Development Beat: The Most Photographed Mural in the Triangle

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A partial view of the mural wall with the skyline in the background

James Borden

A partial view of the mural wall with the skyline in the background

Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Build

Friday, November 4, 2016

Last week, it was just a blank wall with a base coat of orange paint sitting in the foreground of what the Raleigh Connoisseur once described it as “the best view of downtown.”

A partial view of the mural wall with the skyline in the background

James Borden

A partial view of the mural wall with the skyline in the background

Now, Raleigh’s newest mural, located on the north side of 707 North West Street, is nearly complete.

707 is a redeveloped warehouse that’s now home to August Construction Solutions. The contracting firm, along with developer The Lundy Group, is responsible for many of the recent improvements in the area north of Peace and West Streets on the edge of downtown.

The mural — a rendering of a vintage advertisement for the Raleigh Bicycle Company — was conceived by Michael Iovino, President of August Construction Solutions and crafted by muralist Scott Nurkin out of Chapel Hill.  They were introduced through the Raleigh Murals Project. For a look at some of the street murals throughout the city, check out this piece from the Raleigh Agenda.

“We envision the mural, with the skyline in the background and the Raleigh name as a backdrop, becoming the most photographed mural in the Triangle,” Iovino told the Record this week.

“We had a big blank wall that needed something.”

Most of his ideas for the mural, Iovino said, were either too obscure or too much of an inside joke, although there was one we found particularly appealing: Iovino’s favorite movie characters placed in vintage Topps football cards.

A full view of the mural wall

James Borden

A full view of the mural wall

Founded by Iovino just three short years ago in 2013, August Construction Solutions has already made its way onto the Triangle Business Journal’s 2016 “Fast 50” list of the region’s fastest growing businesses.

Per the TBJThe Fast 50 winners were selected and ranked based on a formula that counts revenue growth and profitability in the preceding three years (2013-2015). The numbers are crunched and analyzed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a Fast 50 partner.

Iovino was in the middle of a photo shoot for that very list when we arrived last week for a tour of the ACS offices and a glimpse at the new bar next door, The Cardinal. Fortunately, Project Manager and owner of a very enviable beard Bryan Thorne was on hand to provide a tour of the space they’d moved into just a few weeks earlier.

Walking in, there’s two things that immediately catch your eye: the exquisite flooring, and the standard wall of awards and flattering write-ups bearing a one-of-a-kind centerpiece: the framed business card of Iovino’s maternal great-grandfather, August Paesano.

You can tell this is old because the phone number only has five digits and one of them is the letter J.

In addition to being the company’s namesake, Iovino said August is his middle name and the name of his youngest son.

That exquisite flooring we mentioned earlier was actually done by ACS Superintendent and 20+ year veteran of the commercial flooring industry Steve Hackney, who joked that he’d been dragged out of retirement to do the installation. Not that he had to do it alone: even his boss chipped in.

“Mike and [another ACS Superintendent] did the finish themselves,” Hackney said.

Iovino, Thorne told us later, was also largely responsible for the much of the look and feel of the space, although he worked closely with Maurer Architecture. We’d describe the new office as sleek and maybe upscale urban, but we’re not very good at describing things with words other than “cool” or “awesome.”

Speaking of cool, there’s a corner of the new office with nothing but a high-end couch, a wall mounted flat-panel television and a coffee table that may already be on its way out.

This is a pretty awesome set-up

James Borden

This is a pretty awesome set-up

“I’m hoping we replace [the coffee table] with a Ms. Pacman table,” Thorne said, referring to that Ms. Pacman Cocktail Table Arcade Game popularized in the 1980s.

While the office isn’t huge at 1,837 square feet, it does manage to include everything from a number of glass-fronted private offices, an open kitchen with a well-stocked fridge and a handcrafted custom conference table. Around back, there’s a comfortable wooden picnic table surrounded by a number of budding saplings and a view of the train tracks and a more-mature tree line.

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It’s the perfect place, Thorne said, to have lunch or an after-work beer.

Although they only just finished up work on their own offices, August employees have already begun fitting out yet another brand-new office space in the same rehabbed West Street warehouse they now call home.

Although it hasn’t officially received permits yet, the 5,360 square foot space will soon be turned into the offices of financial services firm Equity Resources.

Superintendent Hackney said they hope to finish that project before the end of the year, putting them figuratively and literally in the middle of two ongoing projects on a tight timeline made trickier by the Thanksgiving holiday.

It should come as no surprise that one of the region’s 50 fastest growing companies has a schedule that’s packed to the hilt, but thankfully, Hackney said, no one’s had to spend the night on the office couch.

“At least, not yet,” he joked.

That may change, of course, once ACS wraps up work on the new Cardinal Bar on the lot immediately to the right of their offices.

The new Cardinal Bar

James Borden

The new Cardinal Bar

Thorne said that job may be complete by the end of the November, but that the timeline at this point was largely in the hands of bar owner Jason Howard.

While the job site for the Cardinal was locked up by the time we arrived, we were allowed to peek inside the tiny, 890 square-foot building. Tragically, the custom bartop crafted by the same artisan who made the ACS conference table, was covered by blankets for its own protection.

The Cardinal’s small size is offset by a compact layout inside and a nice new deck out front that will offer patrons a glimpse of both “the best view of downtown” Raleigh and what may soon become the most photographed mural in the Triangle.


Speaking of photographs, you can see more pictures of the offices and The Cardinal Bar in our gallery below.

One thought on “Development Beat: The Most Photographed Mural in the Triangle

  1. Beautiful offices! Those guys deserve it. Mike and Steve are great guys and I wish them the best.