Development Beat: Renovation Roundup

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Last week saw a limited number of commercial renovation projects, likely due in part to Friday’s storm. Of the ones issued, however, several were for local restaurants.

First up were a series of permits for the new Dram & Draught, a new private tavern being developed in a former auto body shop located at 623 Hillsborough Street, across from Char-Grill and near intersection with Glenwood Avenue.

The future site of Dram & Draught

Wake County

The future site of Dram & Draught

The 1,473 square-foot space will be re-adapted to house the new 96-person occupancy bar. In addition to the $141,610 change of use permit, Bost Construction Company also received permits for a walk-in cooler, an outdoor patio/ramp and a patio canopy.

As for the name of the new place, Dram is apparently a slang term for a small drink of whiskey, and Draught is the English spelling of draft, an adjective that describes beer served from a barrel or a tank as opposed to a bottle or a can.

The site plans filed back in October for Dram & Draught didn’t offer up a ton of detail, but they did paint a picture of a place that will likely be described with terms like “cozy” and “intimate” rather than “spacious” and “sprawling.”

Site plans for Dram & Draught

City of Raleigh

Site plans for Dram & Draught

Next up we’ve got a $30,000 alteration job in the kitchen of the Raleigh Times, located at 210 South Wilmington Street. The Raleigh Times is one of a number of downtown hot spots that belongs to the Empire Eats family of restaurants.

Other eateries include The Pit, Sitti and Gravy. The renovation at Raleigh Times is listed at $30,000 and is not surprisingly being handled by Empire Hard Hat Construction. Empire Hard Hat is, of course, a subsidiary of Empire Development, which owns Empire Eats along with a good chunk of downtown real estate.

A small — as in $600 — interior demolition job was permitted last week at Player’s Retreat at 105 Oberlin Road, work that will be done by Benjamin Hale Builders. And yes, Player’s Retreat is a restaurant, not a seedy gentleman’s club like the gone-but-not-forgotten Foxy Lady on Capital Boulevard.

Our final restaurant project involves the renovation of a long-dormant Wendy’s at 3400 Olympia Drive off South Wilmington Street in South Raleigh. It’s one of those buildings that, even without any signage or prior knowledge, you know it used to be a Wendy’s. It has that weird bubble-domed seating area around the perimeter that, for a time, was a critical part of any Wendy’s. Now that’s gone, replaced by fake fireplaces and more upscale décor.

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The former Wendy’s on Olympia Drive in June of 2014

But this long-standing fast-food joint, first built in 1977, won’t be getting turned into a modern-day Wendy’s. Nope: it’s getting turned into a modern-day Waffle House. Which we imagine isn’t all that different from, say, a 1977-era Waffle House.

That’s not to pick on the chain; actually, I think Waffle House is pretty decent. No idea why it has such a bad rep. And the chain is renowned for its ability to open in even the most extreme weather conditions. Seriously, if we happen to get a snowstorm that lasts for more than a day this year, and you’re stuck in your house with no food and no power, seek out a Waffle House.

The Wendy's on Olympia Drive in May of 2013, only a year before the previous picture was taken. What a difference!

The Wendy’s on Olympia Drive in May of 2013, only a year before the previous picture was taken. What a difference!

There wasn’t much else in the way of permits last week, although it does appear as if the upscale bridal boutique Traditions by Anna will be relocating to the Marketplace at Lake Boone, otherwise known as the home of Guasaca.

The $100,000 renovation of the 3,840 square-foot space at 4035 Lake Boone Trail will be done by JCI Builders.

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