The Apartment Mid-rise Boom is Fading in Downtown Raleigh

The Dillon Apartments on Hargett Street

It hit me recently during a conversation in a downtown coffee shop that The Metropolitan apartments would have seen residents moving in this month. If you don’t know the history, the project, while under construction, met an unfortunate fate and went up in flames in March of this year.

The developers plan to rebuild and the site is currently being cleared.

If it wasn’t for the fire delaying the delivery of , we could easily see the end to the multi-unit, mid-rise apartment product line in downtown Raleigh. At least for the foreseeable future.

Site of The Metropolitan Apartments fire site.

Site of The Metropolitan Apartments fire site

Barring any new project announcements, the apartment pipeline would have ended with opening in 2018. Taking a look at the latest list of projects released by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, we can see that there are no planned projects similar to these.

To be clear, I’m referring to the 5-7 story, wood-construction buildings with a larger footprint. Typically to make these work, developers have had to acquire multiple properties and combine them.

That’s not to say the residential projects aren’t flowing. The product is just changing.

Smokey Hollow plans to bring 445 residential units in a 12-story building on Peace Street. FNB Tower will mix up office and 247 residential units across 22 stories. 400H will also mix office and 220 units in a 20-story building. Details are still light on 301 Hillsborough but with a similar style to the other projects there’s no reason to guess that more residential units could be included.

That’s 900 units across three projects right there.

Rendering of 400H

Most recent rendering of

The other side of the picture is the rise in townhome projects. These are adding infill to the periphery of downtown. Currently under construction, we have:

115 townhomes are in the works and more are in the planning stages.

Perhaps we’re at a point where combining multiple parcels for large footprint developments isn’t economically feasible for mid-rise buildings. There could be other changes in the market that are affecting this. Downtown could also be much more livable than before, enticing buyers to purchase units than rent.

Maybe there is a hold on projects as plans for a downtown soccer stadium and big infrastructure changes to Capital Boulevard need to pan out for developers to pitch new projects.

You could look at it from a lot of angles. It’s certainly a great topic to discuss.

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Comments

Kudos to you Leo for a great conversation indeed!
As always, thank you for the pictures and thoughts, as I truly hope that downtown Raleigh is going in the aforementioned direction. By the way, do you happen to know if the Link apartments are all open now? Almost 6 months with no real update about reopening of all the streets and renovations of the remaining offices and apartments. I will be glad when the collective “we” are able to move past this terrible event. Anyway, thank you Leo!

There’s also the mysterious project at 615 N Boylan going up. It’s shrouded in secrecy in terms of being able to get any detail information about it. The latest rumor is that the developer is not intending for it to be residential as was submitted to the city, rather it’s intended to be a short term rental which, by the way, isn’t allowed under its zoning. This could be the reason why it’s so secretive. Is this a “get it built and ask for forgiveness” sort of strategy? I think that I made comment about my doubts regarding this projects months and months ago as nothing seemed to add up regarding what was being proposed to the city as a 48 unit (#?) apartment building.
In any case, this too is a 5 story stick built building but on a tiny sliver of land .

Does anyone think that there is much of a chance of the Metropolitan being redesigned and renamed to be more like “400H”? I wonder as Leo’s previous comments have me thinking about whether people want to rent in a building that’s associated with a fire? Maybe the developers need to turn a bigger profit, if so then now is time to build bigger? Just some late night thoughts. 🙂

@Robert, the site for the Metropolitan is zoned for 12 floors and it’s an interesting supposition to consider it going taller in light of the nearby 400H and other recently announced projects. That said, since insurance money is involved, I am not sure how that impacts how that developer moves forward. If I were them and had a second chance at this project, I’d seriously consider maximizing my property.

The Metropolitan site is a nice little hill/eminence and a taller building would have some nice views. That area has gotten to where it has a nice, almost quiet, yet dense, residential quilt to it…perhaps a giant glassy office building isn’t great now, but another big brick 8-15 story residential building would be cool, or perhaps something super modern, with huge windows and stuff, to sell that 360 view, would be a seller there. Hobgood could certainly come up with a wow structure that would work there.

What’s the latest with the redevelopment of the N&O site? I feel like it’s been nothing but crickets since the sale of the property.

Paul, I’m like 99% sure that sale fell through because the proposed buyer couldn’t come up with an adequate space to relocate the N&O staff to. The article I read said a new potential buyer/developer was already in the works but that nothing had been publicly said about who or what the plans might be.

What about the Wintershaven apartments? The property turns over a year from now. I read the new development company plans to renovate them, but that seems like a major overhaul considering the age and layout of the buildings.

Hey gang, found this on my phone. The Metropolitan a week or two before it burned down.

https://ibb.co/mDtVbv

@ bam,
Thank you for the picture! It would be fascinating to take a picture once a year from that same spot until something has actually been built…

A bit silly to build these smaller mid-risers on prime location where you’re almost guaranteed to fill up a high rise (15 floors+) building. Look at SkyHouse. Demand is there.

Fran if the demand was there 401H would be out of the ground already, Edison would have built out its hoped for 43 story buildings, etc etc. Maybe if Amazon shows up, but until then we’re growing at a modest, organic pace downtown, which is 100% fine.

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