There has been a lot to follow around the Smokey Hollow area of Glenwood South. The reader-submitted photo above shows another view of all the demolition that has taken place. The “Glenwood Green” area has basically been wiped clean and will be rebuilt over the coming years.
The term Glenwood Green comes from the 2015 downtown Raleigh plan and I thought this a good time to see if the planned developments are in line with what was envisioned for the area.
Here’s what we know so far:
- Peace (formerly Smokey Hollow) – 400 unit residential tower with ground-floor retail at the corner of Peace and West Street. A Publix grocery store has been announced so far.
- Directly to the south, the same developers have bought land for a phase 2 mixed-use project.
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By the way, the name of the development may have changed from Smokey Hollow to Peace but this blog will always recognize this area and basically any new developments going forward as part of Smokey Hollow.
Let’s map it all. I like this one from Raleigh DLA.
Glenwood Green Vision
The Glenwood Green vision as part of the 2015 downtown plan so far is coming along. Granted, not much “green” has been planned in this area but once the Capital Boulevard bridge project (the square loop) is finished in 2019, the city can deliver that green with a planned Devereux Meadows Park north of Peace Street.
The vision overview behind Glenwood Green wants Harrington Street to be a new “main street” for the area. This should be where the majority of retail is located and the planning folks have shown us this in their latest update of retails streets in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
Harrington Street has the opportunity to be the gateway from the Devereux Meadows Park through Smokey Hollow and into the Warehouse District.
Notice that Kane Realty has projects at both ends of this street. (All the Smokey Hollow work + The Dillon) Not a coincidence I’m thinking here.
Public Space and Greenway Connections
What still isn’t being talked about is the idea of a central plaza in Smokey Hollow to really give this area a sense of place. In addition, a greenway or urban cycle track connecting parts north and south would run through this area with this public space being the central hub.
The vision in the downtown plan proposes a civic building and plaza but something else could work to make it into a destination. A park could also serve as a meeting place and destination.
When you add up the plans for a greenway through Devereux Meadows, the city experimenting with a cycle-track along West Street, and connectivity from the Warehouse District to Dix Park, you can really see how important Smokey Hollow is to north/south connectivity through downtown Raleigh.
If you look at the latest map of the Raleigh Greenway system, there’s a core loop around downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. We still don’t have that middle section that cuts through it. The Glenwood Green vision supports this major connection.
A proposed route from Smokey Hollow to the north towards the current greenway exists. A lot of it would run through Devereux Meadows alongside Capital Boulevard. This was talked about as part of the Capital Boulevard Corridor Study, an effort that took place around 2011. Here’s a map of the proposed greenway route connecting areas north of downtown.
Right now, there hasn’t been talk of incorporating that civic space or greenway into Smokey Hollow. Those interested in creating a vibrant area here should keep an eye out because as all this development starts, the opportunities for the connections decrease.
If all the land is dedicated to buildings then the idea of a public plaza becomes significantly harder to plan for. The greenway connection may also turn into a glorified sidewalk path rather than something unique.
As plans form, I look to the city to work with developers to get this built and see the vision behind Glenwood Green come to full form.
The renovation of Moore Square is very much underway with a lot of small shrubs and short trees being removed. The holidays were a distraction but I noticed the difference recently and just had to grab a photo.
In the winter, with the leaves off the old oak trees, you can really see right through the square which makes it feel a lot bigger than it really is.
Happy New Year all!
Shown above is a photo of the Raleigh Amtrak Station in October 2017. I show this because the Triangle Business Journal had an article stating that once our new train station, Raleigh Union Station, opens this year the former station will be demolished.
Perhaps the archivists, including myself, need to get down there to photograph the station before it’s cleared.
The North Carolina Railroad Company, owners of the building and nearby property, have not announced any firm plans yet for that area. Your guess is as good as mine but I’m betting on a more functional use such as surface parking for train-related or utility-type vehicles. (at least for the foreseeable future)
Click here to see the video if you cannot see it above.
I enjoyed this talk given by Gil Penalosa during his visit to our area. He shows us the transformative power of parks in a city and while the topic is geared for Dix Park, the concepts really can apply all over the city.
My sentiment right now is Raleigh has plenty of vision but is lacking on action. Hopefully, you’ll find a little inspiration in the video just as I did.
If you can’t see the embedded video, click here. I’m catching up on my city council updates.
During the November 21, 2017 meeting, the city’s Transportation Planning Manager, Eric Lamb, gave us an update on the planned Raleigh Bikeshare and asked the council to approve moving forward with signing a contract with the preferred vendor, Bewegen.
They want to launch the new bike system in May 2018. (which is also bike month)
It looks like a station or two have changed since the last draft including a new station at the Farmer’s Market.
There are still 300 bikes with 30 stations planned. 150 of those bikes will be electric-assist bicycles.
The planned fares are as follows:
All means of making the system equitable have been taken. For example, it will be possible to use cash and the electric-assist bikes should make it easier for those with less physical abilities.
I like the feature where virtual stations can be created where the bike’s GPS is utilized so users can drop off and check out bikes say at the Fairgrounds.
With that, the council approved the motion and things will be moving forward with the system.
One day, I was riding south into downtown on Capital Boulevard and caught a glimpse to the west towards Glenwood South. The clearing of so many buildings just struck me and I had to come back to take some photos. This would have really been nice to have a drone for this post but either way the photo above attempts to show how much has been cleared.
Between Johnson and Peace, Capital and West Streets almost all buildings have been demolished this year. With the help of iMaps, I estimate about 6.5 acres have been cleared in just this area.
History repeats itself?
Well, probably not. A residential neighborhood, the late Smoky Hollow, isn’t being cleared again but the state is still flexing its eminent domain muscle for highway improvements. Let’s hope this time it sticks.
The photo is from the west side of Capital Boulevard with the new bridge over Peace Street directly to my right. I will probably not be able to get an exact after-shot once that project is complete but I’ll certainly try. (safely)
First to watch is the 12-story residential tower called Peace, formerly Smokey Hollow, at the corner of West and Peace Street. It was announced that a Publix grocery store would anchor the ground-floor space of this project. I bet that’s a huge selling point for more development in this area.
That’s all that’s confirmed at this time but I’m sure there will be more coming and with it all currently zoned for a maximum of 12-stories, an entirely new neighborhood (dare I say Smoky Hollow?) could be created with that kind of density. (by Raleigh standards anyway)
For more views, here’s a VR shot I took while up there. If you can’t see the embedded VR view, try seeing it directly on the blog.
During the November 21, 2017, council meeting, a proposal to sell two city-owned lots on Bloodworth Street was pitched as a way to save two homes that are planned to be demolished. The folks behind The Fairweather will have to remove the two homes shown in the photo above that are located on West Street.
With the Raleigh Historic Development Commission’s help, the houses would be located on these lots with certain restrictive covenants on them and a piece of Raleigh history could be saved. The houses fit well in the Prince Hall Historic District as they date to the historic Fourth Ward, a predominantly African-American neighborhood in the early 1900s.
The move seems to make sense from a preservation aspect. Below is a map of the current location and the proposed new location, lots the city currently owns.
To sweeten the pitch, Matt Tomasulo, the brains behind the project, talked to the council about the preservation of the homes and how he wants to use the houses for a cohousing project, a concept that would provide affordable living for service workers in downtown.
For me, this council video is a must watch for readers. At 20 minutes (you could probably just jump to the 2-minute mark and start from there) it’s an easy watch or listen. If you can’t see the video, watch it here on YouTube.
The idea has a lot of merit in my opinion but when you watch the video, you get a sense that creative problem-solving isn’t welcome to some of our councilors.
The motion to sell the properties was denied because there was not the 60% majority needed to approve the sale of the land. Council members Kay Crowder, Dickie Thompson, and David Cox voted against. (Branch was absent)
I don’t want this post to be about politics but this one just doesn’t sit well. I’m not sure who might lose in this scenario and am curious as to what kind of council we will have for the next two years.
Councilor Crowder and Thompson had concerns that approving a sale of city-owned property to a current sitting planning commissioner (Tomasulo) “doesn’t pass the sniff test” or wouldn’t be seen positively from the public’s perspective. There were also concerns that the properties should be open to public bid rather than a direct sale.
However, it was made clear that no public bid was needed when it was used for historic preservation. This process has been used in the past as a way to save historic structures when the alternative is demolition.
It was also made clear that planning commission members are volunteers and get no compensation for their work.
You can clearly see the lacking ability of objective decision-making during this exchange by some council members. In my opinion, the council should have no business in the end user here. If the Raleigh Historic Development Commission OKs the sale (they are the experts here) then it is in the public’s interest to sell city-owned land for preservation. (it is in a historic district after all)
I always try to consider the alternative but this is an example of creative problem-solving that institutional forces sometimes can’t appreciate. The only counter I can think of is if other needs are a higher priority than historic preservation. The councilors against didn’t voice any other concerns though with the land’s end use.
They used emotional “feelings” to deny something.
It should be seen as a bonus that they were able to ask questions about the end use, meet the eventual owner, etc. Tomasulo is just as much a Raleighite as you and I and the vote was carried out with an obvious bias.
The houses are set to be demolished in a few months. It is possible for the party behind this effort to come back in January to try again. I’d like to keep an eye on this one and see if RalCon readers can let their councilors know how they feel about an effort like this.
A crane has shown up at the site of The Metropolitan. The parking deck is being put together and foundation work has begun. It’s great to see the site being rebuilt after the fire in March of this year. The area nearby is undergoing a lot of change so it’s nice to see planned residential come through.
Hopefully, the roads will reopen sometime soon. Feels doubtful though as the Quorum Center is still in pretty bad shape from what can be seen on the outside.