I had the pleasure of meeting up with Steve Rehnborg over at the Raleigh Night Market recently and he showed me his first wave of products that his company, Civic Flags, is offering. This includes a City of Raleigh flag!
Partially inspired by this 2012 blog post about the flag, Civic Flags fills in a gap in our city: you can’t easily order a flag for your own enjoyment!
I’ve got my flag so wanted to inform readers of the new site. Jump on over and see what they got. You can also follow them on Instagram to keep up with them.
The downtown square on the east side of downtown Raleigh has finally reopened after years of planning and construction. The square went through multiple iterations of various plans with a wide stakeholder group but we’re finally here.
The former square design consisted of many paths and pockets to hang out where the new design has fewer but wider paths for strolling. Seating is plentiful along low walls and there’s no reason not to lay out on the grass.
On the edges, you’ll notice short barrier walls that encourage visitors to use the paths as a way to protect the roots of the old oak trees. There are lots of newly planted shrubs that will look great after a few years when they’ve matured a bit.
In addition to a community table and child play area, the plaza has a splash pad and outdoor seating. With the kiosk nearby, this will be the square’s hub of activity. Square Burger has set up shop in the kiosk and is serving burgers, fries, and shakes.
I expect the square to be quite busy when the fresh Fall weather hits downtown.
Demolition is taking place on the western half of the site named Bloc 83. By the time you read this, the site along the southern side of the 600 block of Hillsborough Street may already be cleared out.
This is the second-half development that will pair up with the already open One Glenwood. For a refresher of what is to come here, jump back to this November 2018 post about the development named Two Hillsborough.
I’m certainly missing the Esso Gas Station that stood at the corner and had one of my favorite bars, Dram and Draught. However, I’m happy to see new urban-style development that should be a part of the Raleigh of the future which makes transit-use more feasible and even brings about even more retail and restaurant space.
Dram and Draught has moved into One Glenwood and should re-open soon.
Finally, for nostalgia’s sake, I’ve got a snap of the Esso Gas Station in 2015 after it was renovated but before the bar set up shop in it.
The latest submitted plans (SR-034-19) for new development at Seaboard Station have been submitted. The plans are for a new 7-story building at the northwest corner of Peace and Halifax. Currently here is the building with the Sunflower’s cafe and other surface parking.
Apartments and a hotel would take up this entire block, named Seaboard Station Block A for now, which is bounded by Peace and Seaboard Avenue, Halifax and Seaboard Station Drive.
The new building would be 7-stories and include parking with some spaces partially underground. It’s interesting to see the development proposing 236 parking spaces rather than the required 171. However, with 96 apartments and 150 hotel rooms, that may leave plenty for residents, overnight visitors and daytime, nighttime restaurant-goers.
The plans don’t list any retail or restaurant space other than the hotel bar and kitchen. The ground-floor spaces may be used for parking instead.
Cline Design, architects behind Peace and The Link, are working on the design for the new building.
Finally, the northern side of the block has a very generous sidewalk and converts the striped “turn in” parking to off-street, urban style spaces. The northern side may be the “front-facing” side as it supports the Seaboard Station area. The site plans suggests some public art here as well.
The plans are currently under review by the city so no real timeline is out there yet. When news hit about developing these sites, there was mention of sooner rather than later so hopefully, we’ll see things move soon on what is currently an under-used portion along Peace Street.
The buildings are starting to come down to make way for The Willard hotel. Located at the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Willard Place, the brick buildings formerly used as office space and the surface parking lot will have a new hotel in the future.
At one point, the planners suggested condos on the upper floors but it’s been awhile since so it’ll be great to get an update on the plans. The lots are zoned for a maximum of 7 stories.
Moore Square is getting close to wrapping up its makeover as the city has announced a string of events to celebrate the reopening of the downtown square. The grand opening party is on August 3rd but there will be events the night before as part of First Friday.
Moore Square Grand Opening Celebration
Date/Time: Sat., Aug. 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Moore Square Park
226 East Martin Street
The full schedule is here. With live music, a playground for kids, and a movie, the events should test out the square’s ability to play host.
In addition to the square, the house at 226 East Martin will be the Moore Square Visitor’s center. The center will sell local merch in addition to “a history exhibit detailing the historic significance of the Square and surrounding district to the city of Raleigh.”
First to be used in the country (yes, that’s right) the new Molok trash containers are being installed at the corner of Wilmington and Hargett Streets.
Each partially-underground container holds the equivalent of 20 trash bins of waste. This reduces the need to make as frequent pickups, currently at twice a day, and could potentially remove the trash bins that clutter the sidewalks near this intersection.
Nearby restaurants, and pedestrians, can just dump their trash directly instead of using the roll-out carts. Emptying a trash bin only takes minutes so in under 20 minutes, the six containers should be emptied.
A little outside our typical watch area, last week, Steve Malik, the owner of the North Carolina Football Club, and John Kane, a Raleigh developer, announced a $2 billion vision for the area near South Saunders and I-40. Downtown South would be a mix of office, residential, and hotels around a 20,000 seat soccer stadium.
Recall that a downtown soccer stadium was proposed in July 2017 as Major League Soccer was touring cities as possible expansion teams for the league. This time around, Malik says that a pro team is not needed for the area’s success.
The stadium could be used for NC Courage and NCFC games as well as events. The area would be supported by mixed-use development including:
125,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space
1.6 million square feet of office space
1,200 hotel rooms
1,750 residential units
A huge kicker to all this is the need for public funding. The group will be pursuing $13 million a year for 20-25 years which is typically funded from the Wake County room occupancy and prepared food and beverage taxes.
Assuming the county backs the request for funds, the group claims construction could start in 2020 with the stadium and first phase completed in 2023.
The current site is actually a bit empty with a few businesses and one-story buildings. The group has rights to develop land between Saunders and Wilmington. Note, this does not include the Bain Water Plant located along Water Works Street.
While not downtown proper, a large project like this has the potential to stretch the urban grid south towards the highway. It’s only 1.5 miles from the proposed soccer stadium to the Raleigh Convention Center or the big field in Dix Park.
The future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line is planned to use either Saunders or Wilmington which would be a great service for events as well as commuters to the new office space. It would be great to get out in front of the development and encourage transit-friendly integration and lower parking requirements.
The street grid between Downtown South and the core business district isn’t as urban as it should be and historically has been widened for faster car travel. If Downtown South is built out to it’s fullest, future planning may couple the two areas closer together setting off more urban development in-between.
This one will be fun to watch so make sure to let your representatives know what you think as the developers claim this vision won’t happen without those public funds.