Raleigh, N.C. — A demolition site at the corner of Wilmington and East Martin streets is expected to become part of a new redevelopment project, but right now, the mountain of bricks, wood and debris is the furthest thing from a downtown Raleigh beauty shot.
"It hasn't been the prettiest thing to look at," said Alan Horwitz, who owns Reliable Loan & Jewelry, two doors away.
Crews began tearing down what used to be the Lucky Street Sweepstakes Café, at 301 S. Wilmington St., last month after a city inspector noticed cracks in the front of the building that put it in danger of collapsing.
"If it could've been done, they would have saved the building," Horowitz said. "But they had no choice. They did what had to be done."
For years, the 142-year-old building sat vacant while developers worked on a plan to build a 23-story, 320-unit high-rise apartment building, called Skyhouse Apartments, about a block away at the southwest corner of Blount and East Martin streets, across the street from Moore Square.
Construction could start later this year.
Plans also include another building or an open-air market and more retail and office space.
"The portion that now is being demolished was supposed to be part of the retail office development," Raleigh city planner Mitch Silver said Wednesday. "That now, of course, is going to be re-thought with the demolition of the building."
Silver said, however, developers still plan to move forward with the apartment building and that the debris, as unsightly as it might be, is just temporary. It's expected to be cleared within the next two weeks.
"(There will be) more people shopping, walking, just enjoying themselves," he said. "So, it's really going to transform this entire area."