The Edison Scales Down, Shows New Renderings

And we’re back with more Downtown Raleigh. Actually I was working on a longer piece but this bit of news is too interesting to sit on. This comes from the great reporting at the Raleigh Public Record.

Edison Plans Scaled Down, But Inching Forward via Raleigh Public Record

At Tuesday October 18th’s Budget and Economic Development meeting, there was talk about The Edison project, a four building complex with about 540,000 square feet of office space for the block bounded by Blount, Wilmington, Martin, and Davie. You can see an old rendering here.[Link now broken] According to the meeting agenda, we now have:

The original plan for the Edison block included taller office buildings, but the recession has reduced the likelihood for taller office building construction for the foreseeable future. Today, Edison is proposing the first phase of its Edison project to be a $30,600,000 239 unit 6 story high end residential community with 18,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. This project would be on the southern side of the block, bounded by Blount, Davie, and Wilmington streets.
The Edison residential project is considered feasible in today’s economic environment.

I don’t think skyscraper fans will be happy about this one. Building this piece of The Edison also means we lose the building with Cooper’s in it on East Davie Street. Six stories of new building at a loss for two stories of history is not a good exchange in my opinion.

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  1. I agree. Six stories of this standard, plain Jane new development architecture is NOT even close to being worth losing some history. We’ve had a lot of new development in Raleigh over the past 10 years. I think we’re all happy with the progress. But let’s not become downtown Charlotte. You hear from so many people that Charlotte is “nice” but has no character. No soul. A beautiful new skyscraper is better, but even still not necessarily worth losing any more history. Not many want to hear it, but there will be no economic recovery that will warrant a new development of this size in the near future, even in Raleigh. The only reason you build a big new space, is when you have a guarantee from a big company to move a HQ here (a la Progress, Red Hat). The days of build it and they will come on a broad scale are over for the foreseeable future.

  2. I’m not completely opposed to developing this now rather than waiting another decade with a vacant lot for some high rise tenant that may or may not ever materialize.

    But couldn’t they at least make this an 8-story building with the same number of units, and leave the historic buildings alone? (Or, better yet, completely refurbish them?)

    Oh yeah, that’s right, 6 stories is the max for “cheapest of cheap” stick built construction.

  3. Probably not cost effective, but you’d think they could at least build around Cooper’s, that would be OK imo. I’m headed there now for lunch and will see if they have any more info. At one time I heard they would still be open, but in the new facility. I think it would be very cool to keep that building and any other historical structure’s in tact, and just build around them. This could be an architectural landmark, but alas, here comes the Starbucks.

  4. Agreed. I very much support development in this location, but this is very short sighted, especially given demolition of Coopers as proposed. If we have to give up Coopers, at least build tall in the core of the city right next to RBC/PNC and PE/Duke/Red Hat towers. How about these options:

    (1) Orulz’s idea of focusing the development in the SE corner away from Coopers at a taller height. Yes, it would be more $ (steel/concrete not wood), but perhaps market would support rents for similar unit count in taller building, perhaps 12-15 stories? It would be the tallest apartment building in the region. Better views equal higher rents.

    (2) Same footprint, but with an added component that can be supported, such as a hotel. Ground retail, movie theater, hotel with apartments on top. With the convention center doing well, I believe there is unmet demand for more hotel space downtown, and would be surprised if the Glenwood Hampton Inn will fill it up. Adding a hotel component would “bulk up” the development in a location that can justify greater density and height, and probably “wants” skyscraper construction.

    (3) Build the current project, but beef up foundations so that development can be placed on top in the future. This would also require steel/concrete construction, and push up the costs, but again, this is an important block in the downtown that needs to see something taller in the long run.

  5. I am glad they are proposing apartments instead of more condos that’d sit empty for years. However, I’m afraid these will be priced so high they’ll make the Tucker look cheap in comparison. Oh well.

    But like Orulz, I’m also leaning towards this as opposed to the lot sitting empty for another decade.

  6. Another case of Raleigh leaders deviating from the original plan and downgrading downtown. Very disappointing. I think they should put these apartments where they put the Plensa. In cold storage and out of downtown.

  7. I’d like to speak up at the next Planning Commission meeting dealing with this item. I applaud mixed-use apartments being built there, but not at the expense of losing decent, historic buildings.

  8. This is ridiculous. If they want to build a short apartment complex, there’s plenty of land on the outskirts of Raleigh…

  9. Looks just like every other apartment/condo project we’ve seen pop up in and around downtown. Pretty boring. Stucco and brick is getting old.

  10. Pathetic… Totally unacceptable. Place a couple of 10-story apartment buildings along Blount Str, but DON”T waste the Wilmington Str facade on such a small building. WTF? I am a big supporter of the developer, but this is not what we need to see. I hope this doesn’t happen.

  11. I think the apartments is a great idea in downtown but not 6 stories. Divide the building in half and make it 12 stories and then add hotel space to that. Downtown NEEDS hotel space! The edison project was going to include hotel anyways so why not add it to this project? I think 6 stories is a waste of time and money is this location. I hope they can redesign this project!

  12. This is absolutely ridiculous! I think its more upsetting that they will be building this building than it is that the other buildings wont be built. This looks like a transitional apartment building you would see in another part of town. THIS IS A HUGE WASTE OF SPACE IN DOWNTOWN!!! 6 stories? I dont believe this. I wish they would wait it out a little bit and build this crap in GS or at least a couple blocks east. Can you really even call this a “scale down”? This is a disaster!!!!


  13. Dang, Planning Commission meetings are at 9am on weekdays? Who the hell can make that?

  14. Another example of pathetic local developers. This is the guy that build that ugly Dawson. Use just one corner for a 20-30 story apartment building. Sounds like they are just a clueless develper. Build UP, NOT out. But the one thing that will be living proof of our stupid city council – do not approve this if the building is lower in height than the parking deck.

    The economy is not the issue here, other cities are building high reises, the issue are the local developers, they are clueless when it comes to architecture/design!!!!

    Hey city council, your concerned about making a few bucks on the parking deck, but you should be removed from city affairs if you approve this ugly building

    P.S. enough of the BBQ, I have eaten there (matter of fact, we had there food at a dinner party in 1995, was the last time), BBQ is average (I have had much better BBQ, but one ugly place to eat)

  15. JDavis is pathetic, look at their designs, all crap/all the same. I believe thay designed that UGLY Dawson building.
    This firm should be fired from all Triangle projects, they are the worse.

  16. I actually like the idea of a six story building there. That is still taller than most of the buildings downtown, and with it being mixed-use could create a good residential foothold. The design, however, looks pathetic. Did the architect even try after they figured the footprint?

  17. Weak project, I say let’s open back up the bidding process. I understand the economy is TRASH right now, but come this is down right SAD, Greg your a nice guy and all but this is not the winning bid you proposed, sell the land back or propose something else, seriously thinking about starting a petition drive to the city not to approve this if this is proposed, I’m thinking of using SERIOUSLY!

  18. Hey guys your welcome to beat me to the punch just go to and set up the petition maybe Ernest will could set it up and we can start the WAR to end bad project’s in Raleigh and let the ONE percent We Want good design’s and project look good downtown

  19. Scott, I would do it, but I have personal reasons not to. Please feel free to email me if you want (click on my name and you will find the contact info in my website). I would gladly sign the petition, though…

  20. This is the reason why Raleigh downtown sucks!!! I mean its uninspiring projects like this in downtown that make it so plain and boring. There is absolutely no density in our downtown. Why don’t they just hold off and wait for the economy to get right and then build it the way it was originally envisioned. This new plan is stupid and it will be an embarrassment to Raleigh. I’m not saying Raleigh has to build a hundred skyscrapers but dammit man… we don’t hardly have any?! Pretty soon our city will reach the 500,000 mark and our downtown will be laughable. Grow up Raleigh and not out!

  21. @robert: You know I am with you regarding the new incarnation of The Edison, but I can’t agree with your first statement… DT Raleigh has a lot more than many other cities had when they were the same size. We have a decent entertainment and arts scene – yes, they can improve – we still have more downtown population than some bigger cities, like Dallas and Houston, and more residents than any other NC city within a mile radius (which extends a little beyond downtown). We are not exactly a city to ignore.

    However, as you nicely put it, we are not asking for 100 skyscrapers, but we need to identify the parcels where we could build skyscrapers and discourage low-rises. We can easily blend skyscrapers with smaller buildings, and we have a lot in the latter category. On the bright side, we are still getting a few projects here and there, including apartments (for a long time an under-served market in DT Raleigh).

    So, keep the faith and don’t despair… DT Raleigh is only getting better every year. Just as long as we don’t continue under-developing, we’ll be fine.

  22. Ernest, very well said. Rise Rises in downtown Raleigh DO NOT have to be concentrated around F Street. Need to expand to Hillsborough Street, government district and Warehouse Area.

    DRA, city council, developers and planners (especially architects) need to have VISION!!!!

  23. Since this project is being planned for right downtown, the developer needs to kill two birds with one stone. keep the apartment concept and add a hotel to the mix. DT Raleigh is in desperate need of hotel rooms so bigger and better conventions can use the convention center. Just an idea that would really help everybody downtown.

  24. What’s wrong with buliding a 20 or 30 storie apartment building….six or seven is just to bland. Or even a 15 story apartment would work better. Small may be good but not better.

  25. I am a bartender downtown at an establishment that requires me to tell people from out of town where to go and what to do(I suppose locals can figure out where I work). I am all about keeping it local with my suggestions, and am proud of this cities progress and culture. I can assure everyone that people from out of town love our city and greatly appreciate the fact that it is has so much character. Tearing down Clyde Cooper’s is not an option. Someone could easily alter plans and develop that parcel of land by building around what I consider one of Raleigh’s historic establishments. I will chain myself to the building if these plans come to fruition.

  26. […] There are also a couple of approved projects which haven’t started construction including the Edison Apartments and the Skyhouse apartments, and other projects still going through the approval process like the […]

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