Posts by Leo Suarez

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New Residential Coming to 615 West Peace Street

The latest iteration for the property at 615 West Peace Street is now a residential building named 615 Peace. One and two bedroom units are planned for an empty site that has gone through a few proposals over time, including a hotel with a controversial rezoning.

Even with the ongoing pandemic, downtown residential occupancy is very strong according to the Downtown Raleigh Alliance’s latest State of Downtown Raleigh report.

The project’s site also mentions ground-floor retail which is refreshing to see on a busy street like Peace. The plans look pretty decent so I’m hoping the condo market makes it happen as rentals still seem to dominate downtown.

Pic of the Week

Starting this week, the city is having protected bike lanes installed on West and Harrington Streets as part of the Downtown North-South Greenway Connector. This will be downtown’s first protected bike lane which connects the warehouse district to Smoky Hollow. You can already see parts of it along West, shown above.

Along West Street, bicycle traffic can start from Union Station and head toward Smoky Hollow in the protected lane until North Street. If heading the other way around, you can get back to the warehouse district riding down Harrington Street.

The placement of the lanes is also nice as there are several Citrix Cycle stations along them including Union Station, across from Morgan Street Food Hall, Hillsborough Street, and at Jones Street.

This is excellent to see as it is a foundational route that one day could connect to a greenway heading north along a Devereux Meadows park in north downtown and to a greenway to Dix Park which is to the south. The lanes should be 100% by October.

Pic of the Week

The demolition continues on Caswell Square, this time with the Oral Hygiene building along Dawson Street coming down. By the time you read this, it is most likely gone.

The demolition on the square itself started in March 2020, see this post, and no plans for the land have been announced. If I recall correctly, this is the last building to be removed from the square.

I said it before and I still continue to think that the state government needs to improve the management of their own properties as the loss of these buildings, with private interest in rehabilitation, is a loss for downtown Raleigh.

You can revisit Caswell Square on this December 2016 blog post.

Seaboard Station Block B Plans Show more Mixed-Use, Underground Parking

During the Aug 20 meeting of the Raleigh Appearance Commission, a request for an alternate design came up for what’s being called Block B of Seaboard Station. The six-story building planned for this site is a mixed-use building with residences over retail. Above is a concept rendering

A bit unique to the building, and very welcome in my opinion, is that the plans show parking being underground. You don’t see too much of that with the development of the last few decades as a plethora of new buildings have been built over a parking deck or have the deck wrapped in the interior.

The site of Block B at Seaboard Station would loosely be over the current tennis courts along Halifax Street between Seaboard Avenue and Franklin Street.

It doesn’t look like the building would go all the way to Abe Alley so perhaps the remainder of that block is still being worked on.

The plans show about 180 units and all four sides of the building have an active use for either retail or residential. There’s just one parking entrance along Halifax.

Those are some of the high-level takeaways about this project from this request. If you’re curious about the request itself, the summary says:

The building meets the build-to requirement for much of the site but is missing build-to requirements along Halifax Street. A major Duke Energy 115kV transmission line and easement extends through the property along the entire Halifax Street frontage. Buildings and other permanent, above ground structures are not allowed within Duke Energy’s transmission line easements.

Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

Downtown Status and Do Your Part to Help

This week, the city council received an update from Jim Greene, Assistant City Manager, and Bill King, President of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, on the latest efforts to help and even reactivate downtown Raleigh as we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic. The riots over the death of George Floyd also had a big impact earlier this year as there are still storefronts with boards over their windows.

Today I’d like to ask readers to catch up with your downtown and take part in a short list of to-do’s that you can do to help downtown Raleigh.

Before we get in to the details, let’s get your responsibilities out of the way.

  1. Fill Out the 2020 Census to Help Downtown Raleigh’s Future. Do that here.
  2. Read about 7 ways to support local businesses.
  3. Bookmark this page and become a DTR foodie pro with takeout and dine-in options always changing.

Now how is downtown Raleigh doing?

You can jump to the video below and hear the report but some key takeaways include:

  • The city has a priority to reactivate downtown Raleigh
  • A majority of damage from the riots have been repaired with plans throughout the rest of the year to replace planters, transit stops, and the remaining glass
  • The city will expedite applications for outdoor dining on streets and parklets
  • The $5 parking fee on weekend nights in parking decks has been suspended
  • Food and beverage sales were at an all time low in April 2020 but have only been increasing
  • Public health is priority #1
  • 55 storefronts still have boards on windows but 66% are down
  • Board art is being kept and documented by Raleigh Arts

We’re getting there slowly and as the health crisis subsides, downtown vitality should only increase. As the look and feel of downtown comes back, so too will shoppers and visitors.

The video is below. [youtube link here]

Pic of the Week

We’re getting reports that Publix, located along Peace Street at the intersection with West Street, is set to open in early September. This makes the road work nearby feel practically complete as crews just need to put the finishing touches on the bridge over Peace Street. Publix is more reason to celebrate almost four years of road construction finally ending.

Throughout the 2000s and early 2010’s, a downtown grocery store was one of those key reasons folks said they wouldn’t seriously consider living in downtown Raleigh. They are now here so if Weaver Street didn’t get you packing, Publix should seal the deal!

Pic of the Week

Hotel building is still taking place in downtown Raleigh. I feel like The Willard, being built along Glenwood Avenue at the corner with Willard Place, was funded right before the pandemic really hit. This project has been moving throughout the year and is starting to show some height.

The rooms overlooking the street will have a great view of downtown. I’m pretty excited about this one to be honest.

Pic of the Week

One of my favorite projects looks to be wrapping up. The construction at 107 West Hargett, the historic Lumsden Bros. Building, has been slowly being polished up throughout the year.

If you’ll recall, there was an announcement previously that FastMed Urgent Care’s new corporate office would be relocating here. A clinic is also planned to be opening here.