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Friday, December 11, 2015

It’s Friday and we’re still in the first half of the month, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for another edition of By The Numbers, a look back at November’s real estate sales and permits issued data.

The numbers are pulled from city and county sources, and while I’m sure an error or two might have found its way into one or both of those databases, any mistakes contained in this column are solely the fault of its author, as he had trouble grasping any mathematical concepts beyond those found in Grade 9 Algebra I.

That being said: let’s get down to business.

We’ll start with real estate, since the numbers there tell a somewhat more interesting story. November of 2015 saw 881 total residential and commercial (and all the other types in between) real estate sales, more than any November going back through 2010.

The overall value of these sales, however, was lower than it’s been in more than five years: $237,778,308. The previous five-year average was more than $407 million, and 2010 was the last time the total value number was lower($114,862,311).

The Millbrook Green Apartments

Wake County

The Millbrook Green Apartments

The largest sale of the month was that of the Millbrook Green apartments in North Raleigh off Green Road for $29.7 million. The apartments, as it happens, are located right next to a 24-hour Sheetz, which probably explains why the demand for the property was so high that the sale had to be split between four different companies.

These four were:

  • Millbrook 276 LLC — formed September 29, 2015, traces back to a private individual living in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Uncommon Raleigh LLC — formed October 29, 2015, traces back to Schmier & Feurring Properties, an office and retail developer out of Boca Raton, Florida
  • Stutz/Millbrook TIC LLC — formed October 27, 2015, traces back to Pomeroy Living, a developer specializing in upscale senior living properties. Their tagline is “If this all sounds more like a small boutique hotel than a senior living community, you are right on track.”
  • Millbrook Raleigh LLC — formed October 29, 2015, traces back to a Florida LLC that has been involved with other apartment developments

It was previously owned by an LLC that traces back to a Raleigh-based commercial real estate developer, Chris Woody & Associates. The apartment complex itself was first built less than 10 years ago in 2007.

While the sale of Millbrook Green was the only transaction valued at over $10 million last month, local company ROI Revolution purchased in two separate transactions the Atlantic Office Park located at 4401 & 4501 Atlantic Avenue in North Raleigh outside the beltline.

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 7.02.26 AM

The Atlantic Office Park

The permit numbers for November were much better than the real estate ones: the total overall value of the permits issued last month were more than $160 million; nearly $50 million higher than the previous five-year average. The only individual year which saw higher numbers for November was 2012.

A total of 472 permits were issued in November, which was about 40 more than the previous five-year average.

Interestingly enough, it was a mere 6 of those permits (issued for two separate projects) that made up more than half of that $160 million figure.

The two projects are The Bluffs at Walnut Creek, which are getting built by Pedcor Construction for $19 million, and a development at North Hills titled North Hills East, which is getting built by Clancy and Theys for more than $68 million.

A site plan for the Bluffs at Walnut Creek, drawn up by Withers and Ravenel

Pedcor Development

A site plan for the Bluffs at Walnut Creek, drawn up by Withers and Ravenel

In January’s edition of By The Numbers, we’ll be taking a look back not only at December 2015, but the entire year as well and comparing it to ones past. This means we might be throwing in some more stats and figures at you, like, which contractor received the most permits in Raleigh in 2015, or which real estate firm bought up the most property throughout the year.

If there’s anything you, dear reader, would like to see included, please leave a comment below or shoot me an email, and I’ll be sure to take it under advisement, provided it doesn’t create *too much* more work for me.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Downtown Raleigh’s newest and most luxurious office building, Charter Square, will soon be adding a new bar, Haymaker, to its mix of offerings.

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

James Borden

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

Haymaker will be run by the Raleigh-based hospitality group Eschelon Experiences, which currently operates a number of area restaurants, including Raleigh’s The Oxford, Zinda and Faire.

Charter Square, which opened in June and is located at 555 Fayetteville Street downtown, was actually built without preleasing most of the tenants, a pretty bold and somewhat unusual move by developer Dominion Realty Partners.

Permits issued November 30 to Southeastern Properties & Development in the amount of $223,545 described the work for Haymaker as an interior completion of a 1,755 square-foot space. Media reports from last month indicate that it will open sometime in the spring of 2016.

Also receiving permits last week on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh was some office work for none other than Indy Week, the area’s local alternative newspaper. Although the newspaper currently has offices in Durham, I’m pretty sure this office is part of an expansion the paper has been planning which would include more coverage of Raleigh.

Vital Source Technologies will be moving across the street to 227 Fayetteville

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

Vital Source Technologies will be moving across the street to 227 Fayetteville

Indy Week’s Raleigh offices will be located at 227 Fayetteville, a somewhat-recently revamped office building first built in 1964. The building is presently home to both Innovate Raleigh and Vital Source, an educational technology company. The office for the Indy will, according to permits, occupy about 827 square feet and will be fit-out at a cost of $50,000 by RCI Builders.

The best-named job of last week was probably also the least glamorous: a takeout only restaurant at a gas station. Gorilla Grille Carry Out will be located at the Shell Station at 210 E. Six Forks Road.

No word on whether this will be replacing the existing Dunkin’ Donuts currently operating there, but we’ve inquired into it and will let you, our faithful readers, know if we hear anything. The work for Gorilla Grille will be handled by Davis Builders at a cost of $75,000.

One of the smaller permits issued last week is actually for a job much bigger than anything else we’ve looked at: a new hotel near Triangle Town Center on Capital Boulevard.

The new Fairfield Inn & Suites, which we’ve discussed before, will come in at five stories and around 84,000 square feet. It would house 90 guest rooms, and include amenities such as an outdoor pool, four handicap spaces and a dumpster area.

Site plans for the new Fairfield Inn & Suites

The permits issued last week were for a retaining wall, usually the final stage of the sitework portion of a project. A company named, appropriately enough, Vertical Walls, will be handling the $12,649 job. We’re sure this property will be coming up again in the next few weeks once it received new building permits, so keep an eye out.

Closing out our permit roundup for last week is some work being done at one of Raleigh’s premier fine-dining establishments: the Applebee’s at 501 E. Six Forks Road received $19,500 worth of permits last week for a new awning, canopy and trellis. Obviously, this work is being done in order to draw attention from the new Gorilla Grille located just a few blocks away, likely to be a fierce competitor. Norville Construction will be handling the work.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Once in a blue moon, a project from the normally mundane selection of Subdivision Cases filed with the city happens to stand out, usually because they’ve got a name like The Oasis, or, in today’s case, Raleigh Dairyland.

NC State Library - 1957


A quick note: even though all the projects filed as subdivision cases are, ostensibly, residential developments, there’s been a few times where these “subdivisions” turn out to be new churches or office buildings. So in my mind, there was a slight chance that maybe Raleigh Dairyland was some kind of creamery where you could go buy freshly-made ice cream, ala NC State’s Howling Cow brand.

Nope. It’s just a standard subdivision, located off Lake Boone Trail just inside the beltline. As it turns out, there’s been a few subdivision plans filed for Dairyland recently, but until the most recent one, all had names like “Dairyland Subdivision Lots 017 & 018.” Which is why they didn’t stand out.


See? Boring.

So was there anything interesting about this subdivision, now that I’d learned it wasn’t an ice-cream factory? Well … not really. But let’s take a look back on its history anyway.

The earliest records we were able to dig up on this were site plans drawn up in July of 1953 by engineer J. McCree Smith for developer W.H. Thomas. Not surprising, then, that one of the main streets in the Dairyland subdivision is Thomas Road.

Despite the early date of these drawings, none of the houses on the indicated lots appear to have been built before about 1961 or so. Many of the houses in Dairyland now were built within the last ten years, although many of those along Thomas Road were built in the 1960s and 70s.

One slightly interesting thing of note: despite its name, one of the 1970s deeds for a home in Dairyland lists as a covenant (emphasis mine): “No swine, poultry, rabbits, goats or cattle shall be kept on the premises and no enclosures for housing or confining the same shall be erected or maintained on the land contained herein.”

Original plans for Dairyland

Wake County

Original plans for Dairyland

Pretty cruel of old W.H. Thomas there. Speaking of, I couldn’t find out much about this guy who developed Dairyland, but part of me wonders if there might not be a relation to this guy: William Holland Thomas. According to Wikipedia, the guy was once locked up in the State Hospital for the Insane in Raleigh, so it’s totally possible that his children’s children could have gone on to become real estate developers in the area. Crazier things have happened.

Anyway, enough speculation about the past. Here in the present, the recent subdivision case, S-77-15, calls for the demolition of an existing home and apparently replacing it with two new houses on the half-acre lot located at 3312 Thomas Road.

Like many of the homes along Thomas, 3312 was built in the 1970s — 1975, to be specific. It looks to have been owned by the same family from 1974 until 2014, when it was purchased by Raleigh Custom Homes, Inc.

Google Maps

This home will eventually be torn down

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It’s Teardown Tuesday here on the Development Beat, and we’ve got a nice pair o’ projects to look at today, so let’s get right to it.

First up on the chopping block is a 26,352 square-foot multi-tenant commercial building known as Newton Commons in North Raleigh, located at 240 Newton Road between Six Forks and Falls of Neuse Roads.

Newton Commons

Wake County

Newton Commons

First built in 1990, the building has had more than its fair share of dangerous and exciting tenants over the years, including as H & R Block, Franklin’s Printing and All About Pets Grooming. Basically this was the kind of place you avoided after dark if you valued your life.

It was purchased in 2014 by an LLC that traces back to a small insurance company out of Charlotte.

According to a site plan filed in September of last year, the plan is to turn the property into a 118,275 square-foot storage facility. The facility is being developed by another Charlotte-based company, Development Management Inc, and designed by Ayer Design Group out of Rock Hill, SC.

Site plans for the planned storage facility

City of Raleigh

Site plans for the planned storage facility

Plans call for the facility to be built in two phases; first a three-story, 91,350 building, and then a three-story, 26,965 square-foot addition.

The demolition will be handled by Metrolina, a contractor based out of, you guessed it, Charlotte, for $308,293.

Next up on the list is a demolition of the sort we wouldn’t normally cover: a single family home. Located at 3407 North New Hope Road in Northeast Raleigh, the 6,018 square-foot single-story home was first built in 1991.

This home will be torn down to make way for a new church

Wake County

This home will be torn down to make way for a new church

In 2009, it was purchased by the adjacent St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church, which has plans in the works to build a new religious facility. In July, it began the process of tearing down several adjacent homes in order to make way for the new church.

The church’s website has some information about this summer’s demolition projects, but scant information on the church itself. There was a YouTube video titled “New Church Building” — but it wasn’t in English. Honestly, I have no idea what language this is, but I’m guessing it’s Arabic:

For the curious, “The Coptic Church is based on the teachings of Saint Mark who brought Christianity to Egypt during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero in the first century, a dozen of years after the Lord’s ascension.”

Nero, as in, played a fiddle while Rome burned? No wonder Saint Mark high-tailed it to Egypt. And yes, that was Mark, as in, the Gospel of Mark. Interestingly enough, the Coptic Church was the first major “split” in the Christian Church, and predates both the Roman-Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Which makes sense, considering that Mark was their first bishop sometime around AD 42.

It’s impressive that a church dating back more than nineteen centuries old is in a position to be buying up and tearing down properties to make way for an expanded worship center, but I guess when you’ve got Mark the Apostle on your side, anything is possible.

St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church

Universal Pops on Flickr

St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church

Monday, December 7, 2015

Welcome back to another week of the Development Beat, where today we’ll kick things off with a look at a rezoning case that could expand the Triangle Orthopaedics Surgery Center in Brier Creek.

Situated at 7921 ACC Boulevard, the center was first built in 2012 and was the first orthopaedic ambulatory surgery facility in the region.

The Triangle Orhopaedic Surgery Center

The Triangle Orhopaedics Surgery Center

According to their website:

Triangle Orthopaedic Associates, P.A., is a physician-directed medical practice, caring for patients with musculoskeletal and pain problems through “state-of-the-art” medical treatment, surgery, physical medicine & rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational (hand) therapy, a chronic pain program, and other medical and diagnostic services responsive to the needs of patients living within the counties that we serve.

Rezoning case Z-44-15 will rezone the property from CUD TD with Planned Development Overlay District to CX-7-CU. Although the rezoning case is not exceedingly specific, it says the property currently has office as its predominant use, which will remain the case in the future.

According to the documentation:

“The proposed building expansion, when added to the existing office, commercial, and residential uses of the Alexander Place PDD and Brier Creek Development, creates a place where citizens can live, work and play with safe, accessible and functional buildings which are within walking distance of have their own distinctive identity, and many amenities.”

A map of the property and surrounding area

Bing Maps

A map of the property and surrounding area

Sounds like a nice place.

Well known Raleigh attorney Isabel Mattox is representing the Charlotte-based property owners on the case. Mattox and the owners scheduled a neighborhood meeting at the Brier Creek Community Center on November 12 to go over the details of the project, but of the 30+ property owners invited, none showed up.

Due to the existing development, significant landscaping work will not be required as part of the new development. According to the plans, the site utilizes a landscaped buffer area between the sidewalk along ACC Blvd and the parking area.

Although the rezoning case roughly outlines what the new development would entail, the owner has already placed a number of conditions on the property, which would prevent such uses as bars, pawnshops, jails and carwashes.

Once the case goes through review by city staff, it will be evaluated by the planning commission, which will choose whether or not to recommend the case for approval. Following that, it will be up to city council whether to approve the rezoning and allow the expansion to begin.

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8 thoughts on “Development Beat

  1. Newton Commons was unsuccessful from the day it opened. The only question is why it survived this long. Good riddance.

  2. Hopefully the self-storage facility will be more successful. I’ve seen a lot of them popping up lately. One mostly-unrelated but mildly interesting fact: a blog dedicated to the self-storage industry listed Raleigh as the #1 spot for tech startups & workers (outside of Silicon Valley/SF of course).

  3. It looks like only part of Newton Commons will be torn down? I can’t imagine how the rest of it will survive.

  4. Yes the Gorilla Grille will be replacing the Dunking Donuts that was previously inside the shell station. They removed their sign and all of their equipment weeks ago, I live right up the street.

  5. Could you provide more information on the “North Hills East” development by Clancy and Theys? I could not find anything documented through the city’s website.