Briggs Building Renovation Featured In Our State

Briggs Building Renovation Featured In Our State

Our State magazine featured the Briggs Hardware Building, home of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, in an article about North Carolina architecture in its November issue. After purchasing the building in 1997, the Fletcher Foundation spearheaded the renovation effort during 1997-98 and moved into its offices on the 4th floor in 1998.

“Restoration Hardware” by Tony Reevy begins, “From its lofty status as Raleigh’s first ‘skyscraper,’ the historic Briggs Hardware Building attains new heights through devoted preservation efforts.” The article cites that the Briggs Building, home of Briggs Hardware from 1874 until 1995, stood as the tallest building in eastern North Carolina at the time of its construction. After the Briggs family closed the store and sold the building to investors, the structure sat empty for two years, suffering damage from Hurricane Fran. Then the A.J. Fletcher Foundation stepped in. Foundation Executive Director Tom McGuire told Reevy that, “We decided that restoring the building could help non-profits by allowing reasonably priced space for charitable organizations.”

The Fletcher Foundation joined forces with Preservation North Carolina (PNC) for the $3.2 million renovation. PNC now inhabits the third

The Briggs Hardware Building, now home of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.

floor of the building. Special Olympics North Carolina leases the second floor, and the Raleigh City Museum occupies the first floor and basement. Reevy states that, “The building is a lesson in how non-profit organizations can work together to improve life for North Carolina citizens.”

McGuire went on to explain the allure of the downtown location for a building for non-profits to Reevy: “‘Fayetteville Street Mall is the heart of Raleigh. For a hundred years this was the main street of eastern North Carolina. And yet the mall remains the one area of downtown Raleigh whose redevelopment is lagging. We felt that bringing people into the Briggs Building could be the beginning of a turnaround for the area.'”

Indeed that turnaround could almost take shape via the catalyst of the Fletcher Foundation alone. The Foundation recently donated $1 million to help build the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater as part of the BTI Performing Arts Center; the opening is slated for February. The Foundation also recently purchased the Boylan Pearce department store building next door to the Briggs Building and began renovations to create another home for non-profits.

The Fletcher Foundation is now in the process of renovating the Boylan Pearce Building.

Construction is progressing on the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater.

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