Development Beat

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Friday, May 22, 2015

A lack of permits issued for new buildings last week didn’t mean there was a lack of work to be found for area contractors: more than $5 million in permits were issued for the completion of law offices at Charter Square on Fayetteville, and two other near-million jobs received permits as well.

The law firm in question, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, will apparently be occupying around 44,000 square feet of space at the new Charter Square office building located at 555 Fayetteville Street.

Construction continues on Charter Square on Fayetteville Street

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

Construction continues on Charter Square on Fayetteville Street

The firm, which specializes in “legislative and regulatory, corporate and securities, intellectual property, antitrust” and a lot of other important-sounding topics, currently makes its home down the street at 150 Fayetteville. DPR Construction will be handling the fit-out for them at Charter Square.

This is apparently our only file photo of the mall.

2006, NCDOT

This is apparently our only file photo of the mall.

The next biggest job from last week was $905,000 worth of work for Altar’d State, which will be located at the Crabtree Valley Mall. Based on the name, this reporter assumed it to be some kind of “tobacco” shop like Buddha’s Belly or Kitsch, but, alas, it’s just another clothing store — sorry, “fashion boutique.”

According to their website, Altar’d State’s purpose is not to sell clothing and turn a profit; rather, their mission is to “fill a gap in the retail industry and change the world for the better.”

They apparently have around 50 locations throughout the country, although we’re a little unclear on the world-changing properties of any of these stores. Really, if anything, shops like Buddha’s Belly & Kitsch are probably doing more to make the world a better place than some high-end clothier, but who’s to say.

A company, named, appropriately enough “Knoebel Construction” will be handling the build-out of Altar’d State.

The final large permit of last week belonged to the Cambridge Apartments, located off Six Forks Road in North Raleigh. TRG Construction Service will be doing $900,000 worth of renovations at the garden-style apartment complex, which was first built more than 20 years ago in 1994.

The Cambridge Apartments

Wake County

The Cambridge Apartments


Befitting the heritage of its namesake, the floor plans offered up by the Cambridge come in four flavors — Britania, Avalon, Camelot & Dover.

Although the two-bedroom, two-bathroom “Dover” units are slightly larger at 1,158 square feet, the “Camelots,” clocking in at 1,058 square feet, offer a third bathroom. Just don’t rent the one next to Merlin, though. That crazy old wizard is always up cooking his “potions” at all hours of the night.

Other renovations from last week include more than $150,000 worth of work at Artsource on Fayetteville, to be done by Vision Contractors, $118,129 worth of work for the offices of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America on Pleasant Valley by Marlin Design Build and $40,000 in renovations at the Advance Auto on Capital by Lionberger Construction.

And finally — the smallest commercial permit issued last week was for a $1,580 awning at the Starbucks at Alexander Promenade, which is being handled by Custom Canvas Works.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

While most of the Development Beat’s focus centers around private development, we do like to check in with the occasional public works project.

The city has now made doing so much easier, thanks to their budget visualization tool. It displays a map of the city, with markers to indicate projects planned as part of the FY16-FY20 capital improvement plan.

A map of projects in the city's Capital Improvement Plan

City of Raleigh

A map of projects in the city\’s Capital Improvement Plan

The larger the markers, the larger the project. The biggest markers were for water and sewer projects — no surprise for anyone who keeps an eye on the city budget.

Of those, the largest, by far, was for work at the Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant. According to a proposed version of the FY16 CIP, the city plans to spend $61 million on projects at the plant, including a capacity expansion and anaerobic digesters. It would then spend an additional $26.2 million between 2021-2025 on “solar dryers.”

Looking south over Raleigh's Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Looking south over Raleigh’s Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The second largest project doesn’t involve any construction work at all — the city will be shelling out a total of $12.5 million in land acquisition fees for wetland mitigation purposes. Sounds like a win-win for property owners.

Not everything is sewer and water though, and there were a few projects on that map that people will definitely find more appealing.

They include $12.5 million (a number the city seems to like) on improvements to Chavis Park — although this will be split between $750,000 in FY2016 and $11.75 million in FY2018. So this isn’t happening any time soon.

The Chavis Carousel getting built in 2012

Karen Tam

The Chavis Carousel getting built in 2012


An additional $12 million will be spent at a park on the other side of town — Baileywick. It’ll take them even longer to see any results — $1.2 million of that will be spent in FY2018, and the remaining $10.8 million is budgeted for FY2020. The sad part is that 2020 is only about 4 and a half years away. Kind of scary to think about.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Welcome back to another edition of the Development Beat. Today we’re going to take a look at two recently filed development projects — a site plan that proposes big changes for an old loading dock/warehouse and a zoning case that calls for a new office building at Wade Park.

Wade Park, also known as Forty Wade, is a mixed-use development located off the western part of Wade Avenue near I-40. We’ve written about it before — it entails a mix of office, residential, retail and dining. When this reporter visited the site last summer it looked pristine, and had a bit of an isolated feel to it. Not in a bad way, it’s just, there wasn’t much around besides the development itself.

Sitework for a new parking deck and office building is underway at Wade Park

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

Sitework for a new parking deck and office building at Wade Park

Z-17-15 would add a new four-story office building to Wade Park, which, oddly enough, is referred to as “Wade Park 40” on the application. So, three different names then?

The new building would sit next to an existing office building. When the developers held a neighborhood meeting about the project, no neighbors attended. According to the minutes, possible conditions and the schedule for the rezoning were discussed anyway.

So yeah, there won’t be anyone applauding at city council should this project get disapproved.

The site plan case, SP-32-15, would redevelop a warehouse property on East Whitaker Mill Road into something the developers are calling “Dock 1053.” 1053 is the street address. And, well, there’s a very visible loading dock on the exterior of the building.

Site plans for Dock 1053

Site plans for Dock 1053

The initial plans, drawn up by JDavis Architects, would see a northern portion of the warehouse demolished, with portions of the interior being redeveloped into spaces designated for future retail, office and light manufacturing use. Current tenant Black Jack brewing will remain on, and a 9,000 square foot common area/courtyard space will also be created inside the facility. Pretty nifty.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Editor’s note: Initial confusion over whether this demolition will be taking place has been cleared up. Although an employee with Qualified Builders was unfamiliar with the job, we have obtained preliminary plans indicating that once demolition is complete, a new Wendy’s store will be built in its place. 

We always hate to be the bearers of bad news here on the Development Beat, but when it comes to Teardown Tuesdays, bad news comes with the territory.

That’s right — Raleigh is losing another Wendy’s. The restaurant, located at 6611 Glenwood Avenue, was described by one Yelp reviewer as “By far the best Wendy’s experience we have ever had in almost 15 years of taking my family to Wendy’s. Will never go to another Wendy’s this is definitely A+”

Wendys during happier days, circa Christmas, 2002

Wake County

Wendy’s during happier days, circa Christmas, 2002

That’s pretty impressive! The reviewer goes on to state: “This Wendy’s really does care about quality and there’s nothing that my family loves more than having the freshest most delicious food thanks Wendy’s for having such a great staff here in Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh.”

Honestly, this reporter has never been inspired enough one way or the other to sit down and hack out a Yelp review, but to do so for a fast-food joint? That must have been one amazing experience. And the review was recent — February 2015 — so apparently the place isn’t being torn down for lack of good service.

For the record, we suspected the review might be a plant, but the reviewer has written two other missives, one of which trashes the Apple Store at Crabtree, a place this reporter has nothing but great things to say about.

Moving along, the 2,877 square-foot Wendy’s was first built in 1981. It has been owned by the same family the entire time; a family which owns another parcel of land just down the street at 6619 Glenwood Avenue.

The demolition permits were issued May 15 for $700,000 to Qualified Builders. No construction permits have been issued for the site, which means for the time being, the site will sit as an empty lot. Lovely.

The Wendys in 2011

Wake County

The Wendy’s in 2011

Monday, May 18, 2015

In a growing city like Raleigh, multifamily apartment complexes must be a pretty good investment vehicle. How else, then, to explain the more than 50 complexes within that have changed hands over the past year?

Before we dig any further into the numbers, this reporter would like to note that preceding and following data was pulled from Wake County’s Real Estate Transaction data beginning in May, 2014 and running through mid-May 2015.

For the purposes of today’s column, only the properties categorized as “Garden Apartments” will be included in the analysis; this leaves out duplexes, townhomes, rooming houses, etc. and narrows down the sales to the large-scale type of complexes that we had in mind.

That being said, the data set we analyzed showed 88 apartment sales, with a combined total value of $796,818,300. Or roughly the amount of advertising revenue this column generates per quarter. The most recent of these big-time sales was two weeks ago, when the Mission Capital Crossing Apartments, located at 4920 Wallingford Drive, were sold for $25 million to Starwood Capital out of Connecticut.

The Mission Capital Apartments

Wake County

The Mission Capital Apartments

Mission Capital was previously owned by a Virginia-based company named Mission Residential, which owns residential properties throughout North Carolina, along with ones in Georgia, Texas, Utah and Tennessee.

In November of last year, Starwood Capital also purchased the Edwards Mill apartments for $28.9 million from Berkshire Hathaway.

The Edwards Mill Apartments

Wake County

The Edwards Mill Apartments

The biggest multifamily investor in Raleigh over the past year by volume has been a company by the name of Lone Star Funds, based, shockingly, out of Dallas, Texas. Through an LLC known as LSREF3 BRAVO, which sounds like military jargon more than anything, the company has acquired four separate properties in Raleigh over the past year, including the Dominion Walnut Ridge apartments near Swift Creek for a little more than $10 million and the Walnut Creek apartments for $29.5 million.

The Walnut Creek Apartments

Wake County

The Walnut Creek Apartments

Of course, the actual owners of any given complex likely have little involvement with the day-to-day running of the place — that’s what apartment management companies are for. We’d wager that most residents often don’t know when their complex has been bought out, and unless that new owner is planning major renovations, likely won’t ever notice the difference.

These big companies, essentially, purchase these properties the way you or I might purchase an antique car or an original Picasso — as an investment, nothing more, nothing less. And as the land values and rental rates continue to rise here in Raleigh, we can only expect to see more and more of these larger companies stepping in to “invest” in both old and newer complexes alike.

3 thoughts on “Development Beat

  1. From my understanding of Z-17-15, they’re wanting to rezone the portion of the property adjacent to Wade to increase the allowable height of the office building there (called Wade V) to 10 stories, using the new UDO zoning of OX-12-CU. The typical office buildings in the complex are 4-stories.

  2. Haha good catch, not sure what I was thinking with that. It’s been fixed, thanks!