A 76-year-old warehouse site in downtown Raleigh is up for demolition, prompting outcry from those who see opportunity and history in aging buildings.
The old Carolina Trailways and Carolina Coach depot has covered about 60,000 square feet between South Blount, Bragg and Branch streets since 1939. A contractor has filed permits to demolish five buildings on the lot, owned by a Greyhound subsidiary.
Greyhound had considered selling the property to Passage Home for refurbishment. But the bus company pulled out of talks last week, according to Jeanne Tedrow, the nonprofit’s chief executive.
“We were looking to preserve it and do some things to foster economic development in the area,” said Tedrow, whose group seeks to “break the cycle of poverty.” Possibilities included light manufacturing and agriculture, she said.
“The Carolina Coach building can be saved and rehabbed by a local organization to help the growing Southeast Raleigh neighborhood,” he wrote, using the hashtag #SaveCarolinaCoach: ”
It had seemed that Passage Home and Greyhound might reach an agreement on the site.
“We felt that we had sufficient investor interest and financial support given to date that we felt we could do the acquisition and begin to put the rest of the financial deal together for the development itself,” Tedrow said, adding that Greyhound seems steadfast in its plans.
Greyhound confirmed on Monday that it planned to proceed with the teardown. “I can confirm that we will be demolishing the building in order to make it a more suitable and useful property for future plans for the site,” wrote Lanesha Gipson.
The partial collapse of one building may have changed the situation late last year. The city advised Greyhound that the paint shop of one building was unsafe and should be removed. The rest of the campus apparently was salvageable. Heavy equipment already has appeared on site, potentially signaling demolition.
These types of large warehouse buildings are rare in Raleigh, and can be appealing to developers. The Stone’s Warehouse building on East Davie Street attracted multiple bidders and is scheduled for an ambitious revamp.
Carolina Coach Company originally occupied Stone’s Warehouse, then built the soon-to-be demolished facility on Blount Street. Carolina Coach operates as Carolina Trailways under Greyhound.
Will Alphin, a consultant working with Passage Home’s project, said an appeal to the Raleigh City Council might be the best chance to preserve the building. “It’s the final minute of the final hour,” Alphin said.
Council members moved at a work session to have staff talk with Greyhound.
“We feel like this is valuable to the city, and would appreciate having an opportunity to save it as part of future redevelopment,” said Councilman Bonner Gaylord.