Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Building NC: Design dreams

From office high-rises to a brewery overlooking the French Broad River, the state’s most compelling new buildings run the gamut. The third annual Building North Carolina awards, selected from projects completed between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, showcase commercial structures based on their design, innovation and community impact.


[media-credit name=”Provided by Peter Brentlinger” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Allan and Laura Wilson Humanities and Fine Arts Center[/media-credit]


Allan and Laura Wilson Humanities and Fine Arts Center


GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Edifice, Charlotte
ARCHITECT: LS3P, Charleston, S.C.
COST: $45 million
SIZE: 150,000 square feet

Wilmington’s newest arts venue is not only New Hanover County’s largest theater, it’s a giant classroom for students at Cape Fear Community College. In addition to a 1,500-seat auditorium, the theater houses the college’s music, drama and art classrooms and faculty offices, rooms that previously had been scattered across the downtown campus. The center also has a smaller 108-seat theater and sculpture, dance and music studios, many with views of the Cape Fear River, plus a darkroom and courtyard for performances, exhibits or receptions. The center, named for members of the family behind the former Wilsons supermarket chain, surpasses UNC Wilmington’s Kenan Auditorium (1,000 seats), Minnie Evans Arts Center (955) and historic Thalian Hall (646).

[media-credit name=”Provided by Peter Brentlinger” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]VA Health Care Center Charlotte[/media-credit]


Veterans Administration Health Care Centers



GENERAL CONTRACTOR: JE Dunn Construction Co., Kansas City, Mo.
ARCHITECT: RPA Design, Charlotte
COST: $104 million
SIZE: 430,000 square feet


[media-credit name=”Provided by Desilu Photography” align=”alignleft” width=”299″]veterans-administration-health-care-center-fayetteville[/media-credit]


GENERAL CONTRACTORS: Samet Corp., Greensboro, and The Douglas Co., Holland, Ohio
ARCHITECT: Perkins + Will, Chicago
COST: $120 million
SIZE: 360,000 square feet


GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Lendlease Corp., Sydney, Australia
ARCHITECT: Perkins Eastman, New York
COST: $150 million
SIZE: 400,000 square feet

A building blitz by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has brought
1 million square feet of new health care space to North Carolina, including three new “clinics” in Charlotte, Fayetteville and Kernersville. The clinics offer operating rooms, imaging spaces and services ranging from cardiology to eye exams. While they look like hospitals from the outside, they do not offer inpatient beds. For many veterans, a visit to one of the centers avoids a longer trip to VA hospitals in Asheville, Durham, Fayetteville or Salisbury. North Carolina has more than 736,000 veterans, eighth most in the U.S. and 7% of the state’s population.

[media-credit name=”Provided by Harrah’s” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel [/media-credit]


Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel


GENERAL CONTRACTORS: Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, Md., and Owle Construction LLC, Whittier
ARCHITECT: Cuningham Group Architecture Inc., Minneapolis
COST: $110 million
SIZE: 125,000 square feet

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opened its second casino last fall. Though Cherokee Valley is smaller than its big sister in Cherokee, it’s already drawing an average of about 3,000 visitors a day. Many are traveling across state lines, exactly what the tribe hoped for when it opened the casino on the western edge of the state, a fairly easy drive from Atlanta to the south and Chattanooga to the west. Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina don’t permit commercial, tribal, pari-mutuel or racetrack betting. The Murphy casino has 50,000 square feet of gaming space along with a 300-room, seven-story hotel tower.

[media-credit name=”Provided by Jim Sink” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Northern Wake Campus, Wake Technical Community College[/media-credit]


Northern Wake Campus, Wake Technical Community College


Health Sciences Building H

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Barnhill Contracting Inc., Rocky Mount
ARCHITECT: LS3P, Charleston, S.C.
COST: $21 million
SIZE: 64,400 square feet

Applied Technology Building J, Regional Energy Plant 3

GENERAL CONTRACTORS: Balfour Beatty Construction LLC, Dallas, and Clancy & Theys Construction Co., Raleigh
ARCHITECT: LS3P, Charleston, S.C.
COST: Building J, $9.4 million; Regional Energy Plant 3, $5.6 million
SIZE: Building J, 26,800 square feet; Regional Energy Plant 3, 9,800

[media-credit name=”Provided by Mark Herboth Photography ” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]regional-plant-2[/media-credit]

Regional Energy Plant 2

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Skanska USA Building Inc., Parsippany, N.J.
ARCHITECT: Clark Nexsen, Virginia Beach, Va.
COST: $8.2 million
SIZE: 9,400 square feet

Most colleges keep the classrooms separate from the heating and cooling equipment. Wake Tech combined them in Regional Energy Plant 2, where the utilitarian cooling towers, boilers and chillers are on display to students, many of whom study building systems. At the end of the building is a glass box where a classroom floats above the ground, facing a grove of trees. It’s one of several new buildings on the fast-growing school’s northern campus. A health-sciences building, applied-technology building, additional plant (solely for public works) and a gym have recently opened or are under construction. Wake Tech broke ground in August on its newest campus, its sixth, adjacent to Research Triangle Park.

[media-credit name=”Provided by Kane Realty ” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Bank of America Tower [/media-credit]


Bank of America Tower


GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Holder Construction, Atlanta
ARCHITECT: Duda/Paine Architects LLC, Durham
COST: $100 million
SIZE: 460,000 square feet

Raleigh’s newest office tower brings together about 550 Bank of America employees who had been scattered among four different office properties downtown and in north Raleigh. The 18-story North Hills tower houses the bank and its Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust wealth-management groups, along with offices for G+S Communications, BusinessSuites, KPMG, Johnson Lambert, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank and structural engineers Ellinwood Machado. For the last 20 years, developer John Kane has been transforming the North Hills shopping center. Now, it’s a community of high-end retail, luxury apartments and office towers, including the newest BofA tower. Another 12-story office building is under construction, plus an AC Hotel and The Dartmouth apartments. Kane in September filed a request to rezone 34 acres in an adjacent development that could add 1.3 million square feet of office space, 125,000 square feet of retail space, 2,100 residential units, 950 hotel rooms and 450 senior-living units.

[media-credit name=”Provided by New Belgium BrewinG” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]New Belgium Brewing Co. Brewery and Liquid Center [/media-credit]


New Belgium Brewing Co. Brewery and Liquid Center


GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Adolfson & Peterson Construction, Minneapolis
ARCHITECT: Perkins + Will, Chicago
COST: $140 million
SIZE: 133,000 square feet

What was a stockyard, auction house and auto-salvage repair business in once-blighted West Asheville is now home to a brewery and tasting room overlooking the French Broad River. Fort Collins, Colo.-based New Belgium is one of several western craft brewers that have made an eastern migration, starting with Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewery, which opened a location in Brevard in 2012,  followed by California-based Sierra Nevada’s brewery, tap room and restaurant in Mills River. New Belgium offers tours of its brewery, which can produce 500,000 barrels annually. Thirsty visitors can sample the beer in the Liquid Center tasting room and on a deck overlooking a greenway with walking and bike paths, a tie to New Belgium’s signature bicycle.

[media-credit name=”Provided by Reagan Lunn, Duke Photography/ Arnab Chatterjee” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]Duke Chapel, Duke University [/media-credit]


Duke Chapel, Duke University


GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Romeo Guest Associates Inc., Durham
ARCHITECT: Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., Northbrook, Ill.
COST: $19.2 million
SIZE: 26,000 square feet

Duke’s iconic chapel reopened after a yearlong renovation, its first since opening in the 1930s. When a chunk of the limestone ceiling fell in 2012, the university began making plans for replacing the roof and the removal, refurbishment and return of seven large stained-glass windows. Crews also installed a new cooling system, cleaned and resealed the marble floors, and refinished the pews. The cathedral was designed by Julian Abele, the first African-American graduate of the architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania.


Allison Williams
Allison Williams
Allison Williams is senior editor of Business North Carolina. You can reach her at

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