Development Beat: New Cameron Village Apartment Complex Recommended For Approval

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Planning Commissioners voted this week to recommend approval for another Cameron Village multi-family complex, 616 Oberlin, which will join 401 Oberlin and Crescent Cameron Village in providing apartment living near Raleigh’s original shopping center. 
The proposed 215-unit, 54,037 square-foot apartment building and its six-level — two are underground — parking deck were designed by JDavis Architects, which also worked on downtown’s upcoming Lincoln Apartments


While existing residents raised concerns about the potential traffic impacts resulting from 616 Oberlin, particularly the effect of a cut-through to Daniels Street, the decision to recommend approval was nonetheless unanimous.

More Cameron Village
Although the space once known as the Village Subway, beneath the current Fresh Market, has drawn much attention (and more and some more) in recent years as an interesting relic of CV’s storied past, the development has a deeper, and arguably more interesting history that can be traced back to the 19th century. 
According to the excellent 1967 book “North Carolina’s Capital, Raleigh,” a mansion known as The Cameron House was built in 1835 across from St. Mary’s School by Judge Duncan Cameron. North Carolina author Thomas Dixon went on to use the house as the backdrop for his novel The Clansman, on which the infamous silent film “Birth of a Nation” was based.
The wildly successful 1915 picture was revolutionary in introducing groundbreaking filmmaking techniques to the public, but it is now mostly known as a racist, ghastly spectacle in which members of the Ku Klux Klan are portrayed as heroes. Although a slave-owner himself, Judge Cameron would not likely have made for a welcome member of the Klan, as he eventually gave many of his slaves a parcel of the property located along what is now Oberlin Road.
“North Carolina’s Capital, Raleigh” author Elizabeth Culbertson Waugh stated in her book that as recently as 1967, descendants of these slaves remained on those plots of land.
When local contractor JW York and Goldsboro contractor RA Bryan proposed a shopping and residential development for a portion of the remaining space in 1947, it was originally named Smallwood Village. The name was changed to Cameron Village in honor of the judge’s family.
Happening Now-ish
Members of the Carolina Country Club will soon have a new three-story outdoor driving range from which to launch their very own Cinderella stories. The 640-square-foot structure will be built by multi-state construction firm Clancy and Theys at a cost of $85,000.


James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

Another independent coffee shop will soon be opening downtown, joining Cafe de los Muertos, which opened on Hargett Street in January. Brew, a coffee and beer shop, is set to open at Seaboard Station in July, The café has announced plans to source its coffee from local roasters such as Raleigh Coffee Company and its beer from local brewers. The combination of fresh beans and fresh beer will make the spot a perfect hangout for recovering and functional alcoholics alike. 
It’ll come in like a wrecking ball, but hopefully the trained professionals from Cecil Holcomb Demolition won’t just close their eyes and swing when it comes to knocking down the Cameron Place condominiums on Daniels Road. Located a few hundred yards from Cameron Village, the four-unit, single story structure is scheduled to be torn down within the next 10 days to make room for the aforementioned 616 Oberlin development. Mr. Holcomb shared the approximate demolition timetable with this reporter after some initial hesitation, believing the inquiry to be part of a “trick” phone call. For future reference sir, there are no tricks in this column, only treats.

Speaking of treats, permits were also issued last week for the fit-out of a new tenant, the Lotus Massage Spa, at the Tri-Plaza shopping center on North Market Drive, located behind the Red Lobster on Old Wake Forest Road. The spa will join illustrious Raleigh institution the Meerak Lounge in occupying this upscale retail outparcel. Open 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday-Wednesday and 10 p.m. – 8 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, Meerak Lounge is described in a recent ad on’s Female Escorts section as “the only all-nude exotic dance club in the Triangle Area.”  


James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

Coming Soon
In addition to the 616 Oberlin development, Planning Commissioners this week also heard and recommended for approval site plan cases for a new elementary school and a new access point for the Plantation Point shopping center.
Abbotts Creek Elementary, to be built in North Raleigh on a 12.5-acre parcel of land on Durant Road between Falls of Neuse and Capital Boulevard, is a $22.2 million project several years in the making. Preliminary design for the three-story, 103,581 square-foot structure, based upon the Alston Ridge Elementary prototype, began in December 2008. Clark Nexsen was Abbotts Creek’s primary architect, and Barnhill Contracting will serve as the project’s construction manager.
A representative from CLH Design, the landscape architect and civil engineer for the school, described the project to Planning Commissioners as an “amazing opportunity” and an “outstanding collaboration” between the city of Raleigh, Wake County, and the Wake County School System.
The final case this week dealt with a project of much smaller scale. The Plantation Point shopping center in North Raleigh, just south of I-540 and west of Capital Boulevard, currently has several access points from Ruritania Street to the south and one from Old Wake Forest Road to the east. The new driveway will allow for right-turn only access from Capital Boulevard.
Unfinished Business
After reading last week’s Development Beat, in which this reporter’s skills in parsing a database file were on full display, reader Doug A. posed a question: How many North Carolina Counties have a street in Wake County? Well Doug, if by “have a street” you meant “have a street bearing their name,” then your prayers for an answer have been … answered.
Out of North Carolina’s 100 counties, a mere nine do not have corresponding street names in Wake County, although all but one have close approximations:
Chowan – Chow Lane
Edgecombe – 24 compound names with Edge in them from Edgebrook to Edgeworth, just no Edgecombe
Greene – Green Road, Green Street and Green Court
Mecklenburg – No close equivalent (insert Charlotte-bashing here)
New Haven – 69 two-word street names that begin with “New” plus Haven Road, but no New Haven (There’s no New Haven County in North Carolina, though that is the name of the county where our editor grew up. There’s New Hanover in N.C.)
Robeson – Robertson Street
Stanly – Stanley Court
Stokes – Stokesay Court
Surry – Surrey Court


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