Maps

Doesn’t look all that hilly … or windy

Permits were issued last week for the new Windy Hill Apartments, a two-building, 24-unit complex getting built for a listed cost of only $1.6 million by Heritage Remodel & Design.

The complex will be owned and likely managed by Quail Properties, which maintains a number of other generically named multifamily properties throughout the city, including Turtle Cove, Otter Run and Bridge Crossing, where the rent generally falls in the $700-$900 range for a two-bedroom unit.

The two 14,000 square-foot buildings at Windy Hill will each contain 12 units, and will be accompanied by 49 parking spaces. As the parcel itself is less than two acres, no tree conservation will be required. No wetland areas or riparian buffers will be required, either.

While one of the downsides of suburban apartment living is lack of pedestrian access to retail and other commercial services, new residents at Windy Hill will be only a ten-minute walk away from the Quail Corners Shopping Center. Incidentally, this center, home to popular specialty shops such as The Butcher’s Market and this reporter’s personal favorite, Rocket Fizz, is also owned by Quail Properties.

The Quail Corners Shopping Center

Quail Properties

The Quail Corners Shopping Center


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

As city council weighs the pros and cons of approving controversial rezoning case Z-27-14, which would remap a large portion of the city, one developer has decided they don’t want to wait to move ahead with a new residential mixed use project on Trinity Road near the intersection of Wade and I-40.

A map of the property i question

Bing Maps

A map of the property in question

If approved, Z-27-14 would allow plans for the Trinity Road project, Z-36-15, to move forward, as the proposed rezoning is in line with what is proposed under the broader, citywide remapping.

The case involves rezoning three properties on Trinity Road to OX-3-PK, which would allow residential, commercial and office development to be built up on the three-acre parcel of land.

In what is perhaps an effort to speed along approval of Z-36, Envision Homes added several conditions to the property, which would not be required if the project moved forward under Z-27.

This Sheetz on Green Road is located next to an apartment complex

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

Conditions placed on the Trinity Road property under Z-36-15 would prohibit gas stations

These include the prohibition of a gas station, limiting residential development to 10 units/acre, capping general office use to 60,000 square feet, medical office use to 45,000 SF, shopping center use to 24,000 SF, supermarkets to 15,000 and banks to 11,000. Why a bank would need to be that large is beyond my understanding, but there it is.

According to the application for Z-36, should the citywide remapping case receive approval first, the application for Z-36 would be withdrawn, and with it, those conditions.

Minutes from a public meeting held last month for this case held at the Wingate Hotel indicate that some neighbors were concerned that developing townhomes on the property in question could lower their property values.

A representative from Envision Homes noted that townhomes would be allowed under the citywide remapping case the same as they would under Z-36, and that any concerns about the shift to OX-3-PK should be addressed to city council.


Look at this beautiful aesthetic view along Urban Thoroughfare!

Although no specific plans are outlined in the application, it is noted that the rezoning would provide the potential for “residential units close to numerous office buildings along Trinity Road,” and that the adjacent parkway frontage “provides an aesthetic view along Urban Thouroughfare.”

It would also allow the option of developing mixed-use (retail, residential, office) that would “provide a wide range of services to the area.”

Due to the dual rezoning applications that would both allow this development to move forward as planned, it is highly likely that it will be receiving approval in one form or the other by year’s end.

Any neighbors concerned about the potential impact of a new mixed-use development near their homes would probably be better served should Z-36 receive approval before Z-27, due to the restrictive conditions the newer case places on the property, which would not be required should the citywide remapping move forward first.

This is not too different from a rezoning case approved by council in July for a project in Southeast Raleigh, where property owner Phuc Tran sought to receive approvals to turn a rehabbed Seventh-day Adventist Church into a restaurant despite fierce neighborhood pushback.

Had Mr. Tran been willing to wait out city council’s inevitable approval of the citywide remapping (of course, it may not be approved in its exact, current form, but one way or another, it’s happening), the numerous conditions he placed on the property, including ones that limit the hours of operation and the amount of outdoor seating provided, would not have been necessary, and the neighbors who were unhappy with the case would have been twice as unsatisfied.

Or maybe three times. It’s hard to measure these kind of things.

A photo of the former Seventh Day Adventist Church in 2013

Wake County

A photo of the former Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2013

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It’s Teardown Tuesday here on the Development Beat, which means we’re going to take a quick look at a building going the way of the dodo.

This week, the subject happens to be a former BP Gas Station — although property records indicate Texaco owned the land, way back in the 1970s. The site is located at 2120 New Bern Ave, a little east of the intersection with Raleigh Boulevard. So, not exactly the nicest part of town.

The BP Gas Station at 2120 New Bern Avenue in February 2015

Wake County

The BP Gas Station at 2120 New Bern Avenue in February 2015

The 1,928 square-foot food mart that sits astride the gas pumps will be torn down by WL Bishop Construction Company for $80,000. It was first built in 1984, and the same owner has held onto it since August of 2001.

Site plans filed late last year indicate that the gas station will be replaced by a Family Fare, and that WL Bishop will be involved with that aspect of the project as well.

For those unfamiliar, Family Fare is another brand of gas-station convenience store. So while the old BP Building will come down, it will just be replaced by a newer, shinier version of essentially the same thing.

New building, same as the old building. And still probably not one of my top choices for places to stop for gas in the greater Raleigh area.

The gas station in January 1996.

Wake County

The gas station in January 1996.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Welcome back to another week of the Development Beat, where we’ll kick things off with a slightly-delayed edition of By the Numbers, a look back at the permit and real estate data from August 2015.

The data pulled from county and city records, and cover all residential and nonresidential real estate sales and issued construction permits. Any errors are our own.

Although the last few months have seen a dramatic rise in almost all categories, the numbers fell in two out of four for the month of August 2015.

While the total number of real estate transactions at 807 was slightly higher than the five-year average of 728, it was down from 2013 and 2014’s August totals.

The total value of these transactions was $40 million below the five year average, coming in at just around $219 million. It was the lowest overall value for the month of August since 2011, when the number was at an even lower $146 million.

Despite these low numbers, there were a few big sales, including the purchase of the $69 million (snicker) Westvill Medical Center near Rex off Lake Boone Trail by Brackett Flagship Properties, and the $4.3 million sale of the John J Kirklin office building on Brownleigh Drive to Durham-based Agua Properties.

The Westvill Medical Center

Wake County

The Westvill Medical Center

The smallest sale of the month (obviously this was a larger category) was for the $5,000 sale of a unit at the Oaks @ Old Wake Condo building near the intersection of Millbrook and Old Wake Forest Road.

While the total number of permits issued for residential and nonresidential construction projects was, at 555, lower than the five-year average of 597, the total value of those permits was almost double the five-year average, and, naturally, a five-year high at $212 million.

This large number can be attributed to a number of significant projects that received permits throughout the month, including a $43 million one for Midtown Plaza at North Hills, a $22 million project at Wake Tech and more than $30 million worth of continued work on 616 Oberlin.

A rendering of Midtown Plaza

Kane Realty

A rendering of Midtown Plaza

Of course, there were some small projects permitted as well, including a $1 permit described as “Misc./general merchandise” and dress alteration. Weird. The smallest actual construction project we could find was a $100 “header repair” for a home on Tinsley Court. Not sure what that is, but at least it wasn’t too expensive!

7 thoughts on “Development Beat

  1. “The site is located at 2120 New Bern Ave, a little east of the intersection with Raleigh Boulevard. So, not exactly the nicest part of town.”

    I live about two blocks away! Ouch, my feelings.

    I’m glad it’s being torn down. That gas station has been vacant ever since it caught on fire a couple years ago and the owner never renovated it. Maybe clearing the land will allow something else to come in. But it will probably go the way of the old Winn Dixie directly down the hill and remain vacant.

  2. Actually it appears my reading comprehension skills are in the toilet. It’s where us folks from the not nice side of town keep them! I am glad we are getting a new gas station. The Family Dollar is the only other thing in easy walking distance from me and even after it had a renovation it still does not cut it.

  3. Chris – still looking into that, will hopefully have an update on Monday.

    Ants – didn’t mean to denigrate your neighborhood 🙂 For what it’s worth, I live within easy walking distance of three pawn shops and a handful of motels that were the recent site of a series of ah, investigations related to “adult services.” Glad you’re happy with a new gas station though!

    Mike – You’re correct, it’s just on the same lot/legally designated parcel, not in the same space, which is now home to Clouds. Thanks for clearing that up!

  4. Development Beat no longer shows up when I log onto RPR. I have to Google your name to get to this section. What’s up with that?

  5. Hi Chad!

    Sorry about the hassle. The disappearance of the column off the front page was a result of us publishing more articles this week than usual.

    Without getting too boring about it, the original Development Beat post I put up each Monday is updated throughout the week with more content; it is not republished. Therefore it just keeps getting pushed down by newer articles until it disappears off the front page.

    We’re going to be doing some work on the site this weekend so I’ll look into seeing if there’s a way to make sure Dev Beat stays on the home page at all times without seeming like I’m just feeding my ego.