New Office Space Coming to the Former Dr Pepper Warehouse on Dawson Street

Former Dr Pepper Bottling Plant on Dawson Street

Former Dr Pepper Bottling Plant on Dawson Street

The former Dr Pepper Bottling Plant is being renovated for new office space. The recruiting firm Personify will be moving about 70 employees to the new space on Dawson Street from their current Cary location.

Maurer Architecture has a great blog post about the work taking place at the site and I recommend readers jump over to see more.

The new mezzanine structure will connect to the existing second story which once held the bottling offices. The original second story faced Dawson Street and was closed off to the adjoining gable-roofed warehouse space. Now the upper wall between the two spaces has been eliminated and the mezzanine will provide a nice full height connection between the entry level and the upper story.

*Former Dr. Pepper Bottling Facility

The building is owned by Empire Properties and their site says that the building was built in 1935. It operated as the Dr Pepper Bottling Plant for almost 40 years.

From what I’ve read, they hope to have Personify in there sometime this summer.

Pic of the Week

Demolition of the Greyhound Bus Station on Jones Street

The former Greyhound Bus Station on Jones Street has now been demolished. With the site cleared, construction of the Greyhound Apartments should begin. Personally, I hope they change the name but that’s just me.

Imaps shows the property having a built date of 1971 so the Greyhound Station made it 45 years if that is what the data is referring to. The small warehouse next door, at the corner of Jones and Harrington, probably was around longer. Not demolished was the Levin-Tarlton House which rolled through downtown this February to its new home on New Bern Avenue.

The new apartment building should go from Jones to Lane Street. I expect a similar configuration as The Lincoln because the footprints are about the same and so is the developer.

Last thought, looking at a map of the nearby area I can’t help but wonder if Lane could be extended to West Street? (or even Glenwood) A traditional street with sidewalks and travel lanes may not work but perhaps something nontraditional that is only for bicycles and pedestrians. Lane doesn’t end at the state government complex like other nearby streets but rather goes way east.

Riding a bike or walking, in some way, to Glenwood Avenue would be fantastic down Lane.

Save The Date, November 8, 2016, For A Vote On Transit in Wake

The Wake County Board of Commissioners are in on the recommended transit plan for the county and they want voters to approve a tax increase in order to pay for it.

This week, the vote passed and on the November 8 ballot, we’ll have an opportunity to approve or not a 1/2 cent sales tax increase that will be used for transit. A similar vote has taken place, and passed, in Durham and Orange counties so now it is our turn.

You can read more at WakeTransit.com.

We’ll cover more parts of the plan here on the blog leading up to the vote as downtown Raleigh’s central location and urban nature is poised to be a hub of bus and rail activity if voters approve the tax increase.

Stay tuned.

Downtown Raleigh Employment Breakdown

2016 Downtown Employment By Sector

Last one from the 2016 State of Downtown Raleigh report. Here is the employment breakdown by different sectors. When comparing it to the figure from 2015, there are just a few changes to note:

The 2016 figure doesn’t mention “Finance and Insurance” or it’s lumped into “Miscellaneous.”

The numbers in this sector could be dropping. At the same time, the other sectors may be growing making this particular one seem to shrink.

Raleigh Magazine recently asked, “Is Midtown NC’s New Financial District?

within just two miles you’ll find corporate headquarters, campuses for five major banks plus bank branches for PNC, BB&T and Yadkin Bank.

*Is Midtown NC’s New Financial District? via Raleigh Magazine.

The relocation of Bank of America from downtown Raleigh to North Hills may be a factor in the changing percentages.

Keep in mind that the figures aren’t quantitative but instead show the employment distribution. In my experience, technology companies prefer to cluster and collaborate. I’m not sure if that is the case with the financial sector. I’d welcome anyone with insight into that kind of thing.

If true, then expect the tech companies to attract even more tech companies leading to a rise in this sector in 2017.

Consolidating City Offices Into a New Downtown Campus

Corner of McDowell and Hargett Streets

Corner of McDowell and Hargett Streets

The City of Raleigh has around 1,100 employees and in downtown, you can find them in a variety of places. One Exchange plaza on Fayetteville Street, behind the old Raleigh Union Depot facing Nash Square, and the City Hall block are just a few of them. In May, the city started discussing the possibility of consolidating those spaces, possibly others, into a downtown municipal campus.

The idea is to plan for new growth in a cost-effective way. The process to get there might involve selling off some city-owned properties. Right now, the thinking is to build this new campus on the current site of City Hall, the block bounded by Hargett/Morgan and McDowell/Dawson Streets. It would be paid for, partially, by selling some of the properties mentioned above and possibly others.

By looking at data from iMaps, I created this map of city-owned property in the downtown area.

For completeness, I searched for two terms, “City of Raleigh” and “Raleigh city of” to get those properties. There may be more but this covers a good amount. I combined a few together where it made sense and did not add some individual properties that I would consider to be in the East Downtown neighborhoods.

It’s interesting to see how much land there is but some of it makes sense with all the parking decks and cultural places like the Performing Arts Center and the Convention Center. The city owns, basically, zero properties in Glenwood South.

At this time, the city will work on landing a consultant to help with the process.

Long time readers may be experiencing Déjà vu here as the city has gone through a similar approach in recent history. Consolidating offices into a downtown tower, the Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center, was a big controversy in 2010. It eventually was scrapped as the cost, around $225 million, was seen as too high, among other concerns.

Rendering of the Lightner Tower

2010 rendering of the Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center

In the rendering, you can see that the 17-story tower would have replaced the Raleigh Police Department Headquarters building at the corner of Hargett and McDowell Streets. Since about that time, the RPD building has been empty and temporary offices set up elsewhere. (the downtown district offices are on Cabarrus Street)

Here we are in 2016 and a similar proposal is on the table with some differences. Rather than the term “tower” the term “campus” is being used. I cringe when I hear this term as “campus” reminds me of an office park with short, expansive buildings set back way too far from the street. Or worse, it reminds me of the state government “campus.”

I’m open to it though as the Downtown Raleigh plan makes a few recommendations for this area.

Hargett Street Should be a Pedestrian-oriented Street

That last one brings it home. In fact, the entire idea of redeveloping the City Hall block is right in the plan itself.

Hopefully, the consultant is shown this plan and can create active edges, especially along the Hargett Street side. Office space and parking will most likely be a part of the “campus” plan so to create more active streets and sidewalks, ground-floor retail space and an interior parking deck would be great elements of the plan.

2016 Downtown Raleigh Population Numbers

2016 Population Numbers

Here is some more data from the 2016 State of Downtown Raleigh report. This time, about downtown’s population numbers. We’re at an estimated 7,000 residents in the downtown area and projected to cross 10,000 in less than four years.

That’s between 1% and 2% of the overall city population, 3% and 4% if you bump out the boundaries to a mile-radius around the state capitol.

2016 Population Numbers

Glenwood South continues to be the most populated area, adding more units than any other district. However, Moore Square comes in at a close second.

2016 Population Numbers

I imagine next year, the warehouse district will make a big jump with the apartments at The Dillon. Glenwood South will add units from the Greyhound Apartments and Fayetteville Street will gain numbers from the Charter Square North tower.

They also included a map to show the catchment area of this data.

2016 Population Numbers

Aerial Visualization of New Capital Boulevard Bridges

Thanks to a few readers who found this aerial visualization of the Peace Street and Wade Avenue Bridge replacement project. NCDOT should start this project this summer.

For more on it, especially the Peace Street part, go here.

[UPDATE:5-26-16]
A raise of the glass goes out to Jim who made this overlay of projects on top of a screen grab from the video. Click for a larger view.

The Capital Boulevard aerial doesn’t consider the new Williams and Kane joint projects but with the announcement posted earlier this week and the Smoky Hollow LLC purchase nearby you can see some of the possible development outcomes of the new square loop.

A Johnson Street connection from Glenwood to Capital would make for a great grid of streets around the planned developments and hopefully ones in the future. Johnson at Capital could be a major entrance to Glenwood South for those coming from North Raleigh.

With the Devereux Meadow Park on one-side of Peace, the opposite side has to come at a premium due to how much traffic is funneled down Peace Street. With Peace being practically the only east-west artery in this area, I imagine the vehicle, bike, and ped counts will continue to be higher than other streets.

Stat of the Week

Click for larger

You’ve got to have a healthy downtown in order to have a healthy city. This stat taken from the 2016 State of Downtown Raleigh report.

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