Naked For Years, The L Covers Up?

What stands to be a great example of smarter development for downtown Raleigh, the still to come The L Building has been on hold for almost two years now. This office over retail project has suffered the same financial difficulties that other canceled or on hold projects have faced.

The L building, in its current plan, will wrap the Wake County parking deck that sits on McDowell Street, shown in the picture above. The deck, built to support the new county Justice Center now under construction, is open and currently in use. While the publicly funded parking deck happened, The L site now lays empty and the developer continues to ask for more extensions to get the books straightened out.

The L, if built, will hide the parking deck along McDowell and Davie Streets but for now we have a rather large gray wall. For almost two years, this wall has been naked but that should change soon.

The latest extension, until May 2013, was approved by the Wake County Board of Commissioners in their December 6th, 2010 meeting with certain conditions. Looking at the meeting minutes, here are some of the more interesting of those conditions:

  • Developer must obtain an extension until at least November 2013 from the City of Raleigh.
  • “Developer must obtain all required approvals from the City of Raleigh and pay the cost to design, fabricate, install, and maintain full-height durable banners substantially screening the entire unfinished east and north facades of the existing parking deck … Banner installation to be complete by April 1, 2011. In the event of default by the Developer, the banners become the property of the County. County reserves the right to reject banner graphic content.”

To the best of my online search abilities, the banner discussion has not made it to the city yet. The relationship with the city and Empire properties is a solid one so there is a good chance it will be approved by them as well. Below is a rendering of the parking deck with the proposed banners.

Expect the naked wall to be covered up in time for Spring this year.

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  1. It sure is a shame that the City/County couldn’t have gotten something done before the All-Star Game.

  2. Like a number of us have said for years, even before the economic downturn, Empire does development half a_s.

    This building, on that piece of prime land, was a joke to begin with. City Council approving this is to blame along with Empire.

  3. I was disappointed at the height of the final proposal and I wish Empire Properties had considered a larger project. Even at its proposed size, however, it doesn’t gather much interest, otherwise it would have been built by now. Of course, the lenders need to relax their requirements a little.

    I wonder if the l Building would be a good candidate of the 5/3 Bank. They want to be in DT Raleigh, but only have need for about 50,000sf. Sure, they want their logo to appear in the skyline, but with their small space requirements they cannot expect much. On the other hand, due to its location, the L Building can offer them visibility from the money shot angle (South Saunders Str). A logo, carefully placed on the top of the building may work well, even though some re-design might be required. Maybe a crown-like feature on the corner of the building (McDowell and Davis streets).

  4. Someone should buy the L Building and level it. We have known for some time the the All-Star game is coming to Raleigh. What has city council and this pathetic developer been doing. What an eye-sore for the world to see. Can you imagine the comments. Raleigh, you have two weeks, get off your “you know what” This building is embarrassing to downtown Raleigh and city council is an embarrassment to our downtown development. W have an so-called architect on city council, who knows nothing about architecture or building vertical.

    Article: Red Hat downtown?: AGAIN, prime real estate
    A 15-20 story building??????? Are you KIDDING. FIND A REAL DEVELOPER and build a 40-50 story building for other potential companies (START UPS) moving downtown (again, no vision)
    This Christmas guy who layed out downtown Raleigh was not thinking (one ugly grid with no character streets and then we build short buildings with no character)

    P.S. With Progress news,
    what has DRA been doing all these years?

    Have not seen ANY progress with new significant companies moving downtown (I hope my tax payer money is not funding DRA)

  5. Or a room filled with nitrous oxide. The L-building has not yet been built. What you are seeing is a parking deck that will eventually be wrapped by the L-building. That being said, it would have been nice if the banners could have gone up before All-Star weekend.

    But if anyone thinks for a second that the Downtown Raleigh Alliance could stand in the way of two fortune 500’s from completing a multi-billion dollar merger then they crazier than poophouse rats. And please, leave William Christmas alone.

  6. Nobody should ever park in this deck. They set the machines to decline your card when you try to leave, then it won’t return your receipt. From there you have no option but to press the button that says “lost receipt,” resulting in a total charge of $15 to park. Of course after this, the machine magically accepts your card. It’s happened to me and other people that I know. Once again the government rips off the public.

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