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Former city-owned property in downtown Raleigh could become restaurant space

Large vacant southeast Raleigh property eyed for development

A former Greyhound bus property located on S. Blount St. was purchased by a Virginia home building company, Stanley Martin, for $4 million in December. It's future development could lead to increased property values and push out longtime residents.
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A former Greyhound bus property located on S. Blount St. was purchased by a Virginia home building company, Stanley Martin, for $4 million in December. It's future development could lead to increased property values and push out longtime residents.

Once condemned and then taken over by the city, a currently vacant building on South Blount Street in downtown Raleigh could become a restaurant space.

Boarded up for several years now, the white building at 517 S. Blount St. came into the ownership of the city in 2003, after it was condemned and the city bought it for $168,000.

In the fall of last year, the city deemed the property to be surplus and put it up for sale in a bidding process.

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Once condemned by the city, the building at 517 S. Blount St. could be turned into a restaurant space by a Cary-based doctor. Zachery Eanes zeanes@newsobserver.com

The winner of the bid was Blount Street Raleigh LLC, which bought the property for a little more than $630,000, according to city records. That limited liability company is owned by Milan Di Giulio, a doctor that runs Cary’s Performance Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.

The proceeds from the city’s sale of the building went toward funding the city’s affordable housing efforts, according to city records.

Di Giulio has been actively looking for property in downtown for several years now. Previously he was linked with attempting to purchase vacant properties from the state in downtown to turn into medical offices. But that sale was canceled by Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.

But the doctor doesn’t have plans to turn the Blount Street property into medical offices.

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A rendering of the potential renovation of the 517 S. Blount St. building Courtesy of Toma Farren Architects

There’s “no plans for medical office for this property — it’s too small,” Di Giulio said in an email. “I would love to do a medical office downtown, but there’s simply nothing available that fits the size/parking requirements. I’m still looking, though.”

Di Giulio said that he hopes to start construction on the space in the next two months, and that he just received approval from the city’s Historic Development Commission on his plans.

He said he plans to restore the 2,300-square-foot building to its original state and add a rooftop deck as well as a green space behind the building.

“We expect it would be an ideal size, setup, location for a restaurant or retail business,” he said.

The transformation of the building would be the latest in a wave of investment that has targeted the area southeast of downtown. The area has seen millions of dollars in investments in recent years — geared toward both residential homes and commercial space — fueling claims of gentrification and displacement in the area, most notably in a recent New York Times article.

Just next door to the Di Giulio project, another boarded up building is being turned into offices.

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Zachery Eanes is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers technology, startups and main street businesses, biotechnology, and education issues related to those areas.
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