Mayor Harold Weinbrecht devoted much of his 2018 State of Cary address earlier this year to downtown Cary.
“When I think of a place with an emerging and exciting identity, I can’t help but think of Downtown Cary,” he said.
The mayor then pointed to projects he was looking forward to in 2018, including chef Michael Chuong’s restaurant in the historic Sams-Jones House, plus townhouse and condominium projects, among others.
Here’s an update on some downtown projects:
▪ Big Dom’s Bagel Shop will open later this year in the former Little Caesars space at 203 E. Chatham St. Offering bagels, biscuits and baked doughnuts, Big Dom’s is a new concept from the husband-and-wife team behind Pizzeria Faulisi, located nearby at 215 E. Chatham St. In addition to hand-rolled bagels, buttermilk biscuits and baked doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar, the shop will offer bagel and biscuit sandwiches, including BLT, egg salad and breakfast. Follow the shop’s progress on Instagram.
▪ Cotton House Craft Brewers will open a taphouse this fall in the historic Pasmore House at 307 S. Academy St. Cotton House, which has a production facility in Fayetteville and a hops farm in Liberty, will offer a New England IPA, an American pale ale, a Belgian pale ale, a stout and a pilsner, among other beers. Food will come from a rotating list of food trucks and local restaurant partners. Follow the taphouse’s progress at facebook.com/CottonHouseCraft.
▪ Cookhaus Public Kitchen will open this fall at 117 W. Chatham St. The venture by co-founders Ken Weeks and Todd Crouch will offer cooking classes, special events and tastings, but “we’re still very early in the planning and concept phase,” Weeks said in an email. The Cookhaus has a website, www.cookhaus.org, but it’s more template than final product at the moment, he added. Follow the Cookhaus’ progress on Instagram.
▪ Chatham Station, a new event space, has opened in the former Just Tires building at 110 N. Walker St. The self-described “industrial chic” venue has 4,500 square feet of meeting and event space, including two dressing suites. Its seven glass garage doors offer an entire wall of natural lighting. The venue also has an open-air courtyard.
Still to come is Chef Chuong’s restaurant in the historic Sams-Jones House at 324 S. Academy St. The Town of Cary owns the house, which has been vacant since the last tenant, a farm-to-table restaurant, closed its doors in January 2016.
“The architect is finalizing the drawings so they can get approved, then bid the project and begin work once the project has been awarded,” said Ted Boyd, Cary’s downtown development director. Chuong “is working with the same architect for his layout of the restaurant space,” he added.
On the residential side of things, site work has begun on Chatham Walk, a 33-unit condominium project at the corner of Chatham Street and Urban Drive. Chatham Walk will offer three floor plans — two with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and one with one bedroom, office space and one-and-a-half baths. All will have a private balcony. Amenities include an outdoor courtyard with fire pit and grilling stations. The website has interactive floor plans.
The site work for Chatham Walk includes moving the modern Williams House to a vacant lot near The Perfect Piece on East Chatham Street, where it will get an even more modern addition. When completed, the house will offer 6,900 square feet of office and retail space. To learn more about that project, go to chathamstreetcommercial.com.
Privately owned businesses aren’t alone in contributing to new ventures in downtown Cary.
Late last month, the town and county broke ground on Cary Regional Library at the corner of Kildaire Farm Road and Walnut Street. Next door to the library will be a 600-space parking deck. The total cost of the projects is $29 million, with the town supplying a little less than half of that, or $14 million. Both projects should wrap up by the end of 2019.
Separately, the town is ready to talk about the second phase of Cary’s Downtown Park. The first phase opened last year with a fountain, a grassy amphitheater, benches and cafe-style tables, a synthetic-turf bocce green, and an outdoor pingpong table. For the second phase, the town is seeking input from citizens. A community workshop is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, at Chatham Station, the new event space at 110 N. Walker St.