Crash of the Resident Wave, Introduction (1/10)

Construction at The Lincoln
This is part 1 of a 10 post series, rolled out all week, on residential projects in downtown Raleigh. Go here to see all the posts so far.

If you follow the news, this blog, and watch all the construction happening you may notice an ongoing theme. Residential projects are mushrooming in downtown Raleigh!

I had to take a step back and list them out in order to really get a feel for how much is going on. In recent history, it’s always felt like the list of “What’s coming” is longer than the list of “What’s being built.” Currently, downtown Raleigh is in the exact opposite situation.

Throughout the week, expect some short posts on nothing but residential projects. I’ll then end the week with projects that are coming soon.

For those that haven’t been following as closely, the result of these residential projects, a majority being rental apartments, is part of a national trend. Demographic preferences, a more mobile workforce, and access to more amenities are just a few factors that are driving this huge demand for rentals near the city center.

It is definitely time to update our downtown resident population numbers as presentations and reports seem to always stick to some 5-6,000 number for the last 10 years.


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  1. Thanks for all you do Leo. I am looking forward to this series.

    One quick question regarding the photo you took … does anyone know why RedHat didn’t complete the east side of the Red box on their roof? It looks incomplete. Something to do with equipment on the roof perhaps? I’ve often wondered.

  2. I’ve noticed the same thing and agree it looks incomplete. At the same time, it’s not crazy to assume that it could be functional in some way. That’s just a guess though.

  3. Great idea for a series! Look forward to reading it all.

    I’m happy there’s new residential coming to downtown. However, I’m very unhappy that almost all of it is high-priced “luxury” stuff. Even with all the new apartments in DT, for those of us too poor to afford high-end units, it’s still just as hard as ever to find a place to live downtown.

  4. The Progress Energy rooftop box was closed in on that side, but it was also not as tall as the Red Hat signage. It added a few feet to the height of the building.

  5. I think the State of Downtown handout actually Photoshopped the east end of the red hat screen wall so that it looked completed. Looked much better that way!

  6. There’s a ton of low income house in the south and east sides of DT. All I ever see on these sites are people complaining the buildings are cool enough looking, or that they’re too expensive. Would you prefer they build even worse looking new apartments for cheap, or should they just build new luxury apartments that they hand over for free to the poor?

    I also agree about the Red Hat building, and am glad I’m not the only one who noticed. I kept waiting for that to get filled in but it never did. My friend works there but I doubt he has any idea.

  7. It’s great to have apartment complexes or condos within two miles of the state capitol. But for every such complex being built, there is another being built in Raleigh along or outside the Beltline, and there is another (maybe two) being built outside the Raleigh city limits. So let’s celebrate the opportunity for people to have choices about where to live, and let’s celebrate those who choose to live within two miles of the state capitol. But don’t jump to the conclusion that downtown living has put an end to horizontal expansion of Raleigh and Wake County.

  8. In response to ct’s comment about fringe growth occurring at a faster rate than center city growth. Richard Florida wrote an article which came out on The Atlantic today which stated the exact opposite trend is occurring; center cities (Raleigh and Cary (despite the “town” title is has it is 2/3rds the size of Durham) are growing at a much faster rate than the suburban towns around us in Wake county, and even though all growth isn’t happening only in downtown it does seem to be centralizing around various regional centers such as Midtown, Crabtree Valley, and Hillsborough st in addition to downtown. So this whole Raleigh is just spreading out faster than densifying argument is just the remnants of suburban booster-ism from the last few decades.

    Here’s the article which shows the national trends and even gives our metro a shout out:

  9. Andrew, this is indeed a very enlightening article and I am glad to see the “reverse” growth happening, for a change. Only one thing I need to bring up: The quality of each city’s suburbs. In other words, there are suburban areas that have a lot of urbanity in them, although we need to go to big cities to experience that. If Raleigh’s suburban areas were built with good urban guidelines it would be less of a problem for me. Unfortunately, this is not the case, but I will take growth inside the city as opposed to the suburbs.

  10. “Crash” has a very negative connotation in the series title, like a housing bubble pop or crash in housing prices. What crashes are good? I don’t think the intention here is to convey negativity.

    Perhaps something like “Rise of the Resident Tide”, in keeping with the metaphor?

  11. As a 20-year Glenwood South resident and business owner, I can assure you it feels like a crash! Boom! In the last year, our sidewalks are busier in the mornings when I walk to work, and in the evenings when I walk my dog. My children scooter on the sidewalk past other people who are headed to work, the gym, the coffee shop and out to eat.

    We love the crash of this wave.

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