Saying Goodbye To 2016 and Looking Out Towards 2017

View from the Boylan Avenue Bridge, December 2016

View from the Boylan Avenue Bridge, December 2016

I’m always struggling to find a way to wrap up another year of downtown Raleighing that simply describes what took place. There’s just too much going on to do that.

There are things in planning, under construction, and being completed all the time. Shops and restaurants close and new ones open up.

For 2016, the development talks were the same as previous years. New residential, specifically apartment low-rises, came online or started construction. Toss in some new office and hotel spaces and that kind of rounds out the “2016 action.”

These projects are nice to follow and from my point-of-view, new apartment buildings for downtown Raleigh becoming the norm means we’ve hit a new level.

“Another apartment building with 200+ units? Not again.” said everyday in Raleigh 2016.

The way I see it, the novelty of new downtown apartments is wearing off and in a way, that means the momentum is still high.

Consider apartment buildings as just the details but the real projects that were worth following in 2016 involved transit. Raleigh Union Station and the GoRaleigh Transit Station (formerly the Moore Square Station in case you haven’t heard) were being worked on in 2016. More bike lanes popped up all around the city with a bike share plan in the works.

Finally, the county voted to raise the sales tax in order to pay for expanded transit options for Raleigh and surrounding municipalities. The first benefits of this should probably be seen in about two years and downtown Raleigh will be at the core of that expanded system.

Transit compliments downtown Raleigh in a huge way and if implemented well, we may just have even more apartment building projects, to follow in years to come.

2016 Highlights

As I just mentioned, transit was a huge topic in 2016. We followed the progress of Raleigh Union Station in 2016, will watch it take shape in 2017 to its opening in 2018.

If that’s too long to wait, the GoRaleigh Transit Station will be completed in 2017. Additional amenities and an updated design await for the 30-year-old bus station now being worked.

West South Street, August 2016

West South Street, August 2016

More transportation than transit, the two-way conversion of South Street and Lenoir is seeing some big impacts. The West South Street area is seeing huge changes and in 2017, we’ll follow a slew of new residential and renovation projects in that area.

For more on that, you can revisit a post from my Walk series on South Street.

In 2016, cranes were spotted in downtown Raleigh. There’s a lot of action taking place at The Dillon, an upcoming 17-story office tower for the warehouse district.

The Residence Inn hotel was under construction for practically the entire year, with foundation work taking place about a year ago today.

We’re also watching the latest apartment building rise up, The Metropolitan, at the former site of the Greyhound Bus Station on Jones Street. At the pace that these things go up, my guess is that it opens in 2017.

Back to transportation, 2017 will see huge impacts from the Capital Boulevard bridge replacement project. The flyover bridge at Wade Avenue and Capital is being worked on now but we should see the work for the Peace Street bridge and upcoming square loop redesign start in 2017. I cannot recommend the following video enough to get you familiar with this project.

See Capital Boulevard Bridge Replacements on YouTube.

2017 Action

In 2017, here’s what downtown Raleigh has in the pipeline.

  • Still in the planning stages, the Smokey Hollow project plans for a 400-unit apartment tower at the corner of Peace and West Street. The biggest rumor in downtown is that a Publix grocery store is planned for this location but it has not been confirmed publicly as of yet.
  • The city is working on a plan for a new municipal campus for their block to the north of Nash Square. Today, city departments are spread out across multiple locations and this new campus is an effort to bring departments closer together. The city is currently looking for a consultant on the plan.
  • We’ve touched on the plans for Gateway Southeast, or the Exploris School, at Gateway Center already and in 2017, it’s possibly we’ll see dirt moving in this area.
  • After a huge announcement of the sale of the N&O block, perhaps plans for new development here will surface in 2017. One of the first things that have to happen is a new home for the newspaper so some kind of office component should be released soon.
  • One Glenwood is still being planned but could start in 2017.
  • We spotted plans for 301 Hillsborough Street, the highly mixed-use project for Hillsborough Street, recently and 2017 may be the year that the surface parking lots are torn up for cranes.
  • *Broken record* South Street will transform!
  • Stone’s Warehouse may start their renovations in 2017 as well.
  • After the GoRaleigh Transit Station completes its work, the redesign of Moore Square may just (finally) begin in 2017.
  • Could we also see the start of the long-awaited Charter Square North tower in 2017?

Finally, for this blog, I’ll be writing, photoing, coding right into its tenth year.

Happy new year, everyone!

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    None right now. Must be a new project.


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  1. The Smokey Hollow project looks to be starting sooner than expected, with the Southland Ballroom closing tonight and demolition starting in February.

  2. 301 is SR-93-16 and is on the City’s current development activity listed under SR for administrative site review. It will be a big project and one of many cranes to be up soon after permits are approved. They are trying to acquire the Flying saucer site per TBJ. Also multiple lots are subdivisions under S and single lots are SR for site. There were 105 sites submitted for review in 2016. With the pickup in activity over last two months I anticipate a very busy 2017 for Raleigh. Thanks Leo for great site and great comments.

  3. Agreed, thank you BC!
    Since Lundy will not be going above 20 floors, like the Dillon project, I hope that the architecture will be as interesting. Has anyone seen other buildings that this company has built?

    Also, a Happy New Year to all!

  4. i’m confused and annoyed about them trying to get the Flying Saucer site. The original plans were for them to use the parking lot and possibly the law office. How do they have finalized plans waiting for approval if they don’t even know if they are getting the Saucer site. Also, the Saucer is a landmark; I don’t want it torn down. Build around it…

  5. Jeff , This is just from memory , I think the plans are for the first tower @ 301 Hillsborough ! I think the plans shows the tower @ 246 feet !

  6. The site plan was just for the bottom floor and it used all of the block but the Saucer lot. I would think if they have just purchased the law building we should see a rendering soon, with two towers.

  7. For those of you who enjoy James Borden’s “Development Beat” articles as much as I do be sure to check out his latest story in the Raleigh Public Record. His column will now be published by ITBInsider News Network instead.

    I’ve always enjoyed James’ articles … the wit … the humor … the latest development news (no matter how big or small). I’m very happy to know this column will continue in 2017 albeit with some big changes. His latest article contains all the details.

    James, best.

  8. Robert,

    Lundy was the lead developer for the Greenbridge mixed-use project in Chapel Hill. I find it to be a pretty nice project.

  9. Good news for Greensboro. I do hope that the project in Raleigh gets off the ground. It has been too long.

  10. Raleigh needs to make it a priority to land a up-brand hotel in its city center. IMO, the city is way too humble and needs to go on a “bragging tour” and sell itself better.

  11. Not only is downtown Greensboro getting a Westin, Aloft is coming to downtown Greensboro too. A lot is happening in the Gate City’s downtown which includes the construction of a performing arts center larger than DPAC in Durham. There is a development going up across the street from the downtown ballpark which includes 300 luxury apartments and a Hyatt Place Hotel. One of the city’s prominent developers in planning a mixed-use office tower in downtown Greensboro which would be 561 ft tall making it the tallest building in North Carolina outside of Charlotte. There is much more going on but it explains why Greensboro is getting these upper brand hotels downtown. It would have been great to see Westin and Aloft choose downtown Raleigh.

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