First look inside The Dillon, the new face of Raleigh's warehouse district

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Our sneak-peek night at The Dillon office and residential tower began on the ninth floor. Amidst guests and dignitaries, Raleigh real estate developer John Kane stood in the middle of it all.

The man who turned North Hills into the mecca known as Midtown is now making his mark on the city's once forlorn warehouse district.

"This is SkyDeck," Kane said describing the ninth-floor's massive balcony serving as the party's venue. "This is a public space up here. We'll be putting up a restaurant in here with outdoor dining with these views - which will probably be the end of the year before they get open."

The 18-story mixed-use tower sits on the two-and-a-half acres of land where the old Dillon Supply Co. warehouse once stood. Its brick facade built right into the high rise.

This was the Home Depot of "old Raleigh" - a steel warehouse and mammoth hardware store. But, when a French company bought it 1979, Dillon moved out of town.

But the corner is dark no more - hundreds of residents, office workers, are poised to move in.

A Weaver Street Co-op grocery store, and Urban Outfitters have signed on as building occupants as well.

All of them lured in, Kane said, by the building's authenticity.

"We took a lot of the equipment that was in the building and repurposed it and reused it," he said. "We used the heavy doors. We kept the railroad tracks going in to the space that Urban Outfitters is going in to."

The Dillon is linked by a sky bridge to two brand-new apartment mid-rises; 274 apartments complete with luxury finishes. The units are already 43 percent pre-leased.

"I think we've been incredibly pleased with our leasing so far," said Bonnie Moser, Director of Kane Residences. "(Potential tenants) are incredibly diverse: young, old, middle-age, professionals."

There were also a good number of real-life links to the building's history in attendance at the sneak-peek event.

Candy Lewis' late husband's grandfather was C.A. Dillon, the man whose name is emblazoned on the brick facade.

Lewis made sure Dillon's portrait hangs proudly on these brand new walls. We asked her whether the new development made her fearful of losing the history.

"No, not if John Kane's going to do it. I knew he was interested in the history of Raleigh." Lewis said. "I knew (the portraits) would go in a proper place and taken good care of for the rest of my life; that they would be part of this and a part of the history of this town."
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