Warehouse District Potential Rises With a Pair of Approved Rezonings

I propose we rename the warehouse district to the rezoning district. I’m kidding of course but with a pair of approved rezonings earlier in July of this year plus plenty of cases in the recent past, you can’t deny the potential for multiple new projects adding a lot of new space to the area. It’ll be quite a change!

Approved recently were two cases around the intersection of Hargett and Harrington. Mentioned earlier this year, the “Legends block” was approved for a max-height of 40 stories. Across the street, now a parking lot owned by Highwoods Properties, is another piece of property with a similar 40 story max zoning.

There’s not much else to add about the Legends parcel in that it includes the entire building, front and back bar, and the small parking lot along Harrington. No details as to what is planned have been released. The owners of the property is CityPlat, a local commercial development company.

The owner of Legends was quoted in the News & Observer that the deal here was a positive thing for the business.

“The deal with CityPlat ensures the long-term survival of Legends as an on-going business and an opportunity to collaborate for future development,” said Tim Bivens, one of the club’s owners, in an email. “We are coming up on our 30 year anniversary and plan to be around for another 30.”

Downtown Raleigh LGBTQ club Legends sells property for $4.3 million – link

The Highwoods Property on the other corner was mostly surface parking. The surface parking expanded with some buildings being demolished in February 2020. It’s not even fully paved, a move Highwoods seems to be fond of like their property on the corner of Wilmington and Martin. Similar to Legends, no details on future plans have been announced.

What gets me excited about this potential is the possible future for a nice two-block street of retail and restaurants. 300 and 400 West Hargett could have retail facing each other on both sides of the street on their ground floors. That’s actually quite rare in downtown outside of the Fayetteville Street core and Glenwood South.

Long term, we have planned bus-rapid transit and an already running train station nearby with plans for commuter rail. Office, residential, or even hotel uses could be nicely served by these alternative transit options.

We’ll have to see what’s announced in the future.

The Madison Drops Office and Residential at 600 Glenwood

Rendering by Cline Design

Located at the corner of Johnson and Glenwood are some single-family homes turned bars that pulse with Glenwood South’s nightlife. The properties have slowly been acquired and we now have renderings for a development that will include office space and residential.

The Madison will consist of around 200 apartments and the typical laundry list of amenities that you see with the newer developments like a pool and fitness center. On the same property, 603 Glenwood will have 114,000 square feet of office space. There will be a parking deck as well to handle the residents, office tenants, and interviews mentioned plans for public parking here as well.

The new development does plan to offer ground-floor retail space which I hope fills in quickly as the pedestrian counts are pretty high on this street.

The new development would remove the four 100+ year old homes that are currently operating as bars and a parlor. Nothing has been announced yet whether the homes will be moved but if you ask me, I’d be impressed if someone steps up to save the houses.

I’m ecstatic for more office for Glenwood South as that should add some midday traffic to the area and businesses may start expanding their hours. Smoky Hollow is also adding office space a few blocks away and of course Bloc 83 on the southern end has already been doing this.

If it’s not clear already, Glenwood South is by far the densest residential area in the city. With the addition of office space, it would be a pretty mixed-use area justifying it for future transit improvements and perhaps less need for structured parking, something we don’t see happening anywhere else in Raleigh.

The new development plans to break ground in 2022.

We’re doing T-Shirts! Donate by this Friday to get yours

Things have come together and over on the Community, we’re talking t-shirts. We have a slick design from the 919 Collective and I want to thank them for the contribution. Think MLB Raleigh for an already underway initiative to compare these shirts to. More on them in the future.

Deadline for t-shirt orders is this Friday, July 16 at midnight. Want one? Keep reading.

To get a shirt, simply make a donation here and include a comment with what you need. We’re looking for:

  • Quantity of shirts if you’re ordering more than one
  • Color (Dark grey or Red)
  • Size – see details here
  • Shipping info if needed. Please add $5 to your donation to cover shipping costs.

I’d prefer to hand over the shirts in person at a meetup if possible to keep this as simple as possible but I’ll make every effort that I can to get you your t-shirt once they are in.

Of course, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Donations are going towards covering the t-shirt order as well as supporting this site and the Community.

Chavis Park is Ready to Summer All Over You

Chavis Park had it’s grand opening ceremony on June 12 and the timing couldn’t be better. This is where area kids need to spend their summers as the combination of the big playground and the large splash pad make it necessary for multiple visits when the weather is hot.

If you haven’t been following, the playground, splash pad, and community center was completely rebuilt and is now open to the public. The center includes a gym, walking track, and gymnasium as well as several multi-purpose rooms. There’s a nice second-floor space with a balcony with a great view and the skyline pops over the park edge’s tree canopy.

The historic carousel house was also given a refresh and is now a meeting space. With the existing carousel, playground, and splash pad, this makes Chavis a nice spot for parents to bring kids to spend a few hours on hot days.

There are still more plans for Chavis as the master plan was broken up into multiple phases and this work only covers phase 1. In the future, Chavis may get more outdoor courts, maybe tennis and pickleball, play areas, and an aquatic center.

Plan your visit here.

Taking June Off. See you this Summer.

Just a quick personal update. June is a packed month here at Casa Suarez. All good things so no need to worry. With so many plans on the calendar, I’m just not getting to creating content right now and it’s been awhile since I stepped away for a long time so why not enjoy June before it starts to get real hot out there.

As always, the Community is 100% open so if you want to dive into downtown Raleigh conversations, check it out. See you in July.

Three Plans On The Table For New Park at Devereux Meadow

The city held a virtual open house in May, 2021 about a future urban park at the Devereux Meadow site. The site sits just north of Peace Street directly west of Capital Boulevard. It’s currently being used to store city vehicles but that will all be moved soon. Jump into the video above for the full 2-hour details, or 1 hour and 20 min if you watch it at 1.5x speed, the preferred watching speed here at DTRaleigh HQ.

You can also check out the project page on the city’s website for the slides and contact information: Devereux Meadow Project

There’s even a survey for you to fill out.

Devereux Meadow has popped in and out of the blog over the years as the site has been mentioned for future plans going back all the way to a 2011 Capital Boulevard Corridor study. That street is well documented on this site and I even have a post up about the baseball field that was built in 1938 right next to Capital. Finally, the Devereux Meadow site has been planned to become a park as part of the 2015 Downtown Plan which I covered here.

The session and presentation is quite nice and in addition contains some history. Even more history can be watched in an additional video.

Getting back to the present, the plans for the urban park are starting to materialize as the city is in the process of finalizing the schematic design. The construction of the park itself is still unfunded but could be on a future, this year even, parks bond.

The team is presenting three concepts for your review and I’d like to share each one below. The main points of each plan address the Pigeon House Branch creek in different ways and I think everything else kind of reacts around it.

Line Drive

The Line Drive concept is the first one in the list and does the least, relatively, to the creek compared to the other two plans. The creek “is stabilized in place, with stream shelf and instream structures to promote floodplain connectivity and bedform diversity.” A portion of the creek that is currently covered in concrete would remain.

This plans comes in as the cheapest and the report sums up how it stacks up against the rest with:

“Stabilization in place of the current stream. Aqueduct, site access road and Dortch Street culverts remain, leaving no room for stream alignment or grade manipulation. Incorporation of a stream shelf promotes floodplain connectivity, and instream structures develop bedform diversity. Lowest cost, lowest ecological uplift.”

Sculpt

The Sculpt concept is the “middle” option, for lack of a better word, as this one has some work being done to the stream and the cost is in-between the other two. This plan opens up the creek a bit as that concrete cap on the southern end is removed. The creek “is restored in place, with increased stream bench and instream structures for greater habitat and flood capacity and bedform diversity.”

The high-level states:

“Removal of the concrete cap over the aqueduct and limited manipulation of the stream alignment and profile. Increased extent of stream bench for greater habitat and flood capacity. Instream structures develop bedform diversity. Moderate cost, moderate ecological uplift.”

Meander

Meander would offer the most significant transformation. As you can see, the stream is practically reconfigured on the site and would offer flowing walking paths alongside. In this plan, “Pigeon House Branch is realigned, with stream and floodplain designed to maximize floodplain connection, habitat health and visitor interaction.”

There’s also the most opportunities for programming and public uses of the space. As the report states:

“Total relocation of the stream alignment and profile. Stream and floodplain design are based on bankfull hydrology and maximize floodplain connection and function. Greatest potential for visitor interaction, diverse habitat communities, and incorporation of stormwater treatment. Highest cost, highest ecological uplift.”

Which one do you like? Make sure and take the survey and give the city your thoughts.

For me, I go back and forth between Sculpt and Meander but I think Sculpt gets my vote. There’s a line of oak trees, referred to as the Oak Allée, on the western side where new oaks would be planted as part of Sculpt. The other two plans don’t have that. In addition to opening up the stream on both plans, this just seems like a nice element to have in the future, once the new oaks mature.

Finally, I have to share some old photos I took when I lurked around the area in 2012. You can see the concrete cap over the creek and some of the oak trees. These are around the southwestern side of the site.

What positives or negatives do you see? Come over to the Community and discuss it with us.

Pic of the Week

construction at 615 west peace street

Land has been cleared at 615 West Peace Street, not to be confused with 615 East Peace Street, for a building named 615 Peace. The mixed-use building will bring residential units over retail space. You can see a rendering of the building in this September 2020 post.

Peace Street has been through a lot over the last few years. The Capital Boulevard bridge is structurally finished and now we’re waiting for the decorative elements to be completed. As part of that project, the street was widened a bit and reconfigured. I think it took almost 3 years of construction to complete it. In the future, Smoky Hollow will add a lot and a new park at Devereux Meadow, more on that in the coming weeks, will bring accessible greenspace to the street.

I believe it’s been shelved but a streetscape plan for the western side of Peace Street would really add some nice elements here. The thought of even more construction though might irritate some neighbors but that’s the way it goes I feel. Bring it on.

Get to know 615 Peace at their website: 615peace.com

Video of the Week

I’m watching my way through this presentation from Bill King, President and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, on the state of downtown, challenges his organization has seen over the past year, and how downtown is coming back as Raleigh gets vaccinated against COVID. My main takeaway is that we are definitely ramping back to pre-pandemic levels as far as food and beverage sales go and pedestrian traffic is ticking up. This is great to see!

Glenwood South is leading the way with weekends being pretty busy. Fayetteville Street is lagging behind as the office crowd has still not quite returned, with around only a quarter of employees being in their offices compared to reports before the pandemic. Surveys and discussions with office managers suggest that office workers will be coming back slowly throughout the Summer and into the Fall. That should help the weekday hours kind of fill in.

It seems very positive and I encourage everyone to listen in.