Friday, January 23, 2015

RHDC Works in Progress Part 3 of 3: The Lewis-Smith House 515 N. Blount St.

My three part series of historical downtown Raleigh locations comes to a conclusion with the Lewis-Smith House at 515 N. Blount Street. After featuring the Nehi Bottling Co. building, and the commercial building H.J. Brown Coffin House/Raleigh Industrial Bank at 200  S. Salisbury we end with the residential Lewis-Smith House.

This residence, originally built in 1855 (!) existed for many years on North Wilmington Street. The home was moved in the 1970's to prevent it from being demolished. The interesting thing about this part of Blount street is that there are several historic homes here (including the Merrimon-Wynne),  none of which ever originally existed on this street! The home is currently undergoing restoration for future office space.

The house features a Greek Revival style with it's grand columns and portico in front. The house previously belonged to well known families Lewis and Smith back in the day. Once the house was relocated it was used for state offices. The house sits on a lot with a large new apartment complex currently being built directly behind it.

As we toured the home, the original fireplaces in each room and beautiful staircase railings remind you of older days. Bathrooms are being added to each level and there is no closet space in any of the rooms. There is a large basement being updated as well.

The herringbone pattern wood floor is stunning. The grand Ionic columns on the outside upstairs patio are beautiful (also features Doric style columns on the ground level entrance).

This home is one of the very few homes in Raleigh left from the Antebellum/Civil War Period (1831-1865).

Thank you for taking a few minutes and letting my inner Architect geek highlight some Historic Raleigh locations. There was a great crowd of people walking through the self-guided and free RHDC historic tour and I hope there are more of these tours in the future. I also hope the city of Raleigh continues to prioritize and protect these  buildings and homes and that we do not lose site of Raleigh's significant past as it continues to  grow and evolve into a fantastic place to live.


Front facade of the home featuring Greek Revival style




Lots of interested people touring the home

Original fireplaces








Merrimon-Wynne house across the street


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

RHDC Works in Progress Part 2 of 3: H.J. Brown Coffin House/Raleigh Industrial Bank 200. S. Salisbury St.

200 S. Salisbury Street
Continuing the short series of three historical buildings in Raleigh that we recently toured, organized by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission we got a chance to step inside the newest venture by prestigious Raleigh Chef, Ashley Christensen.

Located at 200 South Salisbury Street in Downtown Raleigh,  this building built in 1910 has a very interesting past. Finished in 1920, the building's former life included serving as a funeral home and bank before being purchased by James Goodnight and is currently undergoing renovation. On the tour we learned that this building is "the most haunted building in all of the Triangle"! There were stories of visitors and workers hearing voices and people walking around when no one was there.  Even a rep from the Triangle Paranormal Society was overwhelmed upon entering the space!

The building was a bank for many years after serving as a funeral home and the outside exterior was covered in concrete panels to try to modernize it in 1972. Goodnight has gone to great effort to remove these panels and restore the building back to its original stone exterior. Currently the building is in the process of being turned into the restaurant perfectly named Death & Taxes, a wood-fire oven restaurant on the main floor with a wine bar in the basement in the original old bank vault.  The second and third floors will feature a private event space called the Bridge Club with a small rooftop patio.  Her food prep teams from all the restaurants will be consolidated in the large kitchen space called Aux Kitchen where her food teams for all the AC restaurants can work and train and is not a public space.

Below are some photos of the building's interior as we toured it in early January. There is also a cool mural on the exterior back wall of the building painted by local Raleigh artist, Luke Buchanan.

More details here from Triangle Business Journal article. 
Check out photos @RaleighWhatsUp on Storehouse


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/04/3010475_chef-ashley-christensen-expanding.html?rh=1#storylink=cp
Street level interior for future restaurant


Bridge Club Private Event space




Original old bank vault





Future basement wine bar
Mural by Raleigh Artist Luke Buchanan


Friday, January 16, 2015

RHDC Works in Progress Part 1 of 3: Raleigh Nehi Bottling Company, 3210 Hillsborough Street

The Raleigh Historic Development Commission recently opened up four locations that are currently undergoing restoration to the general public. It was a great chance to get a behind the scenes look at some historic Raleigh landmarks. The tour was self guided and for architect geeks like myself, it was exciting to step inside several historic buildings and learn a little about what is being done to preserve these properties and what the plan is for their future.  It's SO important (in my opinion) that Raleigh hold on to it's historical spaces especially as the city continues to grow at such a rapid pace right now. Once these buildings are torn down they are gone and lost forever.  I'm thankful they are being carefully restored and turned into productive spaces again, serving another generation of Raleigh businesses.

The first stop was Raleigh Nehi Bottling Company located on Hillsborough Street near NC State. The building was designed in 1937 and it was the first commercial building in Raleigh to use the International Style of Architecture. The architect was William Henley Deitrick. The building was designed with a drive thru on the side and the trucks literally drove into the building and exited out the back. The building has sat vacant for many years and was recently purchased and thoughtfully restored by James Goodnight and is a designated Raleigh Historic Landmark. The building is currently looking for tenants. It's a fabulous space and lends itself to office, pop up restaurant, brewery or event space.

I enjoyed walking through the building as it is in the process of being renovated.  It's a pretty amazing location, and looking back at the old photos of the bottling company,  it would be a great space to work or play in! Stay tuned as we see who/what future business sets up here!

Be sure and check out the cool mural that has been restored on the outside of the building viewable from Hillsborough Street.

A photo of the building from the early days











check these photos out at RaleighWhatsUp on  Storehouse



Thursday, January 8, 2015

214 Martin Street Grand Opening - Past and Present

I didn't grow up in Raleigh or even North Carolina, but having lived here now for 14 years I can say I've witnessed quite a transformation in downtown Raleigh in recent years. Many will remember the early days of visiting Greenshields Brewery and Pub years ago in City Market just off of Moore Square. Originally a farmer's market in 1914, the building was transformed into a pub and brewery in July 1989, becoming NC's second brewpub. (Greenshields is among the first 50 craft brewers in America).  At the time, it was a lively spot in downtown Raleigh and the fact that they brewed their own beer at the restaurant was quite unique (how things have changed!)

Then in 2004, a fire severely damaged the building and the brewery never reopened. The building sat vacant for nearly a decade.

Until now. I was excited to attend the grand opening of 214 Martin Street last month and get a sneak peek of the newly renovated building.  The abandoned space has been transformed into a beautiful and lively event venue and full service catering business. The space is open and ready to be used for corporate meetings, special events, weddings, pop up restaurants and much more. They offer full catering and a commercial kitchen you can use or hire them to cook.

With plans to improve Moore Square and Martin Street in the near future, this venue will only get better and better. I'm also really happy to see the historic building preserved and restored versus tearing it down and rebuilding. The building is joined to Cobblestone Hall which opened in 2010 and gives versatility to your events as well.

214 Martin Street will be hosting a Beer dinner January 22nd featuring Raleigh Brewing Company and will be serving Easter Brunch, Sunday April 15th.

I'm glad to have experienced good times in this space many years ago and enjoyed attending the grand opening last month. It's great to have new life in this beautiful space and I look forward to coming back again soon to an event in the future!

For more about City Market's history and transformation read a recent N&O story here.
Follow 214 Martin Street on Facebook.

Sampling food and drink

Dessert served up in mason jars!

The view out to City Market.

Available meeting space

Delicious food served up fresh!

More fabulous desserts!


Busy food stations

Tasty treats


Sitting areas

Full service catering