In 1986, pro skateboarder and Raleigh native Reggie Barnes got together with some partners and decided to start a skateboard shop on downtown Raleigh’s Peace Street.
They called it Endless Grind, and for the last 35 years it’s sold skateboard gear, accessories and clothing and held skating events.
Back then, Peace Street was an uneventful route with a smattering of square retailers and restaurants and occasional residential development. But today, all that’s changing.
“We’ve seen lots of changes over the years,” Barnes said. “Little bits at the time, and a lot more recently.”
Today, Peace Street is exploding with new activity with a whole lot more in the pipeline set for the years to come. Endless Grind now sits right across from the towering Smoky Hollow development, as crews wrap up work on Phase Two and planning begins for Phase Three.
Also on the way is an upcoming mixed-use tower, currently zoned for up to 40 stories tall as well as the Seaboard Station mixed-use project currently underway by William Peace University. It’s a dramatic change for a quiet part of Raleigh that was a home for mill workers a century ago and later included such places as Finch’s Restaurant, Watkin’s Shoe Shop as well as a car wash and a laundry service.
And Barnes said it’s just a matter of time before the growth makes its way across to the property his store is currently leasing.
“At some point, we’re not exactly sure when, we’ll probably have to find a new location,” Barnes said. “Even where we sit will have to be developed.”
An analysis by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance found that since 2015 the corridor has added more than 1.3 million square feet of new space, including retail and commercial space and over 1,000 residential units.
Meanwhile, construction is currently underway on nearly 300,000 square feet of space, including 322 residential units, with more projects currently in the planning stages.
At least three major mixed-use destinations developments are known to be in the works at various stages as boutique developers gobble up smaller lots and property owners weigh their options on the booming route.
The street, currently a largely car-centric transit route, is quickly moving toward a more walkable, mixed-use corridor in an incoming transition that many downtown Raleigh streets have seen over the years.
“The way that Glenwood South has transformed, I think it’ll be the same for Peace Street,” he said.
Meanwhile, business owners like Barnes are increasingly weighing their options for what all this change means for them and whether there will be a space for them on Peace Street in the years to come.
“We do know that at some point we will have to move,” he said. “We have a great relationship with the owner, and in the meantime we want to be a great tenant for him so he doesn’t feel the need to rush that.”