Pic of the Week

The Albemarle Building Renovation, April 2016

The renovation of the Albemarle Building is well underway. The project on Salisbury Street is part of the governor’s Project Phoenix, a plan to upgrade the state government complex in downtown Raleigh.

This renovation may or may not have a big impact on the surrounding area. A modern office upgrade isn’t going to create new activity during off-hours especially on weekends. The government may save on maintenance costs in the long run but this project, I feel, won’t support any of the governor’s claims of creating new development activity and life in and around the state government complex.

It’s possible that if the capacity of workers in the Albemarle Building has increased, more downtown workers may create more business. I feel like that’s a stretch though. Either way, great for the folks working there but this “suburban-urban” building may bring a negligible contribution to downtown’s revitalization.

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  1. Feel like the real benefit to downtown would be that if building capacity is increased thereby allowing for government employees in some of the smaller builders to be moved over to the Albermarle building. This would then allow state to auction off some of these smaller properties for private redevelopment

  2. Adding ground floor retail to this building could certainly be a catalyst change. Don’t know if it would be enough for large scale redevelopment of this area, that is largely government office buildings. Who knows, the City’s Capital Blvd redevelopment/improvement project and this together could end up being great.

  3. The concrete area between the building and N. Salisbury Street would be make a great plaza for outdoor restaurant seating. I agree with Robert that the greater benefit of this project would be selling property for private redevelopment or better yet sell it to the city or nonprofit to maintain for affordable housing.

  4. As someone who works professionally in workplace strategy, next generation workplaces and allied topics, I agree with Robert. The state government needs to take a look at what the GSA is doing in its more innovative workplaces nationally if they are really interested in pushing the government workplace to the 21st century. There’s a value proposition there as well since more efficient and effective workplaces that actually map to today’s and tomorrow’s will benefit all tax payers as well as free up land for Raleigh to develop.
    As for this particular renovation, it’s not like it’s surrounded by land to activate except for the surface lot to its immediate south. To the north of the property are the massive parking garages that the state uses and to the east is the government mall. The west side of this site becomes a little more complicated on the north side of the couplet of roads that merge into Capital Blvd.

  5. I am like 99% certain it is getting some sort of retail space on the ground floor….it’s obviously not pulled up to the street edge, so it’ll not feel like a solid classic urban retail space and likely be on the order of the History Museum gift shop or Daily Planet cafe….but something is better than nothing. Also I am also 99% certain the code language he uses of “bring our buildings up to private market capacity” is code language for making it a cube farm that at least doubles capacity. Right now many State buildings have individual offices that are fairly large. Source: I am a State employee. As an aside I have a sneaking suspicion Archdale employees get moved over there, so that the Archdale can get….updated?….torn down? Something. The topic of Archdale has been eerily quiet…

  6. I often visited a friend who worked in this building almost seventeen years ago, and even then, I was surprised at how much of a dump it was inside and how poorly it was laid out. This is a much-needed renovation of an existing asset. It’s just one small piece of the puzzle. No single piece can achieve the goals of the overall project, but they all contribute in some way. This is low-hanging fruit, and it’s a wise and timely use of resources. I also agree with the posters above, and thanks to FG for sharing the link.

  7. Damn- I want Mark to be right so bad, but those renderings don’t look like it’s including ground floor… anything. Strange. I also hope they don’t tear down the Archdale building- while it’s not exactly a pretty building to look at, it DOES add some needed height to the govt district, and personally I’ve always wanted to see some giant wall art painted up on the concrete sides. How cool would that be?? It’s like a giant canvas, and that would add so much COLOR to the skyline.

  8. Well….dang….the renderings do look like its mostly a giant lobby on the ground floor. My bad. I also like some things about the Archdale and in another thread suggested a modification that attaches a Peace St fronting visitor’s center on the north side of the building, connects second floor of new building over a bus parking pull through to the ground floor of Archdale, opens the ground floor into a pedestrian pass through “welcome to NC” thing possibly with a room of Governor’s portraits, and out onto a manicured path straight to the Legislature (sorry kick ball folks, should still be space for you…). This is one of about a half dozen major updates I sketched out (I’m not an architect mind you)

  9. This building is an unfortunate relic of 1960s planning, which dictates that all offices are in office parks, all stores are in shopping centers, all performance spaces are in a performance complex, and all houses are in suburban subdivisions. You get everywhere by car, and you eat lunch in the cafeteria. The state tore down a beautiful historic mixed-use neighborhood to create this office park.

  10. Bob, I am pretty sure they have been power washing the white vertical elements. More than once every 50 years would be nice though….

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