Developer James A. Goodnight is slowly turning an old tractor and truck warehouse complex in Southeast Raleigh into what he hopes will become a gathering spot for the surrounding community.
The 48,000-square-foot site – comprised of three buildings – is already home to artist studios, an architect’s office and the brewery where the beer is made for acclaimed dim sum restaurant Brewery Bhavana. Next up? A taproom adjoining the brewery; it’s the latest project from Vansana Nolintha, his sister, Vanvisa Nolintha, and brewer Patrick Woodson, the creative forces behind Bhavana.
The complex is at the corner of South Bloodworth and Hoke streets below Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, in a former industrial area that is just starting to see the kind of investment that has transformed downtown Raleigh in recent years.
Now stylish, tall, narrow houses are going up across the street from Goodnight’s project and in surrounding blocks, replacing defunct businesses.
“It’s exciting,” said Shelley Smith, creative director for the artists tenant Anchorlight.
Not a sports bar
Goodnight has filed a site-review application with the city for the 16,530-square-foot space, but it’s unclear when construction on the taproom will begin. First, he must get a parking variance from the city. The four-acre site has two gravel lots, but a wrinkle in a city ordinance doesn’t allow both to count toward the required number of parking spaces. Once that hurdle is cleared, the job could be completed in months, Goodnight said.
The taproom should draw fans of the restaurant’s 10 core beers and additional provisional brews. The brewery plans to begin blending sour and barrel-aged beers soon.
Woodson, the brewmaster, says 90 percent of the beer he brews now goes to the restaurant, but the brewery will soon branch out into stores.
With an active art scene taking up one of three buildings on the site, and an effort to cultivate creative tenants, don’t expect the taproom to have a bank of TV sports shows and bean bag games, Goodnight said on a tour of the project on Thursday.
Both the developer and current tenants say they want to connect with the surrounding community while also drawing patrons from throughout the city.
“It’s part of co-existing with each other,” Woodson says of the eclectic mix.
Goodnight, the son of SAS founder and CEO Jim Goodnight, has bought and renovated several old buildings in Raleigh in recent years, including a pair of early 20th century buildings at South Salisbury and West Hargett streets that now house the Ashley Christensen restaurant Death & Taxes.
An art lover, Goodnight had rented a pink house near downtown to a group of artists in 2015 and 2016, on the simple condition that they spend a year making art. When that experiment ended, he offered them a permanent home in two of the Bloodworth Street warehouse buildings.
Since opening in January in the first building and July in the second, Anchorlight has established studios and galleries, and it runs a fellowship program that gives four artists a year of free studio space in exchange for spending time working for the organization or for community programs. The goal is to develop artists in leadership roles and help their professional progress.
The artists have been working with a nearby after-school community program.
“Southeast Raleigh has a very rich existing culture,” Smith said. “Our hope is that we can continue to do that. I would love for Anchorlight to be a cultural resource for people in Southeast Raleigh.”
Discussions are underway with a tenant for the third building, Goodnight said.
Other Goodnight projects
▪ Goodnight helped renovate an early-20th Century building at West Hargett and South Salisbury streets to turn it into the Death & Taxes restaurant.
▪ He is currently remodeling a site at West and Lenoir streets that was home to the longtime Dusty’s Service Center.
▪ He restored the old Raleigh Nehi Bottling Company building on Hillsborough Street and leased it to a high-tech company.
▪ He is developing a property in the warehouse district of downtown Raleigh for Father & Son Antiques, which is moving from its longtime Hargett Street home by the end of this year.