Greyhound Apartments Plans 250 Apartments on Jones Street

The former Greyhound terminal on Jones Street

The former Greyhound terminal on Jones Street

A site plan (SP-53-15) was submitted to the city for what’s being called Greyhound Apartments for 250 units on the west side of the block bounded by Jones, Lane, Harrington, and Dawson Streets. The work is being done by the same group that brought us The Lincoln apartments, Banner Apartments LLC.

The site is made up of three parcels, those being the old Greyhound bus terminal, the one-story building at the corner of Jones and Harrington where Trig Modern is located today, and the single-family house along Harrington Street that was built in 1910. (according to iMaps)

It shouldn’t surprise many that the architect behind this apartment project is JDavis Architects as they seem to be the go-to architect for these types of mid-rises in downtown Raleigh.

Map of the area

Click for larger

The site plan shows a preliminary plan for the building and reminds me of a modified version of The Lincoln. (no surprise) The northern half of the building will contain a parking deck with the southern half, a courtyard. All of this is wrapped with apartments and won’t be shown to the street.

The parking deck entrance will be on Harrington Street and this site plan doesn’t show any retail spaces. There is a bike-storage room that I haven’t seen in other projects downtown so Bike Raleigh fans should be happy about that.

The Triangle Business Journal has a preliminary rendering that you can see here.

Jones and Harrington is turning into a residential heavy intersection. With real retail still in it’s infancy along Glenwood Avenue, and struggling to be honest, I’m not convinced that retail spaces are needed within these projects right now.

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  1. Ground floor retail may not be needed now, but letting developers design a building for a downtown location on a walkable (east – west connection) street like Jones Street that cannot be adapted for retail in the future is a mistake. Once it’s given away, you never get it back.

  2. @Jim Belt – PREACH. This is exactly what I’ve meant when I say that these types of projects are extremely short sighted.

  3. The 1914 Levin-Tarlton House referred to in the article will be moved by Capital Area Preservation to a vacant lot in Oakwood. It is a beautiful historic house in excellent condition.

  4. Retail will struggle as long as it remains unplanned. Right now, retail DT is scattered like islands in the sea. FWIW, people have “learned” how to shop in the suburbs and want more than one shopping option per destination. What’s needed is a multilevel, urban shopping destination with core services like groceries, drug store, dining and entertainment. This sort of development will spawn interest around its periphery for ground level retail in adjacent buildings. Jim is correct, the retail has to be planned now because we won’t get it back in the future.
    This sort of strategy will do two things: 1) Attract shoppers who might otherwise just go to Cameron Village or North Hills and 2) Encourage walking to and from the core shopping destination by neighborhood residents because they’ll remain engaged throughout their path of travel. By the time that the current housing projects that are either under construction or in process of permitting are occupied, the Glenwood South neighborhood should have enough residents to support the core retail. The Glenwood South neighborhood is also well positioned for destination shopping as well. I can imagine a return to Raleigh by Crate and Barrel in the area or by stores like Urban Outfitters, Zara or other niche retailers that align with the sorts of people who either live in or frequent the district.

  5. I think this development will be fine without the retail, however if we want Jones Street or other streets to be ‘active’ we have to plan for that now. I currently see Jones street as a connector between two districts, Glenwood South and the Government Complex.

  6. I agree with all the comments that are pro-retail. However, when the engineers say that these stick-built mid-rises have a lifespan of 30 years, 35-40 being generous, then I say retail can skip this “generation” of downtown Raleigh buildings.

    Today, let’s cluster (plan) retail in corridors that already have traffic. Decades from now (yes, I think it will take that long) when tight in-fill is taking place, not these large parcel mid-rises, and the apartment buildings of today are being demolished for taller buildings, retail will be a given at this time.

    I could certainly be wrong but it’s a great topic to discuss and think about.

  7. I also agree with pro-retail posts, although I am not sure we need multi-level shopping/entertainment destinations, and I don’t think we need to skip this generation of downtown residents. Surely, we cannot expect retail everywhere, but at the same time we have to define corridors, where retail could flourish. In other words, residents and visitors shouldn’t have to look hard for retail, zig-zaging all over Glenwood South. Glenwood Ave is definitely a great option, but Jones Str is slowly developing into an ideal venue for retail.

    Another issue is establishing “useful” retail. Having 5 stores that sell the same thing within a district doesn’t help. As many of you have pointed, downtown retail will eventually compete against Cameron Village and North Hills, therefore it makes sense to attract similar retail venues – not identical, though. On the top of everyone’s list is a full-service grocery store, and I don’t see a better option than A Southern Season. After all, this business started in Downtown Raleigh. The rest can be whatever downtown residents need. As much as I love wine, I don’t want to see another wine bar. A true bakery, like Old Europe Cafe (Asheville) would be nice.

  8. Bidclerk Projects Raleigh NC is showing The Edison start date 10-5-15 ! @ Mike , When I wrote the city council & Mr. Hall , I asked for no height restrictions for any tower in the downtown core area if a developer wanted to build a project 700 Ft.+ !

  9. The problem with the Glenwood South/Boylin/St Mary’s/West Peace St area is that for every 6 story building there is still 10-15 one-two story buildings(not a real stat, but a guess) with the exception of the Quorem and The West. So, love it or hate it, these are tall buildings in that part of DT at this point. I’ll keep the faith that enough of these residential projects are leading to bigger things around the corner. We got to get the “feet on the street” and hopefully the rest will come.

  10. Speaking of the “West”…. does anyone have an update on the West Apartments II? I have not heard anything on this project since the initial renderings were presented!

  11. @Bob. Why is a mixture of building sizes and types a “problem” for Glenwood South? As a homeowner there, I don’t see the problem at all and I don’t believe that Glenwood South is one of the neighborhoods where people who participate here are clamoring for high rise buildings. IMO, this neighborhood is perfectly suited to 5-8 story residential and mixed use buildings. Glenwood South is an emerging urban neighborhood and that sort of neighborhood deserves a retail strategy to go along with its residential, entertainment and hospitality foundation.
    As for the buildings with 30 year lifespans, remember that almost all of these buildings have either a core, base, or both, built out of concrete. This makes these hybrid buildings fundamentally different from typical stick built apartments. After their useful life, these buildings are probably more likely to be rebuilt around their cores instead of torn down. For the buildings that already have their first floors separated from the housing by concrete, they have their fire separation that allows a variety of uses and I can imagine those uses changing over time.
    While others disagree with the idea of a core retail development, I stand by that idea as a resident of both Glenwood South and of a primarily midrise, high density neighborhood in Miami Beach. I see so much of GS’s potential in how my part of Miami Beach has been developed in the last 15 years. The potential for Glenwood South is enormous. The abundance of residents will fundamentally shape how the district evolves over time. The mix of business will eventually shift away from just food+fun to other uses as residents create demand. I think that a smart developer would recognize that and start laying the groundwork for that change now. IMO, the tipping point is coming more quickly than most might imagine. I have hopes for some significant development in this arena to come on the heels of the new Capital bridge project and the changes it brings to the NE corner of the neighborhood.

  12. As a resident of Glenwood South, I do hope we get a grocery, I am over trying to find parking at the Cameron Village Teeter. I mostly take the bus or walk to my office on Fayetteville Street, stopping on my way home to get some grocery items would be ideal. As far as retail, a 24-hour pharmacy would be great. No problems with the size of buildings from my point of view. The density fits in well, its all east of St. Marys, which keeps those neighborhoods protected.

  13. @john
    I dont think a mixture of building sizes is a problem. That comment was really aimed at the folks who want increased hight out of buildings(and in many cases I would like to see hight). Some of these six story stick built buildings are a good fit for the northwest area downtown. The problem that I am pointing out is that at this point, I think the builders know they can make a nice profit with these buildings at this point. They meet a need which is residence. They reduce cost by not making the builder use concrete for the entire project, and the builder probably makes just as much money if he were to go a little taller due to reduced cost. We are seeing so many of these projects because these buildings are in line with the risk/reward the builders are willing to take. Yes, retail could be added for future use but the nature of business is most people want to make money now. A “get in and get out” mentality. But, hopefully, the 6 story projects without retail will not meet demand at some point, these builders gets a little more greedy for bigger profits, and we go taller and get even better projects.

  14. Has anyone seen the latest DT Kane rendering? I recently read the office tower was going to be 18 stories now, before it was 9?

  15. ^^^^ @Sam oh god, this could either be really great or really really bad. There is no middle ground on this, as that lot is one of THE prime spots left in Downtown. It appears that they didn’t buy the entire parking lot (that extends beyond the enterprise lot) so that could mean that multiple buildings will go here, but they absolutely HAVE to make this a tall, beautiful MIXED USE building. Simply putting a hotel, nothing else, would be a tragedy. This spot deserves something well over 20 stories (at least 30 stories IMO), and should be a combo of office tower and hotel at the top, with abundant ground floor retail/restaurant space. Parking deck built INTO the building.

  16. The newer hotel they mentioned at Crabtree is ridiculously suburban looking. Whatever goes here has the potential to MASSIVELY impact our skyline. This needs to be a signature looking building.

  17. Jake, I don’t think you even need parking for a building at the Enterprise lot. The site is surrounded by 3 pretty huge decks already. Hoping for something tall and attractive! Also, hopefully this inspires some other tall development in the surface lots next door.

  18. I agree with the comment about no recent Hotel construction in the article. The hotel on Salisbury should have started yesterday(meaning hurry up). Hopefully this will get going soon. Any updates, anybody?

  19. While I would cheer for another hotel across from the convention center, I hate to admit it, but I am very concerned about the future of this site. In the past we dreamed and hoped that a couple of buildings over [insert your favorite number of floors over 40] would end up here. Sorry, but the numbers 12 and 20 may become the new 30 and 40, respectively. To me, a hotel developer acquiring such a prime site is bad news, and bad news only :(

    Let’s hope that they will either think big, or work together with another developer to make this project a nice tower that will stand out, but don’t hold your breath. Sorry for my pessimism, but like most of you I had hopes for this site and “hotel developers” is not who I want to see buying prime real estate.

  20. @Leo Suarez
    From a pure construction standpoint, the stick-built midrises built on concrete & steel platforms can last for well over 100 years if properly maintained. However, the financial viability of the product may be shorter and thus justify major renovation and/or demolition.

    @Ernest @Mike @Jake
    This is one of the last prime downtown spots that allows over 20 stories, so I agree it would be damn shame to see them settle on some 12 to 15-story hotel. Also, this site would be a prime contributor to the “money shot” of Raleigh’s skyline (McDowell viewshed)

  21. A hotel developer buys the Enterprise lot?! Someone … please … wake me from this nightmare.

    With this hotel project claiming such a prized location coupled with news that the downtown Sheraton recently sold for more than double what it cost to acquire the property just 3 years ago how is it possible that other hotel projects have languished at the starting gate for so long???

    The news of the land sale for the new Marriott Residence Inn on Salisbury St. south of the convention center was announced on this site in Jan 2014. Leo first broke the news of this project was way back in Jan 2012! With such clear demand for hotel rooms why is it taking so long to get this and other hotel projects beyond the talking stage! I just don’t get it.

  22. Stew, I hope that the new owners of the Enterprise lot realize the [full] potential of this property and build something worthy of this location. Something big enough to fulfill the promise other hotel developers made a long time ago, but never delivered. While the two recently proposed 12-story hotels are fine for their locations, Site 4 deserves a lot more, and I surely hope that the Enterprise parcel gets something big enough to force the cancellation of Marriott Residence; hopefully turn it into a mixed-use tower in the future.

    I guess, a wait and see attitude is the right one, but until we get something MAJOR for the Enterprise lot, today’s announcement will be more of a nightmare and less of a pleasant surprise. I would hate to say “see, I told you so” to those who claimed that we still have enough parcels where skyscrapers can be built. If the Enterprise lot is wasted, there is only one last hope: The N&O block.

  23. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wished that Raleigh had a better skyline, or just a bustling downtown. I’m 40 now, and I’ve seen Raleigh go through a lot of changes. One thing that has never changed is the fact that it takes forever for anything to get built around here and downtown has always been, “meh”. I really enjoy this site and appreciate the vision most of it’s readers envision for downtown Raleigh. I feel your pain, but I’m not worried about this lot or that lot. Developers tear down buildings all the time and Raleigh has a ton of buildings that need to be torn down. So next time a prime lot gets sold to a developer that doesn’t share our vision, just remember we’re only a teardown away from gaining a new prime lot. And who doesn’t want to see a good implosion?

  24. @ JWH

    I would say not even a mid-rise hotel. More like a mid rise building, part hotel, part parking deck…makes me wonder exactly how much of the block are they buying?

  25. Up to 12 stories, and they dare call it “high-rise” :ROTFLMAO: Unless something changes, Downtown Raleigh will be a circus of hotels. Imagine a nice little cluster of 9-12 story hotels popping up all over that area. AFIS and beige everywhere!!! This is what happens when we put caps and give free pass to some projects. All the crappy stuff below 20 floors will begin to appear.

    No to caps and height limits. Yes to scrutiny and careful review for ALL projects, regardless of height. Before the jokers turn our downtown into a haven for hotels that don’t even belong near the airport.

  26. By the way, I am aware that the Enterprise lot doesn’t cover more than a third – maybe a fourth – of the block, but still, nothing short of 30 floors should have ended up there, IMO.

  27. @ Ernest

    I totally agree! Most proposals that have been put out there in the downtown core seem to be either one possibly two component building projects. ( i. e. apartments and one floor of rentable retail space ) Whrre are the developers with the Multi-use building projects? Sure go ahead and build a hotel, but combine it with office space, parking deck, retail & condos. I look at multiuse buildings in downtown kind of like how Hollywood uses multiple production companies to make a film…Share the risk, share the reward…just my two cents. Yea, I know, know one asked me…??

  28. Very disappointing on the 12 floor height there. Silver lining is they are only taking 1/3 of that block. Surface lots to the north are not included, so 1.11 acres left is still plenty for a true high-rise. (PNC tower is on 2/3 acre for reference) Last hope for salvaging this as even a decent project is for the hotel to be high-end and architecturally unique. Doubtful on both of those as well based on the developers portfolio.

  29. mike, the other thing that concerns me is the street-level experience, and I am focusing more on retail this time. I was trying to imagine this area after the hotel is built and I got scared :( Outside the L Building, there is NOTHING to attract retail and other destinations. The convention center area will look and feel empty, unless the entire block (Enterprise rentals plus the rest) is developed in a true urban fashion.

    While the Red Hat Amphitheater is a temporary venue, it will most definitely be there for a very long time, especially if small hotels occupy the surrounding lots – we’ll never have enough hotel rooms to host much larger conventions, and therefore no need to expand. If the expansion ever happens (in our lifetime) then I would love to see a couple more hotels as part of the expansion, on the same parcel.

    Anyway, there are two things we can do, regardless of how (in)effective we can be: 1) Write to the hotel developers, share our vision and encourage them to do the “right thing”. 2) Write to our city council and urge them to turn down any proposal for this area that doesn’t contribute to the street level experience, including plenty of retail.

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  30. A 12 story hotel. 12 stories. WHY would they not partner with an office developer and make a MIXED USE building at LEAST twice as tall? WHY?? This makes my palms sweat with rage. I love my city but it’s b.s. like this that makes me lose hope…

  31. Since we discussed retail, I would recommend reading an article in today’s N&O, titled “Raleigh may limit sidewalk use by bars and restaurants”. Just when we thought that our city leaders couldn’t take the city back to the Stone Age – not their fault, entirely, since they are under pressure – something like this happens and makes you wonder why.

    Also, read this excerpt and laugh or cry: ““Most adults try to go to sleep by 10, maybe 11 at the latest,” said Jon Kolkin, a physician who said regular sleep loss can cause obesity, diabetes and cancer.” I don’t remember the last time I went to bed before 1am – usually after 2am, but still wake up around 6:30am – but now that I know how I will die I feel better… So, the bars in Downtown Raleigh may be responsible for the death of people. Maybe this guy can pack his stuff and go live in the suburbs. There are a lot of interesting communities around us where evidence of life doesn’t exist after 9pm.

  32. Jake, if they wanted to partner with an office developer they could have gone to Sandreuter and make their hotel part of the Edison. Sure, the guests would have to walk 2-4 blocks, but the distance is small and the deal would have benefited both developers. The crap piles up so fast in Downtown Raleigh that we’ll soon see it in the skyline and will need drones to photograph the top of the pile.

  33. …and love or hate this project, the TBJ article says they plan to continue to lease the Enterprise location to Enterprise for the next 2 years while they make plans. So, even more of this “we are thinking about building a hotel mentality.” I am for hotels because we need them but it seems like the Hotels are holding some prime spots in DTR hostage.

  34. Regarding the N&O article limiting sidewalk use after certain hours, It won’t stop noise in some of the most noisy areas. In Glenwood South for example, MoJoe’s, Cornerstone, Brooklyn Heights, Alchemy, 500 & 510 Glenwood, Hibernian, Tobacco Road, Sushi Blues, Solas, Noir, C.Grace, and Armadillo Grill all have outdoor space that’s not on the public right-of-way sidewalk.
    This new regulation is really only going to seriously affect businesses in the immediate area around Fayetteville and Wilmington Streets, just what Hatem wants.

  35. @Ernest, there’s nothing wrong with being respectful of residents. Yes it’s downtown living, but people DO need to sleep at some point and most people need more than your 4 hours of sleep. Sure they can go move to the suburbs but there are other aspects of living downtown that city dwellers enjoy besides drinking till 2 AM on a weeknight. I also find it hard to believe that changing the curfew from 2 to 1 during the week would “devastate” Calavera’s business.

  36. Kenny, I didn’t even suggest disrespecting the residents in any way. I am the last person to do that because I have experienced situations when others didn’t respect my – and my family’s – peace. On the other hand, I don’t have to allow others insulting my intelligence with cheap excuses, such as causes for health issues. Second, we don’t even know how many residents are truly bothered by “the noise”. A vocal minority is all it takes to mess things up. Third, placing such curfews is a slap in the face of those who took financial risks and brought their business to downtown. Fourth, I will stand by what I said before: If one is not cut for city living, then he/she should move to a more peaceful area. 99% of Raleigh’s residential neighborhoods are quiet enough for someone who can’t stand city living. We have a few city blocks where we can dream of a future 24/7 lifestyle and we want to kill every chance we have. Sorry, but there must be something – or someone – else behind this.

    As to whether Calavera’s business will be devastated or not, the only way to find out is to wait after the curfew is implemented. Now, what will you say if the business loses clientele? Since I have found myself hanging out at 2am – not at Calavera’s – in the past, I can assure you that many patrons will be disappointed, and I am not talking about professional alcoholics. I am sorry, but this is a big step backwards, especially when we try to attract conventions. There is no half-way here. Safety is the only major issue we cannot negotiate.

  37. Maybe the city will encourage something awesome on the remaining portion of the Enterprise lot; something like a 6-story apartment building designed by J. Davis. They could just adapt the Edison plans and call it Edison West. ;) That about sums up the faith I have in our City leaders to encourage innovative and visionary development.

    Unfortunately, I think the underlying problem is that we don’t have any interested developers with pockets deep enough to build substantial mixed-use high-rise buildings. No one is willing to take a risk, even though I believe the demand is there. Thus, we apparently have a market suitable for 4 new 9-12 story hotels, with most of the rooms being in the same price range, but not suitable for a single hotel taller than 12 stories. I don’t blame the individual chains for their decisions, but I will blame City leaders if they don’t require something better on this lot. Every time I see the Edison apartments and the Raleigh Marriott Convention Center, it’s a reminder to never underestimate city leaders’ willingness to settle for less than the city deserves.

  38. Well said, Justin!!! You are right on the money… I just hope that the new owners see the long-term implications and invite others to join in. I mean, a developer specializing in apartments should not be too hard to find. They can add another 10 floors of apartments and another 4 floors of parking.

  39. @Justin
    I agree with the frustration. I am not familiar with how the city goes about attracting better projects. There are certainly people who contribute to this page that are way more
    Knowledgeable than myself. One thing I will point at is the lack of offers to build taller. The city did not seem to have a problem approving Skyhouse, the New Edison project, and now N Charter Sq. From the city’s point of view I’m sure they have to wonder how long they’re willing to wait on a better project to come along vs getting the current offer approved in order to start collecting revenues? Revenues that should be able to help them improve infrastructure. I’m hoping that these low rise apartments, hotels, and eventual improved infrastructure will compound to the point that we start to attract more corporations and hopefully better projects. I do believe that the momentum in downtown Raleigh is very strong. Let’s keep are fingers crossed better projects will come.

  40. Bob, I don’t think the city has much trouble approving major projects, especially when they contribute to the fabric of our city. Naturally, the city leaders cannot tell a developer what to build – or not to build – on a lot that he owns. After all, the market always decides when it comes to the private sector. There is something that they can do, and that is demand higher standards and ground level amenities. Instead of putting height caps in favor of smaller buildings, they could ease the process for buildings over 30 floors/400ft, but scrutinize specific aspects of design and overall impact for all projects, regardless of size.

    On city owned parcels, the city leaders can ask for a specific vision and reject proposals that don’t meet the minimum requirements. If hotel space is what we need, then offering free parking spaces in nearby or adjacent decks for hotels with more than 400 rooms makes sense. Instead of accepting subpar proposals for Site 4, they should hold the sale until someone with vision shows up. If one hotel developer cannot deliver the goods, bring together two hotels into one tower and divide them vertically.

    If the above sounds crazy, check out the following link. The article discusses Lakeshore East Building O (in Chicago, IL). The 53-story/642ft LEED certified building includes two hotels with 684 rooms (first 23 floors) and 574 residences (on the top 30 floors). The article mentions a case of two side-by-side hotels on Rush Street, which is what I would like to see for Site 4 if a single developer cannot go above 20 floors.

    Ideally, a hotel developer that has at least two brands (upper and lower) could build a hotel 20-25 floors tall with over 300 rooms on either Site 4 or the Enterprise rentals lot. Which is why I hope that the current proposal for Site 4 doesn’t happen. We already waited for so many years and Site 4 is still undeveloped. We should end the deal – if legally possible and financially feasible – and find someone new for Site 4.

    Sorry about the lengthy post :(

  41. Bob,

    Thanks for the reply. I don’t know a lot about the process, so every bit of info helps. Beneath my frustration, I understand that the parties involved are operating within several constraints. I shouldn’t impugn the motivations or competency of city leaders, I just can’t help but be frustrated at certain outcomes. I’m convinced that years from now, people will drive by the Edison apartments and think “how the blank did that get approved?” Year after year, Raleigh keeps growing and collecting business accolades, but peer cities and lesser cities routinely produce more attractive, innovative, and urban development. I agree that Downtown on the whole has some good momentum going, but I feel like it’s at a critical juncture where smart, bold, and visionary leadership can really take it up several notches, or the “same old thing” can ensure decades of “blah”.

  42. @Ernest. While you say that the city can’t tell developers what to build or not to build on their land, you also give a lot of examples of how a city actually can tell developers what they must do to satisfy the city.
    The city can choose to have as much or as little control as they deem fit within the context of both state and federal law. In today’s political climate at the state level, I’d presume that this is not an easy thing to navigate. I can imagine a scenario where developers perceive a city to be too heavy handed for their tastes and then getting their buddies in the GA to write another new law: furthering tying the hands of local municipalities. Call me a cynic but….
    That said, there are things that the city can do like require street level retail in the DT boundary for buildings that exceed a certain size and have certain primary uses. It can also create and enforce streetscape plans that enable the sort of development that they’d like to see. Tree and sign ordinances are yet another lever that the city can pull to shape the urban experience.
    That said, suffice it to say that for every good intention and shaping that the city can do, there is always an attorney representing a developer trying to undo it, skirt around it, find its loopholes, etc. Case in point: Just look at the Peace Street McDonalds that “conforms” to the Peace Street urban streetscape plan that was supposed to usher in a more urban and walkable experience along Peace from St. Mary’s to West. It’s a perfect example of lipstick on a pig….a purely suburban land use and building with a fake front to conform.
    Unfortunately, it’s going to take a few more generations of development before we start to see a real change in the language of design that we’d all like to see now. It’s frustrating for sure but I ask everyone to look back 20 years and imagine your excitement if you could look into the future and see the progress that we have made. Back then, many of us who had invested in DT Raleigh personally just wanted to see ANYTHING happen at all. If someone told me then that there was going to be an ongoing construction cycle of large new urban housing projects by now, I would have been jumping for joy. I’m glad we all have an eye for the future and want a better city but also take a moment to reflect and be progress that has been made and be proud of our accomplishments so far.
    Finally, don’t let up in the fight for a better tomorrow, just don’t let the challenge of that fight blind us from seeing all the progress that has been made.

  43. @ John : I can certainly appreciate your view ! I am from Raleigh & have lived here all of my like except for 4 yrs. (Army/College)! I remember when Raleigh’s nickname was “sleepy
    capital of the south” & population of 65,000 , so that’s why I am so excited about all of this downtown growth & especially the high rises .
    I’m mighty proud of Raleigh , but @ the same time , I would rather see more 30 to 40 story projects in place of the many mid-rises that is proposed in the next few yrs. With Raleigh’s population of 430,000 + , our downtown should be twice the size . I do realize that RTP has hurt our downtown over the yrs.

  44. John, I am not sure if I explained myself clearly. I get carried away writing non-stop and it is easy to mis-present my ideas. If what I said was clear enough, please forgive me for repeating things. Today, I see four cases where city leaders can get involved, somehow:

    1) If the lot purchased is city-owned, and IF an RFP is issued, the city has total control. Site 1, Site 4 and the convention hotel were 3 such examples. Thus far I am not pleased with any of these projects. The convention hotel should have been something with over 450 rooms, at minimum and the city had envisioned something around 23 floors. We may cheer for Site 1, but those who know that one of the proposals was for a 40-story residential tower – developer had enough cash to build it, as far as I know – should feel sad about the outcome. Better than nothing, but nowhere near the maximum potential for this site. Site 4… we all now how this turned. Many years later and not an ounce of dust has moved. Bottom line, city leaders should think big, be adamant about it and stop catering too much to local developers who simply can’t deliver.

    2) If the parcel is city-owned, but no RFP has been issued (i.e 301 Hillsborough) city leaders could ask for certain things and in exchange remove some restrictions (i.e. height cap, density). Asking for a downtown grocery is not unreasonable, provided the developer doesn’t need to provide the space for free, but this assumes that a grocery chain or an independent grocer wishes to take risks.

    3) If the parcel is not city-owned but the city participates in the deal by providing parking spaces (i.e The Edison Apartments) the city leaders can definitely bring the developer to the point of building taller and thus utilizing the parcel to the maximum. Despite of the higher costs associated with high-rise buildings, having two high-rises instead of a 6-story apartment building is more profitable for the developer in the long run. The city stands to make more money in revenues, too.

    4) Last, but not least, when the parcel is not city-owned and the city has no business interfering, there is little city leaders can do about what goes there and how big/small it is. The Enterprise rentals parcel is a perfect example.

    In all of the above cases – and you can easily come up with some more – the city can dictate something: the impact of a project at the street level. Streetscapes, infrastructure, traffic and the overall aesthetics are some of the most common areas where our city can push for quality, as you (John) clearly stated, and I agree. Improve the urban experience to the point that people will feel compelled to visit downtown throughout the entire week, and not only during business hours.

    In addition, I can address one more issue you brought up: Appreciation. If you asked me 20 years ago how I envisioned Raleigh’s downtown for the year 2015, my answer would be the following: A skyline with at least 6 more high-rises over 500ft, apartment buildings between 4 and 10 floors in The Warehouse District and Glenwood South, a revitalized State Government Complex, lots of entertainment venues, more [useful] retail and a superb street level experience. Some of my wishes came true, but we are not even half way :( Am I unhappy about the progress? No, I am not, and I am proud of Raleigh, regardless of how far behind we are. I can’t see myself living anywhere else and like you suggested I will continue doing my part in building a better tomorrow for Raleigh, to the best of my abilities…

  45. @ Ernest , Also very well said ! I also remember
    the developer that had the backing for the 40 story project & city leaders chose a local developer . “Not Good ” !

  46. The city already requires enough of new projects in new sidewalks, trees, water & sewer upgrades that they whine. The city doesn’t do RFP unless it’s a city project. The city (taxpayers) paid for the deck for Edison block which is now private after 7pm. What did we get? The city wouldn’t build a deck for Kane years ago when he requested it. Maybe time for new city leadership!?

  47. The city already requires enough of new projects in new sidewalks, trees, water & sewer upgrades that they whine. The city doesn’t do RFP unless it’s a city project. The city (taxpayers) paid for the deck for Edison block which is now private after 7pm. What did we get? The city wouldn’t build a deck for Kane years ago when he requested it. Time for new leadership.

  48. This is an interesting read on what Tampa Bay thinks of Raleigh. Well, golly shucks Tampa! Thanks!

    Also, article says N&O building is under contract and will be razed for mixed use development. Does anyone have details?

    “The News & Observer newspaper building, which went on the market in December, is under contract to a yet-to-be-named buyer who plans to raze it and develop the block for mixed use”

  49. @Stew: That link is a great find and I am happy to see that other cities – more established in name – are looking at our set of accomplishments. Although the article paints a more exciting picture, it is far from a hype. The journalist pointed out all the things that we did right. Now, if we could get a few of Tampa’s towers in our skyline it would be nice :)

    Regarding the N&O deal, I’ve heard rumors, but I won’t hold my breath. At this point in time I simply don’t want anything to happen because everything these days seems to be “capped” to 20 floors. Unless someone with deep pockets and vision can bring forth a truly massive project (including a tower over 40 floors), I don’t want to hear of any project for the core of the city. That is how scared I am, especially after the Enterprise rentals deal.

    @BC: The city issued RFPs for Sites 1 and 4, and they will do the same for Sites 2 and 3. Unfortunately, they cater too much to the local developers, and not the best ones either :( Sometimes the city leaders ask developers for the world, but most times they can’t see the promise our downtown carries. Don’t expect any serious changes in leadership when the largest segment of the city’s population doesn’t even care enough to vote.

  50. it is encouraging to read all the comments. i own trig modern. i am sad that i may be forced to leave downtown. i will be the first to admit i have a very sweet deal where i am; i expect my rent to increase. most locations i have considered, my rent would triple. the last location i really wanted not only would my rent more than triple the new owner would not offer any upfit money for a building that has not been touched in 40 years. it is too late to have a plan for downtown retail. all the new apartment buildings look exactly alike. no one

  51. Tampa, interesting, I visit often for business, I have been looking for investment land as I have seen the potential of it becoming another Raleigh but with even more upside in the long run.

    My biggest question is WHY do we have to read Tampa’s newspaper to find out about the N&O, why the big secret?

  52. The N&O deal is not exactly a secret, but quite frankly nothing is solid enough to make an announcement yet. I think that the reason the N&O was even mentioned in the article was merely promotion. To show that Downtown Raleigh is a happening place.

    As for Tampa, they already have their image (skyline) taken care of. If they build 8-10 “fillers” between 20 and 30 floors they will not need anything else – with regards to the skyline – for a very long time, IMHO.

  53. Thanks Ernest, yes new it was for sale but not that offers are in the making, anyway let’s hope for a mega path change to a HIGHER future for Raleigh.

    If you put Raleighs drink & Eats and People in Tampa it would be a pretty good city. Be great to have the Hockey team downtown like they have, a long with NC State BB.

  54. Al, amen to that!!! I don’t hope for much, but I surely want to see another 4-5 towers above 400ft along Salisbury and McDowell Streets. I think that we are on the right track with entertainment, and while retail needs work, we are O.K. comparing to other places. I will not compare Tampa and Raleigh because I feel they are different in many ways, but I hope Raleigh’s skyline becomes more comparable with Tampa’s, but with more “fillers” to eliminate the gaps we see in Tampa’s skyline.

  55. Leo will probably create a new entry for this, but I wanted to get this conversation going. The N&O had an article this morning about a 10-year plan for Downtown. Visit the following link for more information:

    At the end of the article we see an interesting part of the discussion, which shows exactly what the problem is. The question asked by Mr Stevenson should be asked, regardless, but Mr Maiorano’s answer is exactly what every council member should see as the correct reply.

    ““Do we really want to put a 20-story building right on the southern end of Nash Square?” he asked, referred to proposed rezoning maps.

    Councilman Wayne Maiorano offered a quick “Yes” to Stephenson’s question without being recognized to speak by the mayor. “It’s a good piece of work,” Maiorano said. “I think it allows us to make a statement about our potential.””

    Not only some council members like the idea of placing caps – yes, I know, heights are negotiable at this point – they also want to push things even further, limiting heights in areas that scream for taller buildings, like public squares.

    Other than the above excerpt, the effort to re-shape downtown is a huge opportunity for us to speak out and let the city leaders know how we feel. Do you guys think we should have a little meeting and talk about such issues? Surely, it is lovely to voice our opinions through this blog, but maybe time has come for us to take these conversations one step further. Maybe Leo can initiate such meeting ;)

  56. Ernest, I did want to write about the latest draft of the plan, will need time to digest it. I encourage everyone to take a look at it directly rather than just take the N&O’s writing of it. They tend to only focus on the hot topics. You can see it here:

    A reader meetup perhaps? Should we form our own branch of Raleigh YIMBY, downtown edition? :)

    Let me see how they are taking feedback on this new draft of the plan and we can work around that.

  57. Leo, I have been trying for quite some time now to download the draft, but it is sloooooooow :( Less than 11MB and it takes forever. This time I will let the download finish, though.

    Yes, a reader meetup would be lovely. In fact, it is about time we get to meet each other, as it is tough to fully appreciate each other’s ideas through our computer displays. Also, this is a perfect moment to bring together a group of people who actually care about Raleigh, especially downtown. We can be the downtown YIMBYs, but how many of us live downtown? For one, I live North of North Hills :)

  58. I live right by Rex, but am in Downtown Raleigh almost every night – I, for one, would love to attend a reader meetup!

  59. Ernest / Everyone : I did attend today’s council
    meeting & they extended Mr. Kane’s project to
    Sept. 1st per Mr. Kane . I did see where Mr. Kane proposes a 850 space parking deck . Also I think that all of our letters concerning height
    requirements has helped because today’s N&O states that Ken Bowers stated that @ present, no height limits are put in the current UDO Plan . Tonight’s 7 p.m. council meeting will vote on the rezoning for the 12 story Wilmington St. Hotel project !

  60. Everyone , Just saw the video on the evening council meeting & the 12 story hotel Wilmington
    St. rezoning passed 8 to 0!

  61. Dwight, thank you for the update. It was a no-brainer, so I am not surprised that nobody opposed this hotel. Hopefully, the developer will come up with a decent design that fits nicely into the area. That is, a nice beige EIFS exterior :LOL: All right, I am just kidding about the design.

  62. The Raleigh Historic Development Commission recommended against this project because it would “chip away” at the boundary of the Prince Hall Historic District. What bothered me most about this decision was that no one was willing to question whether the boundary had been appropriately drawn in the first place (considering McDonalds and all). I’m happy to hear sanity prevailed this time.

    I am all for preserving historic structures but not based on RHDC’s rationale. Each case must stand (or fall) on it’s own merits, not on some “perceived” issue that “may” happen.

    On the other side of the coin many beautiful historic structures have forever been lost to Raleigh and this is indeed a shame. The other day Goodnight Raleigh (a site I thoroughly enjoy) showed a postcard of the Martin St. and Park Hotel which was torn down in 1975. Ah yes, that wonderful decade when “Urban Renewal” was all the rage. Perhaps if still standing today this hotel would have been wonderfully refurbished into a cool boutique hotel. We’ll never know.

  63. @Stew: I totally agree with you. A lot of historic buildings were lost and it is unfortunate that we cannot bring them back. As is, Raleigh will be better served if the boundaries of our historic neighborhoods are well defined, and make sense. Many would disagree, but within those districts I would like to see any new buildings be built in a similar architecture. In other words, no modernistic buildings within Oakwood. Anyway, we let some people appoint themselves as gatekeepers and now it is hard to put in place common sense measures. Glad to see that this project passed and I hope that there will be no scale down of any sort.

    @William: I find the idea of twin towers appealing. We missed out chances with The Edison, but I think it will be nice to get a twin project that resembles the Arabian Tower (Burj Al Arab) in Dubai. Two of these would be nice on Sites 2 and 3. They could serve as a gateway to Fayetteville Str from the south.

  64. I love history, and historic neighborhoods and structures. However, many residents of this area seem to be in the delusion that all of the old crappy buildings plaguing this state are “historic.” Just because it is old does not mean that it needs to preserved. There are so many bland, ugly, decomposing buildings in this area that people keep talking about “saving” instead of putting something of modern significance and use in its place. In 30 years, are the brutalist monstrosities from the 70s going to be considered “historic?” Edinburgh Castle is historic. The State Capitol building is historic (if not that impressive). Every abandoned shack built in 1880 is not. There are definitely some keepers in Raleigh, and many that were unfortunately lost. But I see the historic label just being another roadblock by NIMBYs most of the time, and I wish that would change. Maybe if people travelled outside the area more, they could see actually historic structures worthy of preserving.

  65. @Jeff… well said! There is a huge difference between saving a Georgian Revival, Gothic, or Neoclassical style home or building and that of a square or rectangular brick structure with no architectural detailing.

    I have seen cities before create a street or two for exact preservation… moving all older structures to those areas… making room for progress.

    Also I have seen old world cities (like Goteborg, Sweden)that mix the old world styles with modern buildings. They seem to flow together instead of being segregated.

    We have seen truly significant buildings destroyed in the past in the name of progress… but that does not mean we now go to the other extreme and save everything.

    Take an interest in the past… but save truly significant buildings… instead of every old thing out there.

  66. NIMBYs and pseudo-preservationists have done enough damage, unfortunately :( On the positive side, the CAC voted 30-0 in favor of the Wilmington Street hotel, so I guess they saw the value of new development in that area.

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