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Raleigh locals aren’t ready to see Logan’s Garden Shop go.
Before Logan’s was the beloved family-owned garden shop biz it is today, it served as the historic Bagwell Seaboard Railroad Station—nee 1942—a central location in Downtown Raleigh that allowed both Raleighites and visitors alike to gather and connect. Logan’s has occupied the building since 1991, becoming just as much a part of Raleigh’s vibrant history as the railroad station. Now, however, as many Raleigh residents are certainly aware, the Logan’s building is currently being redeveloped by New York-based real estate investment and development firm Turnbridge Equities (who also purchased The Creamery building on Glenwood South) into a multimillion-dollar mixed-use project featuring retail, apartments and a parking deck.
While plans have already been released for the Seaboard Station revamp, some locals aren’t ready to let go of the Logan’s building just yet—which Turnbridge Equities plans to replace with a parking garage to serve two 20-story towers (and in order to build the towers, Turnbridge must rezone the property). To that end, the Oakwood neighborhood sent a letter to Raleigh City Council in March urging them not to grant the rezoning unless it includes the preservation of the train station, as it’s a historic landmark that “informs us about our past and makes our city an interesting place for both residents and visitors.”
Matthew Brown—a historian, former commissioner at the Raleigh Historic Development Commission and past president of the Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood—sides with the Oakwood residents. “[The building] can be used in a variety of ways,” says Brown. “Lots of cities—their train stations are repurposed. [In Raleigh], it’s repurposed now as a retail business and a cafe.”
Enter Old House Life’s Michelle Bowers. In an effort to save this important part of Seaboard Station—and Raleigh history in general—Brown recruited the Cary native, who now resides in Virginia and runs Old House Life’s Instagram/Facebook accounts, on which she posts photos and videos of old buildings, abandoned houses, etc. in the hopes that her 120K/701K followers, respectively, will purchase, preserve and/or restore them. “She reaches a lot of people, and she has a lot of energy,” says Brown.
Both Brown and Bowers picture the Logan’s building being preserved as a sort of common area, cafe, restaurant, bar or retail business(es)—even Seaboard Cafe could be maintained. To help save the building, Bowers plans to post about it on her social media accounts and ask her followers to email City Council members in the hopes “they can put a stop to it… or at least rezone where they have to keep the structure and utilize it in some way,” says Bowers. “It would give it a lot more character.”
Adds Brown, “It’s just a lack of imagination on [the developers’] part that they can just tear it all down and build these generic towers and a generic parking deck.” But, while Brown thinks the city will grant Turnbridge Equities the rezoning (which they’ll make a profit on, as the property is currently only zoned for seven stories), he’s unsure if City Council will grant it on the condition of preserving the train station, and it’s not yet on the council’s agenda—but hopefully it will be in May.
“It seems that that’s a very small return favor to insist that [City Council] preserve the train station,” says Brown, “which is an important part of our history and a beautiful piece of architecture—which we are sadly lacking in Raleigh.” And it would be a shame to see such a significant Raleigh landmark go away…
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