For the Commercial Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse of the G&S Department Store, 206-208 S. Wilmington Street and 18 E. Hargett Street, Raleigh
The G&S Department Store on Wilmington Street was a focal point for growth in downtown Raleigh in the early twentieth century. The building, occupied by department stores, dress shops, and jewelers, was an important part of a thriving commercial district with strong ties to both the Jewish and African American heritage of Raleigh. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the buildings were occupied variously by groceries, dry goods, a restaurant, a liquor store, a barbershop or two, and several clothing stores. Among the early entrepreneurs was Jacob Kline, who in 1909 opened a men’s clothing store he called the “Klondike Store” at 210 S. Wilmington Street. His new business was next door to Ike Seligson’s “New York Bargain House,” also a clothier, which had opened in 1899. By 1914 Kline had formed a partnership with Goodman Lazarus, and the two businessmen opened Kline and Lazarus Co., purveyors of “clothing, dry goods, shoes, men’s furnishings, and ladies ready-to-wear” – a department store. The new enterprise consolidated all three S. Wilmington Street buildings. The main entrance to Kline and Lazarus was as at 16 E. Hargett Street with the Wilmington Street addresses used as a side entrance. In 1932 Louis Greenspon and Morris Satisky acquired the former Kline and Lazarus building and opened the G&S Department Store. The store became a familiar downtown Raleigh landmark for the next 24 years until it closed in 1956. Various businesses have occupied these buildings since, and the original façade was covered by metal sheathing sometime in the 1970s or 1980s.
Having served the needs of Raleigh residents for over a century, the G&S Department Store Building fell into serious decline in the late twentieth century. Empire Properties and its partners breathed new life into the building through a rehabilitation, emphasizing the historic nature of building storefronts and interiors. The metal-sheathed façade that covered the building’s original architectural features was removed to return the building to its former appearance. The careful renovation included the restoration of the original windows and stairs and the preservation of features such as interior skylights and millwork.
The rehabilitation has been particularly elegant in appropriating the commercial nature of the building’s past by leasing to retailers including Moon and Lola and Feelgoodz. The Raleigh Times Bar recently expanded into the building, providing customers with the opportunity to eat and drink in the presence of the city’s past while enjoying an unrivaled view of the city. Several office suites provide the one-of-a-kind space desired by tenants in today’s innovation economy. The project, completed in 2012, is an excellent example of how to balance the past with the present to create an engaging downtown environment.
The Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. is pleased to present a 2014 Anthemion Award to Empire Properties; Maurer Architecture; Atlantec Engineers, PA; Lysaght & Associates; Rehab Engineering, PC; Empire Hardhat Construction; Newbridge Bank for the Commercial Rehabilitation and Adaptive Reuse of the G&S Department Store, 206-208 S. Wilmington Street and 18 E. Hargett Street, Raleigh.