Pic of the Week

Elan Apartments under construction

This weekend I took a walk around the Blount Street Commons area. The Elan Apartments look almost done here along Wilmington Street. As we’ve discussed, nothing fancy at all but it’s a lot of urban infill compared to the parking lot that was here before.

The state government district could use some new residential for sure.

Elan Apartments under construction

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  1. I agree, this is a nice urban infill and hopefully it will fill up fast. This area can use a little more steady population, especially as it transitions to a the Historic Oakwood district. Also, I like the exterior design and the height is fine for this section of downtown.

  2. Yeah, ^agreed^ on all accounts with Ernest, but I do really wish they would’ve included SOME ground floor retail space(s)…

  3. I know people will value that its walking distance from Krispy Kreme. This area will continue to fill in.

  4. It’s an interesting area for sure. A lot of moving parts. The Gov’t, the Church, Seaboard, and yes, Krispy Kreme! It would be nice to see the Gov’t do something in the surrounding area south of there. Patty Mac has mentioned that he would like to see the Gov’t area renovated. Some of the building have historic value and some just need to be replaced. But hopefully when replacement happens, retail space and food like the Daily Planet can be added for more urban use.

  5. The city is going to regret not requiring or pushing hard for ground floor retail here at the Elan and on the Peace/Person townhome projects. The market may not quite be there today to support it, but in 5-10 years it may be when Blount Street Commons is built out. Space can be built for retail but leased in the interim as office space. Once it’s built for residential on the ground floor, you’re locked in for probably 30-40 years. Someone has to look out for the long term interest of these areas, and this is one of several examples of that (unfortunately) not being done.

  6. This is completely changing the subject, but I am mighty excited about hopefully this new situation for Raleigh. I have just received a reply from Mr. Kane concerning bringing baseball back to downtown Raleigh. Mr. Kane said that he has been in talks with The Atlantic Baseball League on doing this. This League is looking to expand & Mr. Kane is hoping that a site can be worked out that will be in the right timing for both Raleigh & The League! Man, I hope this happens!

  7. No Jeff, He didn’t say & I’m afraid to ask anymore questions because he is so busy & I felt blessed just to receive a answer. Jim Goodmon did not answer.

  8. A). What is the “Atlantic league”?

    B). Think the Mudcats may have some influence?

    C). My understanding is the previous owner of the Durham Bulls lobbied MLB years ago when the City got the Mudcats to put in some dumbass “self-serving” rule that listed the distance between minor league team stadiums that conveniently was marked at the exact distance between the Bulls stadium and downtown Raleigh. Hence the reason Muscats stadium is way out in Zebulon. Has this rule expired/changed?

  9. So it apparently some league not affiliated with MLB. It looks like it could be a workaround solution to the Bulls BS “rule”. I sure some would call it a “lesser league” but maybe it’s a tactic to get MLB to drop the rule and bring the Mudcats downtown. The Bulls and Mudcats have “coexisted” this long…why not put the team downtown and create a minor league “subway series”…… Without the actual subway of course.. Ha

  10. Uncle Jesse, Before I wrote to Mr. Kane, Mr. Goodmon, Mr. Diaz, Mr. Meeker, The City Council, Mr. Hall, the city manager, I had found a article on Google that states that the mileage rule has changed to 18 miles concerning minor league baseball. That article is 2014 “Top Of The Order: Modeling The Optimal Locations Of Minor League Baseball Teams” by W. Coleman Conley @ Emory & Henry College. After reading this, I started to write everyone. Believe me , I hope this will happen in Downtown Raleigh! Jeff, I did forget to tell you that Mr. Kane did say that some investors were looking for a site! Didn’t mean to tell you wrong on that! Let’s Hope! Dwight

  11. Due to the fact that I’m extremely lazy and don’t have the energy to read this, does the new study mean that the distance now allowed for a minor league team in the City Center, which includes the Mudcats could open a stadium Downtown…without protest/obstacles from the Bulls?

  12. Uncle Jesse, Honestly I don’t know! When I read the article, the 18 mile rule was on the first page & app. the 2nd. , 3rd. , or 4th., paragraph, I can’t remember. When you can , google “The Atlantic Baseball League”. There are 8 teams now & Virgina Beach will be a new team next season 2016 for a 9th team. The pros do draft from their league & when their players are drafted by MLB, they usually go strait to AA or AAA ball. There is a lot more info. on the site. Hope this helps! Take Care, Dwight

  13. Thanks Dwight. Uncle Jesse(e), Google Maps says it is 25 miles from the Bulls stadium to the Raleigh Convention Center. I don’t know if the rule is based on driving it, or as the crow flies, but either way seems greater than the 18 mile limit.

  14. The Atlantic League looks like an interesting franchise. 8 teams currently. As Dwight mentions Virginia Beach getting a team, Raleigh getting a team would get the balance back to an even number of teams. With the momentum building for I-495 connecting VA Beach and Raleigh; having both teams in the same sports series could also provide another point of synergy.

  15. I had pegged Heritage Park as a good site for a mid-size soccer stadium. And then line S Saunders St and South St there with 8-12 story buildings with mixed income and affordable units for the displaced residents. Maybe a combined baseball/soccer stadium could work there, but it seems that always gives the shaft to soccer. Red Hat Stadium at Heritage Park. It’s got a nice ring to it. And adjacent to the new arena district near Memorial Auditorium shown in the downtown plan.

  16. The biggest flaw in these apartments is, to me, the fact they are perfectly located to be walking distance to state government workers, but they will priced out of range for 98% of all state employees. So…..huge lost opportunity to help get people out of cars in this part of downtown. :-(

  17. Yes, Please do something w/Heritage Park. At least South will soon be two-way and it will hopefully feel less disconnected down there

  18. I think it is inevitable that something will be done to heritage park, but (sorry to burst your bubble) a soccer stadium will never happen there – that’s completely ridiculous. Yeah, let’s evict some poor people from best-located low income housing in the entire city to build an athletic facility that gets used perhaps once a week. Ha.

    That said, redevelopment is inevitable. The buildings are 40 years old, and they are stick built one- and two- story apartments, so they are nearing the end of their serviceable lifespans. The current density is 10 units per acre. That may have seemed right in 1975 but now it is extremely low for downtown.

    So, what IS likely to happen, is a redevelopment with much higher density and even some retail. For comparison, Hue is 120 du/ac and Devon I (712 Tucker) is 80 du/ac. The absolute minimum I would consider there would be 40/ac, which would be 464 units – In which case they should keep the number of affordable units the same. At 60/ac, there would be 700 units total, and you could probably double the affordable units.

    Along with the redevelopment I would expect that West Street would get connected through the site. Somehow linking it to MLK, Lake Wheeler, and South Saunder would be great, and revising the Dawson/Mcdowell/MLK interchange to take up less land, would be awesome, but I’m not sure how practical that would be.

  19. good points. but it could be worked out. build new residential buildings first across South street. have the residents move to new buildings before tearing down existing. actually seems like a better solution than replacing on the same site. where do the residents go then?!

  20. I think most of you know that I am all for progress DT and love to hear about opportunities for growth but…. An Independent league Baseball team is not worth Raleigh’s time. Durham has a AAA baseball team with damn near 100 years of tradition and Durham is smaller than Raleigh. An independent league baseball team is way down the minor league baseball food chain from the Bulls. A team like this may be Good for VA beach which is a large town, but VA Beach doesn’t have a Hockey Team and an ACC school competing for its revenue dollars. I wish our hockey team was down town and maybe it will be some day. I get some people on this site may not give a hoot about Durham, but I do consider the well being of the entire Triangle. Durham has an excellent stadium, tradition, and it’s well done and draws large crowds. Yes it’s 25 miles away but I just don’t see the point in screwing up a really good thing that already belongs to the Triangle.

  21. Bob, I won’t argue you on this but I do disagree with you completely! I really feel that Durham should not have ever requested the 30 mile rule years ago. This rule has kept many people from Raleigh from enjoying minor league baseball for many years. I have gone to the Bulls & the Mudcats games, but would much rather go to downtown Raleigh with a good shot of the Raleigh Skyline in the background watching from the stands. Yes, Believe me , I rather see a AA or AAA in Raleigh, but I also so appreciate Mr. Kane trying to bring baseball back to the capital city. As everyone has already seen, Mr. Kane builds Class A Projects & if he supports this, everything will work out. When you read the info. on The Atlantic Baseball League’s site, they state that the stadium has got to be built on plans like a AAA stadium. They also state that their players for the most part are paid more than most AA players. I so hope that some type of baseball comes back to our downtown!

  22. Dwight, I’ve been to a Somerset Patriots game and it feels like a AA game. This is old fashioned minor league ball, before they were affiliated with major league teams. The parks have a capacity of around 6,000 which is more typical of AA; AAA parks tend to be 10 -20,000.

    Bob, this would probably never happen, but they should do a survey and find out where most Bulls fans live. I imagine many (outside of Durham) who come from Wake County come from west/northwest Raleigh, and many who live in east/southeast of the city go to Zebulon. A DT team would probably pull more people from Garner, Fuquay, Clayton, etc. that don’t make the trek up to Durham too often (I grew up in Fuquay and would have gone to 3x as many baseball games if the Bulls were downtown Raleigh). With the region growing the way it is, I don’t see how two downtown teams can’t coexist, plus basketball finished before baseball even starts, and college football starts right at the end of the minor league season. Hockey would only overlap until June, so the prime months of July and August would be free (minor league baseball is April-August).

    Anyway, I think it’s inevitable. The Mudcats aren’t going to be there much longer (already downgraded from AA to A) and the region is probably going to double in 20 years. A park like they have in Greensboro, Durham, or Winston, with downtown views, would be a great addition, imo.

  23. I agree with mike’s idea about Heritage Park and I think it could work. That area has massive potential and there is room for decent redevelopments, including affordable housing.

  24. Hey Bob & Steve, Bob I do wish very much that the Arena had been built downtown. I think that it was a mistake not to put it downtown as far as helping our downtown grow much faster. Thanks Steve for the info. on the Somerset game. I did notice on the league site that showed 2 divisions, each with 4 teams plus adding Virginia Beach next year. May be Raleigh will make it even @ 10 teams. I also read on their site that some stadiums would hold up to 7,500. Thanks Again, Dwight

  25. I think the best-case scenario would be to build a downtown stadium and move the Mudcats DT. The Mudcats are one of the more recognizable minor league teams and putting them DT, with great crowds, could boost them back to AA or even AAA in the future. How cool would it be to have the Mudcats playing in the International League with Charlotte, Durham and Norfolk?

  26. William, I do know that David Diaz, Director of The Urban Center has talked to Jim Goodmon, owner of WRAL which owns The Durham Bulls about a Raleigh Team. I don’t know about if Steve Bryant, owner of The Mudcats has been approached. Just my opinion, I think The Atlantic Baseball League may be our only solution to get Raleigh Baseball, but I’m guessing on this!

  27. I think consideration should be given to redeveloping site where Cargill plant sits. This area along S. Wilmington St. is a major approach to the city from the south but is an absolute eyesore with the plant, Kings motel, etc. If S. Blount St. were closed the lots to the east could be combined to make room for probably even a football stadium. The city already owns adjacent lots as well making a recombination effort all the more possible.

    There are existing train tracks to the east that could be used for mass transit directly from Union Station. The land to the south where Walnut Creek runs through is unbuildable. Combine this area to make a big sports/recreation complex.

    Redeveloping here would help South Park and areas to the south along Wilmington St. immensely! I read some time ago that Cargill stopped processing soybeans and is now only using facility for storage. Seriously, this rat hole is holding down the whole area in a major league way (pun intended).

  28. A basketball arena and/or a baseball stadium downtown might make sense in an somewhat out-of-the-way location, because they get a good bit of use. For example, a baseball stadium at Devereaux Meadows and an arena across Salisbury from Memorial Auditorium could possibly work.

    Soccer stadiums or football stadiums, not so much I’m afraid. I think Heritage Park’s highest and best use would be a high density, mid-rise, mixed-use, mixed-income residential community. Maybe 3-4 stories on the west half, and 5-7 stories on the east half.

  29. Devereaux meadows is going to be a park. And anyway, a modern baseball stadium won’t fit there.

    Also, John Kane emailed me back as well and indicated they are NOT considering bringing baseball to Raleigh, so there’s that. Well that was a fun exercise though. Back to complaining that everything is too short I guess.

  30. Mike, I am so disappointed to hear the news from Mr. Kane. I wonder what in the world happen so quick? I was so excited! I guess the timing from both ends did not work out. “So Sad as far as I’m concerned”!

  31. Now that you mention it Mike, I feel like the Elan (the original post) is too short. Just kidding.

    But seriously, what a shame. The baseball scenario would have been great. I’m going to start working on connecting the talent to the site planners to funding so that they can possibly collaborate on one of the above mentioned stadium + baseball team ideas above. Since the minimal mile requirement has been lifted (if I’m understanding correctly), then the Mudcats should be bait-able to downtown.

    “If you build it, they will come..”

  32. Mike, Mr. Kane answered my 2nd. e-mail concerning Raleigh Baseball but he did not give any details @ all. Did he by chance give you any info. on the quick turnaround of events? Thanks, Dwight

  33. Just wondering. Why is there no talk of professional baseball in Raleigh. If those restrictions have been lifted, as you all are stating, then that should not be an issue. If Kansas City and Tampa can field teams, with the current population numbers along with the projected growth of this area, it seems as if it could at least be being mentioned.

    And if we can support a hockey team in Raleigh, I’m not sure why we couldnt do baseball. I know you guys probably have some numbers that will prove me wrong, but I just wanted to ask. The weather and demographics here seem great for MLB

  34. It’s a reasonable question that gets thrown around every few years, but as you say, the numbers don’t make sense. As a die hard MLB fan I’d love to see us get a team, but we’re nowhere near the size needed for one.

    I guess I’ll look at it a few ways.

    1. Kansas City and Tampa aren’t great examples. The Rays are a great franchise and they barely outdraw the Bulls, they should have at least 3x the number of fans they do to be considered ‘healthy’ imo. The Royals are in a better spot, but they only started selling out last year (and they went to the World Series last year). Plus both areas are bigger than the Triangle by a significant margin.

    2. Hockey and Baseball don’t compare. Hockey is 41 games where good attendance is 17K or more, baseball is 81 home games and good attendance is 30K or more. Hockey teams never draw over more than 900,000 and the best baseball teams draw well over 3 million. Plus, the Canes are almost never in the top half of the league in attendance.

    3. There’s an organization that calculates how much aggregate disposable income is needed to support a major sports franchise, they calculate that it takes around $38B to support an NHL, NFL or NBA team and around $85B for MLB. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill-Cary (as of a few years ago) had about 30B extra (when the money accounted for the Hurricanes came out) to play around with. I think this is an innovative and important way to look at things.

    4. The rule wouldn’t affect the MLB team anyway. If a major league team moved to Raleigh, the Bulls and Mudcats would have to relocate. A lot of people wouldn’t like that because the Bulls are (by far) the most famous MiLB team in the country.

    I hate being a killjoy, but that’s just how it is. Charlotte or the Triangle may (in two decades) be big enough, but for now it’s just not practical.

  35. Steve, I’m very impressed with your baseball knowledge! I would have been happy to have The Atlantic Baseball League team in downtown or any minor league class. If I had a choice, it would be a AAA Team. Thanks for your info.!

  36. As much as I love baseball I really dont think an Atlantic League team would warrant building a stadium downtown. It’s independent league and that means you aren’t going to see much talent. It’s basically washed up minor leaguers or guys who failed to get drafted. I think you either try to get the Mudcats downtown or you just scrap it and wait until the area is MLB ready. If I’m going to invest any money into going to watch baseball I’m going to just drive the 20 minutes to see the Bulls. But I guess thats just my opinion.

  37. Lou, I can understand what you are saying. You may be right but I was impressed with what I read on their website. If you will Google Atlantic Baseball League & read the different title sites. Steve knows about this league & see what you think. Thanks, Dwight

  38. Dwight,
    I did check it out when you first posted about it. It’d be a nice thing to have no doubt, but to sacrifice land and the amount of money it takes to build a stadium I just don’t see it. They had 3 guys signed last year to a major league club. I may be wrong, but I don’t think a single guy saw a big league inning. I don’t know. I just think if we can’t do MLB (or bring the Mudcats down) then we should just wait. I love baseball (I watch it almost every night with the MLB package, but I don’t see myself going to more than 2 or 3 games a season.

  39. Lou, You are probably more right than me because Mr. Kane or someone must have thought the same thing, because everything changed quick! This is probably wishful thinking on my part, maybe something is going on behind the scene on baseball! I sure hope so! Take Care!

  40. The Planning Commission is having a Public Hearing this Tuesday on Z-42-14 Project which is the 12 story hotel @ 603 S. Wilmington St. I e-mailed Steven Schuster in support of this rezoning & I asked him if he would read my message to the commission board Tuesday. His e-mail is sschuster@clearscapes.com if anyone wants to send him a message. Steven is the Chairman of the commission.

  41. CX: It surprises me that our area is not large enough for a soccer league team, population wise,!

  42. Dwight: Take the results of that list with a grain of salt. It is definitely good work and an excellent place to start, but the findings are too conservative. Our area is large enough for a soccer team, but it would require the Triangle municipalities to work together and leave their ego away from the table of negotiations.

    Currently, the Railhawks attract a lot of local soccer fans, so we have to side by them if they are to become a MLS team. However, to maintain the interest high, the Railhawks have to be competitive and keep up the good work, and not become a shooting star. A few years ago they had a great season and got very close to the title, but their coach was hired by a MLS team – if I am not mistaken – and some of our players also moved on in their careers.

    Anyway, I feel that the Triangle has enough soccer followers to make a MLS team successful, in terms of attendance, but I cannot say anything about being competitive. It takes money to build and maintain a consistently good MLS team, much like any other sport.

  43. Thanks Ernest! Good to hear from you! Do our soccer players get paid like the baseball minor league players? I notice @ the Atlantic League level, their pay is @ $3,000 a month Max.

  44. Actually, the chart’s a little misleading. They split it up by MSA, so as we know, Durham and Raleigh are (preposterously) listed as different MSAs. If you scroll up the list you’ll see the Durham-Chapel Hill MSA is listed as having $21B in available money, so it is considered large enough to support an MLS team.

    I’ve not looked into attendance figures but I’d want to see if the Railhawks are among the top teams in attendance before endorsing such an idea.

  45. Salaries vary, of course. Not only from player to player, but also from one team to another. Then, we have the base/minimum salary plus other bonuses. I have read that an average annual salary for MLS is about $50,000, but the number of games player when compared to other sports is smaller. I have seen salaries that go way above $200,000. Then again, you have players like Omar Gonzalez and Michael Bradley receiving base salaries of $1 million and $6 million, respectively.

    Given the competition, averaging 5,000 spectators per game is not too bad for Railhawks, but we can do a lot better and we’ve done it against teams like LA Galaxy. When we had Raleigh Flyers and Capital Express – many years ago – Rochester Rhinos were averaging 11,000 spectators per game. The City of Rochester is half the size of Raleigh, although far more densely populated and the metro area is about the same size with Raleigh MSA.

    If we are to make a soccer venue and a professional team successful, we have to ensure that the stadium is easily accessible by young – 15 to 35 years old – fans. That is the demographics soccer is going after these days. If you have watched any US MNT games at the local venues – London Bridge Pub being my favorite – you know what I mean; naturally, fans below 21 are not allowed. If a soccer stadium is to be built, it has to be located at an area near or inside downtown. Soccer fans love to walk from the local pub to the stadium. The rest of the fans will drive and park, just like in most other sports.

    Whether the Triangle can support a professional soccer team or not, I do not doubt it, as long as the operating budget is reasonable. A good performance by the team is crucial, but soccer fans in the US are trying to develop the same camaraderie you see overseas, which means that our fans have to be united and develop a common love for the team. It may not happen during the first 2-3 years, but if the team can remain a little competitive, I don’t doubt that an average attendance of 15,000 will be reached. If Railhawks were to become a MLS team, they would need to choose a new venue and encourage the establishment of fan clubs, etc.

    Sorry for the lengthy post. Sometimes I forget that I am not on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean :) I do believe that soccer has future in Raleigh, but like any other sport, nobody can say with confidence.

  46. Thanks for that link Bruce.
    It’s a good read but it highlights one of Raleigh’s and the Triangle’s biggest problems: visibility to its true population. Splitting the Triangle into two MSAs has damaged the entire Triangle more than we may ever know. This article only strengthen’s the misconception. Of course, the journalist pulls up Census estimates and declares the MSA as only 1.2 million instead of the 1.8 million that live in the 7 core counties of the Triangle or the 2.1 million in the CSA. It’s as if Raleigh’s and Durham’s markets reach only to their respective county lines on I-40. This misconception is asinine and should be issue #1 for Triangle boosters and the combined politicians. Does RDU not serve Durham and Chapel Hill? Does the DPAC not rely on ticket sales from Wake? Don’t tens of thousands of Triangle residents not cross that invisible barrier as part of their daily routines?
    Until the Triangle is seen as being as big as it really is and until Raleigh city isn’t diminished for its size because it isn’t 300 square miles like Charlotte or over 500 square miles like Nashville, we will continue to battle the image problem. The city, county, metro and CSA need to be aggressively marketing the area and giving folks the real story about the area.

  47. Today’s TBJ has a article that The Edison Tower should break ground this fall! Good News!

  48. It also has an article about Red Hat is going to out grow their tower in 2 years. I bet Red Hat will lease space in the Edison tower. I also bet that’s why they are going ahead and breaking ground this fall. They said it will take 18 months to finish the Edison tower once they break ground. Umm fall will be here in about 5 months. 23 months until we see a shiny new tower in the skyline and 24 months until Red Hat will out grow their current tower. Coincidence?? I think not!

  49. Edison tower will not have that much more additional square footage (approx 5 – 6 floors) vs the existing Red Hat Tower. I understand this will be in addition to the existing space Red Hat already occupy’s. If all parties were smart and proactive, they would have started planning and designing for a single Red Hat Tower. My thought process: Build a new Red Hat Tower with entertainment, shops, retail, small and restaurants on the property next Red Hat Ampitheater. Tower should be a signature 45-50 story building (a center piece) – believe me, it would be taller than PNC, Red Hat would not settle for less. This new building would free up office space in Edison and the existing Red Hat building for new corporate tenants and/or mid size start ups.
    It does not make sense in today’s corporate world to continue to have multiple locations (even though Edison will be a couple blocks away).

  50. Glad to see the Edison office “tower” getting under way. I don’t think that Red Hat and Sandreuter are working secretly on a deal, mainly because Red Hat always looks for cheap office space. What they have now is definitely cheap, from what I heard, at least given the quality of the office space they use.

    Anyway, Red Hat outgrowing their space is not a bad things, but they should have planned better some time ago. Back then they had $109 million available for their new HQ. they could have built a 25-story building with that money, easily. The original Edison was ideal for them, but it’s too late now. Maybe Mr Sandreuter can push his office building a little higher and offer better lease terms to Red Hat. Or Charter Square North can provide the visibility that Red Hat wanted when they decided to move to downtown.

  51. I don’t know where to post this, but I encourage you to check the N&O article titled “Request for sidewalks divides Raleigh neighbors”. Here is the link:


    You can clearly see where the problem lies. The following sentence (near the bottom) says it all: “Some Hi Mount residents say the sidewalks would strip the neighborhood of its history and identity.” What “history” and “identity” are they talking about? The process of making Raleigh a pedestrian unfriendly place in the 50’s, or the cookie cutter mentality?

    I hope the petition for sidewalks moves forward and the city recognizes the value of making Raleigh a pedestrian friendly place – wherever possible. Sorry for venting, but it’s not always the scale-downs that upset me. Lack of common sense is the top reason for me.

  52. There is only one reason that the Sandreuter released those images to TBJ and it all has to do with the opening of Charter Square South. Basically, the story said little in the way of substance. We are “close” to receiving the financing and here are some new pictures. Which, by the way, had already been released and available on their CBRE website for months. He is trying to let the market know that he has a tower available to compete with the remaining space available in Charter Square south and the upcoming rumored release of Charter Square North. Timing is everything now that the south tower of CS is prepped to open in a week of two. I wouldn’t read too much into this outside of trying to bend the marketplace’s ear

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