Hard Hat Tour From The Top of the Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown

View from the upcoming rooftop bar at the Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown.

View from the upcoming rooftop bar at the Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown.

A big thanks goes out to Summit Hospitality, a local development group behind the Residence Inn hotel on Salisbury Street, for inviting me along one of their recent hard hat tours of the building. The hotel is nearing completion and should be welcoming guests in June.

View from the upcoming rooftop bar at the Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown.

View from the upcoming rooftop bar at the Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown.

With a contemporary flare, the hotel is not the typical Residence Inn. Included is a rooftop bar that the owners want the locals to embrace as well. Situated on the southeast corner of the building, the outdoor patio overlooks the performing arts center and the lush green tree canopy south of Raleigh. (shown in the two photos above)

Once finished, it should be a draw as it’ll be the highest outdoor bar in downtown Raleigh. The owners are also local conscious rather than make it “hotel bar generico”.

I’m excited but I just can’t help be teased at the view from a top floor corner suite on the northeast corner and think, “Why wasn’t the bar on THIS corner?”

View from a tenth floor suite at the Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown.

View from a tenth floor suite at the Residence Inn Raleigh Downtown.

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  1. Great article Leo, thank you!
    I am sure that it’s all in the cost, but could you imagine dueling bars with dueling views….aka the new home for “Rum Runners”?

  2. The rooftop bar location is an epic mistake. I can’t remember if I talked about it here or on the Triangle’s City-Data forum.

  3. Yeah I am happy for a downtown rooftop bar that isn’t on the 2nd story, but why bother when the view is of not-downtown (i.e. trees and parking lots)?

  4. I agree the bar would be better on the north side… however the view could actually be really nice in 10 years if the Gateway tract is as nice as we hope it will be, the Element and Lincoln Theater Lots get redeveloped, and something is done about those parking lots in front of Memorial Auditorium.

  5. I don’t know that a new hotel should be hoping for a better view from their rooftop bar in 10 years…. Also, apparently the unobstructed view of that “amazing” Memorial Auditorium from Fayetteville St is more important than getting rid of the surface parking on our main street. Not holding my breath for that.

  6. @Jeff – What doesn’t make sense to me, because I can see why you aren’t optimistic about it, is that you would STILL see the grand marble columns of the Mem. Auditorium if those lots were developed separately.

  7. RE the memorial parking lots, myself and one or two others have suggested making the area into a green space or hard-scaped plaza (I’m not opposed to buildings either but I’d want them to be incredible architecture)…not unlike say in front of Philadelphia City hall’s water feature or something with more plants and stuff. Agreed though that a parking lot is the worst possible use for that area.

  8. With high quality architecture in the Lincoln Theatre lot, and the Gateway area, a big public plaza would make this rooftop bar the most scenic spot in the city.

  9. Putting a public plaza where the Memorial Auditorium parking lots are would be fine, as long as it does not resemble that austere, cold, and uninviting space known as City Plaza. Sure, you can cram a lot of people in there for festivals etc., but an opportunity to do something attractive there was missed. Who designed City Plaza anyhow?

  10. This hotel will provide a unique vantage point of the growth I hope to along the Southern Gateway. It will also provide a good place for private parties.

    Maybe all or part of the lots in front of the Memorial Auditorium will become our City Plaza in the future. We can then let Nash and Moore square be less formal ‘neighborhood’ gathering places.

  11. Of course, those two parking lots are among the few properties DT that are zoned DX-40.

  12. John,
    In a perfect world, Wilmington, Salisbury, Dawson and McDowell would all be at least DX – 40. But you make a great point, which is why I think the city has no intention of building a plaza there.

    To be fair though, I really doubt the city will block a 40-story building on any of those streets. As far as I know, the original Edison concept was the only one in downtown’s history and that fell apart for financial reasons.

  13. Seeing more and more political messages painted across the outside of downtown business.

    How does this square with the city sign rules.

    I remember some realtor on Glenwood South having to remove a window sign because it was lighted and too large.

    What gives?

  14. @Steve, even at 40 floors, those possible future buildings would still be shorter compared to PNC. The only way one gets to forty floors and stays under 500′ maximum is to have the majority of the building either residential or hotel where the floor to floor distance is significantly shorter than in a commercial building where a plenum above an acoustical tiled ceiling adds a few more feet per floor.
    I agree that there is no way that the city is going to sacrifice future revenue to create a grand public plaza.

  15. Simply making a Plaza does not activate a space, filling this space as a Plaza would be a complete waste, this space begs for several towers not limited to the current zoning standard.

  16. We’re not likely to get even 40 stories on those properties anytime soon when the new hotel next door didn’t even maximize its 20 floor potential.

  17. That’s exactly right. The lack of height is largely a lack of demand, up to this point.

  18. We would be seeing height if the stuff going up in North Hills went up in downtown instead. Kane wants to build the second tallest building in the city next to his mall though.

    It’s the sort of building that downtown desperately needs and has plenty open lots for.

    I do think that the N&O site will likely host something quite big, along with at least one of the Memorial lots. That’s gonna be a wait though.

  19. The “tower 4” rendering is beautiful and would look amazing somewhere downtown but i dont think it’ll be the cities second tallest. I believe the tallest of the two towers in that rendering is all residential. So though the floor count is similar to PNC it should come out significantly shorter. Might not even quite hit 400ft. Im thinking more like 380ft. Unless anyone has heard otherwise? Is there a start time for that by the way?

  20. @Trent. You are correct. Just floor count alone doesn’t assure it will exceed the heights of of Wells Fargo and BBT downtown.

  21. This is a very NC sort of issue, having developers that love to build towers in the suburbs. Durham’s tallest building is in the suburbs, Greensboro’s tallest building (by floor count) is in the suburbs.

    Raleigh’s had proposals before for a suburban tower, like the Soleil Center. You don’t really see this thing in other cities, except in major-major cities like Atlanta and Houston that have multiple CBDs and skylines.

  22. Edison didn’t “fall through”. It never was. The Sandreuter approach is to draw a picture, market it, and hope you get enough firm commits to finance it. Dillion is going up because Kane can leverage financing off his existing revenue streams and/or put in his own cash.
    To clarify my thought/idea a little better on the Memorial parking lots, I wasn’t thinking “plaza” so much as a greener style artpark ala NCMA-urban-version on a vastly reduced scale. It would be full of wonders and intriguing things that ‘activate’ the area (no offense but that term rings professional ingratiation in my head now…like only a professional planner or architect knows what or how this could possibly work). All I will point out now is that nobody sniffed those lots a decade ago when the City was auctioning the 7 parcels down there and they are not doing any public selling of them now that I am aware of. In my head it seemed like a good welcome mat in front of Memorial, and a decent way to connect Memorial to the corridor ala the other plazas and green spaces along the spine…Capital Square, Halifax Mall, City Plaza and existing Memorial plaza. Zoning aside (you can still go the long route and build 40 elsewhere), by taking these parking lots out of the mix, it increases the chances of that big hulking 40+ building popping up elsewhere downtown in your lifetimes. I will add in closing (Vatnos) downtown certainly does not “desperately need” anyones tall buildings….unless a postcard style office building laden downtown is your particular vision. If we get them, fine. For employers I prefer stuff like what Citrix did. I think what we desperetely need are more storefronts, more residents to support those storefronts (but fewer of the modern megablock stick apartment buildings), commuter rail, lightrail (to support getting in and out of a dense downtown), cars that respect pedestrians and bikes (downtown is still too pro-car)…the worst part of every City I visit is the part where the tallest buildings are. Loading bays, 1000% more traffic, parking decks, 24/7 shadows…it just doesn’t do anything for me. I see your frustration with tall buildings in the ‘burbs….I think you should be concerned more with cities growing in this suburban format…if we had city grid extending out to North Hills, I suspect everyone would be totally happy with some tall buildings out there. It doesn’t have to be all cul-de-sacs and Weston Parkways and Highwoods Blvds around here, and yet it is accepted as de-facto…

  23. @Mark. I totally agree. My vision of the parking lot in front of Memorial is an art park along the lines of Millennium Park in Chicago with amazing art that in and of itself is an attraction. This is where our Plenza so generously donated by Jim Goodman and turned down by our city leaders should have gone. Their mistake was thinking that the “plaza” was something special other than a wide spot in the road. It’s fine for a stage but not for major works of art. That parking lot is the perfect place for an art park that serves as a gathering place, a tourist attraction, and an identifying feature for our city. We have world class curators at the NC Museum of Art who are more than willing to help the city identify major works of art and place them in prominent places. These objects of art are often available for loan or for donation by generous individuals. If the city does not identify this as even a possibility then another huge missed opportunity will occur. I’m all in favor of great new buildings and architecture but downtown Raleigh has a lot of empty parking lots and underutilized blocks for that purpose. The lot in front of Memorial could be a very special defining feature for our downtown.

  24. @vatnos, even with towers in North Hills, they are are still suburban. They are in a giant planned development which has a very car centric transport model bounded by an Interstate, a wide suburban artery and a very low density sfh neighborhood. No matter how much and how tall they build there, they can’t change that context.
    Even if downtown filled each and every available parcel with buildings under 20 stories, its experience will outshine NH all day, every day. Contiguous and densely developed buildings of any height that engage sidewalks and the street network downtown are the key to DTs success far more than the height of those buildings. It’s all about the experience at the pedestrian level.

  25. That view in the last pic will be so different in a few years. I’m predicting that once Dillon and the train station are finished, we will see a boom in downtown development like never before in Raleigh! West street is about to become exactly what the city hoped the re-opened Fayetteville street would be.

  26. @John532 Automobile oriented areas can become walkable even along (formerly) wide suburban arteries. If this were not the case, we would be stuck with a lot of unwalkable areas that would never be able to support the transit investment we are now making across the Triangle. North Hills and Downtown do not have to be in competition. Downtown, North Hills, Hillsborough Street, Cameron Village and any other area of the city can all be successful walkable urban places.

  27. @CX. I agree that N.Hills is not in competition. That is my point of differentiating what’s happening there from what’s is happening downtown. But, make no mistake about it, the retail in N.HIlls is not supported by its local verticality or density. It’s supported by car commuters and that makes it fundamentally different than what’s happening downtown and what will happen in the future. For those who live and work in N.Hills proper, they have the advantage of walking to things within the development itself but that alone doesn’t define the experience. It’s still clogged with cars coming in, cars going out and cars tooling around the parking lots and internal “streets”.

  28. If what has been proposed for North Hills full pans out, with all the additional acreage bought by Kane and other developers, it will be a pretty self sustaining area.

    I have heard rumor that Kane wants to redevelop a lot of the parking lots in the Mall section to be mid-rises with parking below.

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