Developer James A. Goodnight, who has rehabbed historic properties throughout North Carolina in recent years, wants the ability to build up to five stories on an old warehouse property he owns in Southeast Raleigh.
The site in question is adjacent to an old tractor-and-truck warehouse complex at the corner of South Bloodworth and Hoke streets. The area, below Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, once was dominated by industrial sites but is now seeing the kind of investment that has transformed downtown Raleigh in recent years.
The rezoning would encompass a 2-acre part of the block that doesn’t have any structures on it, according to the rezoning application submitted to the city. Goodnight describes them as being gravel lots.
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The developed section of the block — a 48,000-square-foot collection of three buildings — is already home to the Anchorlight artist studios, an architect’s office, Slingshot Coffee and the brewery where the beer is made for acclaimed dim sum restaurant Brewery Bhavana.
The buildings are completely leased up, and Brewery Bhavana has announced intentions in the past of opening a taproom at the property. Bhavana has also expanded its barrel aging program at the warehouse, Goodnight said.
The rezoning is the result of a need for more parking to accommodate the potential taproom, which could bring more visitors and cars to the area. Thanks to a wrinkle in a city ordinance, the gravel lots on the undeveloped part of the block don’t count toward the required number of parking spaces — but a rezoning would take care of that.
The gravel lots are currently zoned for heavy industrial, while the rest of the complex is light industrial. The rezoning, if approved, would make the entire property light industrial. Additionally, while any construction at the gravel lots is currently capped at three stories, Goodnight is asking the city to raise that number to five stories, a move that would give him more flexibility for future development there.
“We wanted five just in case,” Goodnight said in an interview. “Long term, the thought is to develop it.”
The plan is to create more creative-use space on the property at a “lower price per square foot for people that have been priced out of downtown,” Goodnight said.
There is no timetable for when that will happen, though, and parking is a more immediate concern. The lots also have some environmental issues from chemical spills that happened during the area’s heavy-industrial heyday. Goodnight said he is having discussions with the state about making the property eligible for the state’s Brownfields Program, which would make it easier to develop it.
Interest in the area south of MLK Boulevard has heated up in the past two years. Goodnight noted that while he has tried to keep his property low-key, new modernist houses are popping up in areas where you used to be able to buy a home for $50,000. And larger developers have gotten in on the action as well.
Stanley Martin recently acquired an old Greyhound Bus property on South Blount Street, where it plans to build townhomes in the future. Near that property, an old Cargill plant was demolished with the intention of attracting developers. Last year, Raleigh development firm Five Horizons Development filed a rezoning request to allow buildings of up to 20 stories to be built along part of South Saunders Street.
The redevelopment of Dorothea Dix Park has also fueled interest in the southern edge of downtown.
Goodnight, the son of SAS founder and CEO Jim Goodnight, has renovated several old buildings around the state in recent years, mainly in Raleigh but also in places such as downtown Wilmington.
Sites he has done work on include:
- An early-20th century building at West Hargett and South Salisbury streets to turn it into the Death & Taxes restaurant.
A site at West and Lenoir streets that was home to the longtime Dusty’s Service Center. Sam Jones BBQ is moving into the space.
The old Raleigh Nehi Bottling Company building on Hillsborough Street.
A property in the warehouse district of downtown Raleigh for Father & Son Antiques.