The Development Beat

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Yesterday we discussed briefly the opening of a new Planet Fitness off Six Forks; to our eternal regret, we completely forgot to make any “lunk head” jokes.

For those not in the know – all Planet Fitness locations come stocked with a “lunk alarm” which members can sound if someone is acting like too much of a meat-head. Needless to say, this reporter has had the alarm sounded on him countless times. Not my fault I can bench the equivalent of a mid-sized sedan.

Bro, do you even lift?

Wikimedia Commons

Bro, do you even lift?

With that out of the way, let’s move on to some of the other Raleigh renovation projects scheduled to start any day now.

For the record, racquetball is way cooler than tennis.

For the record, racquetball is way cooler than tennis.

Incidentally, the second most expensive job permitted last week – Planet Fitness was the first – was another exercise facility. $285,000 worth of permits were issued for the renovation of the Raleigh Racquet Club. The 47-year-old facility will be adding a new bathroom and renovating the sun room, the cafe, lobby and pro shop. Are there pro racquetball players? It doesn’t matter, because despite its name, the Raleigh Racquet Club is dedicated to tennis, not racquetball. Which is too bad.

Members of the Raleigh Racquet Club or Planet Fitness who feel like indulging after a good workout would do well to check out one of the two restaurants recently permitted for renovation.

First we have Three Olives Pizza, which has two existing locations in Clayton and Garner and boasts of serving “non-traditional” pizza. If it ain’t broke… The restaurant will open at 800 South New Hope Road following a $20,000 renovation of the space.



Second is Mizu, which bills itself as “The best sushi in North Raleigh.” The jokes practically write themselves on this one, as it is this reporter’s opinion that boasting about having the best anything in such a small geographical area is kind of odd, especially when that “anything” is sushi. Their web page has a giant tentacle on it! And not as a joke!

Yes yes, this reporter has been told by readers to keep his food opinions to himself. But come on; a tentacle? Really?

Other renovations permitted last week include Thieves Market, which is not a place in which to purchase lockpicks and other tools of the trade, but rather, a large, indoor flea-market type situation that will be moving to 4111 New Bern Avenue, a $20,000 renovation of the Red Hat “annex” space downtown and a $305,000 renovation of the Bay Leaf fire station on Lynn Road, a property recently sold to Wake County in order to fund the construction of a new Bay Leaf station on Six Forks. The former fire house will be converted into a Wake County EMS station. Thanks are owed to reader Pete G. for further details on this project.

Red Hat is one of many employers driving a population boom in downtown Raleigh

Karen Tam / Raleigh Public Record

More renovations are coming for Red Hat

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Creekside Crossing off Six Forks will soon be welcoming a new tenant to its Kroger-anchored shopping center: Planet Fitness.

Creekside Crossing Shopping Center

Creekside Crossing Shopping Center

While this reporter has long been a member – and a fan – of the chain exercise club, Raleigh’s existing locations, while nice, do tend to pale in comparison with some of the newer facilities in other areas.

They include features such as red light therapy and newer, more modern exercise equipment that help take some of the sting out of a long run or bike ride. While Raleigh’s current locations do already house odd-for-a-gym amenities such as tanning beds, massage chairs and pizza nights, it will be interesting to see what the new gym’s owners manage to pack into the 24,000 square-foot space.

The $500,000 job is being handled by Carolina Building Systems, and will be occupying a space next to the Dollar Tree, in a space once occupied by Staples, which relocated to the nearby Holly Park shopping center last summer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

As the city’s plans for phase II of the Hillsborough Street Redevelopment have shown, public improvement projects can have a significant affect on the look and feel of downtown Raleigh.

While the Hillsborough project will certainly improve the aesthetics of the street – many power lines are moving underground, the median will likely look nicer than the existing middle lane – there have been a number of objections raised due to its potential impact on existing businesses.


James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

Exchange Plaza today

Beautifying the city doesn’t always have to come at the cost of ruffling the feathers of area businesses, however. City Council yesterday approved a revitalization project that will improve the look and feel of two key downtown connectors.

The project will focus on the redevelopment of Market and Exchange plazas, which connect Fayetteville to Wilmington Street and Moore Square station. These plazas were developed in the 1960s as part of a public-private partnership between the city of Raleigh, Wachovia and Raleigh Bank and Trust.

The improvements will include additional outdoor seating, “light nets” and an improved line of sight that will allow pedestrians to clearly see from one end of the plaza to the other. The project was designed by Surface 678 landscape architects, and the construction will be handled by Holt Brothers for slightly more than $1.1 million.

A rendering of the future of Exchange Plaza

City of Raleigh

A rendering of the future of Exchange Plaza

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Last week, we wanted to start a new, regular series: Teardown Tuesday, which would include reports on impending demolition projects. Just as there’s been a recent dearth of new building permits, however, there’s also been a severe lack of demolition jobs.

This house is being demolished.

Wake County

This house is being demolished.

There was, in fact, just one permitted last week – a 3,348 square-foot house off Martin Luther King Drive. The $1,000 project will be handled by Taylor’d Lumber & Equipment, a company based out of Four Oaks.

But that’s not very interesting. Yesterday on Twitter we reached out for ideas on what else our readers would like to see covered in this space. One suggestion was the case of Meredith Heights, for which there will be a public hearing at the February 3 city council meeting.

Meredith Heights holds a special place in this reporter’s heart, as it was one of the very first that we covered in this column. Back when it was only published once a week. AKA, the good old days.

When the case, a proposed dormitory-style development on Hillsborough near Meredith College, appeared before the planning commission in March, many neighbors turned out in opposition.

The five-story structure would hold between 90 and 110 units housing 300-350 students and may include ground-floor retail. Neighbors raised concerns over potential noise issues and which types of retail uses will be 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

A group of them hired an attorney to help prevent the project from moving forward. At the planning commission meeting, that attorney, Thomas Worth, put on a slideshow presentation and called Meredith Heights “just this side of shocking.”

Honestly, this reporter is pretty excited to see what he has in store for the public hearing.

On a not-so light note, while the neighborhood is very close to the campuses of both NC State and Meredith, it is still largely residential. A development like Meredith Heights would be quite a change of pace. It’s understandable why the neighbors are upset, and it’s understandable why a developer would want to come in and make this project happen.

Anyone interested in the outcome would do well to attend February’s public hearing.

Monday, January 19 2015

Welcome to the third week of the new daily version of the Development Beat. We’ll start off the week with another look at the Walnut Creek Amphitheater, which we previously reported would be receiving VIP toilets along with an office building.

Permits were issued on January 15 for a portion of the project, a 1,906 square-foot office building listed at a cost of $264,980. The company doing the work, TCC, submitted a total bid of $701,900 for the project.


Surprisingly, other than a few townhomes and single-family dwellings, this small office building was the only new building permit issued last week. The next closest was an ATM Wells Fargo is building at the Leesville Shopping Center.

The project will cost $15,000 and be handled by Facility Solutions Inc. It is unknown at this time whether they will be paid cash, in denominations of $20, for their services.

Since it was a slow week, we’ll also take the time to point out a seasonally incongrunet project that was permitted on January 13 – the addition of a cabana to an existing pool. Maybe there’s a discount for those kind of things if you order them in the winter, who knows.

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