Development Beat: New Building Report

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James Borden/Raleigh Public Record

The Villages at Lake Boone Trail in September 2015

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Final site work permits were issued last week for Raleigh’s newest Panera Bread, which will be located at the redeveloped Villages of Lake Boone.

Site plan drawings for the new Panera Bread

City of Raleigh

Site plan drawings for the new Panera Bread

We’ve covered this project a few times: in July of last year, I wrote about the Panera Bread site plans, a few months later, I wrote a column on the entire redevelopment and in February of this year, reported on site plans filed for a new CVS at the site. 

To save you the time of clicking through those links, we’ll summarize what we have so far.

The sprawling, garden-style Villages at Lake Boone apartment complex was first built in the early 1970s and is located between Landmark Drive and Rex Hospital on Lake Boone Trail. About half the property, roughly 1.94 acres, will be redeveloped and replaced with four retail sites and new residential development.

The Villages of Lake Boone after the demolition

Google Maps

The Villages of Lake Boone after the demolition of former apartment buildings

The back half, so to speak, the portion not fronting Lake Boone Trail — remains open and we’ve been told will remain in place.

Site plans for the project were filed in 2014 by property owner and developer Tribridge Residential, which has owned the apartments since 2012.

The project is described in sparse detail on real estate broker Thalhimer’s website: “Highly visible mixed-use project on heavily traveled Lake Boone Trail | Adjacent to Rex Hospital and an abundance of professional office and medical buildings nearby | Densely populated residential area | Rare opportunity for retailers due to high barriers of entry | Tremendous opportunity for retail and restaurants”

Weird they don’t mention the fact that Guasaca is literally right across the street, as that’s probably the only selling point any discerning retailer would want, but oh well.

Promotional materials for the site from 2015 indicated that the four retail sites will be sized at 2,240 SF, 4,984 SF, 6,750 SF and 12,078 SF.

A fenced off portion of the complex on Landmark Drive

James Borden / Raleigh Public Record

The new Panera Bread will be located at 2412 Landmark Drive. This was Landmark Drive pre-demolition.

Judging by the Panera Bread site plans from last July, we think they’ll be occupying the proposed 4,984 SF space, as the restaurant is described on the plans as either 4,567 or 4,397 SF. It will stand about 23 feet tall, and offer a total of 45 parking spaces. Only 29 are required, but Raleighites for some reason love their Panera Bread.

According to data provided by, there are currently six Panera Bread locations in Raleigh. What sets this new one apart is its close proximity to a number of other, much better dining options: Chubby’s Tacos, a Chic-Fil-A and the aforementioned Guasaca located within half a mile of the Lake Boone complex. We imagine that succeeding in the face of such stiff competition will be harder than week-old bread.

Speaking of bread, the chain, founded in 1987 as the St. Louis Bread Company, didn’t receive its current name until 1997, when, according to Wikipedia, the Italian words pane (bread) and era (time) were combined to form Panera, “time of bread.” That’s pretty ridiculous.

It’s not that Panera is a bad restaurant — the one on Glenwood that replaced Fat Daddy’s, for example, always looks packed — it’s just that it’s a bit pricey for a place that serves subpar soups, salads and sandwiches.

This generic looking lunch will run you about $48.00

This generic looking lunch will run you about $48.00

As actual building permits have yet to be issued for the Lake Boone Panera Bread, we don’t have a lot more to add at this point. If you’re curious though, Cambridge Swinerton was listed as the contractor on the October 13, 2016 permits for a new $21,000 retaining wall.

One thought on “Development Beat: New Building Report

  1. Panera is acceptable. Not great (especially in comparison to Pret, the UK-based counterpart), a bit overpriced, often chaotic at the counter and noisy at the table. On the other hand, it’s not fried fast food, somewhat comfortable, and predictable.