Finishing Touches Around The Convention Center

Have you checked your calendars? We are three weeks away from Raleigh Wide Open 3 and the opening of the Raleigh Convention Center. The final details outside the center are now being smoothed over and will be ready for your eyes and feet soon.

Paving Salisbury, planting trees, laying bricks and more at the plaza entrance. Click for bigger picture.

After almost three years, McDowell is now walkable again.

Shimmer wall installed, new street/pedestrian lights are up and working.

Installing sidewalk lights in front of the entrance on Salisbury St.

Cabarrus St. will soon have flowing traffic, cars and people.

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  1. I’m just glad McDowell, Salisbury and Cabarrus streets will be usable as “normal” once again, finally!

    Does anyone know if that last connection of Fayetteville Street will be open by RWO3?

  2. CONS:

    Does this city complete ANY project that looks anything like the final rendering (go to RCC website)? Where is the water feature in front of the main entrance and where is the light tower/art tower?

    The street lights and lamp poles are awful, why not use the same style that is used on F Street or something more decorative?

    Again, when I look at this building, nothing says Raleigh, it looks like a simple office building in the suburbs (that ugly tan color again).

    Absolutely NOTHING on three sides of the building, brick walls, again, ugly.

  3. Don’t care about the entertainment tent, need to start talking about phase two (this building is too small for larger conventions). If/when phase two starts across the street, have they planned on how they are going to connect the two buildings (overhead walkway)? Have to have a connector (the next phase MUST have retail on all four streets or two blocks will have been wasted with phase one and two). I friend of mine thought phase one was supposed to be a 1-2M sq ft building, he is disappointed from the start 9not a convention spot for him)

  4. While I am disappointed with the convention hotel – I knew I would be, before they even broke ground, though it looks better than the renderings, IMHO – I am happy that the street-level activity will finally be improved around the convention area. I have always been upset with having to make circles, just to go 1-2 blocks from where I was.

    Anyway, I hope that RWO 3 will be a huge success and people will have fun. Too bad Yancy’s won’t be around this time to take advantage of the event, but I hope someone leases that space for at least these two days. It would be a shame to leave that prime space closed :(

  5. Is that pool with water in it a water feature?

    The other large water feature at the main entrance looks like trees now (enough trees)!

  6. On a brighter note: Solas is EXCELLENT!!!! (you feel like your part of the NY nightlife).

    Excellent venue. The owner should buy the property next door and build another venue (but taller). This owner knows what he is doing.

    Every downtown developer must use this site as a model for entertainment at a minimum for street level use and activity (everyones standards should be that much higher)

  7. Well said, Anthony!!! Solas is something to model after and I really hope the owners become successful. It would be nice to see similar venues next door, between Solas and Armadillo Grill.

  8. Off topic, but yeah I definitely think you’ll start seeing more Solas-esque bars/clubs/entertainment venues in Raleigh. Developers will see how well Solas hit the nail on the head and try and emulate/innovate.

  9. As the bar keeps being raised up on Glenwood South, that will help convince groups to hold their convention here.

    See, its not off topic ;)

  10. Now it’s time to move the tenants out of that apartment building on Glenwood to a new one and level that ugly looking thing (it is an eyesore and prime property for a signature Glenwood South tower, with three – four levels of food and retail – a mini market place would be the ticket)!

  11. Yeah, Anthony, evicting hundreds of people out of their homes because you think their dwelling is ugly, is lawful, right?

    Jesus quit bickering about “signature towers”. We have a lot of “signature” buildings. Two Hannover Square, Wachovia Capital Center, and the RBC Plaza. The shimmer wall when it lights up will sure to be a catch.

    And to all of you (Thomas, TC) who want 60-100 story “signature” towers in downtown, it’s not feasible for Raleigh right now. We’re probably lucky we got the RBC Plaza. And here you are (some of you, you know who you are) complaining about the Edison, it’s pretty “signature” to me. Get a grip. If you want that for your city, get on city council or something.

    And for the Marriott, it’s a hotel. Not the Omni, or a Hilton or a Ritz. A Marriott. Plain and simple. 6 years from now it’ll be enveloped by other downtown development. It’s BEAUTIFUL on the inside. I’m curious to know how the rooms will look. No complaints on that, eh? Didn’t think so.

  12. Aaron, Calm down junior! Did I say evict? NO! Read details. Discussions started at least two years ago to build a new facility and move them to it (new facility meaning, for the tenants).

    I do have a complaint tough guy, “your rambling and do not make sense.”

    It’s feasible at ANY time in any TOP 50 city to build a signature tower (which we are now number 48).

  13. We don’t have the infrastructure. Parking is a mess. The roads are in bad shape. Economy’s slumping and so are home and condominium sells. I would love to have a large 50+ building in downtown as much as you or the next guy, but I’d hate for it to become the biggest white elephant in the city. I’m scared of that for the Edison.

  14. Aaron, what are you on?? Making false accusations, (NO, Anthony did NOT say evict: He said MOVE! MOOVE! Get a grip!), saying we can’t handle a 50+ story building, please. WE CAN HANDLE a 50 story building. What do you mean, infrastructure? Which roads are in bad shape? And yeah, the economy is slumping, but not nearly as much here as in other places. RBC Plaza was SOLD OUT before it was even finished! The West at North is ALMOST sold out. Seriously man, get your facts in line before you come up in here and angry and stuff. Man, me and a couple of other guys over at just finished winning a debate with a troll there, now you show up here?! Also, what do you mean “biggest white elephant in the city”.

  15. Well congratulations for you and your internet friends. I am very, very happy you won that little battle with that troll. And, Man, I’m just embracing what this lovely city has to offer right now. We got 7 high-rise buildings going up and countless other projects.

    I’m just fine and dandy. Take your “50 story signature tower” rants up with developers and city council. Im tired of hearing it.

    Every now and then I decide to comment on something I really like or dislike on Raleigh blogs. That’s what blog comments are for. Hopefully someone will get together a forum so you and your friends can have your little debates.

    Look up the term “white elephant” on a dictionary if you feel so inclined to do so. I’m not doing it for you.

  16. Aaron, why are you so upset – you definitely sound like – with people like me, who are anxious to see 50+ story signature towers? Nobody argues about the economics and what makes developers shoot for the sky, but many of us are frustrated when we see relocations to RTP by companies like Fidelity Investments, which belong to downtown and not in the suburbs. These are the type of relocations we need and we have EVERY reason to be frustrated.

    The Glenwood Ave midrises Anthony spoke of are not necessarily the biggest eyesores, but that block deserves better. By that, I mean that much of the block could be redeveloped into something better and more urban. They could start by placing a new building to the South, where that empty lot sits. Then move on to replacing the other two buildings. No, I do not advocate the misplacement of the existing residents, but their gradual move to a new building. The developer can even add a courtyard/garden, right in the middle of the block, and surround it with buildings of various sizes and uses. Plans for redevelopment are already in place, but we don’t know the details.

    On the positive side, I like your enthusiasm about the current status. We are not in a bad shape, at all, but rather in a transitional phase. While only RBC Plaza creates the kind of enthusiasm that skyline advocates want to feel, the ground level experience is improving by the day. The frustration that Site 4 and The Hillsborough have generated can be offset by other exciting projects, such as The Edison and Clarence Lightner Public Safety Center, but we have to be able to see how disappointing some other projects are, either in terms of design (i.e. Marriott Hotel), or in terms of size (i.e. Hue, L Building) – it is very subjective, of course.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I don’t think we should avoid exchanging opinions because this is a blog and not a public discussion forum. The difference I see is that we cannot initiate the topic, but if the owner of this blog wants us to limit the exchange of opinions, I will definitely respect his wish, but it is up to him to decide how far the comments can go.

  17. Alright, maybe I went off on Aaron a little bit, but I am entirely sure that he just went from irrational and angry to plain JERK. Anyway, thanks Ernest for trying to defuse the situation. But he just pissed me off. Aaron, you won’t be calling these debates “little” when we are through with you. Thats right I said WE. Alright, I got nothing else, bring it.

  18. I personally have no problem with Glenwood Tower. They were there before the area was declared ‘cool.’ So, why can’t they enjoy the benefits of living in that neighborhood. There are other areas ripe for redevelopment in the immediate vicinity which would be just as good to fill in with something when the market dictates. I’m surprised there hasn’t been any further rattling to re-develop the Sir Walter. Same story. The area was depressed and the city needed to fill a need for disadvantaged seniors. Now that it’s hip, why should the priorities change?


  19. There is no real problem with Glenwood Towers, except for the completely different nature of that area today. I remember the days when nothing was happening there, but as I drive often through there, I cannot help wondering if the residents of Glenwood Towers will be well served in the future, as additional traffic will only worsen the situation. God forbid an ambulance needs to get there ASAP – let’s not forget that many old, sick people live there and medical emergencies are not unusual. It may sound irrelevant, but someone’s life may be at risk if help doesn’t get there on a timely manner.

    Sir Walter Raleigh has become a VERY outdated facility and will not be a haven for older and needy people for long. Eventually, it will have to be renovated and be brought to modern standards. This cannot be done during the building’s current status, therefore it will be necessary to relocate a lot of people before anything takes place. I am not sure if this is possible, but maybe they can be relocated to some of the future towers, assuming private developers do not mind working with the public sector on this. One of Sites 2 and 3 could serve that purpose, if the city plays its cards right. Not only the current residents won’t be relocated far, but we’ll maintain some of the population to our CBD. Why not Empire Properties, since they have worked on Carlton Plaza and have some experience on private-public cooperation?

    At the end, it is the condition of these old buildings that will dictate whether the disadvantaged elderly population remains there, or not. I do not advocate moving a single person, unless the buildings are not safe/healthy for them. Just because they are older people doesn’t mean we should “use” them for filling up old buildings. I am only hoping that some developers will let their humanitarian side take over and offer some solutions, without advocating any profit losses, or passing the costs to others. Would it be possible to build a few floors without ANY profits, given the government can offer some incentives?

  20. All in all, DT Raleigh seems to coming together pretty well although it is strange that there is no entrance into the Marriott at street level off Salisbury across from the CC.

  21. Oh God, Ari, stop acting like a child. You’ve had your turn, as have I, and now Ernest has diffused the situation for the better.

    With that said, I think this argument ends now.

  22. Ernest,

    I actually like your idea about using Site 2 or 3 as a replacement for Sir Walter. Initially, when I was working in Raleigh, I had thought that there was going to be an area reserved for the Sir Walter residents in the renovated Halifax Court/Capital Park. And, some did make the move. But, the initial interest in redeveloping the Sir Walter faded. Now, who knows? But, it is inspired, nonetheless.

    As for Glenwood Tower, I suppose there could be a new tower or senior complex over on West Street to allow its potential redevelopment. Or, it could stay right where it is. I’ve been inside on some home visits in the past, and they are very cozy to say the least. If anybody were to ever re-develop it, there is going to have to be some serious demolition to consolidate the units into something more market-friendly.

    The ambulance issue is a reasonable concern, but the surrounding development hasn’t impeded Wake County’s EMS effectiveness that I know of. I would have to talk with their medical director about that the next time I see him.


  23. Glenwood Towers would make a great redevelopment effort, assuming there are no structural damages. The ambulance issue I brought up is less of a problem now, but with 712 Tucker, 222 Glenwood, West At North, Hinsdale Row and other nearby projects coming online, this may eventually become an issue. I am not a big fan of the architecture of Glenwood Towers, but from a financial standpoint it makes no sense to demolish this structure. Which is why I would rather see an adjacent tower, in the same block.

    Sir Walter Raleigh Apts will eventually be remodeled, most likely into condos and boutique hotel. The timeline is not certain, but the current residents will have to be moved, one way or another. That building is simply outdated and it will only get worse with time. Capital Park (former Halifax Court) and Chavis Heights were great opportunities to build density and bring some, if not all of Sir Walter Raleigh Apts residents to some more updated facilities… In the case of Capital Park this wasn’t easy, but Chavis Heights was definitely a missed opportunity. The sad thing is, they allowed less residents to live there :( What a wasted opportunity!!!

  24. Can someone tell me where the WATER FEATURES and 40 FOOT ART TOWER are in front of the convention center entrance?

    The more I look at this building, the more I realize that Clearscape was the wrong choice for this project (it’s a grey elephant, no character what-so-ever – they are a small twon design group)!

    I agree with someones input, no door/entrance to the Marriott on the convention center side (no nothing except a blank ugly wall). Can’t wait to find someone on this design team during RWO3.

  25. I often feel that many “designers” don’t get the big picture when they come up with things. Then the clients they design for just accept things because they think the designers know best. However I feel there’s almost a 50/50 blame game going on here. The designers could have done better, but the final approval lays with the city.

    Either way there should have been more elements to spur foot traffic between the Marriott and the CC (Salisbury St). Also on the McDowell side.

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