Taking A Look At The Future Courtyard Marriott on McDowell Street

Rendering of future hotel on McDowell Street

Rendering of future hotel on McDowell Street. Rendering comes courtesy of Winwood Hospitality Group.

That’s it. 2017 is going to be the year of the downtown hotel. However, you could probably see that coming if you really paid attention last year, right?

Anyway, let’s take a look at the recently submitted plans for a hotel on McDowell Street, one of a few in the pipeline for downtown. Above is the latest rendering submitted to the blog from the local developer, Winwood Hospitality Group. A big thanks goes out to them. (Note to the commenters who’ve talked about this already, this rendering is slightly different than the one shown in the N&O)

SR-003-17, the submitted plans on the city’s development page, shows a 192-room, 12-story hotel and parking deck for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot along Cabarrus Street between McDowell and Gale Street. See the map below to get an idea of the proposed hotel’s footprint.

Corner of Cabarrus and McDowell Street, January 2017

Click for larger snapshot of this 3D view from Google Maps. Site of the new hotel is highlighted.

Corner of Cabarrus and McDowell Street, January 2017

Corner of Cabarrus and McDowell Street, January 2017

The new hotel would be a Courtyard Marriott brand and the building footprint would pretty much consume the entire property. Taking a look at the site plan, you can guess that the planned restaurant and retail spaces would face McDowell Street with the lobby entrance and parking deck along Cabarrus. I’ve included it below for your convenience.

Site Plan from SR-003-17

Click for larger. Site Plan from SR-003-17.

Looking at the area, it’s unfortunate that even more parking was added to this hotel as a plethora of decks are available directly next door. I can’t back it up with stats but perhaps there might be a way to leverage underutilized spaces for the hotel rather than adding even more supply to downtown. I’m curious to see how many spaces are built here as downtown hotels only require 1 space for every 2 rooms.

Looking south down McDowell Street, January 2017

Looking south down McDowell Street, January 2017

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  1. I like this rendering a bit better. No more melting chocolate bar and some of the windows look better. Plus this more closely matches the site plan. It will be nice infill that will help cover some of those ugly parking decks.

  2. I love the fact that we are getting another hotel. Much needed for our growing city. It will also be great for the restaurants and retail across the street. However.. not that impressed with this one. Not tall and in my opinion will just blend in to its background with this bland design and coloring.

  3. No problem Leo. I went and found that previous image myself. It looks like the only real change is the color of the band that runs up the building, around the corner at the top and down the other side. It’s clearly an improvement in materials.
    While not as egregious as the other hotel, I wish that these outdoor balconies took advantage of the skyline view. They too point in the wrong direction, but from the site they are working with, the view is on the back of the building against the current parking deck. Even so, it would have been nicer if the Cabarrus St. terrace visually cleared the parking deck.

  4. @James yeah, covering up those ugly parking decks with…… more parking deck. This rendering is just as ugly and suburban as the last. I’m getting sick of this trend of new buildings having ground floor space (which is great!), but then the 2nd to 5th floors are all parking deck, leaving a giant, blank wall on the front of the building. Horrible. Has anyone heard of UNDERGROUND PARKING? Oh, wait, that would cost money, and greedy, vision-less developers don’t want to spend any more than they have to to make a quick buck. All that grey and beige. Not impressed, not looking forward to this at all. Would’ve rather this lot stay as-is until a developer with real VISION, a group that actually wants to build something beautiful and long-lasting, stepped in to add something of value. I don’t consider this valuable to the city simply because it’s a hotel and we need more hotels. This will be one of the first substantial buildings that people see when they drive into town from the South, and it’s ugly and boring and horrible. I need to go make my coffee, excuse the rant.

  5. Leo, to comment on one of your points: “it’s unfortunate that even more parking was added to this hotel as a plethora of decks are available directly next door” – I would imagine they felt the need to build parking into this building because, even though they could have possibly made some deal with the parking decks next door, I imagine those decks will be sold and redeveloped at some point in the future – one can hope, at least. That said, I really wish Raleigh would make some sort of stipulation for developers to build UNDERGROUND parking when possible.

  6. Holding out hope that the remaining NW corner of the block will one day house a signature high-rise. Zoning/constraining all high-rise construction to the Fayetteville St. corridor makes the DT skyline look very “2D.” No depth at all when seen from Boylan Wye…one of my pet peeves!

    Also, don’t want to sound like a hotel snob, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a Westin, W, Loews, something of that ilk? Doesn’t have to be a Ritz Carlton, but something a little bit upscale would be awesome!

    Maybe the balcony will give NCFC spectators a premiere view of our new Red Hat stadium? Ha!

  7. @Jake,
    You’re 100% right that it’s cost preventing underground parking. I can’t imagine the price per square foot of land downtown is enough to justify the expense of an underground deck, especially because most people seem ok with decks. I’m personally ambivalent about the kind of decks you mentioned. I’d be curious to know how many people (not on this blog) realize the first 5ish floors of the PNC building are a parking deck.
    I think most of us agree with you. I’d love an “upper middle” hotel downtown. I think the closest thing to a “luxury” hotel we have is the Aloft near NCSU. I’d also like a “weird” or “artsy” hotel that focuses on NC art and history and offers a unique kind of experience. That being said, I think these middle-middle hotels are still good for the city. Tourists and businesspeople are more likely to go out on weeknights.

  8. I remember when the mentality on structured parking changed from stand alone to incorporated or wrapped. I was super excited that I wouldn’t likely have to walk past new buildings with cars facing me at street level any more. I still am grateful for that change. The State passed itself a law for the Green Square deck so it could do that, but other than that, we’ve been spared any more Convention Center, City Center, City hall, N&O type decks. Also be reminded that height folks often cheerlead incorporated decks to push the building taller. I wish I’d live long enough to see the day parking decks get rehabbed into office or retail space (saw one in Seattle getting this treatment) because they are more or less obsolete.
    Steve, my dream is a 21C in the Sir Walter. I doubt we are the right demographic for 21C but I’ve been the the Louisville and Durham ones, and man they are super cool. Anyway, just tossing that out there…

  9. I wish everybody would be as daring as the Hue with their color pallet. That is a prime example of great architecture.

  10. There was an article in the TBJ last week about Raleigh getting 2 Westin hotels by 2020. One will be located at the intersection of Gleenwood and Creedmoore, the second will be somewhere downtown.
    I agree the architecture is severely lacking on the new hotels in DTR. I would love to see something like the Peachtree Tower (just a smaller version) in DRT. I have always imagined it at this location. It isn’t glamorous, but it would be a big change from the tan/gray concrete boxes that abound in DT.

  11. Actually, there’s just the one Westin planned. There are two Element-branded hotels, including one downtown. That’s good, but it’s not really a “luxury” hotel.

  12. @Steve, at least the PNC building does a decent job of hiding its built-in deck! This rendering includes literally 3 stories of blank, grey wall.

  13. See, that’s why I’m ambivalent. If they make an effort to wrap it with something nice, I think it’s fine. I agree with you, if the blank wall gets built, they could at least cover it with artwork or something.

  14. This is a solid step forward for the McDowell Street corridor which seems somewhat forgotten. Also the L Building at the next corner and across the street looks really good on Google Street View. I didn’t get a chance to ride through this area when I was last in Raleigh.

  15. @ Leo
    My thanks for another awesome article. I especially appreciate the ariel pictures of downtown. This allows a quicker frame of reference, great job!

  16. One thing that I think hurts McDowell (and Dawson) streets is the volume of traffic on those streets. They are the north/south connection between South Saunders and Capital Blvd. I would love to see more along this corridor, but there is way too much traffic to make it a thriving, pedestrian friendly streetscape. As mentioned on another thread of this blog, having a multi-block span of retail would be great, but I think the amount of vehicular traffic on Dawson and McDowell would kill this dream along an east/west corridor in DRT.

  17. @Nick, I disagree. Go to any midsize-large city, there’s traffic, and LOTS of it. So long as we have crosswalks and wide sidewalks, I think any area of downtown Raleigh could become pedestrian friendly. The city just needs to stop catering to the car crowd – there’s already a plethora of parking.

  18. @Nick, @Jake, I think the speed of the traffic, and the pedestrian facilities, are more important than the number of cars. The shops one the Millennium Mile and Park Avenue aren’t suffering from the constant flow of vehicular traffic.

  19. I’m not sure I see much of a difference, other than coloring, between the two versions. It now looks more like a hospital than hotel. I’m hoping they add something fun to the design before it is built. It looks as if they are planning for it to become a super 8 before it is even built.

  20. @Jake, I completely agree that EVERY area of downtown should remap priority of pedestrians (and I’ll add cyclists).
    IMO, McDowell and Dawson have the advantage of being one-way streets meaning that one only has to look for traffic in one direction to navigate safely by foot or by bike. Sure traffic moves through these corridors but I’ll take it over a freeway plowing through.
    As for above ground parking, it’s a reality that exists almost everywhere and even in cities with “great” architecture by starchitects. It’s not a down-market thing. That said, I think the treatment of the parking levels needs to be thoughtful and integrated into the designs.

  21. Speaking of Dawson St, the intersection of Dawson and Davie has four highly-developable (word?) corners. From the Pit to City Market, Davie could be almost a half mile of continuous high-rises (though the County buildings aren’t especially interesting on the street level).

  22. The parking deck is below grade at North Charter site and that is limiting the height of the building. Tradeoffs for which ever route you go. Per code they have to have so many parking spots per room. Enclosed decks are $$$ to meet fire code. Land downtown is over $100 per sq. foot. This site and the turnkey tire will help attract larger conventions and $$ to Raleigh. Shame the Marriott is 400 rooms and not 500 room hotel if you remember the City kicked in $$ for that.

  23. @BC, good point about the Charter site. I am sure that there are plenty of people who would have preferred the first building to be taller by way of sandwiched parking.

  24. Will, I like the way you think! I’m hoping a NCFC stadium downtown is in our near future!

    Regarding this rendering, it’s not bad. I just wish it was at least as tall as Skyhouse. For such prime real estate it’s a shame they’re underwhelming us.

  25. Dawson and McDowell have synced lights so and the resulting speed is absolutely a danger to pedestrians. I witnessed the aftermath of about 10 wrecks on just those two streets since I’ve lived downtown (and missed a one with a death at Dawson/Lenoir just a couple of weeks ago). I have sent emails to the City, who punted to the State because those are State maintained roads now, and they punted because the effing “data” doesn’t suggest any extra risk. I raged BS and said you are trying to prevent tragedies here and when you get a car that finally takes out a group on a sidewalk I’m sending all my email copies to the paper. I am a Civil PE too, and don’t appreciate being brushed aside on this. You’ve got to know when to crack open the formulas in “the book” and analyze things that fit neatly into that box. I agree with Nick’s take that the reduced pedestrian hospitality can hurt businesses here. I mean…the most memorable wreck was a car landing upside down on the Borough’s patio. The only reason people weren’t severely hurt is that it was February and the people outside were standing and smoking not sitting with their back to traffic. I discussed having bollards installed with Liz and she said the State wouldn’t allow it but she instead put out those huge flower pots which helps some in those cases. If nothing else the speed limit should be lowered on both roads to 25, commuters be damned.

  26. Heard a very disturbing rumor regarding an MLS stadium. One is the City is completely absent in any discussions. If our Mayor and Councel can’t assist with something as transformational as helping secure a major league franchise for the City, we have real problems in our leadership. While charlotte, usa is asking for a lot of taxpayer money, they at least seem to be publicly organized while we are hearing jack squat from our City leaders. The other rumor is John Kane is trying to do a deal in North Hills……….WTF?!!! and the most baffling of them all is some car lot in Durham next to the Bulls Stadium.

    If any of these rumors are true, Raleigh will lose the opportunity for a franchise. charlotte will get the only franchise awarded in North Carolina period. The NH, Kane rumor is remotely conceivable although terrible for the City not to mention how in the hell would you put a stadium way the hell up there with 1 single road in and out and a bunch of suburban housing around it?!!!!

    Call your City leaders!!!

  27. Trust me, Kane would love to snag the stadium. I could imagine him giving land away just to make it happen. He is building out a true midtown which will soon eclipse downtown in height and grander. Like it or not, it’s a fact. His only drawback is that he is more landlocked than DTR.

  28. Where did you hear these rumors from?

    I find the rumor about NH plausible because Kane just bought property that connects NH to Wake Forest Rd. Surely there is room there for a stadium.

    I don’t by the Durham rumor for one second.

    Also, why do you think the city is not involved? Steve Malik has met with Raleigh Chamber of Commerce several times in recent months and Mayor McFarlane keeps hinting at “exciting things” in our near future.

  29. A firm that was potentially handling some of the work. that’s all I can say. Keep in mind nothing was definitive but certainly a somewhat credible source. My biggest concern was the apparent lack of involvement from the City who appears to be clueless to what’s going on……….which I have heard from other credible sources as well. Again, these are RUMORS but a downtown site is imperative for Raleigh to land a team. If the City can’t pull this off, the entire Council should be voted out of office.

  30. I’m hopeful we are just witnessing the City, Malik, and the rest of the ‘powers that be’ being smart and coy about their plans. Charlotte talks about their MLS plans every freaking day in the news. Hopefully, that is less of an indicator of their organization compared to Raleigh and more of just another example of “charlotte usa’s” typical napoleon complex suffering insecurity complex surfacing…..I hope.

  31. Malik has made comments about other bids being more vocal but he’s assured us he’s doing all the real work, the less glamorous ground work, to actually make this thing happen. He hasn’t let us down yet. #InMalikWeTrust

  32. I’m glad Raleigh is growing despite the negative energy it has surrounding it from the ” that building isn’t tall enough!” crowd. I’m also proud that Raleigh outright doest want to be Charlotte at all. It’s a beautiful city that grows at its own pace. Who cares what the naysayers think.

  33. Once again another underwhelming building to occupy a detrimental space in dt Raleigh. When is Raleigh gonna grow some damn balls and build something exciting in dt. Too many cookie cutter designs of buildings in dt. When are we ever gonna get another 30 plus story tower that we can all be excited about and the developers are serious about and don’t intend to either back out or downgrade it? Who ever is designing the architecture for the buildings in North Hills then they need to be the one to do the same for dt Raleigh because our dt is beginning to look just boring. How you gonna have your midtown have much better architecture and taller proposals than your dt? Cmom Raleigh, quit letting Charlotte beat us in every category!

  34. uncle jesse, your source (a firm “potentially” working on the project)… sounds like they were not selected and are not involved with the project. odds are they don’t quite have all the facts.

  35. @Paul, @Uncle Jessie, et al – Please forgive my use of an insensitive baseball analogy but unless we (the collective we, not just Steve Malik) “hit it out of the park” we have virtually no chance of landing an MLS franchise.

    The competition is fierce to say the least! In competing markets there is substantial news coverage of, not only local efforts, but our MLS bid and new NWSL team as well. When it comes to our local media coverage … mweh … not so much. C’mon Raleigh!!

  36. @Stew,

    Understand your skepticism. My ‘source’ is credible. Even he indicated that there could be something he isn’t aware of but he has pretty intricate knowledge of some of the discussions and I don’t have any reason to doubt the information he shared with me regarding his firm’s involvement and knowledge. The most disconcerting statement he made to me was more of the lack of City involvement moreso than the actual site. That fact is one that has been substantiated by others to me. I’m absolutely baffled that our City isn’t actively engaged with this effort. Again, I really hope this is part of Malik’s master plan of being coy and not showing his cards however if the City is involved they most likely have a public duty to provide information to the taxpayers should any funding be involved……The fact we’ve heard nothing regarding that aspect is concerning and gives credibility to the statements I’ve received regarding their being not involved.

  37. @Drew, from that article, it sounds like Charlotte and Meck don’t have enough time to meet/vote before the 1/31 deadline for definitive plans. I came away from that article thinking they’re in a tough spot.

    My only hope from Raleigh’s radio silence is that (hopefully) Malik really will finance this on his own and the city doesn’t need to ask us for input on public funding–like they are doing in CLT. In other words, as was mentioned, he just doesn’t want to show his cards until they’re called at the deadline.

    I did hear back from my councilman that they have been involved with the effort…don’t know how much.

  38. @Uncle Jessie, you said it well … an MLS stadium in or around downtown would indeed be TRANSFORMATIONAL! The silence from our city leaders is absolutely deafening.

    I am a card-carrying member of the “No public funding” crowd but in this case I feel compelled to suggest Raleigh leaders consider financial support as our competitors are clearly doing. I say this because such a project would clearly be transformational for south side of downtown. I can’t help but wonder what development might take place on the old Trailways bus depot site in South Park if an MLS stadium were built nearby? An investment made by the city to help get this deal done would come back in the form of increased tax revenue.

  39. As close as Mayor McFarlane is with Mr. Goodmon , I’m sure something is going on strong with this soccer project! To give a example , no one as far as the media or the city said a thing , but in 2013 a local developer , the city , both agreed on minor league baseball , The Atlantic League , Deveraux Meadow Ballpark , & no one heard a thing about this ! What stopped this project , The State giving free money to the city on the new bridge project @ Peace St. / Capital Blvd . That stopped the city draft person from continuing working on the stadium plans ! A good friend of mine saw the plans being worked on prior to the State offer !

  40. Mayor McFarlane has hinted several times in recent months that exciting news is coming in the near future. I bet it’s the stadium announcement.

    Also, Malik has been working with the city. He just met with the Chamber of Commerce again last week. I think Uncle Jesse is prematurely ringing the alarm bells.

    I think the silence is strategic. Steve Malik has delivered on each of his promises so far. I have no reason to doubt him. He has publicly said that he would like it to be near downtown. But, that’s going to be tough. My prediction is that he settles for a spot near North Hills. I have no source, just a guess,

  41. @Paul,

    Hope your are correct Paul. I had just heard from now 2 reliable folks that the City seemed to be somewhat of passive bystanders. Granted these sources are not actual council members and so i’m hoping they are keeping things close to their vest, strategically like you are alluding to. This is too big of a ‘game changer’ for the downtown core that not being very aggressive to win the franchise would be on par with Wake County’s complaining @ FedEx’s hub they wanted to put @ RDU only to have it end up in Greensboro costing Wake County thousands of jobs. The MLS stadium could be even more impactful even though its not a ‘jobs program’ per se.

  42. If the city council somehow botches our chances of an MLS franchise, it will be a monumental failure. we have a willing owner with a vision to make things happen. Owners like that dont come around often. This is something that will be impactful. not only create jobs, but spur more development and be transformational. would make no sense for the city not to pursue this and commit to Mr. Malik.

  43. @Stew. Your comments about public investment is exactly why I am a card carrying member of strategic public funding and purposeful action toward fulfilling short and long term municipal goals. Though you say you are a card carrying member of the opposite camp, you did a fine job of defining the opposite. Just some food for thought.
    @Dwight. You bring up Devereux Meadows and it makes me sad that the site just isn’t big enough to host a soccer stadium. It would be easy for the city to vacate their operations there. Oh well….
    I’ve been playing with Mapfrappe this morning and using Portland’s compact urban stadium to see what sites could possibly host the stadium and I keep coming back to the ones that seem to physically work: Dix Hill near the Farmer’s Market on Lake Wheeler Rd; Keeter Training Center across from Cargill on S. Wilmington; Cargill site itself (boy I’d love to see that ugly mess gone); and my favorite site: Heritage Park on South St. Each site comes with its challenges both logistically and politically.
    As I expand beyond the more immediate core, I have some other ideas that face their own challenges. 1.) on the campus of St. Augustine College. Let’s face it, that school is going downhill in a hurry and there’s tons of land there. Even with their new football stadium , it looks like a soccer stadium would fit right above it against Glascock St. St Aug. is broke and could totally use the money by selling land for the stadium. 2) The Penmarc road area on S. Saunders just north of I-40. While this site has nothing sexy about it, it would spearhead improvements to the southern gateway into the city. There’s nothing at all remarkable about the parcels immediately to its N, E an S and I can imagine a wonderful little urban community emerging there. 3) South of Cargill, there’s a site just north of I-40 that’s undeveloped. I have no idea who owns that land but it looks completely vacant by aerial view. It’s much less appealing of an area to me because everything around it is industrial and the site is much less connected to a community.
    OMG. I just realized (found) that there is a soccer park already on the Dix property at the corner of Western Blvd and Hunt Drive. Why hasn’t this site come up as a possibility? After all, it’s already a soccer venue and it would make total sense. The city has already designated a large land area for youth soccer and what better way to motivate them than to put a MLS stadium adjacent to it? Now, after babbling about other sites, I have to wonder if Dix would be the site for a Stadium? I can just imagine Malik donating a ton of money to transform the Dix land to a more useful park for the city in exchange for a land agreement for the stadium.

  44. Here is my post from the Urbanplanet forum. It is way for the City to get in the game yet not really pony up direct money and manifest several other benefits all at once.

    “Heritage Park continues to make the most sense to me. However it is fraught with negative impacts to affordable housing. In a sort of triple entendre here is a three prong scenario I dreamed up:

    MLS/other stadium goes at Heritage Park site

    21C (or other)redevelops Sir Walter

    City turns parking lots in front of Duke Energy Center into a semi active green space

    NC Association of Educators site gets redeveloped with Street facing commercial development like a Walgreens and Verizon Store and City Housing Authority Townhouses and apartments like at Halifax facing street and back into the site, and a good sized senior housing center (thereby offsetting losses at Heritage Park and Sir Walter). Net gains include, green space for the City that complements the housing authority site, particularly the seniors who may have limited mobility and can’t go far to get some fresh air. City and particularly senior citizen access to a pharmacy (currently CVS and Sir Walter support each other in this regard), improved urban form along South Street, and of course a stadium site on the edge of downtown, the most agreeable setup among this forum it seems. Sir Walter gets to used for its historical purpose and its tax value goes way up (helping offset City costs at NC Educators site a smidge). Also the Exploris recreational facilities could be available for the Housing Authority.

    Edit: oopsie, four prongs actually. “

  45. @John532 I could be wrong, but I’ve heard that those Dix soccer fields were built over an old city landfill, making it unsuitable for a structure? Not sure though…

    What I see the city actively doing is trying to make itself more walkable/bikeable/”other-non-car-transit-able.” For me, any activity–concert, game, state fair, whatever–that involves getting in my car, sitting in traffic, paying $20 to park, getting back into traffic afterwards, etc. automatically detracts from that activity’s appeal. Probably the single biggest reason I live where I live is the ability to walk/bike to things. When you’re out walking, hanging out with neighbors, you get such an awesome sense of community.

    It’s why this scattered, “podded” development all over the place requiring a car trip is so frustrating to me. PNC Arena and Five County Stadium should be cautionary tales that you don’t always get peripheral development when you plop a stadium on cheap land next to an interstate.

    I know the Cargill site has been discussed a lot, but has anyone ever tried walking to it? From anywhere? I’m making a gross generalization, but I imagine the bulk of the soccer crowd is made up of millennials who largely live in downtown, GS, and NH. This stadium will be most successful if you can walk to it. Oh, and walk to Warehouse Dist. or Fayetteville St. or GS afterwards! I just don’t think Cargill is adjacent enough to DT for it to work. And although NH is booming, I just cringe to think of DT losing out again to a NH development windfall. Ideal sites for me: Red Hat Amp, Gateway (although I know that ship has sailed), old Amtrak, parking decks west of Halifax Mall and Archdale, or Devereux.

  46. Can we say for sure the Gateway site’s ship has sailed?

    What I mean is… Couldn’t Steve Malik purchase the land from Exploris? Everything is for sale if you offer the right price.

    The site is just too perfect for me to give up on it yet. What say you?

  47. The NC Division of Solid waste lists the Dix land fill as C&D. My guess is that its mostly demolished victorian houses in there. But landfill records back then were sparse at best, and since they were putting whatever on State psych hospital land, it probably has zero records. The State listing seems to corroborate that with a bunch “unknowns” with the listing. My ramblings meaning that even if it really is just 100 year old houses in there, we can’t be certain, and even with testing, you don’t know much. There could be one giant truckload of PCBs right in the center, or something else you wouldn’t be able to build in, and no amount of test bores will ever find it until its too late. I believe the approach to landfills with no records is ‘do not touch’. The City actually canceled a needed sewer project behind Long Branch once they realized how extensive that landfill was. They’d have to dig out every square inch making a million dollar segment of pipe many 10’s of millions. They elected to just seal up the manholes and existing pipe joints better for now to keep ground water out as best they can and deal with it later.

  48. @Mark, interesting stuff, good info!

    @Paul, I’m with you; Gateway would be my #1 choice. Perfect spot, walkable for many DT residents, displaces almost no one! (I’m the one who sketched those baseball/soccer stadiums at that site, so I’m a little biased)!

  49. The big mistake was the recent redevelopment of Walnut Terrace south of MLK on Fayetteville Street. Who in their right mind would have allocated that much land for so little housing in the urban core? That was a horrible decision. It’s nothing more than a suburban style complex in the city center. #fail. With a high density housing model that better matched the urban nature of its location, all the residents of both Walnut Terrace and Heritage Park could have been accommodated on the Walnut Terrace land. If residents prefer suburban housing models, then build that in the actual suburbs, not the city center.

  50. @Paul and Will. The Gateway site isn’t big enough. Go play with Frappemap.com and find the Portland stadium (Providence Park). Outline the stadium as tightly as you can and then see how it would be too big for that Gateway site. Remember that you have to give right of way to the railroad tracks and you have to have a buffer at the exit ramp from MLK to McDowell. There’s no way it fits there.

  51. @Will: I have played with a stadium footprint all over DT and there are very few options to make it fit anywhere reasonable. I too wish it could go in Devereux but it won’t fit. Anything that would involve state owned land is an extra level of drama to navigate and I wouldn’t hold my breath for it to happen.
    I completely agree that it should be walkable and that’s why I think that the Heritage Park site on South St. is the very best option. It’s very possible to walk there, Rline-it close to there or bike share there! It’s also close enough to existing DT parking structures to accommodate those that will drive from the burbs. Alas, I don’t think that it will happen unless the city already has in queue the plans to replace the housing at Heritage Park.

  52. @John532, I agree that the Gateway site is tight, mainly because of the poorly designed cloverleaf interchange @ MLK and McDowell. (A space-wasting cloverleaf in an urban core is a different complaint for a different thread)! But take a look at what Charlotte did with Mint St. for BoA Stadium and 5th St. for Spectrum Center (Hornets arena). The city wrapped the streets to accommodate. I think this is what Raleigh should do with MLK/McDowell. The ramp you mentioned @ the NE corner of the intersection could be eliminated, providing more room. Even if the whole interchange wasn’t taken to grade, you could build a loop @ the SE corner of the intersection to carry traffic from westbound MLK, under the bridge, and onto northbound McDowell.

    Also, I’ve played with different stadiums on mapfrappe, and I’ve found others that were actually smaller, more compact than Portland’s. I think a more compact, intimate stadium that’s built “up” rather than “out” makes for a better fan experience anyway.

    If you check out my sketches from earlier posts, I think it could work if you abut the field “end zone” against the tracks. I drew the field to the same specs as WMSP.

  53. My mistake! That loop @ SE corner already exists!!! Just pave a cut-through across the median so WB MLK traffic can turn left and utilize the existing ramp to go NB on McDowell!

  54. @Will. I wish you good luck with the idea of dropping the overpass interchange at MLK. Some of us tried to get the city/state to do that at Peace and Capital and got nowhere with the idea and it was a much smaller interchange that was ready to be replaced. The MLK bridge has decades of life left in it and I’ll bet you that it isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. As for rerouting the flow at the interchange, that too will likely be a nightmare with the state and city. Not to just throw cold water on the idea but the steps required to happen in order to make that Gateway property work would never happen in time for any possible stadium. It’s just too many dependencies. It’s very sad that the city has essentially, and unnecessarily, bookended its DT core with the interchanges at Peace and MLK. We have to do our best to find ways work with them and go around them. The reality is that the couplet N/S roads that these interchanges support act as primary routes through the core and are treated as corridors that prioritize the automobile. While not perfect for an urban are, they are a far superior solution than a freeway would have been.
    On a side note, what stadium is your model for a compact design? I thought that the Portland one was already quite compact without compromising the size of the soccer pitch. If there’s one smaller, I’d love to play with that one too.

  55. If the city will not budge on blocking the view between the capitol building and the performing arts center then this is a moot point anyway but there is certainly enough room for a soccer stadium in the 2 empty lots and plaza directly to the north of DEC. It would certainly be compact and intimate but those are the best facilities anyway, IMO. The dimensions on the largest FIFA fields is 360 feet by 240 feet. The plot of land I am referring to is 560 x 440. Don’t limit our thinking to what other stadiums would fit in a certain spot. No doubt in my mind we could find a innovative and creative enough architect to design a unique and intimate stadium of 20k. After doing a little bit of research online it actually seems like some MLS fields are actually smaller. FIFA actually allows as small as a 330 x 110 ft. Although not the ideal spot, our downtown options are slim to none. Again, if city and state are not willing to compromise that view, then it’s a moot point anyway.

    If we can’t make that work then heritage park would be our only viable option now that the smoker hollow plan is in place. Always thought that area would have been perfect with the restaurants and bars already in place.

  56. @John532 I’m sorry, I wasn’t very clear with my meaning. When I referenced what Charlotte had done, I just meant they rerouted streets to accommodate the stadium/arena. And I’m hoping Raleigh could do the same, but not necessarily in a manner that brings MLK down to grade. In my mind, I don’t think that needs to happen to make room. Removing that NE ramp is all that’s needed. And why would that be so difficult? You’re literally using a different ramp that already exists and cutting traffic across the median to reach it. All it would take is a new turn lane, a green arrow, and a paved median.

    Check out Columbus, Ohio stadium. I think it’s a little more compact. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to “turn” it in mapfrappe to orient it the right way. But again, modern stadium architecture can accomplish and overcome a lot of obstacles by building up, cantilevering decks to eliminate beams, all kinds of things.

  57. So much talk of a Stadium near downtown,seems good and all that, why not recruit big name corporate tenants into Downtown, like Example Xerox, or American Express, etc.. not in that order, just examples. Soccer is Ok But it shouldn’t be the only thing, why not bring in other sports venues, Even though Raleigh is a College Town for the most part, it shouldn’t be the only thing. Charlotte for one has. 1.Football,Basketball,Hockey,Baseball,and possibly Soccer. Raleigh only has, Hockey and College football and basketball,and baseball. A major league team here in Raleigh would be awesome to have and bring in so much $$$ to the city, I cant see why the city leaders do not want that. ????? Much less the thinking of our city officials. I just wish that the Mayor would open up her mouth and say something rather than keep quiet and do nothing. Only thing so far as of downtown development is John Kane’s project “the Dillon” towers is being built.

  58. @Will – According to google maps walking distance from King’s Motel (next to Cargill) to Marbles museum is 1.2 miles.

    Heritage Park site would be awesome but this location is entirely too political! In my view any viable plan will be one that can be acted on in relatively short order. The MLS will be more inclined to award bids to those with actionable plans not those bogged down in public hearing after public hearing.

    St. Aug’s is an interesting idea and what I have to say about that is that I witnessed the NIMBYs from the Capital Heights neighborhood come out in droves and armed for all out war when the plan for St. Aug’s football stadium was being discussed at CAC meeting.

    I really do believe any site chosen needs have little political resistance if that’s even possible. I’d imagine any serious consideration of Cargill site would be met with stiff opposition by South Park. Just a guess. Perhaps I’m wrong.

  59. Okay….So, I played with Mapfre stadium on mapfrappe and it’s a no-go and I don’t think it’s really smaller than the Portland stadium. It doesn’t fit in many of the preferred locations that we are talking about.
    First the good….
    It does fit on Cargill. It does fit across the street from Cargill at the Keeter Training Center, et al, site. Of course, it does fit in lots of places on the Dix property. It does fit on the Penmarc site. It does fit on St. Aug’s property. It does fit on the Heritage Park site.
    Now the not so good….
    It does not fit on the Gateway site. it doesn’t come close to fitting to the north of the DEC. it doesn’t fit anywhere in the greater Smokey Holllow area or Warehouse District. It’s wider than a standard city block in downtown Raleigh. You’d have to combine four blocks in the downtown grid to make it fit. It wouldn’t take all of four blocks but you’d need four of them to make it work.
    Hilariously, if we blew up the state government, it could fit on the government mall!

  60. I haven’t seen anyone mention the personnel training center on Peace st. as a potential location for a stadium. If it has, then ignore me. It seems like it’s large enough to accommodate a staium, and nearly adjacent to the upcoming Capital blvd improvements. Its proximity to Smokey Hollow would surely interest Kane, one would think.

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