New Talks of Salisbury Street Hotel, Wants Inn On The Convention Center Action

Proposed Residence Inn on Salisbury Street, downtown Raleigh

Hotel space seems to be a lacking resource for downtown Raleigh but reading through the city’s Budget and Economic Development (BED) Committee agenda yesterday shows more rooms may be on the horizon. Longtime readers will remember The Lafayette project proposed for what is called “Site 4”, the parcel of land along Salisbury Street that butts up against the Performing Arts Deck. That project is officially out the door and the city is ready for new blood to come into town.

Looking through the agenda, City Manager Russell Allen sent a letter to the BED committee to suggest they consider Request For Proposals (RFP) of the site. He mentions multiple requests have come in from interested parties. He includes a copy of one such letter of interest, copied again by me and pasted below:

October 27, 2011

Mr. J Russell Allen
City Manager
City of Raleigh
P.O. Box 590
Raleigh, NC 27602

Dear Mr Allen:

Summit Hospitality Group, Ltd. would like to engage with the City of Raleigh in the appropriate process to acquire the three parcels of city property on South Salisbury Street at its intersection with Lenoir and South Streets. I believe this is generally referred to by the city as their “Site 4”.

The intent for the property would be the development of an upscale mixed use property, the largest tenant being a MArriott extended stay hotel. The hotel would be similar in scope and scale to a similar property located on Mint Street in Charlotte, NC. For purposes of illustration, I have enclosed photos simulating the hotel situation on the Raleigh site as well as photos of the Charlotte hotel.

We have a verbal approval for a Residence Inn by Marriott franchise and tentative financing from local conventional sources contingent on the strength of a market study by a nationally recognized form. As soon as we could enter into a Letter of Intent or Memorandum of Understanding with the city, we are poised to immediately contract for the market study and begin the design phase for the presentation to the city.


R. Doyle Parrish

The attached pictures are shown in this blog post. Here’s a Google Streetview link to the hotel in Charlotte. I’ll emphasize that the pictures here are not final and no designs exist at all. This is just a model, made up for visualization.

Proposed Residence Inn on Salisbury Street, downtown Raleigh

The Raleigh Convention Center needs more of this in order to host some of the much larger conventions that it can handle but are not getting because of lack of hotel rooms. Skyline fans may be disappointed as a building of this scale is nothing to cheer about.

For me, it’s a great project really. The building should make a great compliment to the Performing Arts deck, helping make use of the extreme oversupply of parking that we have in downtown Raleigh. Also, while not unique in character, the urban form is a fine addition to the sidewalks of Salisbury Street. If you take our Marriott hotel on Fayetteville Street for example, the street trees, tables, and chairs are inviting. I see people sitting and relaxing there on many occasions.

The location of this hotel is also primo. It’s easy to get in and out of downtown by car and visitors can experience the Fayetteville Street/City Plaza area with much ease.

We’ll stay tuned for updates.

Proposed Residence Inn on Salisbury Street, downtown Raleigh

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  1. They say they want a building similar to the one in Charlotte. That better not be the case (that Charlotte hotel is UGLY!!!!!!!!)
    We do not need a tan color hotel or anything with stucco in OUR downtown (brick and glass, something different, SUMMIT will be to blame for something lame).

    Also, this building needs shops/activity on three sides (that hotel design in Charlotte is awful for sidewalk curb appeal.

    City Council will to be vlame if anything less than a signature building is put on this lot.
    That tan design is ugly, enough. Downtown Raleigh Alliance, citizens, county commissioners and city council need to get this right

  2. Dan,

    Completey agree with U! City Council needs to demand the Charlotte building is not a model for Raleigh. The San Diego facility is a great start (the sidewalk look is much more attractive).

    Great suggestion!!!!!

  3. Good to have a hotel…I just hope it isn’t going to be more cookie cutter design. I don’t understand why these hotel chains think their brand identity needs to be based on the “universal sameness” of their architectural design. Don’t people travel to go to someplace different? The San Diego hotel is perhaps an anomoly, but judging from time I’ve spent in San Diego it’s just the southwest flavor of cookie-cutter. It is better though in that it doesn’t look like the same building you might see at a rest stop of a toll highway in the middle nowhere like the Charlotte version…they just replaced the massive surface parking with a more massive parking garage.

  4. I think the scale of the building is good and would definitely improve that area. However, these these things must change:

    1.) Add more brick or something to offset the deluge of tan

    2.) Add more retail activity to the street level. The hotel in Charlotte has very little activity on the ground floor.

  5. Almost forgot…

    3.) Shoot a guided missile at the Clarion Hotel. That hideous eyesore needs to go.

  6. ^I think its out of convenience and cost. The good thing is there is interest from other groups so hopefully the city won’t end up with an eyesore.

  7. If there is no intent to add to the skyline, a boutique or microtel would work and provide a somewhat different option for visitors and business travelers. Same price range but hopefully a little funkier looking, inside and out.

  8. One other very important item.
    The city should invest money into a cover, roof, canopy (whatever you want to call it) for the top of that parking deck).
    Not many people like looking out their hotel room and seeing a parking deck. Also, that parking deck is built for retail on first level. The city needs to make the investment and start (as of yesterday) constructing shops in the first level for the convention center attendees (small grocery store, drug store, coffee shop (do not care if there is a Starbucks in Marriott, Starbucks is disgusting, need downtown variety right outside center). Our city needs to start incorporating retail, shopping and food service giving visitors a variety.

  9. Brad Double Dizzle,

    Sorry, but why the hell would we tear down a 20 story hotel when we’re so short on downtown hotel rooms to begin with? The Clarion definitely needs to stay. It’s fairly nice on the inside and to top it off it’s quite affordable to stay there, especially compared to most other downtown hotels.

    Besides, it’s unusual and cool. I’m pretty certain it’s the only round high rise in NC.

    I for one hope the Clarion NEVER gets torn down.

  10. Nick, which parking deck are you saying was designed for retail on the first floor? I knew that the deck on the corner of Wilmington/Cabarrus was intended for conversion. But is the deck at the corner of South & McDowell designed for conversion as well? I’d never heard this before but looking at the building I guess I can see how the frontage along McDowell could be converted to retail. The problem is that it is a terrible location for retail – it’s on the very edge of downtown in a low pedestrian traffic area with very little on-street parking anywhere nearby.

  11. Orulz,

    I am also sorry, but it doesn’t take an expert on design aesthetics to realize the Clarion is a piece of crap. It’s surrounded by a gravel lot, totally turns itself away from pedestrians, has VERY cheesy/cheap architecture, has almost zero activity on the ground floor, and is just plain ugly. It needs MAJOR renovation or complete and utter destruction. We shouldn’t save buildings just because they’re tall.

    However, I respect your opinion and your freedom to speak it. Good day sir/ma’am.

  12. “Shoot a guided missile at the Clarion Hotel. That hideous eyesore needs to go”


    I’m glad someone finds the Clarion as repulsing as I do.

  13. i dont want to just tear it down and have nothing there, but yeah the clarion is ugly as poop. it is nice with the SECU building and the glenwood apartments that from my view driving south into dtr it expands the skyline nicely

  14. The gravel lot next to the Clarion is actually owned by Empire Properties. I don’t think it has anything to do with the Clarion at all, and I think it’s likely that if anybody staying at the Clarion were to park there, their car would be towed. There is plenty of parking for cars in the spiral deck at the base of the hotel.

    And as a matter of fact, opinions about the aesthetic qualities of the Clarion aside, I think we absolutely SHOULD keep perfectly serviceable, structurally sound buildings as big as the Clarion around simply because they are big. Do you really want all that material to wind up in a landfill? What a horrible waste.

    And another thing – if you believe in the (very modernist) idea that form should follow function, a round building in fact epitomizes the concept. You get the maximum interior space with the minimum amount of building materials. The layout wouldn’t work too well for an office building but it actually works great for a hotel or apartment building. There is a very famous round apartment building called Marina City in Chicago that is extremely well regarded from an architectural standpoint. The Clarion is no Marina City (nor does it try to be) but the same reasons that made a round building practical and effective for Marina City also apply to the Clarion.

    The views from the rooms (and the restaurant on the top floor) are AWESOME.

    I would say we shouldn’t even talk about tearing the Clarion down until every single empty and underutilized lot downtown is fully built out to a density equal to or greater than that of the Clarion.

    Plus, come on. It’s a ROUND. How cool is that?

  15. The Clarion has a tan exterior, like many other structures downtown, windows flush with exterior, and medium height. Its only remarkable feature is being octagonal rather than square in shape – why does that make it ugly?

    Like many other structures in downtown Raleigh, it needs the owners to work on some people-friendly street level design elements. I don’t know myself (perhaps someone more knowledgeable could illuminate us) but I suspect that they DO NOT own the surface parking lot just east of the Clarion building – and that complicates the idea of adding some street level pizzazz to the place.

    Otherwise, the Clarion building is fine by me.

  16. Thanks, orulz, for clarifying that the parking lot east of the Clarion is owned by Empire Properties. Soooo…the Clarion needs to jazz up its street level within its own Hillsborough Street frontal zone – tough, but still doable.

  17. Empire properties is a joke (the heck with the restaurants, they just try to put quick money in their own pockets).

    That lot next to Clarion is pathetic and Empire has been sitting on that for years. They are to lazy to even clean it up. Ciity council needs to get some YOU KNOW WHAT! They are the type of developer that this city can do WITHOUT.

  18. Fixing the Clarion:

    1.] Gut and renovate ground floor;

    2.] Build ground floor addition, so that building mass adjoins (or at least comes close to) sidewalk;

    3.] Update tower portion

    The tricky part would be accommodating the integrated parking deck with the new addition. Cruise missile still may be a cheaper option.

  19. Brad_Double_Dizzle


    “Cruise missile still many be cheapest option” :-) What if it misses and hits [insert your choice of downtown building here].

  20. Ha, john I completely agree with you. I definitely thought about it. Okay thanks for your opinion. Love your thought.

  21. Another Downtown Hotel would be a great addition to the city.Just dont stop at building it at six or seven stories.What is wrong at 20 or 25 stories tall.What ever happen to the Solei center project that went sour.They should of just built the project Downtown,that was indeed a great design model that would of made a great look for Downtown.But,I guess that’s what you get for very Poor planning on all parties invovled.

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