By Gene Galin
Pittsboro, NC – Folks are wondering what is going to happen to the Justice Motor’s building in downtown Pittsboro. The building is part of the SoCo Pittsboro project that building owner Greg Stafford is developing. He’s planning to start construction on the project in January 2021.
Below is the interview I conducted with Greg in late October.
Gene Galin: We’re standing in front of that building. One of the buildings that Mr. Greg Stafford owns. It is currently up for lease. Was the home of the Pittsboro Roadhouse, Greg Lewis and his wife are taking the restaurant business up the road to the mill. He’s going to open up a steak house. But we’re gonna reference this building right now. Because one of the questions that we had on the Chatlist from one of our members was – “Are you going to keep that Justice Motor Corp engraving up on the building
Greg Stafford: So, nothing on the facade is going to really change. The whole goal behind this will actually be to keep the history. There’s a pretty cool story if you want to hear sure this way.
Gene: All right.
Greg: When this was being built, out here, Mr. Justice in 1939, I believe, all right, put a nickel out here. And said, all right, as they finished the building, this is my last nickel. And that is out here somewhere. My goal is to locate it. Though thus far, we haven’t been able to. But John Justice has agreed to come out and help you find it. We’re going to cut that nickel out of the floor somewhere, shine it up and have the nickel in a block of concrete and use it as a paver around here somewhere. So it’s still out here for people to see. This is the old garage door into the old dealership. And we’re going to keep all of this intact. As we build, what else will happen? Going to go around this way. Oh, I’m going around this way. There we go. This is where Second Blum is. They are moving out soon.
That building will be demolished. And we will then lower the grade of this building down where Gene and I are standing. And this will become a patio. That is, you know, point one five acres. It’s a very large patio for outdoor dining, outdoor live music and drinking anything else.
Gene: So, that’s going to be attached to… Right now this building here is empty. You’ve got it up for lease. What are you hoping to put in there? Or what have you? Have you had any inquiries? What are people saying? What would you like to see there? And are you going to make any more modifications to the building itself, besides lowering the grade?
Greg: We will rerun electric. We’re probably going to change this awning because we’re going to have something that extends out further to cover it. When we get to the far side, we’re gonna knock out that entire wall, turn it into glass.
Gene: So when you say the far side, we talking about the down…
Greg: If you went straight through this garage door, everything to your left will be glass and there will be glass garage doors going across. And then when that way, when you’re on Sanford road, you’ll be looking out, you know, driving down, looking into the restaurant and the restaurant, you’ll be looking at the patio.
Gene: So you’re going to expand this whole area all the way open. You’re going to have an awning, a new awning, that’s going to extend all the way out to cover an acre plus. Right. So when you get the glass walls up to where you take that wall, the current wall down and you put the glass, you pretty much are going to have a venue that’s very customer friendly and inviting. Not just during certain times of the year, but all year round.
Greg: Correct. And what we’re hoping for is the stage that Roadhouse had in there is really nice, right? And you will be able to have a band we may move it. That’s still up for debate. But to look outward so that then you could open the wall up. You could sit outside and listen to live music and inside listen to live music.
Gene: Alright, so you could you could have a good musical experience whether you’re indoors in the building itself, or on the edge or even out here once this is all leveled out.
Greg: Correct. And as you go around here, we’re walking up what’s going to be the patio. All right, and there will be a curved wall. And it’s hard to visualize, but what’s happening is the traffic circles getting smaller than the it is. Actually where you see traffic is right here, right? There’s gonna be another four or five feet in this way, and increase the amount of dirt here. They’re not widening it, they’re shrinking.
Gene: Well, let me ask you this question. And I think those of us who’ve been in an area for long enough time; when big trucks come through, we see a lot of times, sometimes not a lot of times, but we sometimes see the trucks roll over the edges of the sidewalk, is that shrinkage going to cause any concerns?
Greg: Well, it’s supposed to, I’ve been told by the DOT, it is the design is made to make those trucks uncomfortable. So they’ll choose to go around on 902 and 87, as opposed to come through the center of town; because they’re going to tighten this down greatly. And apparently, it’ll be miserable to be a truck driver going through here.
Gene: Alright, so you’re gonna have regular traffic still being able to comfortably get get through. But for the big trucks that again, know, we’ve seen that time and time over and run over the edges of the sidewalk, that’s going to be kind of discouraged.
Greg: Well, it’s gonna be discouraged. Just because of the inconvenience. We’re also told that actually narrowing the road will make traffic go faster. Because having such wide travel lanes, is slowing it down. And apparently, it creates indecision on the drivers. And that puts them in a position where they hesitate before they go. Because are they going straight? Are they going right? The smaller circle is supposed to make it faster, whether it is or not.
Gene: And when are they starting or starting ? So are they talking about how long for that project to go on for?
Greg: The contract as I read it. Forgive me if I’m not exactly right. It has to be done by November, because they don’t want downtown Pittsboro being shut down for the Christmas season.
Gene: Got you. Because Pittsboro has a Holly Holly Day celebration for pretty much the whole month of December. Plus you have a parade and a whole bunch of other stuff going on.
Greg: And if you look at the way the timing is they can start January 11. They end by November and hopefully none of the business for Christmas is interrupted.
Gene: Fantastic. Folks, we’re going to move on to the other segment, we’ve talked about the Justice Motor Company and what Greg’s plans are for that and now we’re going to move around the corner because Greg’s got more plans here in downtown Pittsboro.