Apartment project planned for Sam's Quik Shop property near Duke University

The Sam's Quik Shop property on Erwin Road could become an apartment building targeted at Duke University students, according to plans submitted to the city.
The Sam's Quik Shop property on Erwin Road could become an apartment building targeted at Duke University students, according to plans submitted to the city. The Herald-Sun

The Sam’s Quik Shop property on Erwin Road near Duke University’s East Campus could be transformed into a seven-story apartment building, according to plans submitted to the city.

Wilmorite Construction, a Rochester, N.Y.-based real estate company that submitted the plans, said it has reached a purchase agreement with the owner of the 1.2-acre property, which is now home to a car wash and the popular bar and beer store Sam’s Quik Shop.

Though the sale has not been officially completed, Wilmorite submitted plans last month to the Durham City-County Planning Department for an apartment building with 80 units. The existing buildings on the property, including the bottle shop, would be demolished for the apartment construction, the plans show.

The property — which is made up of four separate parcels — is owned by Sam’s owner John Boy and has an appraised value of $999,910, according to Durham County records.

Boy declined to comment about the property, which has been owned by the Boy family for decades.

The building's history goes back to 1946, when Carl Boy opened a gas station on the property, according to Sam's Bottle Shop's website. In 1949, the Boys opened up the Blue Light Restaurant on the property. The restaurant closed in 1974, when it was converted into a convenience store called Sam's Quik Shop, the company's website says.

Sam’s Quik Shop also has a larger location, called Sam's Bottle Shop, on N.C. 54 in southern Durham.

Paul Wilmot, the president of Wilmorite Construction, said his company had been interested in the property for nearly two years, and that the company wanted to put student-targeted apartments there.

Wilmorite has an extensive history of building residential buildings near or on university campuses, and Wilmot believes the property is ideally suited for graduate students and older undergraduates.

The building would also have 3,000 square feet set aside for retail, which could be a restaurant, Wilmot said.

The proposed path of the Durham-Orange Light Rail project. The rail line would go through the northern edge of the Sam's Bottle Shop property near Duke University's East Campus. Courtesy of GoTriangle

The property is also close to the popular Ninth Street corridor and adjacent to a proposed station for GoTriangle's Durham-Orange Light Rail project. Wilmorite said it wasn't aware of the proposed light rail project when it first came upon the property, but said that it would be an attractive feature for the property.

“We are excited that it would be a stop for GoTriangle’s (light rail),” said Jim McKenna, vice president of construction at Wilmorite Construction. He added that the company has already been in discussion with GoTriangle around the proposed project.

Part of the light rail "concept is to build density around these stops, so it shows, at an early stage, that their concept is working,” McKenna said.

Wilmorite hopes to break ground on the project in March 2019 and complete it before school starts in fall 2020.

This would be the construction company's first project in North Carolina, though Wilmot said the company would be interested in doing more work in the area. The company has previously looked at properties in Raleigh, as well, Wilmot said.

“Right now this is the only project on our radar,” he said. “After spending some time in Durham, we are very open to doing some more projects. It’s a great market and a business-friendly community.”

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes
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