'I hate to see it go': Iconic Raleigh Char-Grill to be redeveloped for 20-story high-rise

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Friday, July 1, 2022
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The iconic Char-Grill restaurant on Hillsborough Street in Downtown Raleigh has been offering up burgers, fries, shakes and shakes such since 1959. It will soon become a 20-story mixed use space.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Char-Grill restaurant on Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh has been offering up burgers, fries, shakes and such since 1959. The location is the original site of the popular local chain and is still open to customers, at least for now.

There are plans to redevelop the land and build a new eatery.

"I hate to see it go," said customer David May, who eats at the Char-Grill just about every other day.

"It's been here for so long, it's iconic for sure," said customer Hunter Best.

Patrons are upset that changes are coming to another downtown go-to spot.

"Seeing that Snoopy's right down there just closed down, this really needs to stay open," said Best.

Wilson Blount Development is planning to build a 20-story mixed-use space.

"The new Hillsborough Street development will bring new capabilities to downtown Raleigh and directly benefit the greater community upon completion. We're excited about what the future holds for our hometown, and we feel fortunate to be a part of its growth," said Wilson | Blount Development Managing Principal Charles Wilson.

Char-Grill commented on the proposal, saying it sees room for improvement moving forward.

"This project gives us the opportunity to upgrade our facility to better serve our customers in the future. We are excited to partner with Wilson Blount on the next generation of Char-Grill," said Char-Grill owners Ryon Wilder and Mahlon Aycock. "This isn't 'goodbye' at all. It's 'see-you-soon'. And while we're rebuilding, come see us at any of our eight other locations throughout Raleigh."

This area is already experiencing heavy development.

One Glenwood and Bloc 83 sit right across the street.

"Just seeing this change in that three years is insane," said Best.

"It's not really surprising at this point. People are just trying to make money," said customer Carolina Alford. "If they can get as many people living in one spot as they can -- rent is so expensive in Raleigh -- that they can make so much money through that stuff."

The City of Raleigh said developers have not filed an application for rezoning.

The company is planning a neighborhood meeting for people who live within 500 feet of the site. A date has not yet been set for the meeting, but it is required before a rezoning application is submitted.