The Raleigh developers behind several rehab projects on North West Street in downtown Raleigh have nearly completed the latest addition to that street.
Atlas Stark, a real estate firm that was founded in 2017, is almost finished redeveloping a 19,300-square-foot warehouse at 911 N. West St. into modern offices and restaurant space.
It would be the third project on the street that Atlas Stark's managing partners have been a part of in recent years. Gabriel Guillois and Trey Adams, formerly of the Lundy Group, helped redevelop buildings at 707 and 713 N. West St., which are now home to several offices and the Cardinal, a bar that is known for its upscale hot dogs.
The 911 West building is already more than 80 percent leased, Guillois said, and should be ready for tenants to begin moving in in the next couple months.
Two new restaurants have been lined up for the building and will likely open next spring. They are a diner called the Rainbow Luncheonette from the Cardinal owners Jason Howard and Dan Murphy, and Layered Croissant, a bake shop from husband and wife Mark and Kawsar Chavez.
Rainbow takes its name from the Rainbow Upholstery and Furniture company, which opened in the building 36 years ago and has since moved to Wake Forest.
Howard said he hopes Rainbow could be a reincarnation of sorts of the old Finch's Restaurant.
When the Capital Boulevard bridge projects started ramping up, the first casualty last year was the beloved Finch’s Restaurant, which was close its doors on Peace Street after seven decades. After trying a short-lived move to Durham, owner Peggy Jin closed Finch’s for good this year.
Howard said the diner will be serving short order breakfast and lunch menus, with a Friday and Saturday dinner service. Expect sandwiches and burgers, but also a full bar.
The Capital Boulevard projects that turned out to be death knell for Finch's are now an attraction. Howard said he and Murphy signed a lease last week, taking a long view for West Street, expecting the eventual draw of Devereux Meadows Park to redeem the current tangles of construction.
“We wanted something out of the chaos of downtown,” Howard said. “The park was really the catalyst for doing it. We’re banking on the growth of West Street."
That project is also one of the things that drew Atlas Stark to the building, Guillois said. Meadows Park, along with the Wade Avenue and Peace Street bridges over Capital Boulevard, are part of large-scale effort to create a nicer-looking gateway into downtown Raleigh.
Guillois said the northern edge and southern edge of downtown are where the growth opportunities are.
“We really like West Street," he said. "We are looking for more stuff on West Street and heading South (of downtown). That’s the next phase as things continue to expand going out from downtown.”
That whole section of downtown will be completely different in two to four years time, he noted, with Meadows Park and Capital Boulevard coming together and the large Peace project being built by Kane Realty and Williams Realty.
The building will not just be restaurants however. Another tenant will be Legree Fitness, a California chain of fitness studios. The second floor of the building will be used for office space. In addition to Atlas Stark, which is putting its offices in the 911 West building, DeRonja Real Estate and Moseley Architecture are also moving into the building.
Guillois said 911 West represents an opportunity that is increasingly rare to find in Raleigh.
“There are just so few buildings like that where you can renovate and do something cool," Guillois said. It’s attracting a “high-end tenant base, and we could probably fill four of those buildings. Unfortunately there are only like three more like that in all of Raleigh. I say that facetiously, but they are getting harder to find.”