Development Beat: Teardown Tuesday

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James Borden/Raleigh Public Record

3515 Glenwood

Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Build

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

On this, the second day of the week and the first of the month, we have two demolition projects to look at, and one of them is particularly tragic.

In October 2014, we reported on a site plan for a new office building that would require the demolition of an existing, historic office building at 3515 Glenwood Avenue. We wrote at the time:

The [new] office building, to be located at 3515 Glenwood Avenue, was actually a resubmittal of a site plan previously heard by the planning commission in early September. At the time, the project did not receive the requisite number of affirmative votes, which meant the request would have been heard at a de novo quasi-judicial hearing in front of the city council.

In order to avoid that de novo (Latin for: anew) hearing, the developer resubmitted the plans to include a bus shelter and an enhanced facade on the Glenwood-facing portion of the building.

The Triangle Business Journal covered that year some of the controversy surrounding the proposed demolition, so if you want to read more I’d suggest you go here.

Although Commissioners voted to recommend approval of the project, Chairman Steven Schuster expressed some concerns. He warned at the time that because the project would result in the demolition of a modernist office building designed by Milton Small more than 50 years go “in 30 years we might look back on this day with sadness.”

While that day in October 2014 has come and gone, the day of the teardown Schuster mentioned has finally come. On February 23, 2016, a $184,000 demolition permit was issued to Choate Construction Company for the teardown of the 33,884 square-foot office building first erected in 1964.

For a truly excellent write-up on the history of this building and some of the previous plans for renovating the space, please check the North Carolina Modernist House’s page on the building, located here. 

Spoiler alert: one of the plans for redesign included building a four-story, all-glass exterior cantilevered tower on top of the existing one-story structure. NCMH described it as “brilliant” and it is pretty awesome looking but honestly, does this look like something that would ever get built in this day and age? It’s just too cool looking. Bland is the new black.

This proposal for 3515 Glenwood was drawn up in 2013 by the firm of Kenneth Hobgood Design

Triangle Modern Homes

This proposal for 3515 Glenwood was drawn up in 2013 by the firm of Kenneth Hobgood Design

About seven miles to the south of 3515 Glenwood Avenue, a demolition was permitted for at the Gethsemane Seventh-day Adventist Church at  2525 Sanderford Road. The permits describe the work as demolition of a “fellowship hall,” although it is unclear whether this refers to the church building, the adjacent school or some small outbuilding on the property. The last is most likely, and we have reached out to the church to find out whether we’re right.

The reason we make this assumption is that the demolition is being handled for $6,000; we’d imagine the school or church would be a little more costly to knock down. Plus, there was another permit issued at the same address, also for $6,000, to repair “pulpit area” as a result of fire damage. The pulpit is obviously inside the church, so I don’t think renovation permits would be issued for a building getting torn down.

The fire damage referenced in that renovation permit was from an incident that occurred last June, when the church was struck by fire; as a result “a multipurpose building, including a kitchen area, behind the sanctuary was destroyed.” So there’s our outbuilding. I’d like point out: I made that guess before I even read the N&O article, so hooray for me. Apparently Cecil Holcomb was called in to finish off what the fire started.

A photo from after the fire.

Gethsemane Seventh-day Adventist Church

A photo from after the fire.

One slightly interesting fact: the former church on 501 South Person Street that local resident Phuc Tran saved from demolition and then endured a lengthy rezoning process in order to redevelop was the original home of Raleigh’s Gethsemane Seventh-day Adventist Church.

While Tran did eventually receive approval from Council for the rezoning, it took him an incredibly long time to get there. Case in point: I searched our site for “Phuc Tran” and there were 12 results. That’s how many times we’ve written about this poor guy!

Andrew Kenney, formerly of the News & Observer, did a great write-up on Tran’s story in May of last year.