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Brixx Pizza Coming to Oberlin Court?

According to some sources, the 11-store Brixx Pizza chain will be one of the street-level retailers in the soon-to-be-completed Oberlin Court project. Phase II, which abuts Oberlin Road at Wade will contain almost 30,500 square feet of retail and over 105 apartments on three floors above. We already know that Rita’s Water Ice will be coming.


Raleigh Tops Another Places To Live List

MSNBC_Ral MSNBC took a stab at America’s top 10 metros, and Raleigh came out on top . The list is an amalgam of the recent lists by Forbes, Kiplinger, Money, Fortune Small Business, and Relocate-America.com. Charlotte, the only other city in the South on the list, finished #9.


Goodbye Local Newspaper

newsobserver Earlier this week The McClatchy Company , owner of The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer announced a restructuring plan at both papers . Along with sweeping job cuts at both papers, many redundant efforts will be merged. For instance, the Sports department will be run out of Charlotte. It is clearly a cost-cutting measure that will vastly improve one side of the balance sheet.

One the other hand McClatchy is forgetting the key purpose of a newspaper, the glue that ties a community. Like them or not, the News and Observer is the meeting place through which an enormous portion of citizens get their information. As evidenced by the Plensa Plaza reaction, it is a place where politicians get the area’s pulse. It’s a two-way interaction that is immeasurable by bean counters, but it doubtlessly is there.

The local flavor of a paper helps define a region. While the Charlotte Observer and the News and Observer both cover UNC basketball games, for example, the interpretation of the game and its effects on fans is different in one city than it is in another. The real estate dedicated to stories shows the area’s interests as well. As mentioned, the Sports page will be run from Charlotte. While the sports pages will not be identical, are we going to get unwanted increases in Panthers, Bobcats, and Nascar coverage? Is it possible for anyone in Charlotte to comprehend the importance of the Carolina Hurricanes?

While the two papers will remain as two separate editions, there will be many more common stories. Stories about state politics, food, and lifestyle issues, for instance, will be carbon copies in both papers. Don’t be surprised if the next stage in this evolution is to merge the two papers as the “Carolina Observer”. Using McClatchy’s logic, there is no reason that 90% of the newspaper can’t be a canned carbon copy in both cities. Each city’s Local section is where local news, local sports, and local business/real estate could be housed. By centralizing content, layout, and production of 90% of the newspaper, McClatchy could save an additional fortune in costs.

While McClatchy is taking care of business on one side of the P&L, are they ignoring the other? Time Warner’s News14 Carolina has already shown us how catatonic and watered down homogenized regional TV news can be. As the paper moves in this direction (the Sunday paper’s content is totally useless to me these days), special interest web sites like this one keep popping up. With more outlets for news, will people feel the urge to pay attention to the ever-homogenizing “local” paper? I, for one, am seriously considering canceling my subscription. While I still need something with which to line the cat box, there is just too much free information and idea exchange out here to keep paying attention to other cities’ interpretation of yesterday’s news. I think I’ll go stew over this at the Raleigh Times Bar.


Mapping Raleigh Crime

RAL_crimemap Spotcrime.com is a Google Maps mashup which allows users to map varying levels of crime in their area. Whether it’s theft, burglary, robbery, assault, arson, shooting, vandalism, or arrests, spotcrime maps it. They do not map pedophiles and sex offenders, though. Those scarlet letters are mapped through the North Carolina Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry.


Arrogance, Connells Added to Hall of Fame Concert

darkerdays The bill for the previously-mentioned Hall of Fame Concert at Booth Amphitheater (featuring the John Entwistle Band) just got better. Local legendary bands Arrogance and The Connells will also play at the concert benefiting the Hall of Fame’s education and outreach program.


Bogart’s Introduces Hard Luck Lunches

bogarts Bogart’s has begun a new lunch promotion call the “Hard Luck Lunch”. It’s a daily special for just $6:

  • Monday – Choose any big entrée salad
  • Tuesday – Pick one of three choices of chef’s feature burgers, served with fries
  • Wednesday – Enjoy a “classics” entrée selection of pot pie, shrimp and grits, jambalaya, and rotisserie chicken
  • Thursday – Select any sandwich, served with a side of chips
  • Friday – Choose from three specialty pasta dishes

Waverly Owners Reorganize

IMG_0192a Back in the late 80’s one of Cary’s newest marquis corners was developed into one of the country’s most unusual strip shopping centers. Waverly Place, with its curvy, two-level, X-shaped design offered the growing south Cary area a nice grocery store, movie theaters, many restaurants, and plenty of high quality retail. It’s design was reminiscent of a resort center because it contained fountains, escalators, and bronze sculptures. Unfortunately the design was too daring. Across the street a competing center anchored by a Wal-Mart opened and took Waverly’s Harris Teeter. The incredibly boring, single unbroken strip design was far easier to navigate, and the public flocked.

IMG_0193 Waverly became a ghost town until developers Zapolski and Rudd took over the site. Their solution: a total reorganization fostered razing half of the center. The Site Plan (.PDF) calls for keeping the northern fourth of the “X”, but the hub, southern half of the X, grocery store, and Red, Hot, & Blue outparcel will be demolished and replaced by a plethora of buildings. Whole Foods will move to a new, free-standing store where R&HB once was. The hub area will be replaced by an 8-story hotel, and an 8-story office or condo building will neighbor. About 65 condo units will replace the existing Whole Foods site.

The developer’s site for Waverly recently was pulled, however, due to a reorganization of the Zapolski & Rudd company. According to the website,”Mr. Rudd and his team will focus on management of, and investment in, assets primarily located in California under the name of Rudd Properties, LLC , while Mr. Zapolski and his team will focus primarily on assets located in North Carolina under the name of Zapolski Real Estate, LLC .” Rudd’s website shows that they still own two outparcels at Waverly: buildings housing Bank of America and Chick-Fil-A.

IMG_0190 Why is this interesting? The western-based company is Rudd Properties…as in Leslie Rudd …as in, the owner of Dean & DeLuca . It’s been hypothesized that if D&D were going to enter the Triangle market, that Waverly would be a logical place given that Rudd had a direct interest in the center. He still may be a chief investor, though, so it wouldn’t be out of the question once Dean & DeLuca decides to get in the growing mood. Current sites were selected based strongly on Rudd’s background, backyard, best friends, and family. (so don’t let any Charlotte people con you into believing that Charlotte was some superior site when D&D looked outside of America’s major markets. It had everything to do with where Rudd wanted to go and write it off). The Waverly connection is not “news” per se, but it’s at least a little nugget to keep in your mind as this project progresses toward naming retailers.

Hopefully Dean & DeLuca will get in the growing mood because the Raleigh/Cary market would, without a doubt, support many of their stores, not just one.

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6/17 Note: There is a 3D model of the project posted at Google’s 3D Warehouse by Kimco Realty.


Porto Closes

porto Due to slow sales, high-end furniture store Porto has shut its doors, TBJ reports . The North Hills store also had a location in Chapel Hill’s Eastgate plaza.


Edison Redesign Hits City Today

Edison_AERIAL The News & Observer’s Business section featured a story on the latest design for The Edison. The previous design (Site plan .PDF), which wrapped retail, condos, and hotel space around the RBC Plaza deck on Wilmington Street, has been through several renditions. Every one, to this point, stepped aside for Wilmington Street corner retail sites like Coopers Barbecue and Reliable Loan to remain.

Today’s Jack Hagel story reveals that Gregg Sandreuter, the Edison’s developer, made deals with the owners of those corner retail spots. Now the entire block is in play, and it allows for far more aggressive design possibilities.

Edison_ELEV The newest incarnation , designed by Raleigh’s J Davis Architects , features four towers: two twins at 39 stories and two at 29 stories. The towers would include high-rise pools, condominium units, hotel space, and 250,000 square feet of office space. The plan is to finish one tower by 2012 and complete the final tower by 2018. ( New Site Plan – .pdf)

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Photos courtesy J Davis Architects

Here are some thoughts about the attached two renderings: The first image is an aerial view from the Southeast (The NW corner of Progress II can be seen in the lower right). It appears that the west towers (the taller ones) have 18 or so floors of condos or hotel space. This is revealed by the shorter floor heights above the level where the 20th floor pools are.

read more…


222 Glenwood Pool Courtyard Nearly Complete

Some photos were sent to me by a very nice person showing the central courtyard/pool area of the nearly-completed 222 Glenwood condo building. Any thoughts?


Graduations Feel The Heat

Today marks the first day in five that did not reach the 100-degree mark. It is only one of 3 4-day 100 degree streaks in history and is the earliest on record. Unfortunately is came during a period when Wake County Public Schools are holding graduations . Thousands of graduating students and their families will sit in oppressively hot ceremonies held in non-air-conditioned facilities. It used to not be this way.

While seven high schools will have the luxury of graduating in air conditioned facilities such as Memorial Auditorium and (Broughton’s) Holliday Gymnasium, ten schools will be graduating in the sweltering environment of Reynolds Coliseum. These schools are being forced into the N.C. State facility because the City of Raleigh closed its old civic and convention center in 2005 in order to make way for a new convention center hotel. This was a facility that was not well-suited for any particular function, but was flexible and offered ample, comfortable space for functions like high school graduations.

The City of Raleigh’s new convention center opens up later this summer, and will be used for future graduations, however the setting of a large, flat, convention floor will be a big disappointment for those in attendance.

We already have a perfect facility for high school graduations, and it is not being used. It’s the RBC Center. The $158M building, centrally located in Wake County, was built with $22M that comes from the county’s hotel and prepared food tax. Additionally Wake County is pitching in $1.5M annually for renovations which will keep the site economically viable. With so much county welfare money going into such a fine facility sitting in the dark this time of year ( webcam ), the least that Gale Force Holdings can do for a major stakeholder in the RBC Center is to operate the building for a day of graduations.

With the lower level split down the middle by a curtain, two simultaneous graduation setups can accommodate a dozen graduations in one day. If graduations in the North End begin at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm and South End graduations begin at 10am, Noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm, a total of twelve high schools could all graduate in one day. Certainly one wouldn’t want a cacophony sounds from bands and competing speakers, so a little bit of creative scheduling could offer a smooth experience for all schools involved.

It is unfortunate that the parties involved are having to settle for substandard conditions when perfect opportunities, for which the taxpayers paid dearly, are being ignored.


John Entwistle Band Coming to Cary

The John Entwistle Band will play at Cary’ s Booth Amphitheater to play a one-time benefit show. The show of many of The Who’s most popular songs will be held September 20th. The reunited band will be joined by Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult lead guitarist and vocalist), Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple frontman), and Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad lead vocalist and guitarist).

Other major headliners for the show will be announced later, as well as a “popular band with Triangle area roots”.

Proceeds will benefit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s education outreach program and the John Entwistle Foundation’s program which provides musical instruments and instruction to disadvantaged children.


Ruth’s Chris at North Hills Opening July 21

RuthsChrisNH The space that used to house JK’s in North Hills will reopen as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on July 21. The space is supposedly “sleekly redesigned, [and] feature[s] a decorative bar, lounge and dining room as well as private dining and banquet facilities.” What’s interesting is that while the awnings have been changed, there is been no apparent construction at the site lately. Perhaps the carpenters and painters are hiding from me.

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