For the Commercial Rehabilitation of the Odd Fellows Building, 115 E. Hargett Street, Raleigh
Five years ago, Empire Properties purchased the Helig-Levine complex of four buildings dating from the 1870s through the 1920s with a plan to restore their architectural integrity, revitalize existing businesses, breathe new life into the neighborhood, and serve as a catalyst to historic renewal in downtown Raleigh. In making this purchase, they were motivated by the conviction that the preservation of a historic building can be the first step in the revitalization of a community. These successful revitalization efforts in turn ensure continued preservation of the structures.
The most historically prominent and second oldest building in the Helig-Levine complex is the Odd Fellows Building, which was built in the 1890s. Located at 115 E. Hargett Street, it is the historical home of the City’s African-American Odd Fellows Lodge. The Lodge was on the third floor from the 1890s until it was abandoned in the 1950s. It was a pivotal landmark in what was once referred to as downtown’s African-American main street, now part of the historical African-American business district. Empire Properties restored the Lodge and preserved many of the artifacts left behind.
This same building was also home to Raleigh’s oldest continuously running barber shop, Capitol City Barber Shop. Owned by four African-Americans since 1927, the building is a reminder of the days when many Raleigh barbers serving African-American clients were located on Hargett Street. Empire Properties was committed to keeping the Capitol City Barber Shop as a tenant in the building. During the rehabilitation of the building, the barber shop space was restored back to its 1920s appearance and has since returned to serving its long-time customers and new clients in this downtown neighborhood.
The impact of the revitalization on this building and other structures along Hargett Street has been staggering for this downtown community. Hargett Street is now a place where a diverse cross section of Raleigh residents and visitors can not only shop, dine and socialize, but also experience the past of one of Raleigh’s historic and vibrant main streets – proof, once again, that historic preservation and economic revitalization go hand-in-hand.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation is pleased to present a 2008 Anthemion Award to Empire Properties for the Commercial Rehabilitation of the Odd Fellows Building.