For the Exterior Commercial Rehabilitation of the Boylan-Pearce Building, 216 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh
From its construction in 1911 through 1955, the Boylan-Pearce Building on Fayetteville Street was a symbol of fashion and good taste at the center of Raleigh’s central shopping district. With its Beaux Arts design – intricate plaster moldings on the exterior and sweeping interior staircase that connected three stories – the Boylan-Pearce Building attracted shoppers from all over eastern North Carolina. The building was cutting edge in its time, built with a fully integrated electrical system and boasting a fire-proof cast-in-place concrete structure, one of the first of its kind in the south. The Beaux-Arts building had a 3-bay façade on Fayetteville Street with nearly 12’ tall storefront glass windows on the lower level that stepped deeply into the building.
After the popular department store left the building on Fayetteville Street for the suburbs of Cameron Village, Lerner Shops occupied the building into the 1960s, dramatically altering the iconic facade. The magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows on the second and third levels were filled with cinder blocks to accommodate a new flat stucco façade and its exterior terra-cotta medallions were hammered away. A new, lower storefront consisting of a stucco covering was installed much tighter to the façade to serve as a backdrop to the store name, and the original decorative tile flooring was removed in the front of the building.
The Lerner Shops vacated the building in the last quarter of the twentieth century. In the early 2000s the A. J. Fletcher Foundation made a start at restoring the building to its former glory. The slab of white stucco that covered the Beaux-Arts façade of stone, concrete, and terra cotta was removed and the building was marketed for sale. Nevertheless, with the Fayetteville Street Mall still closed to vehicular traffic, the building proved a hard sell. While downtown enjoyed a renaissance that filled many storefronts and sidewalks, Boylan-Pearce remained empty.
The façade renovation initially began in 2001 when the A. J. Fletcher Foundation purchased the building. The stucco façade and lower level storefront were removed, the windows were reopened, and the decorative detailing of the upper two levels of the façade was recreated to match historical photographs of the façade. With the desire to see the building properly restored, businessman Dean Debnam purchased the building in 2012 and began on the exterior façade as first priority in a phased project. Clearscapes, PA was hired as architect for the project and Barnhill Contracting Company as contractor and project manager. The four simplified pre-cast cartouches from the previous façade renovation were replaced with cast stone replicas of the original terracotta versions. A new storefront system was reconstructed, which features a decorative protruding iron and glass canopy. The iconic 47-foot-tall neon sign – made to the same specifications as the original – which had been a feature of the building since the early 1930s, was restored to match the historical photographs. Finally, the decorative tile floor with Boylan-Pearce (BP) logos were all reproduced to complete the façade’s restoration.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2017 Anthemion Award to Dean Debnam; Clearscapes, PA; Barnhill Contracting Company for the Exterior Commercial Rehabilitation of the Boylan-Pearce Building, 216 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh.