$6.1 million spent as downtown Raleigh apartments reopen after 2017 fire

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Eleven months after a fire torched more than a quarter of a downtown luxury apartment building, repairs to all of the damaged units are complete.

Flames scorched the east side of the Link Apartments Glenwood South on March 16, as the under construction site of The Metropolitan caught fire.

CLICK TO VIEW 40+ PHOTOS OF THE FIRE AND THE DAMAGE IT CAUSED

All of the tenants from the 204-unit The Link had to evacuate because the sprinkler system activated. Some units sustained smoke damage.

Crews worked around the clock for the next two weeks to reopen 145 of the units by the end of March 2017.

The Link’s ownership company, Grubb Properties, estimates it cost $1.1 million to address immediate emergency needs. The company provided hotel stays for many displaced tenants, and also assisted with moving property around.

“We got all but 59 of them back up within two weeks,” Grubb Properties president Scott Brown said.

“It took until July to negotiate with the insurance adjusters all of what the cost would be, and then we started construction in July,” Brown added.

Crews completed work on the first seven remaining units at the end of December, and finished the rest of the apartments on Friday.

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“The heat was so strong from that side of the fire that it melted the skin on the outside of our building, and so we had to strip that all the way back down to then re-skin the outside of the building and put new windows in,” Brown said.

“The property is as good as new because we basically gutted the interior and the exterior, so this isn’t the fire rebuild, this is back to being a brand new Link product.”

Many tenants returned in March, but Brown said Grubb Properties permitted people to terminate their lease without penalty and move out if they wanted.

Some people did not want to be there because of the construction, while others expressed concerns connected to the fire. People who lived in the burned units had the opportunity to move into open apartments on the undamaged sides.

As of Monday morning, future tenants had already signed leases for nine of those 59 apartments.

Brown said the recovery and repair work cost an estimated $6.1 million. He described the project as “really successful” and expressed appreciation for the construction crews as well as the firefighters, police officers, and other City of Raleigh personnel who assisted during and after the fire.

Investigators classified the cause of the March 12 five-alarm fire as “undetermined.” A report submitted to the city manager listed possible sources as arson, a heating fire started by squatters, and electrical sources.

Crews continue to construct The Metropolitan. The 241-unit apartment building was set for a Fall 2017 opening. The rebuilding project will take an estimated 16 to 18 months.

Repair work is well underway at the adjacent Quorum Center. The 15-story building contained condominiums and offices, including the North Carolina State Firefighters Association, and it too sustained substantial damage.

A spokesperson said Monday that replacement of the bricks on the side facing The Metropolitan should be complete in March. Interior work will continue afterward, and likely last close to a year.

The goal is for Quorum Center to resume normal operations in early 2019.

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