Pic of the Week

The Edison Apartments in February 2015

The Edison Apartments at the corner of Blount Street and Davie Street.

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  1. Still bummed about the height of this project but very excited to see what sort of ground floor RETAIL fills in here. A restaurant or two would be ok but I’m really hoping to see RETAIL. We have more than enough restaurants and bars at this point. Still a huge waste of space, in my opinion, when they could have built this whole apartment building in half of the block and doubled up on the height, saving the other half of the block for another tower. Bleh.

  2. I would love to see a grocery store at this location. Would serve a lot of the new downtown residents, as well as us office workers that need things daily. I could also see the Shaw students using it as well.

  3. Of course I would’ve preferred the original plans for this block, but between the 2 towers and these apartments, it’s a lot better than the gravel lots that have been there for years. It’s a decent looking apartment, and continues to provide more residents downtown to get us to that critical mass for grocery stores, movie theaters, real retail, etc. I was just at Cala Vela the other day and was thinking how different it will seem from the street level in just a couple more months.

  4. This will be a win once the retail is provided along the entire block by this project. No disrespect to Coopers but that building had to go. Coopers is in a newer location now as well. Yes, taller would have been nicer. Davie St will provide a nice cross over from Fayetteville to City Market once this project is done. Hopefully we can get a quick start to the Edison office and Charter Sq North soon to get some more height going!

  5. Generally, I’m happy to see this site being developed and certainly hope for some desperately needed retail. However, I just hate that they’re using wood framing for a building right in the heart of Raleigh. It just seems out of place

  6. Just curious what sort of retail everyone is hoping for? With all the new residents, there is going to be more of a demand for restaurants as well. Grocery store would be excellent but I dont think any of these retail spots will be big enough.

  7. @Daniel- we currently have more than enough restaurants/bars. As for what retail? Any new retail would be nice. We need places for all these new residents to shop and spend their hard earned cash, as well as to increase tourism and cash flow from people out of town. Think about how many people travel to NYC JUST to go shopping. I’ve been saying I’d like to see Raleigh go the direction of Asheville, NC when it comes to retail: lots of locally owned, mom & pop type shops. Vintage/thrift shops, record shops (which we currently have a nice supply of!), boutiques, clothing stores, locally made goods, etc etc. I DO NOT want to see Raleigh fill in with a bunch of big box chain stores. How boring! All the great retail we currently have is great- think Deco, Nice Price Books & Records, So & So Books, Schoolkids, Father & Son, Estate Boutique, FeelGoodz, that store next to Feelgoodz, Stitch, Social Status, Lumina, Edge of Urge, Ramble Supply Co, Quercus Studios, Raleigh Denim, etc etc etc. The more unique the retail, the more unique our city is! With that said, I’ve heard from a few different sources that Urban Outfitters was looking for a location downtown. As much as I do not want to see big chains and corporations here, I think an Urban Outfitters would be pretty cool (Asheville has one too), and it would only make other potential retailers more confident in the market downtown. I’ve also read (on this blog) people say they’d like to see a two story Apple store- ok, that would be neat, but I’m more interested to see locally owned shops pop up before we get anything like that. Those are only my examples!

  8. I am glad to see progress on this development! I do hope they offer a variety of retail stores. I would like to see Raleigh’s retail environment to be similar to Madrid, Spain! They seem to have the right combination of pop/mom stores and high end retail. They have larger grocery stores as well as small markets. The combination of all of these make it a very livable city for a variety of people and economic classes.

  9. Retail requires more people, and DTR is getting there. It just came to me though that if a competitor to CVS opened in Downtown with better hours, that might be the next best thing to a full grocery, especially if we could get some fresh food thrown in. All that said, the Edison continues to push development toward the east edge of downtown. Its those neighborhoods that will really change the retail scene, because they are also the furthest from other retail.

  10. @CX ^THIS^ – Hopefully something like that would push the downtown CVS to be open- *gasp* dare I say it??- 24hrs ??? I mean seriously, a 24hr Downtown CVS would only make sense (once more people live downtown, I understand that). I also have this little wish that the downtown CVS would rearrange the store to open up all the windows so that there isn’t just one glass door and a bunch of blacked out windows. It’s so uninviting. Almost makes it seem invisible.

  11. The CBD of DTR is going to have a very hard time in recruiting a good sized,(30,000 sq ft), grocery store IMHO. I say this because currently to the west of DTR’s CBD in Cameron Village, you now have a Harris Teeter, Fresh Market and just recently announced a permanent Southern Season store. I believe that the only option for another grocery store even remotely close to the CBD of DTR is for it to be further East. I am hoping that Stone’s Warehouse,(which is what, 5 city blocks away?), turns into a good option because you have a larger land foot print, more room for parking, and hopefully a future parking deck. Also, Stone’s is located in a more in-need area for a grocery store residential area. CBD of DTR is kind of in that area similar to Baseball,(between Durham Bulls and Carolina Mudcats), and you will probably never get a minor league team in Raleigh nor a major grocery in the CBD of DTR…IMHO

  12. @Robert

    I agree that getting a full-sized grocery is probably unlikely. If we’re going to see ‘groceries’ downtown it basically has to be close enough for people to walk, otherwise, there isn’t much advantage over the places in CV. Having lived in an urban area without a car, I can say that unless people with families want to go grocery shopping every day, it’s hard to walk to the grocery store if it’s more than a few blocks. A bodega-type place that sells snacks, fruits/veggies and maybe has a meat counter (go into a “latino” market and you’ll see exactly what I mean) is probably the best bet. It has to be something where people will go there to pick something up real quick (like when you run out of milk or beer and that’s all you need). I don’t think people are going to be doing most of their grocery shopping downtown anytime soon. The same goes for a full-sized movie theater. Theaters are hurting for business as it is. I think a smaller theater that only plays the biggest movies might do well, but a multiplex seems unlikely, at least not until downtown has about 40,000 more residents in walking distance.

  13. I am not sure I agree. With Kroger’s exit a few years ago, there are I believe two full-service grocers inside the beltline east of the US401 corridor, the food lions on Raleigh Blvd and Poole Road, and NONE close to the center. A store located in the east half of downtown could easily target neighborhoods for which Cameron Village is actually a significant slog. Places like Boylan Heights, Oakwood, Mordecai don’t have convenient grocers. Much of Southeast Raleigh does not have a convenient grocery store. And of course let’s not forget the booming number of apartments in downtown proper.

    A store as close as possible to Moore Square might make sense, you are centrally located to all of the above plus the thousands of people who change buses at Moore Square every day.

  14. According to the cities 10 year draft plan. The area between Hargett and Davie,east of Moore Square is perfect for a grocery store. The closes store to the east is on Poole Rd. As Orulz stated. With all the growth in that area,it’s a no brainier to me. Eventually at least.

  15. I would think a small neighborhood grocery store would do quite well in the bottom of these Edison apartments. There should be right many people living around that block.

  16. I think that many of you are underestimating the ability of the city center to support a full scale grocer. Have any of you been to HT in CV lately? It’s overwhelmed and will continue to get more inundated with shoppers as the new housing in CV and and DT fills up with residents. In addition to the residents, retailers need to consider the hundreds of new employees DT that are driving the STEM and start up reputation of the city and the convention business that is driving the construction and desire for new hotel rooms. All these sorts of people are their potential customers.
    In order to make this financially work for a grocer, I suspect that it cannot be stand alone. A mixed use retail center on multiple levels is probably the model that will prove to be worth the investment. Frankly, if HT was wise, they’d jump all over this so that they don’t lose customers when competition finally comes to the city center. Right now, they are essentially a one man show.
    Here’s a plan for such a center in Miami Beach that could be relevant in DT Raleigh, though I’d rather not see TJMaxx or Ross as large tenants. I’d rather see Crate and Barrel and an Apple Store. http://edens.com/userfiles/images/plans/5thAlton.gif
    Another idea would be to have two floors of retail on all sides of a new tower with parking sandwiched between the retail and the residential/hotel/offices above it.
    Lastly, DT could lure Fresh Market away from CV with a more significant footprint opportunity. Miami Beach has a good example of this as well with parking on top of the store to minimize its footprint. http://www.floridapeopleschoice.com/images/TFM%20Dusk%20Shot.jpg

  17. John, I am familiar with that shopping center! Here is a link to a picture of its exterior! I noticed that the Publix stores in the South beach area tend to come with their own parking deck… thus taking up smaller lot sizes to accomplish it. Using a multi-level retail setup could be a feasible idea for Raleigh! I think that Mr. Kane had made reference to a grocery being apart of the Dillon Warehouse project that was proposed. This does fit into the area identified as most logical for a grocery, by city planners. http://ceccicontractor.com/portfolio/fifth-alton-miami-beach-fl/

  18. I was thinking a grocery store without a parking deck. If a grocer wants to build a parking deck then that obviously changes the whole scenario. I know the margins on grocery stores are pretty thing, so I’m not sure if it would be cost-justified just yet. However, I guess I’m wondering, if you’re going to drive to the grocery store, what would be the benefit of putting it downtown? I always thought the appeal of a “downtown” grocery story was to walk? I guess if you drive 4 blocks it’s a little closer than driving 2 miles to CV? I guess I just wouldn’t understand why it would make a big difference if people were mostly driving. However, a scaled-down grocery store (like the one I mentioned, which could still be a HT brand or whatever) or a mixed retail facility John was mentioning probably would work. I was just thinking that a full-scale, suburban-style grocery store doesn’t make much sense downtown.

  19. A grocery store would certainly be most likely as a component of a larger mixed-use development.’

    Kane might be the one to bring it.

    I hope whatever form it takes and whenever it happens, that it is a full-service grocer of at least 30,000 square feet.

  20. I am so glad to see all the responses here. Our family lives across the street from the New Edison apartments and we are enjoying watching them being built. I am surprised that as they begin the third level of framing that no concrete is separating the floors. Also, no concrete pillars are in place to support the height of this wood frame building. It seems too fragile to build something this high without concrete and/or some kind of reinforcement. Sort of like putting together a house made of popcicle sticks? Any thoughts?
    Also – I must put in a note about our family’s retail store on E. Hargett Street, Nuvonivo kids clothing. We love living and working in downtown and hope to see more retail very soon – including a grocery store! We also need shoe stores, ladies fashions, men’s fashions, book stores, etc. – bring it on and the people will come!

  21. Regarding grocery stores in our downtown. Familiar with D’Agostino’s in NYC? I’ll bet Raleigh Rickshaw could get some refrigerator rickshaws and make a killing with home delivery! I know I’d use this kind of service, that’s for sure.

  22. @J Malouf – Structurally there are new techniques that allow wood frame buildings to go much higher. They could build wood skyscrapers if they wanted to. My concern is over fire safety. I’m seeing these 6-floor wood apartments go up everywhere and none of them seem to have firewalls.

    That just boggles my mind. I’d be pretty uneasy living in something like that.

  23. These stick built apartments are sprinkled with 6to 8″ fire lines that have to meet minimum flow calculations. The noise factor will be worse so stick with concrete as Paramount, 425 Boylan, 510 glen wood, RBC, and sky house. It is cheaper and shorter construction time, what do you expect from these guys? They sell them to some REIT anyway.

  24. Vatnos, I recently came across plans for a wooden skyscraper… I found it very interesting to say the least! Good post on the safety issues!

  25. Jeff, like I previously said, the picture shows that EACH FLOOR IS SEPARATED by a “slab”(b) of concrete. I didn’t say the whole building was concrete. I see the wood frames. I also see the concrete separating the lowest residential floor from the one above it.

  26. It isn’t a concrete slab between each floor. You’re seeing a fiberglass or composite material border that is put around the perimeter of each floor on the outside of the building. The floor separating each level is wood only.

  27. Is that a joke?

    His name is Matt and he runs a website raleighskyline.com and metroscenes.com
    for the last like 10 years

  28. Whatever his name is does not matter… he has been doing those for years. I take it you thought I meant this as new material. This is not meant as new information… just a place to see some decent pictures.

  29. After reading back on these comments again, I thought that I’d make some comments about DT grocers and transportation. For context, I live between DT Raleigh and Miami Beach. You may notice that I often reference South Beach in my comments. I do so because the resident side of South Beach actually represents the sort of urbanism that’s VERY possible in DT Raleigh. Outside of the touristy areas of Oecan Drive, Collins Ave and the party strip of Washington Ave., there are many lessons and examples in South Beach that are relevant to DT Raleigh. Grocery stores is one of them. From my condo on the NW side of SouthBeach along Biscayne Bay, I can walk to 2 Publix, a Fresh Market, and an Epicure (gourmet). By bike share, I can reach another Publix and While foods. Frankly, I can also reach those by foot but it’s not as reasonable. If I am going for one or two bags of groceries, I usually walk or ride a bike. If I go for a week’s worth or more, I take my car. While I am a bit more ambitious than most when it comes to walking, others with immediate adjacency do the same. However…many more people still drive to the store to grocery shop and will do so in Raleigh as well. It’s a fantasy to think that Raleigh will become like Manhattan with residents not driving to the grocery store.
    If any of you (besides Leo who already knows)) ever comes to South Beach, I recommend you take a good walking tour of the residents’ side of “the beach” and you’ll soon find a nice model for what’s possible in DT Raleigh. 18 screen multi-level multiplex theater? Check! Urban retail including Macy’s, Apple, Gap, H&M, etc? Check! Urban Model big box stores like TJMaxx, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy? Check! Urban Park in the center of it all? Check! Bike Share? Check! High rise, mid-rise, low-rise and single family housing? Check! Convention Center and Performing Arts? Check! Live Theater and live music venues? Check! Museums and cultural assets? Chekc! You can even find an amazing example of what Fayetteville Street could have been if it was left a pedestrian mall.
    Both DT Raleigh and South Beach have circulator bus systems though the one in South Beach is 25 cents. Neither has rail transit. Miami Beach still has cars and so will DT Raleigh. and they need to be dealt with because they aren’t going away anytime in the near future and both cities struggle with putting light rail into place though it’s been talked about in both for decades. I could go on and on. Check it out next time you are in my other neighborhood.

  30. John, Didn’t realize you were a part time south beach resident! I do think that like Raleigh… some attention needs to be given to light rail, similar to what Miami proper has! I usually go to sobe every few weeks, usually stay at the Cadillac! I am considering going ahead and buying a condo there… any suggestions on the best complex… say 40th and north!

  31. @Randall, by this post I am asking Leo to share my email address if you have any questions about Miami Beach. Leo, I am guessing that since you ask for our email addresses with each post, you have the capability of connecting Randall and me by email? Thanks.

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