Developer eyeing to build tower at first Char-Grill location


Char-Grill’s first location at 618 Hillsborough St. | Photo by RALtoday

Plans may be in the works to tear down + rebuild the original Char-Grill on Hillsborough Street in Glenwood South. Raleigh developer Wilson | Blount is eying a prime downtown location across from the $330 million Block53 development to construct a new mixed-use tower of up to 20 stories.

But don’t run across town to stock up on burgers and fries just yet — this story is still in development.

What we know

Wilson | Blount is in the due diligence process of purchasing the first Char-Grill location, four historic homes, and the Taylor’s Capital Service Station vacant lot. The parcels and two acres they sit on have an assessed value of ~$10 million.

While the future development is labeled as mixed-use, according to Char-Grill owners Ryon Wilder and Mahlon Aycock, the developer is planning to incorporate the eatery into the new location.

Wilson | Blount plans to submit a rezoning application which would change the lots to a mixed-use zoning of up to 20 stories. A neighborhood meeting will be held on Tues., July 12 to discuss the rezoning.

Let’s dive into some history of the locations slotted in the place of the new tower.

🍔 Char-Grill, 618 Hillsborough St.

This iconic downtown burger spot flipped its first patty at 618 Hillsborough St. in 1959. The cinder block building is home to char-grilled burgers, fries, hot dogs, barbecue, and shakes. We love the traditional cheeseburger topped with coleslaw.

Orders are taken down on a ticket and slipped through a crack in the window, where you can see bustling workers in white paper hats preparing meals + dressing dogs fit for a neighborhood barbecue. After popularity swept the city by word-of-mouth, the second location opened in 1986 on Edwards Mill Road. The chain now has nine locations across NC.

Don’t worry — Char-Grill will remain open until construction starts.

We’ve also received a tip that the current staff at Char-Grill will remain the same at the new build.

🧰 Taylor’s Capital Service Station, 630 Hillsborough St.

Built in 1952, this service station has sat vacant since December 2017 after being sold to a “mysterious developer” for $1.15 million, later revealed as Ohio resident Timothy S. Wood. Timothy is tied to several Raleigh businesses like the Johnson Street Yacht Club LLC and The Village Nightlife Complex. The Bryo Technologies founder had plans to turn the auto shop into a restaurant, which fell through due to issues getting supplies.


The historic Elmwood home at 16 N. Boylan Ave. | Photo by RALtoday

🏠 Four historic homes

Part of the site plans include an overlay in the Boylan Heights Historic District. The four houses listed in due diligence are:

  • The Elmwood home, 16 N. Boylan Ave. | Year built: 1812 | Once home to two Supreme Court chief justices, an associate justice, an ambassador, and a historian, the property is now used as an office space.
  • 14 N. Boylan Ave. | Year built: 1910 | Currently being used as office space.
  • 615 Willard Place + 607 Willard Place | Year built: 1910 | Currently being used as office space for Temple Law Firm PLLC.
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