Potential Parking Parcels For Prominent Progress

Renovation and new construction are all over downtown. A couple projects have hit some financing snags so the new construction buzz has become a little slow now that RBC Plaza and the Convention Center are so close to opening. While enjoying the present, it is always good to look toward the future. Since empty lots are hard to come by, parking lots will have to do. Here is a short list of parking lots with high potential for development in the near future in downtown.

Sites 2 and 3

The two parking lots in front of the Performing Arts Center are known as sites 2 and 3, with an “extended” Fayetteville St. bisecting the two lots. There are lots of factors to consider here if imagining what could be built. Should buildings be shorter to ‘step down’ to the Arts Center or should we build tall? Should Fayetteville St. continue to South St.?

Davie and McDowell

This parking lot is surrounded by good stuff so it is only a matter of time before something sprouts here. A hotel would make sense because of its close proximity to the convention center. The parcel is pretty large so a true mixed use project would seem likely.

Lenoir and Wilmington

As Charter Square goes up across the street, the increase traffic flow on Wilmington will make this area look very attractive to developers. The block is sort of transitional between downtown mid-rises and neighborhood houses so it will be interesting to see what is proposed here.

Blount St.

The parking lots between Jones and Edenton street occupy two entire city blocks (except for the Haywood House). The western block could be used for government expansion buildings while the eastern block could be used for low-rise townhouses and condos, creating a neighborhood feel that transitions into Oakwood. Plans for a city visitor center are out there but I have not heard of any new information on that topic.

Are there any other key lots out there ripe for development?

27 Comments

  1. Leo, good topic: Far too many empty lots in downtown Raleigh (have been too many for years).

    Let’s get outspoken – tired of the lack of vision – L Building, Hue, Dawson, Alexander parking deck, Marriott, Convention center (low rise developments on prime real estate). Site two and three development should be no less 40 stories tall, we do not need to compliment Memorial Aud in any way what-so-ever(anything less than 40, will be a failure (this is prime real estate on F Street – charter is thinking too small – another lost opportunity), need more office space on F Street and need more hotel space – floors 1-3 in each building should be shops and food service (where is the theatre downtown? noone is talking about this), the second and third floors of each building should have outdoor seating facing F Street, Wilmington Street and Memorial Aud. (balconies with seating) – do not want Empire near the bids for this land – they think too small and are too slow -bring in the Edison people or a NY, SF, Chicago developer and architect (not Clearscapes – their designs are too bland – look at the convention center, sorry, UGLY – nothiong about it says Raleigh “The Capital City”).

    More lots: In the Warehouse area – again too many, this area is pathetic

  2. I would like to see no height restrictions on new construction, and would actually prefer to designate minimums.

    “True mixed-use” – every building built downtown should be mandated as such.

    We complain about the blandness of downtown, but then expect new construction to not deviate from the surroundings too much. How is that going to create anything but more blandness? Not that I expect anything more from a town who thinks hotels and convention centers are what downtown should be about.

  3. @Travis:
    I would say the warehouse district has a lot of potential character. It’s not crap. It’s probably one of the few places downtown where historic property has yet to really see a wrecking ball.

    If you’re going to say “bunch of crap” at least elaborate and contribute to the discussion.

  4. Magnus- I agree however after the fight the NCMA put up to get financing for their new addition, and the fact that the addition is under construction, I doubt it will ever move downtown. Wishful thinking!

    I think this post was designed for progressive ideas, not bashing what is already downtown. I think long-term Raleigh really needs a professional sports team. I think the Davie/McDowell lot would serve as a great location for a baseball park. Downtown also needs a defined retail area. The renovations of Hargett, Fayetteville and Wilmington have certainly helped this, but hopefully Edison and future projects will help attract the retail/boutique movement.

  5. Would be nice to see the art museum find a new home downtown instead of being banished to the outer reaches of town.

  6. Stadium? Downtown?!? OK I could see one being put up somewhere on the outskirts of town but the downtown streets could never withstand the sort of traffic that goes with having a stadium of that scale.

    And why do we need a retail area? Why not push for mixed use so the stores are right there where people live?

  7. Hey Ben- ever heard of the Hurricanes?! You guys want to put Raleigh on the map… start pulling for our sports teams that are here now. Then maybe someone will think that we deserve a MLB team! I think one could thrive here… but we need to prove ourselves worthy first.

  8. DPK, why dont you do the same. Contribute.. what do you love so much about the warehouse district. Do not talk of potential. Tell me what is so great about it right now.

  9. While I personally enjoy the Canes, it is not the most appealing sport to everyone in the area, and shouldn’t be the standard for which our fanhood is judged to permit a second professional sports team. Proving ourselves worthy of having a professional sports team would come a lot easier by placing a stadium or arena in a location that has more community involvement. The decision to put the ESA next to Carter-Finley is mind-boggling. The idea is to make Downtown Raleigh a destination, not an errand. Every major (and many growing) cities has multiple professional sports teams for citizens to help identify themselves with and help define the Downtown culture. Downtown Raleigh’s identity is struggling, and will continue to do so if our “Downtown” is being plopped down on Edwards Mill Road, Crabtree Valley Mall, etc…

  10. Magnus-I agree with the mixed use. I’m not saying only build a mall downtown, but I think that developers should focus more on recruiting retail users for first and second story spaces in their projects, but doing so in a collaborated effort so that we don’t end up with a few stores here and a few more 7 blocks away. Mixed-use is the way to go- it will help bring more density and provide better accommodations for residents, commuters and visitors to the city.

  11. Excellent presentation, Leo!!! The lots you mentioned are certainly a great starting point for identifying potential redevelopment locations. While I have my own opinions as to how these lots should be developed, I also understand that it is not always possible to get my wishes, nor that my vision is the best one out there. With that having been said, here is what I think:

    * Sites 2 and 3 deserve something great. While I do hope we get a couple of skyscrapers there, I am afraid we’ll have to settle for less :( Anything below 20-25 floors/350ft will be a great disappointment, IMHO.

    * Davie and McDowell is ideal for something truly tall. Let’s say 50+ floors/700ft+. Anything below that will be a waste of space… Period. That County Jail and the nearby parking decks MUST be overwhelmed by something tall and iconic… Something along the same lines with the proposed Devon Energy Tower (Oklahoma City, OK) and RSA Tower (Mobile, AL). This is a prime location that must be utilized for something major.

    * Lenoir and Wilmington could easily get a transitional tower, around 20-25 floors, but I am afraid they are thinking small for that location :(

    * The Blount Street lots (East and West) provide a HUGE opportunity for a mixed-use redevelopment that could contain every scale possible. The West lot could easily host a high-rise – although doubtful – and a series of mid-rises between 6 and 14 floors. The East lot can have a few 6-10 story buildings with a bunch of townhomes occupying half the block – similar to Blount Street Commons.

    Some people bring sports to the mix, and I couldn’t agree more, but NOT for the aforementioned lots. First, we need residential projects and retail, followed by hotels and a few corporate relocations. When these components are in place, we can discuss professional teams. Many people look down on the Canes – not everyone likes hockey, I understand – but this is the best we got, and quite frankly it is the only [professional] team that brought a championship to our state. If we can bring them closer to downtown, we can cheer for getting a major tenant. However, I would maintain that neither of the sites Leo present should be wasted on arenas. There is enough land, within proximity, which could serve better as “host” of a sports venue, but city officials will have to seriously consider the expansion of downtown to the South, or even North (Capital Blvd stretch).

  12. Didn’t know parking lots could generate such passion! Next time I walk by one I’ll stop and reflect.

  13. Mangus, agree about the Art Museum, but that will NEVER happen now. Who/what city puts an Art Museum in the middle of nowhere. It should be published: past city leaders associated with a few stupid project decisions should be identified as idiots (example: the group that made the decision to put the Art Museum in the middle of nowhere and Fetzer and his suckups who where responsible for the RBC Center in a cow field). FYI: I do not neded to hear from Fetzer supporters, I was at ALL the meetings for the arena process – and HE was the key roadblock along with “Clueless Coble” and the “Briggs Hardware Boy” who just agreed with Fetzer on all topics).

    Both these facilities would have changed the whole atmosphere of downtown Raleigh (it would be by far the best downtown in the Carolinas with that type of activity).

    Bright side: 2020 – next RBC Center (for Canes and State) will be in downtown Raleigh (City Council/DRA/County better start planning for a new RBC Center yesterday), current arena will be VERY outdated (support the Canes, we do not need MLB – just like Charlotte cannot support one team let alone two, bring the NFL to Raleigh and Eastern NC – we can only support these two sports – NFL and NHL – by no means can any city in this state support 82 MLB home games, bring the Mudcats to downtown Raleigh, the heck with the Bulls and that 40/50 mile rule – Mudcats deserve a new stadium in downtown Raleigh)

  14. I can somewhat agree with you Ben, but I have also seen the passion that Raleigh fans had during the Stanley Cup run. Hockey CAN be a VERY appealing sport, even to people here in NC. It will never top NCAA BB and FF, or the NFL, but it has just as much chances of surviving here as a MLB team does.

    What I am saying, is for an ownership group to even think about bringing another pro team here, we need to prove that we can support the one we already have… plus one more.

    I agree on the RBC location, hopefully Anthony is correct in that it will be relocated one day…

  15. How we support the Canes is noticed nationally and IS a standard how we are judged as a sport city (I travel all over the globe and continue to hear about the Canes and how we as a region (“The Triangle” – yes, they know about Raleigh)represented them in the playoffs and Cup runs – and what a great organization for the area – most approachable athletes on earth). Canes gave us International recognition. The only other sport that will work here is the National Felon League. Do not care about the NBA (Charlotte does not even care about the NBA – their support is pathetic for the NBA and for that matter, the NFL – and this is a poor reflection on them – one of the worst sports cities in the country – along with Atlanta).

    Raleigh needs to pursue an NFL team, noone will support a 82 game schedule (few go to see the Bulls or Mudcats and we are going to support 82 games for 9 boring innings, no way! – I played baseball for years and I now find it boring to watch)

  16. @Travis:
    You still failed to elaborate.

    The Warehouse district has the potential for being something akin to what Durham has going on over by the Athletic Park. A community of retail, business, and residential in an industrial setting. There is already a good amount of entertainment in the form of bars/clubs in that area, but what is needed is more of a residential driving force downtown to bring about the need for more commercial business in that area.

    With the Athletic Park there was a driving force of the Durham Bulls and the shear crowds that area sees before/after/during a game. We have no sports team in downtown Raleigh so we need to find a way to get more people into that district.

    The railroad helped make what the warehouse district is. We should embrace that and some of the massive buildings in the area. It’s part of our history, we shouldn’t plow it over.

  17. @Anthony:
    So the 40/50 mile rule is why the Mudcats Stadium is out in the middle of nowhere? Never knew there was a rule on it, but it makes sense now. I went to a game out there a few weeks ago and literally told my friend “why would they build this thing out here, it’d do so much better in Raleigh”.

  18. Mark- We do support the ‘Canes well- when they make the playoffs. If they dont make the playoffs, they lose money. They basically GIVE away tickets to get people in the place to see the games during the regular season.

    The only way we get an NFL team is if the Panthers decide to move from there to here. That will never happen, and the NFL will never give us another team.

    MLS would do just as good here as everywhere else in the USA. SHITTY.

    The NBA is garbage… it would NEVER last here. Too many colleges.

    MLB does not have a team very close to here. Baseball is huge in the South, but you might be right about it not making it here. For the first 10yrs or so, the only games people would go to would be against Boston, NYY, and the Braves. It would take a LONG time to build… but I think we could do it.

  19. How about supporting our local RALEIGH college folks?! We could make some noise on the national level THAT way… if anyone could ever open the BOT or Oblinger’s eyes to the mediocrity that is becoming EVERYTHING NCState!

  20. @DPK. lets hope you dont have to argue your point for a living. weak rebuttal. all you have is bars/club and potential. as of right now, you have proven my point for me. Thanks!

  21. @Travis:
    WHAT REBUTTAL??! I was stating my opinion on what I saw as potential. It’s cyclical! You need entertainment to warrant people wanting to live in a residential setting. As you get more residents commercial/entertainment/business increase. The cycle repeats. Sheesh. Way to troll up The Raleigh Connoisseur and be open to ideas. I feel sad for you if you can’t see the potential in what things could be. You’d have no imagination and so much fun to be around at parties.

    You still have yet to produce a valid composition in here longer than a few sentences btw.

  22. Also if you’re so focused on what’s there now, there’s several art studios in the warehouse district that are showcased on First Fridays as well.

  23. One thing I don’t like about this blog: the fact that a lot of the frequent readers like to gang up on the people who have better things to do than sit on a blog all day and argue over opinions.

  24. @Aaron. WHOM are you referring to? Choose your next statement carefully.

    ROFL. Back to Gustav and Hanna now.

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