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Life on Campus at NC State: March 2021

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North Carolina State University Memorial Belltower Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

I think this is the first time I’ve ever done one of these Life on Campus posts in back to back months, but I’ve seen a good deal of NCSU-area related items floating around the interwebz the last few weeks that I’ve detailed out below:

Sup Dogs Coming to Hillsborough Street:

Sup Dogs is a bar and restaurant that currently has a location in both Chapel Hill and Greenville. I’ve personally never been to either location (as it’s a general life rule of mine to spend as little time in Chapel Hill and Greenville as humanly possible), but I’ve heard others mention that this would be a great option to see open near State so that another college bar could be added to Hillsborough or Western. Well, based on Sup Dogs’ Instagram and Twitter feeds, they now have plans to open a location somewhere on Hillsborough Street.

I mentioned in a previous “Life on Campus” post that I read the former Sub Conscious location was to become apartments. However, I drove by there earlier this week and saw that the Sub Conscious sign was in the process of being removed, and that there were people inside doing renovations, so I would guess that’s where the NCSU Sup Dogs location will be going. Per their tweet linked above, they’ve signed a Letter Of Intent on a building and are working thru some due diligence on the property now.

Charlie Goodnights To Relocate:

Charlie Goodnights is a comedy club just off the edge of campus and has been a mainstay in the area for as long as I can remember. The Triangle Business Journal recently reported that the building that houses Charlie Goodnights will soon be replaced by 400 apartments and retail. However, RalToday recently noted the following in one of their daily emails:

Goodnights is expected to reopen in another location + has an active calendar of comedy events for the foreseeable future.”

I’m really hoping they reopen sometime soon after that building is officially closed. Other than a big comedy act who can come to the Triangle and fill PNC, DPAC, or the Duke Energy Center, there aren’t very many smaller comedy venues in the area.

Belltower Got Bells:

I’ve posted about this more than a few times in this series now, but the NCSU Belltower finally has bells. The link above from NCSU’s website has some good interior pics of what the fully functional Belltower now looks like.

The various improvements to the tower and surrounding area include: a new ADA accessible base of the tower, what appears to be large torch-looking lights positioned at the four corners of the tower’s base (that can be seen on the Belltower’s live camera Youtube stream here), a set of 55 bronze bells, a staircase inside the tower that replaced an old ladder, new stone and clockwork pieces that replaced water-damaged pieces of the tower and clock face, a renovation to the Shrine Room, and a playing cabin within the tower where a “carillioneur” can play music through the bells using levers and pedals.

Talley Student Union:

This is another project that I’ve mentioned a decent amount in the years I’ve been posting about changes going on around NCSU’s campus. With Talley Student Union (i.e., the artist formerly known as “Talley Student Center”), State completed some pretty extensive renovations and construction efforts a few years ago that totally transformed the building and surrounding area. The Technician recently posted a story that I’ve linked above that details the history of the building, as well as the recent changes.

The article also mentions a bridge that was included in the initial plan for the Talley renovations that was supposed to connect Talley to the north side of campus. Estimates for that bridge ran to approximately $6 million, so it wasn’t included in the final renovations. However, if the train tracks are expanded there, the Coliseum Tunnel that is routed underneath those tracks will have to removed and the bridge will be more necessary at that point.

Snoopy’s Hot Dog Location to Close:

Snoopy’s has multiple locations of their hot dog restaurant across the Raleigh area, and up until recently, they had two locations positioned on opposite ends of Hillsborough Street. The location closest to Downtown Raleigh shut down for good at the close of business on Sunday, February 28th. While the pandemic likely played into its sale (considering the lack of revenue from the drunk Glenwood South wanderers hitting up that corner every weekend from 12 - 2 am), this felt a bit more inevitable due to the high-rises [(1) and (2)] now located directly across the street and what I’m assuming was a corresponding increase in value of that land parcel.

After this was announced, I saw a lot of talk on social media about how this was just the next step in the continued “over-commercialization” of Hillsborough Street, but I feel like it’s a bit more nuanced issue than that. During my freshman year at State in 2009 - 2010, no one I went to school with really bothered venturing to Hillsborough because much of the street was old and had fallen into disrepair.

I always got the impression that a majority of the bars and restaurants saw the development going on around Glenwood South & Downtown Raleigh and simply sat on their Hillsborough Street property, didn’t invest in improvements or upkeep, and simply waited for some commercial real estate firm to buy their property / lot. This then led to the continued stream of student apartment buildings going in all up and down Hillsborough, as well as places like CVS and Target to serve the new influx of student living in the area.

I was a big fan of the new student apartments going in on Hillsborough as it seemed to improve the amount of foot traffic that the street got on a day to day basis. However, I will admit that it feels like the pendulum has swung too far the opposite direction as apartments now line virtually every inch of the corridor next to campus these days. I think the bigger issue is that with those new Hillsborough apartments, there hasn’t been a corresponding increase in commercial retail or restaurant development aside from quick, casual restaurants (i.e., Chipotle, Subway, etc.).

However, at the same time, development on Hillsborough is lagging in large part due to the absurd level of development that’s always going on around the Village District, Seaboard Station, Glenwood South, and Downtown Raleigh (not to mention everything going on in North Hills and other surrounding areas). It’s going to be tough for Hillsborough to ever get back to its ACC Tavern, Crazy Zack’s, Big Bad Wolf heyday with the constant stream of developers focusing on other areas, many of which that are a short walk from the edge of campus.

As a couple of examples of the difficulty that development on Hillsborough has run into, the old Two Guys & Brothers location was supposed to be student apartment lofts with ground level retail, but has instead been a literal hole for nearly 7 years now. Also, the old movie theater spot completed a massive renovation in 2015 that has seen two iterations of virtually the same restaurant concept come and go, and now houses a very meh sushi spot of all things. I’m really hoping that post-pandemic, we’ll see PR and Mitch’s reopen, East Village return, and then get some new spots (like Sup Dogs that I previously mentioned) to open up and breathe new life in the street.

Players’ Retreat to Re-Open in May:

After reopening for takeout a few months back, but then subsequently closing again - PR announced via their Facebook page that they’re planning to open outside for lunch and dinner by the middle to end of May once they’re able to get their restaurant service team vaccinated.

Also mentioned in their FB post is that they’re working to improve their HVAC system before they open up the interior.

70 years ago today, Mickey & Bernie Hanula, opened the Players Retreat. The PR has come along way since that day and...

Posted by The Players' Retreat on Saturday, February 27, 2021

”Wok Haus” to Open on Hillsborough Street:

I noticed on a recent drive down Hillsborough Street that Wok Haus had a banner up in the window of a space near where the Target and Guasaca are located. Their website doesn’t really provide much of a look at what the restaurant will eventually offer other than “Korean Cuisine and Bar”.

Old Tuffy and Riverbend Malt House:

This isn’t a campus-specific development, but I read that New Belgium (Asheville location) recently partnered with Riverbend Malt House in Asheville. Riverbend is now set to provide a portion of the malt that New Belgium requires in their production of Old Tuffy. This partnership will further Old Tuffy’s NC roots with Riverbend being an NC company, and with its co-founder, Brent Manning, being a fourth-generation NC State alum.

Praise be to Old Tuffy.

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It’s gonna be crazy the next time I post one of these Life on Campus updates later this spring and the WBB and MBB teams each have ACC Tournament banners to hang.