Innovate Raleigh Opens Up 227 Fayetteville Street, Renovations Underway

227 Fayetteville Street, January 2013

Here is some great news for the core of downtown Raleigh. The former Wachovia bank building at 227 Fayetteville Street, the building shown above, was recently bought up and renovations are underway for 110,000 square feet of office space. On top of that, Innovate Raleigh, Raleigh’s public/private partnership in fostering innovation, hosted an event last night to show off the building and how it will be built for technology companies and new startups.

I went down to the event and found a packed house with the usual players and more in our city’s ever growing startup scene. Jesse Lipson, founder of ShareFile, was showing off the new Citrix offices being planned for West Street. Adam Klein talked about American Underground in Durham. These speakers and others told stories to a crowd of close to 200 about what startups are doing across the entire triangle.

227 Fayetteville Street, January 2013

We’ve discussed coworking space, a real incubator for startups, within downtown Raleigh but 227 is a step up. The people behind this building seem to be really tied into the community and this is a perfect spot to pipeline the rising startups out of the small spaces and into real offices. The Fayetteville Street location provides easy access to all of downtown’s services and is a great location to set up shop.

So on to the building itself and the renderings. Key points to notice in these renderings.

  • There is an emphasis on more natural light with many more windows being added.
  • One rendering suggests street level retail along Fayetteville Street which is something the building did not have previously.
  • The office entrance may be that red square along the side of the building. This may leave the Fayetteville Street facing entrance for a future retail space.
  • The outdoor spaces alongside 227 Fayetteville, Exchange Plaza and Market Plaza, may also be getting a facelift.

Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street
Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street
Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street
Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street
Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street

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  1. LRC: Finally have an opportunity to applaud a developer (thank goodness we have big city people interested in downtown Raleigh). Great vision!!!!!!
    Hopefully, they buy the building those clowns from Empire started and have left unfinished for 5 years (and get Empire out of the development business).

    Jumping the gun, but, would love to see LRC purchase the land next to Red Hat Amp. and develop an office, retail, hotel complex (similar to Balitmore’s “The Landing”). Look forward to LRC in downtown Raleigh for years to come!!!

  2. Aaah, sweet, sweet, coworking! The most consistently unsuccessful business model in modern history: customers pay an undue amount of money to sit in a room with lot of strangers, all working on laptops, with free coffee and wi-fi, to encourage “collaboration”.

  3. A) I’m just happy that building won’t be empty for much longer. and B) icing on the cake–it’ll be a much improved look.
    Great news.

  4. Aaron,

    Don’t think you really understand this concept-it’s not co-working space-its an incubator which are completely different concepts. The strategy is to recruit businesses or even 1 anchor tenant ala American Tobacco in Durham, for example.

  5. Yea Andrew I was going to bring up First Flight. What is amazingly shocking about Raleigh people is their lack of knowledge about anything outside of the 1 foot bubble that surrounds their body. They still think light rail is a subway and that the only place in the world that uses mass transit is NYC (once again, condescending southern accent). I am currently in Vancouver where the dumbest Canadian is smarter than the top 1% of Americans (maybe even higher in the South). Maybe they need to travel bit more. Other examples of tech incubators include the MaRS Centre in Toronto which is amazing. Alexandria Properties has them all over the US with the flagship facility in New York.

  6. This is a petition to the city council to responsibly phase in wirelessly networked traffic lights for a number of reasons outlined in the petition, as well as articles that lend support to the concept. It’s already gotten 18 signatures – 12 just yesterday – as well as the interest of the city council. Thanks in advance for your support!

  7. Will be interesting to see what the rental rate for this space will be given the amount of improvements needed for the building… startup companies aren’t looking to pay top of the market rents!

  8. ^This place will be a mix of various stage companies-not just early stage start-ups. I am sure there will be a sliding scale. This model has been used everywhere else but seems to be a hard concept for people to grasp. American Tobacco is not made up of just early stage idea companies-that is a recipe for failure as most will not go anywhere.

  9. The rates will be $25 to $26/SF + another $3/SF for parking. Seems like a lot for start ups. Plus, the floors are so small they make it inefficient for a tenant large enough to afford the rent. Look forward to seeing how this plays out.

  10. Maybe there is a sliding scale… but if early stage companies get preferential rates, other companies will have to pay $30+sf? That’s more than what any other building charges… might as well wait for Charter Square or Edison to kick off to pay those rents… newer building, more efficient, larger floor plates, LEED certified, etc…

  11. Anyone know the rates at American Tobacco? A lot of it is cache as well as being close to venture capital which has to be an important component of this. I think it will be successful as the Triangle has a critical mass and you can always end up going a more conventional route later if it doesn’t pan out. It’s not a $25 million per year disaster as what has occurred in Kannapolis-which everyone with half a brain knew was a failure from the start.

  12. Idk who the other ‘Steve’ is, but it wasn’t me (not that it’s a problem). Daniel, you seem to have a lot of bitterness. I know quite a few Canadians and your hyperbole about them was just that, hyperbole. If Raleigh is so beneath you, why do you comment on this website?

    Also, Empire properties has some of the most successful businesses downtown. The Raleigh Times is probably the most popular bar in the Fayetteville Street district. Empire’s had a little trouble developing bigger buildings, but please point out a high rise that’s been completed by anyone since RBC was finished. Sometimes I get the impression that some people think funding grows on trees and we’re in the middle of the Amazon. Nobody wants to build speculative office space in a market as small as Raleigh.

    This new building is good news for the city. More retail spots on FS is always a plus, and it’s a good use of what was basically an empty building. Improving the two plazas outside would also be a nice addition, since they’re mostly empty now.

  13. I’m glad this will include various stages of companies but I feel that it should also somehow include a component to include even the “pre” startup phase. What better way to ensure success than to ensure that people with ideas have a place to get them to be more than just ideas and around other people that will help launch those ideas.

  14. Nehemiah, yes sounds like there will be some large open spaces for collaboration and “pre” startups.

    I read recently about a Raleigh investment company’s investment in the highly successful quick-service salad restaurant Chop’T based in DC. The ground floor of this building would be a perfect location if the group has plans for expansion!

  15. Rates at ATC are in that range ($25-26/SQ ft + Parking) – underground is cheaper (down below $20). You are looking for mid-range startups in a building like this – someone like Knowledge Tree or Rally – not 3-5 person startups.

  16. Tough love Stevie. I think you may be drinking too much of Hatem’s Kool Aid he’s serving up down at the Times to think he is a successful developer. Empire Properties’ track record in development has been abysmal other than restaurants (which are ok at best)-a lot of talk but little results. BTW, Wake County’s population is comparable to Mecklenburg’s so to say Raleigh is a small town may reflect more of it’s attitude than it’s geography/demographics.

  17. Daniel, please don’t call me ‘Stevie’. You’re only reinforcing my impression that you’re just not very pleasant, which I hope is wrong.

    I realize I might have sounded a bit like a ‘Hatem defender’ which wasn’t really my intention. My only point is that no other developers have made any great strides in the last 5 years. Other than a handful of mid-rise apartment buildings, nothing of any substance has really gone up. I’d like someone to show me how this is the fault of local developers. Logically, if the market had demand, national developers would be quick to jump in. I don’t see that happening because the market really isn’t that favorable. If someone has information that could prove or at least suggest that the market is stronger than it appears, I’d retract my statement.

    Your comment about Wake V. Meck is quite correct. However, you ignore that most of Wake County actually do live in small towns. Raleigh makes up less than 1/2 of the population. If we were like Durham and made up 90% of the county’s population, the commission would have a different mentality.

  18. Plus this is the capital of a very conservative state, and as a result, a bureaucratic stifling of progress (even on certain Raleigh-themed message boards, which shall remain nameless).

  19. I am actually very pleasant. Getting back to the subject at hand which I think we both agree on is that progress has been slow. I applaud Mitchell Silver, David Diaz, etc. but they are going against a brick wall that equates any idea of planning to socialist agendas. If you listen to his presentation above you will hear the lack of understanding of this populace that thinks large tract housing, strip malls and Walmarts are the key to economic recovery. Additionally, the people that did show up to this asked the normal NIMBY/border line nutty questions which doesn’t make me too confident.

  20. I think my feelings toward Raleigh are backsliding from begrudging tolerance right back to exhausted disgust for exactly the reasons Daniel listed above. I’m learning the hard way that the local bureaucracy will always talk a good game, but have no intention of affecting any real changes that follow logic – and fuck it all up in the process.

  21. Well I can’t disagree with you there. I might be able to stick up for some of the developers, but I have no answer for the people who live ITB and seem to think they live in Fuquay. A lot of people tend to howl bloody murder about anything over 2-3 stories. I can’t say I think the city council has been especially brave in dealing with their constituents. Unfortunately sometimes the voters only want what’s best for them personally, regardless of the city’s overall need. Just read the comments on any N&O article about ‘downtown’ and you’ll see a whole horde of people who want nothing to do with it.

  22. Daniel, your an ideologue.
    Empire was a small start up only 8 years ago.
    Forgive them for not covering downtown like wet paint even FASTER.
    Because god knows how in this economic climate,
    how simple financing and briefly renovating historic buildings can be, right ?

    And the restaurants you refer to as ‘just ok’..
    I know !!! What was he thinking opening 5+ new restaurants in the downtown district ?!?
    Giving us options ?!?!
    How dare he , right ?!?
    Because the ghost town that was downtown a decade ago was just fine !!

    Canada ?
    You know what I like ‘aboot’ Raleigh as compared to the Great White North?
    It’s not Canada.

    Stay where you are.
    Doing very little.

  23. Mark, I really just don’t get your personal vendetta against Hatem. You’re acting really, really ugly and IMO making a fool of yourself.

    Plenty of developments failed during the recession. I doubt if any developer would have completed the projects he was planning due to economic conditions.

    Hatem may have not done well at new construction; in which case, he should stick to restoring old buildings and filling them with awesome restaurants, which he did very well.

  24. You should all follow 227ThisIsWhere on Facebook and watch the transformation of the building to see it all unfold!

  25. This project reinforces that Fayetteville Street is one of the most predominant addresses in the city. And after Charter Square is fully built out, I can think of only two locations remaining that could support major developments: the service lot at Davie St and that 4-story First Citizens building. I bet its torn down within 10 years to make way for a 15-20 floor building.

  26. Your right about that Mike. The One story barber shop and travel agency at the corner of Davie and Fayetteville has gotta go (no offense). That is a prime location wedged between Red Hat and the Sheraton. The property alone is a gold mine.

    Another thing I would propose is to get rid of those parking lots between the Marriott/Charter Square and Memorial Auditorium. Those lots are a serious eye-sore at the Fayetteville St. gateway. I would put gigantic fountains there with a small park until the lots are sold for development. Our city seriously lacks water features considering we are landlocked.

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