Downtown Raleigh Employment Breakdown

2016 Downtown Employment By Sector

Last one from the 2016 State of Downtown Raleigh report. Here is the employment breakdown by different sectors. When comparing it to the figure from 2015, there are just a few changes to note:

  • In 2015, government employees made up over half of downtown workers. This year, the amount has fallen below 40%.
  • In 2015, the only other sector above 10% was “Finance and Insurance”. This year, the only one above 10% is “Professional Scientific and Tech Services.” (which was below 10% in 2015)

The 2016 figure doesn’t mention “Finance and Insurance” or it’s lumped into “Miscellaneous.”

The numbers in this sector could be dropping. At the same time, the other sectors may be growing making this particular one seem to shrink.

Raleigh Magazine recently asked, “Is Midtown NC’s New Financial District?

within just two miles you’ll find corporate headquarters, campuses for five major banks plus bank branches for PNC, BB&T and Yadkin Bank.

*Is Midtown NC’s New Financial District? via Raleigh Magazine.

The relocation of Bank of America from downtown Raleigh to North Hills may be a factor in the changing percentages.

Keep in mind that the figures aren’t quantitative but instead show the employment distribution. In my experience, technology companies prefer to cluster and collaborate. I’m not sure if that is the case with the financial sector. I’d welcome anyone with insight into that kind of thing.

If true, then expect the tech companies to attract even more tech companies leading to a rise in this sector in 2017.

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  1. The past few years, particularly this last year, has seen a big move for Arch & Eng to downtown, particularly around City Plaza with BoA upfits and Charter Square. Kimley-Horn HQ from Cary, merger/consolidation of PB/WSP from RTP, HDR from Crabtree, and JDavis from Glenwood South.

  2. I just heard from a very reliable source that The N&O Site has requested to the city for a rezoning of up to 40 stories & 400 Hillsborough St. a request for rezoning of up to 20 stories!

  3. Dwight, thanks for that info. That bodes well for a larger employment base downtown, which drives demand for residential, retail and hospitality.

  4. @Dwight: Thanks for the update. The Hillsborough Street site an the N&O site are both DX-20-SH meaning that they are intensive downtown mixed use up to 20 stories or 250 feet. That use is also intended for shop frontage. It would seem that only the N&O site would have to go before the city for a variance.

  5. @Dwight,

    40 stories at Nash Square is a great spot, assuming they incorporate active uses facing the square.


    I don’t know much about zoning, but is it possible they need to get a variance if it’s 20 stories but more than 250 ft? Like if they wanted to incorporate some kind of spire or something at the top? That’s the only reason I could think of.

  6. When the city put in the UDO caps for maximum height and other standards, they always said this was to expedite the process for developers as baseline regulations. They clearly indicated that any developer was free to ask for a variance outside of the UDO standards. However, to do it, a developer would have to present their case to city council. Just because the N&O site is capped at 20 stories does not mean it cannot (and should not) go for 40. It’s one block off Fayetteville which is currently capped at 40 stories. It would seem appropriate for council to grant the exemption.

  7. @Steve: You’d be correct about the variance but I can’t imagine a developer that far from the central business axis of Fayetteville wanting to put a symbolic spire on a building that’s less than half the height of the city’s tallest building. I’m not saying that it couldn’t happen. I’m just saying that it would be hard to imagine.
    I’m all in on a 40 story tower at the N&O site but I suspect that the city might think that it’s too much of an affront to Nash Square. Perhaps the building could step back from the park and be at it tallest along Salisbury Street?

  8. What is the point of capping Fayetteville St at 40? If a major corporation would ever want to move their HQ to Downtown Raleigh and needed a 50 story tower, would they be able to get that approved? I don’t know enough about this sort of thing and maybe this is the norm, but it seems like its an unwarranted guideline.

  9. High-rises bring in the people, money, jobs and community support, they get the most bang for the buck per square foot, and in a city like Raleigh are starting to define our space and look better.

    It seems that the city is not as transparent as they should be, yes we know what the UDO says but that means nothing in the back rooms and bars where things really are decided.

    LET THEM BUILD to the clouds.

  10. Daniel, like Marco said, any developer can request a variance to exceed these height “fast tracks”. John, I’d be willing to bet that the N&O site could get a variance…the areas between the parks and Fayetteville “feel” like a larger office district to me, and the rapid creep down Hillsborough St (three proposals being discussed now if you count One Glenwood) seems like it would support this in any variance argument heading west from Fayetteville. As long as we retain our few older buidlings, I like this smattering of office buildings spilling out off the Fayetteville spine, and would welcome a 40+ in a good location (i.e. not at the expense of any other building I consider sweet) and it must be oriented and composed well (no suburban style setbacks, minimal non-active frontage etc.)

  11. Word on street is Highwoods is taking over Edison office building with Sandreutter still “involved”. Hopefully, Highwoods can fast track this building’s start.

  12. My guess about 400 Hillsborough St. is that maybe the 20 stories will be taller than the 250 foot limit !

  13. UncleJesse, yes, I heard that as well….from a Highwoods Employee… oddly it came up over beer in Asheville

  14. @ Dwight
    When you refer to “requested”, do you mean that a developer filled out paperwork? Or maybe a developer spoke with a city council member? I am just trying to understand how things work on this type of development front…
    Thank you as always for bringing this to our little group discussion as I find your input and back room access most invaluable..,?

  15. I think that I may have commented on this previously but my biggest beef with the city’s new UDO is that the floor to floor spacing in each category is neither consistent with each other nor representative of the floor to floor spacing typically found in commercial buildings of certain heights. At 250 feet, 20 floors ends up averaging only 12.5 feet floor to floor. This doesn’t even include taller lobby floors or rooftop mechanical penthouses, parapet walls or symbolic crowns. With typical commercial ceiling heights of 10 feet and slab thickness to consider, that leaves nearly nothing for above the ceiling building systems. Certainly 250 feet is adequate for residential or hotel towers but not nearly enough for 20 floors of commercial.

  16. @ Robert , The developer for each site submitted paperwork to the city ! You & Everyone are very welcome ! I thank my friend often for his help about the downtown projects that we love & keep up with !

    @ John , I have e-mailed the council in the past with the same info. that you have posted , but I did not receive a reply ! I asked for a 600 ft. / & a 300 ft. to replace their 500 / 250 ft. limits !

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