Development Beat: Teardown Tuesday

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Wake County

This office building near the Crabtree Valley Mall is being torn down

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

An apartment complex built in 1958 and an office building built in 1972 both received demolition permits last week.

The office building is one that many area residents are likely familiar with, if only tangentially: if you’ve ever been stuck at the intersection of Glenwood and Lead Mine just south of the Crabtree Mall (and who hasn’t?) you might have noticed an older, conventional-looking brick office building off to the right.

This office building near the Crabtree Valley Mall is being torn down

Wake County

This office building near the Crabtree Valley Mall is being torn down

Technically located at 2209 Century Drive, the property is essentially located at the Glenwood/Lead Mine intersection, but with a large setback due to green space and a parking lot.

The last we had heard, the owners of this property had planned to put retail on the ground floor of this office building but otherwise leave it as-is.

In fact, rezoning case Z-8-14 called for this specifically. The case was approved by Council back in August 2014.  It was set to create more allowable space for retail in the building. The goal of the property owner at the time was to have the entire ground floor of the building dedicated to retail, which would not be permitted under the then-current zoning.

As we mentioned, the building was constructed back in 1972, which meant there were a number of zoning codes that it would not be in compliance with if it were rebuilt today. However, a provision stated that the owners must bring the building up to these standards if they make “substantial” improvements, classified as anything more than 50 percent of the tax value of the structure.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.15.27 PM

In this case, the ground floor would have required a “substantial” amount of flood proofing. It is Crabtree Valley, after all.

I reached out to the owner, an individual in Chapel Hill, to see if I could get an update on what will be done with the space once the building is torn down.

Although the property was rezoned from Office & Industrial to Commercial Mixed use, there was a condition that limited the total square footage allowed for retail, restaurant and service space to 6,500 square feet. That means we’re likely to see an office building with ground floor retail as envisioned, except instead of renovating the first floor and calling it a day, they’re tearing it down and starting from scratch. But that’s just pure speculation, which is generally code for: I’m wrong about this.

The $250,000 demolition will be handled by Cadco Construction.

The 1958 apartment complex, is another project we’ve covered in the past, including yesterday’s column. The complex is on the site of the future Oakwood Townes development, which recently saw sitework permits issued.

The existing homes on the future site of Oakwood Townes

Wake County

The existing homes on the future site of Oakwood Townes

The single-story multifamily units were purchased by York Properties in February 2015 and later sold to H Brooks Real Estate in August 2015.

The existing structures currently cover 44,376 square feet of impervious surface; once the new town homes are built, that number will nearly double to 87,751 square feet. Seven $93,000 permits were issued to Legacy Custom Homes for the demolition.


5 thoughts on “Development Beat: Teardown Tuesday

  1. They sign at Century Drive says that it will be Solferino North. If you go to their website (, it says it will be the Southeast’s first ambulatory dental center, “designed by dentists for dentists.”

  2. The first big flood (and still the record-holder) at Crabtree came in 1973, just after this building opened. So it’s not a surprise that the design of the building is not flood-proof. After 1973 the city and county realized the mess that they had on their hands are began a crash program of building or expanding flood control lakes. Unfortunately those lakes have partially silted up over time, and the benefits of the lakes have been partially offset by parking lots and other impervious surfaces in the Crabtree Creek watershed.

    I assume the re-skinning of the nearby Holiday Inn was able to cruise under the 50% cutoff.

  3. Probably in no way feasible, but given the traffic issues at the Glenwood/Lead Mine intersection, it would be nice if the City could have been able to secure the Century Drive property just to provide more future options for roadway improvements at that intersection.

  4. It looks like they are going to remove everything down to the structure and rebuild from there. Not a total teardown. Just my guess from the photos on the website.

  5. David,

    Great find, thank you! The number I ended up tracking down for the owner actually rang to a dentist’s office in Chapel Hill, so that makes a lot of sense. So much for office/retail use! I called the number listed on the website (I think it’s a Google Voice number) and left a message to see if someone there might be willing to share information.

    Really interesting about the first flood & the local government’s reaction. Unfortunate the flood control lakes aren’t working as well anymore. Any suggestions on where I could read up more about this?

    Any efforts to relieve traffic in that area would be appreciated, but like you said, this might not be a feasible option. I’ve also heard that simply adding more lanes to a road/highway doesn’t do much to decrease traffic (not sure why, this concept seems to defy basic reasoning), so even if the land wasn’t too valuable to turn into a street the impact would probably be minimal.

    Interesting point. The high cost of the permits – $250,000 – and the fact that there were no modifiers (such as “demo to shell” which is something they did for the new Union Station project downtown) made me think this was a total teardown. I left two messages at two different numbers for the property owner and haven’t heard back yet, so I called the contractor to see if they could let me know specifically what they’ll be doing to the place. Of course, I had to leave voicemail there as well.