Development Beat: Teardown Tuesday

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Sotos International Auto in 1996

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The indomitable Barrel Monster has claimed his latest victim.

After more than 30 years of serving Raleigh’s countless car owners, Sotos International Auto Care Raleigh was forced to shutter its doors at 3120 Hillsborough Street in order to make way for a new roundabout.

The roundabout is one of three being developed as part of the second phase of the Hillsborough Street Renewal project. Construction on Phase I began in 2009.

While news first broke about the closing of Sotos International late last year, it was only last week that demolition permits were issued for the 1,782 square foot structure.

3120 Hillsborough Street i 2011

3120 Hillsborough Street i 2011

First built in 1955, the structure has been home to Sotos Auto Care since 1981, although it was owned by heirs of the Williams Realty family from 1971-2016, when it was sold to the City of Raleigh.

While the building, like most auto-repair shops, wasn’t much to look at, its doubtless full of countless memories, good and bad. But we can’t imagine what it must be like to have spent 34 years growing your business, only to see it literally torn down by meddling bureaucrats.

As business owner Soto Efthimiadis told WRAL last November, “Of course I am angry. This is my life. I feed my family, my wife, my three children.”

(To be fair, I know some of those “meddling bureaucrats” and they are anything but, I just don’t imagine it makes any difference to Mr. Efthimiadis how thoughtful and well intentioned the City’s employees are.)

The demolition will be handled by Taylor’d Lumber for $16,000.

According to Wake County records, while the structure at 3120 Hillsborough was built in 1955 as we mentioned above, its “effective year” was 1965. For those of you out there unfamiliar with the term, effective year is basically an adjustment of the building’s age by the tax appraiser based on improvements/additions.

The best technical definition we could find for the term came all the way from  Alachua County, Florida, which defines “effective year” as “Part of the cost approach used to measure depreciation, determined by the utility and condition of the building.”

It appears there was a small 10×10 addition made to the property in 1984, which was then removed in 2006, that may have played a role in the 1965 effective year date.

Looking at photos of the property from 1996 and 2011, it’s hard to tell where this 100 square-foot addition once sat.

Sotos International Auto in 1996

Sotos International Auto in 1996

While the loss of Sotos International Auto has not garnered as much attention as what many feel is a loss of the unique, eclectic character that once characterized Hillsborough Street, Sotos was one of the oldest and longest-running truly local businesses on the street, and its closing marked a sad day for a number Raleigh denizens beyond just Efthimiadis and his immediate family.

Incidentally, its replacement — a traffic circle, in case you weren’t paying attention earlier — is exactly the kind of foreign, confusing intersection that leads to the kind of incidents which help bring customers to a business such as Efthimiadis’s.

We’re only half-kidding: Phase I of the renewal project was a tremendous success, and gave birth to the magnificent Barrel Monster, and we’re sure Phase II will only grow and improve upon those successes. It’s just too bad it’s costing Sotos International Auto its home of 34 years.

The Barrell Monster

The Barrell Monster

4 thoughts on “Development Beat: Teardown Tuesday

  1. I sympathize with Mr. Efthimiadis however the circle at Pullen Rd is an awesome piece of traffic management. The additional circles will hopefully justify the ‘taking’ of properties.

  2. Would not be surprised if we see a New City Design small apartment building proposed on this lot pretty soon. There are four old service stations in that stretch of Hillsborough Street, which has always struck me as not being the highest and best use of that land

    –This one at 3120: Teardown for roundabout project.
    –Campus Auto Service at 2912: Another teardown for a roundabout
    –J&J Automotive at 2812: Rumored for an apartment building
    –Triangle Motorsports at 3020: A used car dealer that, as far as I can tell, will remain for now.