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Life on Campus at NC State: April 2019

Winter Storm Affects Large Swath Of Southern States Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The MBB season ended with some NIT action, the WBB ended with Wes Moore & Co. in the Sweet 16 (damn ACL injuries), Debbie Yow has developed a next-level troll game on the Twitter-verse, things are continuing to go very well for NCSU in the land of non-revenue sports, the spring game is very nearly here, and the baseball team has gotten off to an unthinkable start to the year. In the meantime, I decided to write another one of these things about changes to the area around NCSU that makes me wish I was still in college.

Belltower? More like Bellstower:

This project was announced last year and is currently moving toward its anticipated start date in January 2020. The project will involve the addition of 54 bells that will replace the speakers that have been used in the Belltower for years, reinforcement work on the structure of the tower, and will do a better job of providing accessibility to the base of the tower as well. Construction is scheduled to conclude in January 2021.

RIP East Village:

It is with a heavy heart that I share this news, but East Village Grill & Bar is no more (at least for now). The establishment announced that they would close after the Super Bowl in February 2019, with the goal of re-opening in the base of the new apartment complex that will be built atop the parcels of land lining that area of Hillsborough Street. The apartment complex will stretch between Daisy Street and Dixie Trail, will house 142 units, and will also feature ground-level retail. Oddly enough, East Village is still advertising at the NCSU baseball games this year, but the new location won’t be open until some point during 2020. I’ve yet to find out if any of the East Village gift cards won at NCSU baseball games during the 2019 season will accrue interest until 2020, but continue to watch this space for updates.

When I saw the pictures of the building after its bulldozing, it brought out a lot of feelings, most pretty similar to this. However, with East Village set to re-open next year, there’s still hope that all of the new apartments on Hillsborough St. won’t totally swallow up all of the bar & restaurant space where State fans can go to drown their sorrows. Here’s to hoping there are more bar & restaurant projects (and parking) that will soon be popping up on Hillsborough St. to deal with the influx of students that are now living along Hillsborough. I just hope that in some way, shape, or form, a deck will be incorporated into the design of East Village 2.0.

Guasaca on Hillsborough:

There’s currently a few locations of this restaurant in both Raleigh and Durham, but the newest location recently opened on Hillsborough St. underneath the Target that replaced “The Alley” a few years ago. The restaurant specializes in arepas with a variety of fillings, including their signature guasaca spread.

Biscuitville added to Western Blvd:

Bojangles, Popeyes, Biscuitville. Western Blvd truly will now have a biscuit for everyone (except Carolina fans). The popular breakfast fast-food chain recently announced that they will be opening a location in the old Wicked Taco spot next to the Western Blvd. Cook-Out.

Crane No More:

It’s been about 3.5 years too long, but the crane that sat atop Hillsborough Street for nearly half a decade is no more. I covered this in previous posts, but essentially the Two Guys / Keg / Brother’s Pizza building in the middle of Hillsborough St. was demolished in late 2014. The plan was for the location to be developed into the “Hillsborough Lofts” apartment complex that would also featured ground level retail. This crane was set-up to aid with the construction process.

However, a dispute emerged between the property developer and construction contractor, and a lengthy legal battle ensued. This led to the crane sitting on Hillsborough St. until just a few weeks ago when the crane was removed subsequent to an arbitration panel ruling against the property developer, and Hillsborough Lofts filed for Chapter 11. The future of the property is still up in the air, and a massive hole still sits on the street in the shell of that building, but at least one of the two eye-sores from this project has finally been rectified after far too long.

DH Hill Renovations:

With the addition of Hunt Library to Centennial Campus back in 2013, a lot of the space inside DH Hill opened up as a large number of the books that had filled the book stacks at DH Hill were relocated to Hunt Library. NCSU recently announced various renovations to DH Hill, which will result in the closing of the the Brickyard-side entrance to DH Hill, and will also re-open the Hillsborough St. entrance of the library for the first time since 1990.

The addition of new doors, security updates to that entrance, and enhanced landscaping for the Hillsborough St. entrance is scheduled to be completed by the end of the spring 2019 semester. Once this new entrance is open, NCSU will begin a large scale renovation to DH Hill that will begin following graduation in May 2019. This larger renovation will encompass the addition of a new “Academic Success Center” and renovations to spaces on the 2nd and 3rd floors in the book stack areas of the library. Once the renovation has been completed, both the Hillsborough St. and Brickyard entrances to DH Hill will remain open permanently.

Coliseum Deck:

The Reynolds Coliseum Parking Deck is scheduled to have the northern half of the deck demolished due to issues with the concrete that was used when the deck was constructed years ago. The concrete that was used at the time will apparently result in that half of the deck having a much shorter life than the other half of the deck that will remain standing. NCSU Transportation is currently discussing plans on how to replace the 1,100 spaces that will be lost. This will surely be a massive blow to the, “State should leave PNC Arena and move back to Reynolds because seating capacity and parking availability be damned” crowd.

PNC Arena Renovations:

PNC Arena opened in 1999 and has remained relatively the same since it opened. There was the one major jumbotron update in 2009, the light ribbon board that was added beneath the 2nd level, the 3D projection system that was added within the last year, and a few other minor cosmetic upgrades. However, there have recently been proposed renovations for the arena that could cost up to $200 million. The article linked above mentions that these proposed renovations include a rooftop bar & restaurant facing Carter-Finley, potentially removing stairwells and adding “income-producing spaces”, and also the addition of lounges beneath the main concourse level.

I personally love PNC. I know the “go back to Reynolds” crowd has been in full swing since the 3 games of NIT fever swept across West Raleigh, but PNC is a very nice arena. If the MBB program ever climbs back anywhere close to the level that it was at during Reynolds’ peak, then the atmosphere inside PNC Arena won’t be an issue. Having said that, I would like to see one or two more of the early season non-conference games played at Reynolds just for an excuse to spend more time on and around campus.

Of the renovations mentioned above, the one that really interests me is the lounges below the concourse level. I attended an Arizona Coyotes game a few months ago, and bought a ticket in one of their ice-level lounges. It was well worth the price of the ticket as included with the ticket, you were purchasing a seat in the lower level & also unlimited food & drink within the lounge area. Needless to say, I did not spend much time actually watching the Arizona Coyotes from my actual seat in their arena.

Additionally, it was just recently announced that a new scoreboard would be added to PNC Arena at the *relatively* low cost of $4.7 million. The scoreboard is set to be in place by August 2019 and will reach from “blue line to blue line” for Canes games. So it will virtually stretch across the entirety of the court during State basketball games.

Drive Shack Marches On:

Drive Shack looks as though it will be opening its doors just a short distance from PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium later this year on Corporate Center Drive alongside I-40. The complex will have a driving range, an arcade, a full-service restaurant, an outdoor bar, and an event entertainment space.

The Raleigh location will be Drive Shack’s second location once it opens its doors. The only Drive Shack location that is currently open can be found in Orlando, FL., but the brand also has plans to open in various other locations across the country. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

That’s all I’ve got for this Life on (and around) Campus at NC State. For those who are already missing the sting of basketball season, try and make it out to Doak Field and support the baseball team this year. The team is a lot of fun, has a few MLB-level talents, and deserves a sold out home park for the rest of this 2019 season. Onward & upward (and westward?) to Omaha.