Downtown Rezoning

Downtown Raleigh Proposed Rezoning map. Click for larger image or get the pdf.

Here’s a quick one while I catch up after a long vacation. Tonight’s City Council meeting has lots of good stuff in it but the highlight will be the Rezoning Public Hearing section under the new Unified Development Ordinance. Above is the downtown Raleigh section and below are some links to dive into.

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  1. Sorry for venting, but I am watching the city council meeting live and I want to vomit. Right now, Oakwood NIMBYs are complaining about the height of the Blount Street townhomes, density, bars, parking and other stuff!

    This is what we get for not having properly rezoned our city a long time ago, before the morons moved to downtown. Not that we don’t have enough morons outside downtown, but our city’s core is simply infested by them. These people are on some bad drugs, or they need stronger ones.

  2. Ernest, I’m watching too. The message/question that a lot of people should realize is that do they want to be a part of a city that is growing or withering. It’s one or the other.

  3. Leo, well said. I am not sure that the people who spoke earlier against the UDO have a clue about which direction our city will go if they keep pushing back. If their problem continues to be the 3-story residential building next to their single story bungalow, then they are in for a very big surprise when their neighborhood is left to rot. I am sorry, but I am going to say this: Build 40-story towers across from Oakwood and Boylan Heights.

    I am going back to watching USA vs. Honduras game. I is in Spanish, so I can listen to the council meeting while watching soccer.

  4. Ernest & Leo,

    I agree with you. Now that the Blount Street area is starting to take off here they come, the NIMBYs. Change is inevitable.

  5. What a moron!!! He said that UDO is supposed to reduce density!!! What is this guys smoking? Thank God the US is ahead 1-0 otherwise I would have smashed the monitor against the wall.

  6. I posted this on Twitter after that gentlemen spoke. “Why would you think that increased density decreases property value when downtown Raleigh has the highest property value in the city?”

  7. To be continued… So many people saying the same thing, wasting everyone’s time. One question: did the discussion on The Dillon take place? I missed it if it did…

  8. The day session had The Dillon, the church turned restaurant on Person Street, and the 12-story hotel on Wilmington Street. Public hearing dates were set and The Dillon conversation will continue at another meeting. No real decisions made on the downtown Raleigh issues today.

  9. Robert, I still don’t think Kane is going to go short. He’s smarter than that, and I think the opposition tonight still didn’t make a good case. Plus it sounded like Crowder wasn’t necessarily against the project, but wanted clarification on the size. I still don’t think her voice will derail the size of the project as proposed.

    It sets a foolish precedent to allow some of these novice voices, like the guy from the Dawson or that lawyer from Park Devereaux. It basically says that if you oppose, then you will get your way. I wish there was more of a pro-development crowd present.

  10. Now, I am even more confused about the Dillon. I hope Kane doesn’t replace the 20-story residential high-rise for a 5-7 story crap. Come on… The proposal in the rendering is far better than that. Sure, I would love to see an office building close to 300ft, but not at the expense of the residential tower. The 5-7 story residential on the smaller lot makes sense, but let’s not screw this up.

    As for the opposition, most of them are clowns, to say the least. We need to write to the city council and encourage them to approve Kane’s proposal, while urging him to keep a residential high-rise as part of the The Dillon. For the first time you will hear me saying that I don’t mind a 9-story office, even if it could have been twice as tall. Give me back my residential high-rise… NOW!!!

  11. It sounds like Kane will be “sensitive” to those neighbors living close to “The Dillon”. Is that BS speak for change the office space from 20 stories to 12? Maybe go from 5-7 stories of apts to 2-3 above some retail?

    I want to add here that it is the NIMBY’s in this area of downtown that make some of us want to scream, “If you don’t want any noise, shadow’s from taller buildings? Then maybe the downtown you want to live in is Cary?”

    Just say’n…as I pull out my hair!

  12. Wish I could’ve made it over. A colleague kept me at work late.

    Were the public comments mostly NIMBYs?

  13. Of all the people to complain, it’s the people in the Dawson, cmon…. Love em or hate em, at least I can respect the people who moved into Oakwood and want to keep the neighborhood feel(although there are better places for these types in Raleigh). But the people at the Dawson remind me of someone who built a gorgeous beach house and then started petitioning for no more beach house on the island due to environmental concerns. I got mine! But you can’t have yours… I can deal with Oakwood, but the city can’t afford to let people living in a condo bully development. Get out of downtown Raleigh if you’re not for growth!!!!!!

  14. I completely agree with Bob. As one moves to the edge of the city center and it transitions into mostly single family homes, there should be a heightened sensitivity to the sort of development that happens. The problem with the Dawson is that it was built near the very core in more of an edge city model. That building belonged in a place like Glenwood South or other edges of DT.

  15. Speaking of the Dawson, how in the Hell does Kane’s proposal even affect The Dawson? The Dawson isn’t immediately adjacent. I am also confused how preventing Kane from allowing bars and clubs helps the Dawson residents sleep. It would seem to me that the residents would want Kane to move the late night bars and restaurants that are underneath them and adjacent to them on their block to his new project. That argument doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

  16. There is too much odd behavior and the NIMBY attitude is everywhere in downtown, I am afraid. The Oakwood residents may be right about keeping their neighborhood as is – I would not like any major changes there, either – but speaking against the heights of the North Blount Street townhomes and the overall density is hypocritical, at the least.

    The city leaders have a major battle to fight ahead. Most of them depend on the outspoken NIMBYs for votes and I don’t see them risk losing the elections. There is no easy way of doing this other than making a clear definition of downtown and basically tell the NIMBYs that unless their neighborhood is directly threatened, they cannot expect the rest of downtown to listen to their protest. North Blount Street Commons is not Oakwood, and therefore the NIMBYs cannot protest about the height.

  17. Respectful of all, maybe the YIMBYs should show up to the next meeting. Playing catch up is never easy and the NIMBYs are beating others to the punch. Those present are the those that are heard.

  18. Since we Would rather compliment than complain on this site, I did see where a new hotel was going up near the Bell Tower at State. Yes, this is outside of our area. It’s inly 5 stories, but at least the architecture is interesting. Check it out on TBJ.

  19. @ Ernest , Besides writing council , I also wanted to write Mr. Kane , asking him not to change his plans to please The Dawson residents.
    His e-mail is if anyone else would also like to do this. Thanks !

  20. @Marco: You are correct. If I didn’t have to do my duties as a father, I would be there to express my views, as well. However, I am afraid that my comments would be too general and I would be tempted to say something about the NIMBY’s. Not a good idea to have me represent the YIMBY vote :LOL: We can still make a difference by sending individual emails – yes, they do matter – but maybe some day we can get together as a group and create a force that will promote our common vision and ideas.

    On a serious note, Google “New York YIMBY”. Inspiring, but then again even the NY NIMBYs would not turn down 4-story townhomes and 20-story office buildings.

    @Bob: I saw the new proposal and I am excited about it. Nice scale for that corner and interesting architecture. It definitely gets my two thumbs up.

  21. @ Everyone , Mr. Kane was very appreciative of my e-mail . Please write him , if you would !
    Thanks !

  22. Dwight, you may rest assured that I will write to Mr Kane and encourage him to ignore the NIMBYs, no matter where they come from. I may send a copy to the city council, so they can see that Mr Kane is not going to fight this battle alone, as long as he doesn’t take the quick and easy path of building crap.

  23. Ernest / Everyone : I got a phone call tonight from a “Very Reliable Person ” ! Mr. Kane is not going to scale down his project ! Wanted to share this most important info. !!

  24. The notion of scaling down the project is distasteful to me and hopefully the NIMBYs can be shut up. This is downtown. If you can’t build big stuff downtown, then where? The Dawson owner complaining about bars is laughable and ridiculous, while The Borough is downstairs from his condo.

    However, the notion of getting Kane to commit to a higher quality project in the zoning conditions is NOT a bad idea. A specific condition that the warehouse facade must be preserved except for punching new windows, unless an engineer assesses it and determines it to be unfeasible, would be fine. Making him commit to more active/retail uses on all sides is fine with me. Getting him to commit to certain reasonable stepbacks along Martin is fine.

    Really an ideal outcome from the city’s standpoint would be to get him to attach a specific site plan and a set of renderings to the zoning request, and commit to build *that project*. That may not be realistic, but getting more specific than the current proposal definitely is.

    People on this board keep complaining about “No Vision” and saying “Raleigh won’t get anywhere until Council starts demanding higher quality stuff” – but this is how that sausage is made: playing tough with developers.

    We should absolutely push Kane as far as he can go in terms of quality, short of making him walk away.

  25. I completely agree with Orulz. The project needs to be quality. The Warehouse district will likely become the center of activity downtown in the future. We don’t want a lemon of a building (like the render from the Indy) sitting there.

  26. The bottom line is that there is going to be a tall building at 301 Hillsborough. How tall? 10, 20, 30 stories is yet to be determined, but the city has to know that this property is prime for a large development at our city’s core. Why the Nimby’s care how tall it is blows my mind because if you live on the North Side of the Dawson, a 10 story building is going to block your view just as much as a 30 story. Maybe they think that if it is a smaller building the construction will be over quicker and they can get back to normalcy. Don’t know… But it sounds like the city will cap that lot a 20.

  27. @orulz: You are always a voice of reason :) Glad to read your comments. It goes without saying that I agree with you. As long as all projects go through scrutiny and careful review, I am perfectly fine. Architectural details and how a project relates to its surroundings is equally important. I am all for putting pressure on the developers, but judging from The Edison Apartments and the L Building I can’t say that the city leaders have a lot of guts, let alone vision.

    @Dwight: Thanks for the encouraging news. I sent an email to Mr Kane, as well, and I encouraged him to deliver a quality project, both at the street level, as well as the size of the buildings. I know I said this before, but I would be more ecstatic with the combination of a 9-story office and a 20-story residential, instead of a 18-story office and a 5-7 story residential buildings. I urged Mr Kane to look into the possibility of adding a hotel component, since downtown needs more hotel space.

  28. Bob, the city has already capped the 301 Hillsborough parcel to 20 floors. They decided this not long ago. The city’s Planning Dept requested this limit because – according to them – a developer is interested in building a 20-story building. Unless the previous zoning (up to 40 stories) expired, I don’t see why such a request was necessary, especially when nobody has publicly expressed interest, let alone purchased the land. What’s done is done, but I doubt we’ll see anything above 20 floors on that location.

    As for the confused people from Dawson who expressed concern over the height – thankfully not everyone at Dawson seems to be as concerned – they can pack their stuff and leave. This is not Mayberry. This is one thing that we must admit Charlotte did better. They let the corporate/commercial towers to be built first and nobody can do anything about them. Whoever moves to Uptown knows up front that the sky is the limit.

  29. Ernest , You are so welcome ! All of Mr. Kane’s
    Upper Management was totally against down scaling the project , which we all love ! If all of you will , please write Mrs. Crowder on supporting the high rise part. I have done this.

  30. Developers have a time-honored tradition of bait-and-switch. Show beautiful, intricate renderings of a fantastic project in order to get zoning approval, and then at site plan and architectural review phases come back with a project that has been VE’d to death but still meets the letter of the law with regards to zoning conditions, because “This is what I have to do to make the numbers work.” Even Kane, who seems genuinely interested in doing quality work, cannot necessarily be trusted on that front.

    So as I said before: let’s separate this into two issues.
    (1) Eliminate the ability for the developer to bait-and-switch by Make the zoning conditions as specific as possible. Specify active usess along all sides, preserve the warehouse-y nature of the area to the greatest degree possible, and set a precedent for awesome development in the district. Please, do this, by all means!
    (2) The four classic NIMBY criticisms: Too big, too tall, too dense, too much traffic. People who make those arguments are basically trying to run the developer out of town on a rail, and this is not to be tolerated. NIMBYs will attempt to frame their arguments as falling into category 1, and say that “We’re not opposed to development, we just want the RIGHT development for this location,” but you can easily see through this smokescreen by looking for one or more of the four classic NIMBY criticisms mentioned above.

  31. A lot of talk about the NIMBYs, who are absolutely detrimental to our great city’s growth, but Leo posted the website to the YIMBYs, which I checked out, and I would like to point out that there is a YIMBYs meeting TONIGHT! at 6:30 – 2416 Hillsborough Street – I plan on attending. Looks like they’ll be talking about future affordable housing as well as some new Crabtree Valley development!

  32. It doesn’t say grocery store at Stone’s but it implies it…I dont know if a I grocery store in East downtown is that much more helpful for the Glenwood South crew but it’s a start. Obviously a 301 a Hillsborough grocery store would be more central. Getting one at both locations would not hurt my feelings.

  33. It says in the article they plan “to open a 7,000-square-foot grocery.”

    Also, the entire downtown needs a grocery store, not just Glenwood South. Also, the Cameron Village Harris Teeter is literally 1 mile from Glenwood South.

  34. I am truly happy about the possibility of getting a full service grocery store in downtown and I hope it happens, be that in Stone’s Warehouse or 301 Hillsborough. Who knows, it may even happen at The Dillon, if enough interest exists. Maybe it can be integrated in the parking deck. Although I can see the NIMBYs screaming about increased traffic, I am sure the city leaders will see the benefits and do what’s right.

    At this stage, we can only hope to get elegant and functional projects, not skyscrapers. Like orulz said, there are developers who use bait-and-switch methods to get the necessary approvals. While I consider Kane to be one of the few developers to actually care about gaining public support by presenting the true picture, we should not give him space to dance around his proposals, no matter how good they look on the paper. Approvals have to be conditional.

    I know little about the Raleigh YIMBY, but I would like to participate. Because of my second job, it is usually hard for me to be there, but I will find a way to join that effort.

    Last, but not least, I want to say that I am impressed with how fast Mr Kane replied to my email. Very nice of him, considering that he is a busy person and my email was nothing that required answers. Let’s see if he will be able to build The Dillon in a way that will satisfy everyone.

  35. The DT grocery scene does not need to be singular. Raleigh should think about positioning future DT grocers to be accessible by foot a larger share of the growing base of residents. This would suggest one for the Moore Square/near east DT area as well as one that could serve Glenwood South and the Warehouse District. As the north end of DT continues to grow, it too could support more grocery options as well. Let’s not shoot for moon here but rather the stars when it comes to retail. Let’s put a vision out there and help the city understand it so that it can be reached.
    With all the development in and near CV and NC State, the Harris Teeter there is going to have more and more difficultly serving its area and all of DT. Density of residents is the first step to making all of this happen and that is well under way throughout the city’s core.

  36. Can someone please explain how 7,000 sq ft is a full service grocery? I know it’s all about how you use the space but is that really enough floor & back room space even for that area of downtown?

  37. Interesting article this morning in the N&O about the growing number of modernist homes just east of DT. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in modernist home archetypes/elements and hope this trend continues.

  38. And to Piggy back on Raven’s comment about the modern homes being built in the East Downtown area, it’s good to see any construction, renovation, and new house being built. The grocery store at Stones Warehouse will be huge for that area. We spend a lot of time discussing the city core on this site. East downtown has the most potential for downtown expansion. Not just talking about sky scrapers, but neighborhoods, condos, and small businesses. I agree with Raven here in more ways than one.

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