Ark Ventures Inc. is preparing to renovate an approximately 18,000-square-foot building on West Morehead Street for creative office space and perhaps a restaurant.
The building, 1213 West Morehead, is across from the southbound I-77 exit ramp onto Morehead. It went into foreclosure in 2012. Ark Ventures, headed by Rick andNoah Lazes, purchased the building for $750,000 from CommunityOne Bank in February.
Noah Lazes says Ark will begin renovations soon to convert the single-story brick building into shell space for studio offices from 1,000 square feet and up. Ark Ventures is best known for its N.C. Music Factory development, and Lazes says the studio office space there has remained well occupied.
The Morehead building sits on 1.4 acres and has more than 100 surface parking spots, and some of the spaces have roll-up garage doors as well.
“There’s just not a lot of that kind of space around where you can have a cool building with character, park right out in front of it and walk right in,” he says. “I think it’s a fantastic location and that area of town has a lot of upside.”
The renovation plans include putting new windows into spaces that have been tiled over on the front of the building. Lazes says he would like to find a restaurant or retailer to occupy that space and take advantage of the traffic pulling onto Morehead from the I-77 ramp
“You probably don’t get much better visibility,” he says. “Somebody who’s looking for some road exposure would be ideal in the front.”
Lazes says Ark Ventures has gotten a warm reception from the West Morehead community. And even though the property is vacant, a number of real estate investors have expressed interest in purchasing it.
“There’s a small chance someone will come along and take us out before we get started,” Lazes says.