Bloc 83 Has Never Looked so Good

Have you been to Bloc 83 yet?

By Bloc 83, I mean the collection of new buildings along Hillsborough and Morgan Streets on the southern end of Glenwood Avenue. The Origin Hotel, One Glenwood, and Two Hillsborough form a node of office space and hospitality that is sure to see some activity as companies move in and programming starts in their new plaza space.

The name actually has a nod to the block numbers on the old insurance maps of downtown Raleigh. I guess at the time, it was just “Raleigh” as Block 83 was near the edge of the city limits back then. You can see all the downtown blocks numbered here from 1896 or see it in person thanks to this slick mural along the plaza showing a portion of the map.

The plaza between the two office buildings is now the Gold Standard for public spaces in Raleigh. There’s room to stroll and various nooks to sit at with a variety of views towards the small stage. Two kiosks are inside the plaza which I hope have some new local businesses. I can imagine small scale performances, popup markets, and art shows taking place here. Even late night parties and corporate events could use the space as it looks wired up with speakers and a large screen.

The exterior construction seems completed and if walk the block, there’s plenty of retail space to keep things interesting. We already have spots filled in One Glenwood as they opened over a year ago. Two Hillsborough and even the parking deck across Boylan have retail spaces on the ground floor. Don’t forget about the restaurant, Good Day Good Night, in the hotel also.

Looking to the future, there may be more coming to this immediate spot as a plot of land at 615 West Morgan has been rezoned up to a maximum height of 20 stories. This is at the southeast corner of Morgan and Boylan and initial plans suggest even more office space with ground-floor retail. The Bloc 83 formula seems to be a hit so far.

We’re tracking Bloc 83 progress on the Community to great depths and some of our contributors have already toured the new building and shared photos. Jump on over to follow in the conversation. Perhaps a future DTRaleigh Meetup will take place at Bloc 83 one day.

Pic of the Week

There’s a nice view coming together while heading into downtown Raleigh along Morgan Street. A good amount of glass is being placed up on Raleigh Crossing, downtown’s biggest office project under construction at the moment. The building should be done before the end of the year.

If you haven’t been following, Raleigh Crossing is actually a multi-phased project with other buildings planned on the block. Recently, the TBJ reported that plans have changed and the hotel component has been dropped. A 20-story building for apartments is planned for phase 2.

This makes sense as the future of the hotel market is hard to read. There may be a huge surge in travel demand but how long can that really be sustained? Only time will tell.

Pic of the Week

The sky’s the limit over at the Marbles parking lot along Morgan Street. As long as the sky can be reached with only 30 floors.

The city council recently approved a rezoning request for 40 stories at the triangle shaped lot shown above. However, the request had a condition to max out the floor count to only 30. This goes to show you that a new zoning request floor count of 30, in between the current 20 and 40, may be needed in the future.

No definitive plans have been announced but I’d love to see an expansion to Marbles, an already big-time attraction to downtown. With that kind of height, mixed-use would also be great to see. As downtown adds density, I think it allows Marbles to expand without moving or demolishing parts of their existing buildings. These structures are in, what looks like, decent shape so it’s great to see an addition to downtown buildings rather than a replacement.

History Lives in Raleigh’s Downtown Buildings

Today, I have a guest post from Tom Packer, President-Elect Rotary Club of Raleigh – Downtown. Tom reached out to me, we chatted a bit, and I wanted to get this post up about the club that has been meeting regularly in downtown for years. Enjoy and do check them out! – Leo

It’s easy to miss while walking past the ABC studios and SONO on Fayetteville Street, but on the brick wall of their building is an historical plaque commemorating North Carolina’s oldest charitable civic organization, the Rotary Club of Raleigh, which was founded at the site in 1914.

This site originally was the Yarborough House Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1928. Hudson Belk subsequently built a department store at the site which was converted to condominiums and the ground floor retail space in 2005.

Throughout this time, Raleigh’s Rotary Club has held its weekly meetings without fail at the Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel, then the Convention Center and in more recent years at the City Club atop the Wells Fargo Building. While this blog tends to highlight the buildings and structures, new and old, of downtown, sometimes it is nice to stop and reflect on what goes on inside these buildings, such as Rotary’s 117-year focus on serving our community.

Rotary’s first club president was Manly W. Tyree, pictured here in a 1915 photo and sporting a fashionable suit of the day.

Fast forward more than a century and Rotary’s 120+ members continue to live their motto of “Service Above Self” which includes the founding in 2014 of the Rotary Club of Raleigh Dental Clinic, which operates as Wake Smiles inside the Salvation Army Center of Hope on Capital Blvd.

The Rotary Club of Raleigh – Downtown has continued to work to support our community through the COVID pandemic, raising money to support such causes as StepUP Ministries, Solar Panels for Ugandan Schools, Southeast Raleigh YMCA, NC State Forestry Department Scholarship Fund, Salvation Army, Wake Smiles, MLK Food Distribution Day and the LeVelle Moton Park. Here are pictures of Rotarians recently out and working at LeVelle Moton Park and ringing bells for the Salvation Army’s red bucket.

If you are interested in making a difference by joining Downtown Raleigh’s Rotary Club or would like more information, contact them at raleighrotary@gmail.com or visit https://www.raleighrotary.org/ .

Pic of the Week

Shown above is Raleigh Crossing on a gray, Spring day. More and more glass is starting to appear on the largest office tower to be built in recent history. I’m loving that upward curve going along the eastern side!

Raleigh Crossing will primarily house Pendo, a local software firm that’s growing big time. The renderings show their name on the crown and with their primarily pink branding, might look quite nice when lit up a night.

Pic of the Week

Have you been by Smoky Hollow recently? It’s looking almost finished and real polished. Above is a shot looking into “the hollow” (or so I’m calling it) with the office tower on the left and The Line Apartments on the right. Retail and lobby spaces are on the ground floor and this pedestrian-only plaza may make for a nice spot this summer.

I saw some chatter out there about any retail announcements and so far, I haven’t seen any but let’s hope residents start moving in soon and some unique offerings take hold here in the Hollow. (and that the closest R-Line stop is renamed to that too)

Glenwood South Townhomes Planned for Boylan and North Streets

16 townhomes are planned for a corner spot along Boylan Avenue and North Street. The fantastic corner location, as seen in my brilliantly picturesque photo above, is just a block away from the bars and restaurants of Glenwood South.

Some of the combined properties are currently empty but two existing single-family homes will be demolished for the new townhomes. One includes a smaller home from 1900 with a fantastic collection of palm trees out front. If you know me, I have an eye for our frondy friends around Raleigh. It’s sad to see them go.

The townhomes will be 3-stories tall with rooftop terraces. The rooftops are definitely what’s in these days, becoming almost the standard of any new townhome built in and around downtown in the last five years.

The developers of this project are White Oak Properties and CityPlat. JDavis Architects are the designers and Glenwood Agency is the realtor.

400 Apartments and Retail planned for West Morgan Street

Plans for more apartments popped up on the city’s website, this time on the 800 block of West Morgan Street. The sites are mostly empty now, parking lots really, except for the building that the Goodnights Comedy Club currently occupies. The plans would lead to the demolition of that existing building.

In the future, around 400 apartments and ground-floor retail would be built. You can see an artist’s rendering of the project above. The site is a little more interesting with it being along that “curve” where Morgan shortly travels North/South and then changes to East/West.

Articles are stating that Goodnights is looking for a new home which is good to hear. Let’s hope they stick to downtown Raleigh.

It’s unfortunate that a building in downtown with a more interesting facade couldn’t be saved or incorporated into the new development. Even just saving the front doesn’t seem to be in the plans but we’ll have to wait and see. Raleigh doesn’t seem to have a track record of doing that kind of thing too much, although there are some examples. See the Lumsden Bros. Building as well as the nearby Raleigh Industrial Bank Renovation.

I still see a lot of positives here with a future with 400 apartments and more retail spaces along a walkable, urban street. The development is still in the early phases at this time and I’m not aware of a zoning request either. The Goodnight’s property is zoned for seven stories max while the adjacent lot along the Morgan Street “curve” is capped at four.