Developer swoops in to buy Hillsborough St. property, Plans hundreds of apartments

A local real estate company has acquired another property on Hillsborough Street as the final piece of the puzzle for a new development.

CityPlat of Raleigh, which has been active in buying properties along the corridor, purchased the site of a former Arby’s at 3415 Hillsborough St. for $2.5 million in late July. The seller, listed as Sandra Honeycutt Renyolds, had been in possession of the 0.56-acre property since 2000.

The deal came shortly after the Arby’s abruptly closed and its iconic sign came down.

The lot is the final parcel in an assemblage destined for a new development by CityPlat. The local group will likely build a mixed-use multifamily project at the site, said Vincenzo Verdino, principal at CityPlat.

CityPlat began assembling the block in 2018 in partnership with Raleigh-based White Oak Properties. Operating as The Turnhill LLC, the developers purchased seven lots over the span of six months for a total of $2.89 million. That included 3411 and 3413 Hillsborough St. and 8, 10, 12, 14 and 18 Turner St. The City of Raleigh approved a rezoning request – allowing for higher density mixed-use development – for the properties in 2018.

Original plans for the site featured 93 condominiums across two buildings, but those plans were scraped in 2019 due to the condo market in Raleigh at the time, Verdino said. Since then, the group has been working on a new concept.

In April 2020, CityPlat purchased the seven lots for $3.62 million in a deal with White Oak Properties.

“We kept the property, not thinking that the Arby’s would come into play because at the time, the seller was pretty persistent about not having any interest in selling,” Verdino said. “Then out of nowhere, we got a call that the owner was selling the Arby’s.”

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CityPlat, now the sole developer of the project, is working to finalize plans for the site. The firm is considering submitting a rezoning request for the Arby’s property to match the zoning of the other lots, which could come in the next few months, Verdino said.

“Right now, we’re toying with different ideas. We have one version that’s two buildings, another version that’s one larger building,” Verdino said. “But it would be a traditional 275-plus units with full amenities.”

Though the site is located between Meredith College and North Carolina State University, the project will not be marketed as student housing. Verdino is aiming for the apartments to be market-rate driven.

“It’s such great proximity right on the corner of Gorman and Hillsborough streets, with great access to Wade Avenue, Western Boulevard and also to I-440,” he said. “We like it a lot. Since we’ve owned it, the city’s started to really grow out.”

Arby’s operated at the 3415 Hillsborough St. site for decades and was known for its giant cowboy hat-shaped sign reading “Arby’s Roast Beef is delicious.” The fast-food restaurant closed in early July and its sign was cut into pieces and taken from the property.

“I do want to make it clear that we had no idea the sign was being taken down,” Verdino said. “We would have loved to incorporate it into the new development.”

The Arby’s building will remain at the site until construction for the new development breaks ground, likely in about three years. In the meantime, CityPlat is looking for a second-generation restaurant to fill the space.

CityPlat also has an assemblage along Hillsborough Street and Bagwell Avenue ready for redevelopment. The firm was originally planning on bringing a boutique hotel to the site but is now leaning toward student apartments.

Last summer, the firm announced plans to revitalize the site of a failed 7-story mixed-use project at 2510 Hillsborough St.

August 10, 2022