Razook's Building Work Starts
After sitting vacant for more than two years, the Razook's building in Pinehurst is beginning to show signs of life again.
Work to renovate the building has begun, as part of a $3 million project by Pinehurst Specialty Retail -- made up of Oceanico Resorts, Atlanta-based The Forum Development Group, and Terry Brown and his wife, Susan Clift Brown.
Terry Brown told The Pilot on Wednesday that the interior of the building has been gutted and that work with heavy equipment was under way late last week to demolish the back half of the building. A new addition is being added to the rear of the building that will back up to Market Square.
"Our plan is to go back in and complete the necessary interior work," he said, "and we are going to be adding a connecting building that will run all the way to Market Square on the other side."
Demolition is expected to take a week and a half.
The new and improved Razook's building will be three stories. Five retail spaces will be located on the ground floor, with 2,600 square feet -- three spaces -- on the Chinquapin Road side and 2,100 square feet -- two spaces -- on the Market Square side.
Oceanico, which owns Little River Resort and Golf Club, will locate its corporate headquarters on the third floor and will also occupy one of the retail spaces. The second floor will consist of 20 high-end executive office suites for rent, complete with a reception area, conference room and copy room, and state-of-the-art utilities.
Another 2,100 square feet of storage space in the basement will be available to the retailers.
An elevator is also being installed in the building. A glass atrium will run through the center of the building.
Brown said the goal is to have the building completed and ready to occupy by November or December of this year. Staggard and Chao Architects of Pinehurst designed the building, and O'Connor Construction of Aberdeen is the contractor.
"We're very satisfied that they'll be able to produce the product that we're all after," he said.
Brown added that great steps have been made to preserve the appearance of the original building. He said the project has been before the Historical Commission twice, and it has been very supportive of it.
"We've been very, very careful in maintaining the historical significance of this building," he said. "It's really going to be an extremely attractive building and we are keeping the historical facade pretty much intact."
The Brown's son, Foster, said the Chinquapin side of the building would look essentially the same as it does now, and the new addition would complement the historic feel.
Brown said that about a third of the building has been leased without actively pursuing tenants.
"We really have not gone out at this point to actively get leases," he said. "We want to get under construction and going. Now we will have a full-fledged effort to do the leasing."
Clift Commercial, primarily Susan Clift Brown and Foster Brown, will handle the leasing process. Foster Brown said they are trying to get a good tenant mix, which could include a women's clothing store, an art gallery, and a wine and cheese shop. But no restaurants will be allowed.
"We want to try to attract a good mix of people to downtown," he said.
Terry Brown said there has been a demand for more retail in the village, and he hopes the new Razook's building can bring in some of the pieces that are currently missing. He expected to know more about the mix in the next several months as interested parties come forward.
Razook's, an upscale ladies' clothing store, closed in July 2006 after 87 years of business, which was considered a big loss for the village core. Resort guests and residents alike have lamented the lack of retail in the village.
"We are excited that there is some activity going on there," said Patrick Barry, of First Citizens Bank, who is president of the Pinehurst Business Guild. "Hopefully, we can draw some more folks into the village."
Mayor George Lane expressed his excitement about the project.
"We're very happy they're working on the building," he said. "We're awaiting its completion with great anticipation."
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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