The State of Hillsborough St.

Hillsborough St. gets my vote as being one of the most important streets for downtown. From the Capitol building out to Glenwood, the first six blocks will be a major route that connects Glenwood South and Fayetteville St. The zig zag route should become the spine of activity for downtown. It is pretty clear that Fayetteville St. and Glenwood South are already budding entertainment centers but Hillsborough St. is on the rise.

What Is Planned
The weak economy and I’m sure a couple other factors have held back some of these projects and they are currently on standby. It is still a bit exciting to see these proposals because if all are eventually built, Hillsborough St will be its own urban corridor.

Winston Hotel Tower

A 25 story hotel and condo tower will occupy the block shown above.

The Hillsborough

Another 25 story hotel and condo tower. It is currently on hold because of the bad credit market.

Campbell Law School Relocation

Classes should start in summer 2009. I think this a key move that should create traffic on Hillsborough St. I’m worried though because there is a serious lack of rentable apartments nearby and students will be prime renters.

HBS Properties Tower

HBS Properties has bought up a majority of this block. Last I heard, they were floating around the idea of a 10 story tower that would wipe out this streetscape.

The Potential

There are a couple of empty lots and surface parking lots that are in prime locations. There may be controversy in the future over established churches and businesses versus developers willing to offer big money for these lots. However, we are still not there yet so let’s save that argument for later.

I see this stretch of Hillsborough St. becoming a hotel row. Two hotels are in the list above and The Clarion is already in service in this location. This is a central, easy to get to area and with a wider street, it is car traffic friendly. It connects our two major entertainment centers and any visitor has an easy walk to either one.

I also think that the triangle near the Hillsborough/Edenton merge could be something really unique for downtown. I had an idea once.

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  1. Wasn’t there also a mention once of a 30 story tower on the other side of the tracks across from Snoopy’s?

  2. Very nice coverage of the downtown stretch of Hillsborough Street. The potential is there and I am sure the will exists. The lending companies, however, have made it hard to get some of these visions off the ground. Both Winston Tower and The Hillsborough are victims of the lending industry. The latter is a very special case, given the several incarnations it went through, but right now financing this project is the issue.

    By the way, the last photo shows the site of One Glenwood, the envisioned 20-30 story residential tower by Andrew Sandman, the developer of The Paramount – this is the project anonymous mentioned. Also speculated for [future] redevelopment are two more sites: the lot adjacent to Clarion Hotel (owned by Empire Properties) and the parcel at the SW corner of McDowell and Hillsborough streets. Nothing concrete, but the speculations are there.

  3. The Empire Properties lot and McDowell/Hillsborough lot are indeed prime properties. I would not be surprised if the short building adjacent to Campbell Law (can I call it that yet?) was consumed by whatever is built on McDowell/Hillsborough.

    Other then the vision for the tower, I did not know anything more about One Glenwood. Thanks for the info, RaleighMSA.

  4. Good review. That stretch does have potential and has been ignored for too long.
    It’s already got good sidewalks (mostly a nice dark brick) and a wide street. Best of all, almost all the powerlines are buried from the Capital to at least the Morgan split, if I recall.

    It’d probably help if it didn’t feel so dark at night. The Victorian lampposts are nice, but they ought to replace those dim orange bulbs with the bright white ones that Glenwood & Fayetteville have. Then trim some of the trees’ low branches to make sure that light actually hits the sidewalk. And as with just about every street in downtown, put some better signage so people know where they are.

    Small improvements like that made by the city would go a long way in making businesses feel confident in making their own investments there.

  5. Can some one answer this question? Who owns that ugly empty lot next to the Clarion (lot facing Dawson Street)? That lot has been vacant for years, what a awful site for soomeone staying at the hotel. Great location for a 40 or greater story building (of course with extensive retail on the ground level).

  6. anonymous, as I mentioned in my post earlier, it belongs to Empire Properties. Which also means you can forget about anything above 20 floors, and that is at best. To be quite honest, it would take a ton of money to put something very tall in this location… I know it is done in big cities – where the sky is the limit – but Empire Properties would deliver something between 10 and 20 floors in such as small lot.

    Before this parcel gets developed (assuming Empire Properties will not sell it), I would expect the L Building, the David Allen buildings and the lot adjacent to Lincoln Theater to be done first. Which means, this lot will be seating empty for another 10 years, probably.

  7. Sad, but your probably right (another 10 years sitting empty). The city should not allow this. If the land owner/developer has not broken ground within a two year window of the land being purchased, the developer has to put the land up for sale (city council should monitor this). That land has been sitting vacant for 20-30 years (what an eyesore).

  8. I agree with you, but it is hard to tell a developer what to do with the land he owns. I guess Empire Properties leases parking space on that lot and makes some money out of it, but soon it will become a very expensive dirt and it will make sense to build something nice there. Time will tell.

  9. The Empire lot at Dawson/Hillsborugh might be a brownfield of some sort too. There may have been a gas station so the land would need some serious work before anything was built on it. Though the price may be right once Campbell Law and other projects nearby come online.

    The Empire lot would be easier to develop if the Clarion sold the “backside” ramp to its spiral deck, or at least the air rights above it. I could see them selling to raise capitol for the Layfayette Hotel/Condos/rooftop bar near the convention center and the other projects mentioned in their pipeline, but who knows?

    Clarion rooms on the west side may have a lower rate with another building there, but that would be against the increased rate a better downtown Raleigh would afford the whole hotel.

    The parking lots and one story building across Dawson, owned by the Catholic Church, will probably *never* be in play, which is unfortunate.

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