Pic of the Week

The Ware townhomes under construction

These townhouses along Chavis Way are starting to rise up. This project, called The Ware, is located next to Transfer Company, a renovation of Stone’s Warehouse into a food hall and grocery.

In addition to the photo, I have a surround shot embedded below. This is the corner of Chavis Way and Davie Street. If you are reading through email or RSS, click through to the blog to see it.

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I love all these Downtown town and row houses. I honestly wish they would bring these to Downtown Durham as well. Fingers crossed.

And if you go up the block to New Bern, those are even further along.

Though I could make yet another comment about a project’s price point, I’ll refrain. Instead, I’ll make a comment about the sort of townhouse projects in general that we are seeing marketed downtown. It seems to me that the floor stacking of them are the same: Garage+Bonus/Living+Kitchen/Bedrooms. Yawn…..
Especially at these price points, where are the design risks? Why not put the living areas on the top floors with some soaring ceilings, skylights and views? I can imagine a top floor living space with a terrace that has a spiral stair up to a lookout or rooftop deck. What an exciting space that combo would be for entertaining. Alas, no…..
At least The Saint, at their astronomical price point, has some variety in layout with living areas not always directly over the garage level and some even on the top floor. However, when it does, it’s not really offering the buyer all the advantages of having the living area on top.

Agreed, but I’ll be glad when condos make a real comeback.

Anyone aware of any projects coming to downtown that are focused on the future of technology? I’m seeing more and more different cities (such as Boston and Toronto and NYC) creating areas of innovation and technology driven. I think if Raleigh wants a shot of being more of a technology hub on the East, we need to have more of this. With Raleigh currently being so under-developed this is a great opportunity to bring in new, innovative, creative and technology driven structures. ha.. but who am I kidding.. we can’t even get a transportation system outside of buses.

I strongly feel we have all that but it’s not as well marketed and suburban in nature, fragmented so you don’t see it as easily.

@Robert, I’ll be glad when we have some more affordable options being built in the core as well. If developers can’t make “affordable” work, then the product being offered needs to be more varied like some of the co-living options being offered in some other cities where personal space is smaller while more shared resources are available to everyone.
We, as a city, should also re-evaluate the zoning of DT-east land to include taller buildings. Having all of this NX-3 property available DT east for multifamily projects drives unit cost through the roof as land values escalate.
At some point, and if we continue on the path we are on, existing condos that remain much more affordable compared to the new housing will also spike in price if more new “affordable” isn’t offered going forward. As of now, existing condo/TH values aren’t getting out of control like the prices of each subsequent new project delivered.

Nighthawk, can you provide examples of what you mean? I have my own ideas for projects, like say a a row of townhouses with 100% stormwater capture, solar arrays and battery systems, community supercharger and such but you sound like you’re talking about municipality driven showcase stuff I think….?

Clarification on my previous post. I misspoke when I said NX-3. It’s the extensive R10 zoning that’s driving these expensive projects because it limits the land use. I’m presuming that the R10 zoning is intended to keep the affordable housing for the people already living there but it’s having the opposite effect. The reality is, without specific programs and policy, there will not be any affordable housing anywhere near the city core within the next decade.

I also think one of the main things that frustrates me the most is our transportation system. Go to any other major city.. and see the multiple ways transportation is reached. Why is this not the main focus right now?

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sustainable-smart-city-union-point_us_59dfd221e4b0a52aca16a5b4

http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/18/technology/future/google-toronto-sidewalk-labs/index.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/09/how-smart-cities-are-building-the-future.html

@John532

We have some aggressive NIMBY’s that are keeping Downtown Raleigh down. There’s a lot of “F-You! I have mine!” sentiment here. If you want a bigger, healthier downtown you have to attend community meeting and support growth. Right now it’s just retired old folk with nothing better to do controlling Raleigh’s development.

Some of what “The Night Hawk is saying is true, Raleigh is in Much needed Transportation improvements, they can not run on its current GoRaleigh or GoTriangle Bus system at this moment. Increase in night time bus service and weekend service is needed. Instead of waiting 30 to 40 minutes for a bus to arrive at a stop it should be at least every 20 minutes. Along with needed Bus shelters with map location of where a passenger is at and where they need to go. If Raleigh/Durham and the triangle area continues at this rate, it will get much worse. the infrastructure in the triangle is in much needed work. Am I wrong in saying this…..Help me to understand how folks here would rather be in their cars than riding the Buses on any given day of the week.

Fran I don’t think it’s F-you I have mine! It’s more like, hey! I’m right effing here!! Like, don’t build a 30 story building right next to my block of well maintained 3br/2ba 80 year old bungalows! I once went to a special use hearing to speak out against a junk car lot proposed across from my condos. Do you think I was wrong for opposing that? I was 33 at the time, so may or may not have been old in your eyes. You see, speaking out for your own well being doesn’t necessarily make you badly connoted anything. “it’s good for the region! they say. “Density is good!” they say. I get that. But I don’t see why downtown residents, many of whom were here long before anyone gave a rats ass about downtown, have to suffer crap plopped anywhere a developer might want to put something just because every other square foot of the this city is a mismanaged, poorly planned pile of vomited up cul-de-sacs, and strips of shopping centers with their own stop lights. If you spoke out as fervently for good planning everywhere, as you do for piling as much into the only part of the City that ever was sort of properly planned (RR layout and ensuing severed streets notwithstanding….also major arteries dead-ending at the capital is stupid too), I think you’d be on to something.

As stated here as well regarding HQ2. But glad to see Inc puts us in the top 5! This would be huge!

“One minor challenge for this region may be an infrastructure system that isn’t as mature as some larger metros. There is no train system, but the area does boast a robust busing system and a highly-ranked airport.”

https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/amazon-hq2-proposal-deadline-has-arrived-here-are-top-5-contenders.html

https://centrecityraleigh.com/

Not sure if this is new or old but just saw this site for Citu Centre.

It’s good to see those pictures. I do wonder how old that site is? If they could just add about 4-6 more floors on one side would be a visual help imho!

99% sure that is just 301 Hillsborough.

@Robert. I agree, the worst thing about 301 Hillsborough project is the parity in height between the two towers. It just makes the entire project uninteresting.

I think that’s the first Holiday Inn side of the 301 project I’ve seen.

Yeah i thought it was commom knowledge that 301 Hillsborough was called “Centre City.” I am also curious how old that site is. If its new thats a good sign that maybe it will be getting started soon.

I don’t think most of the City of Raleigh official know what they’re doing. This is one of the few cities in the US that has both a floor and height limit–a very low height limit. Meaning that all buildings are going to be boxes of the same height. 400H, 301H/City Centre, Dillion, The future Edison tower, and a few other projects are all going to be the same height and square. Originally doesn’t seem like a concept to Raleigh.

^ Apparently not familiar with ability of developers to apply for rezoning.

Looking at that 301H/City Centre site, at least some of it was uploaded Nov. 2016.

Wow, that picture makes 301 look even uglier than the ones I saw before. Really hope the project gets canceled. I’m not in the mood to have a borg cube sitting in downtown like that.

Hopefully from the North and South views, 301 will have a split in the buildings and appear more like two separate buildings.

Charlotte usa’s MLS bid is dead for the first round. Of course the writer who happens to write for the Charlotte business journal tries to allude to Raleigh’s December bid as being in jeopardy. I swear to god “charlotte USA’” has to be the most insecure town on the planet….

This is a bit outside of our downtown focus area but I recently noticed that site work has begun at 522 Edenton which is lot just west of 10 Arros. According to city case S-028-17 this is a subdivision of the 0.59 ac parcel into 6 lots zoned nx-3-de. Does anyone know what’s planned construction-wise? Looks to be another Five Horizon’s project, same folks who are doing 10 Arros.

Nashville’s proposal sounds impressive!
And Steve Malik’s comments are interesting…
“Stay tuned” we’ll soon have an announcement…?
I am waiting with bated breath. :-)

Stew FWIW (this is quite an aside), I have developed two monikers for downtown…”Downtown Proper” and “Greater Downtown”. The exact limits can be debated of course, but I tend to put them at the cardinal streets with the exception of using Peace as the northern boundary, and “Greater Downtown” being more flexible, but certainly including Glenwood out to say St Marys, Boylan Heights, and the eastern grid out to Swain (all of Oakwood to Boundary/Watauga) and south to MLK including Chavis Park.
Anyway, I pointed out the Edenton/New Bern site clearance over on Urbanplanet and was hopeful those moles would root out a rendering or site plan from somewhere. So far I haven’t seen anything.

Off-topic, but there is a nice article in the N&O about the Wake Transit Plan and when/how you can provide public input.
http://www.newsobserver.com/article180551776.html

Mark, I think in this case, you don’t have much of an argument if you live downtown but try to be up in arms when a taller building is being developed beside of you. I find it hilarious that someone living downtown thinks this is a legitimate argument. If you don’t want a skyscraper blocking your view, then pick one of the other 5000 apartment complexes in the triangle to live.

@Mark, the trouble with your de facto downtown definitions is that East Street extends through single family and historic neighborhoods. Downtown as a commercial district is more heavily weighted toward the west side than the east and a bit more to the north than to the south. Peace to the north isn’t the sort of divider that MLK tends to be on the south but all perimeter areas of DT have their own unique situation and juxtaposition to historic single family residential and all have opportunities to strengthen the DT experience through careful urban amenities integration.
While others see limits to what can be done to DT going forward, I see nothing but continued opportunity at every turn. There are still undeveloped and underdeveloped holes dotting the core and “available” land to implement the sort of amenity rich environment that most of us would like to see. And yes, there’s still room for more towers to broaden and enhance the skyline.
Raleigh’s core doesn’t need to expand ad infinitum, it just needs to be fantastic.

@Mark – I asked a builder acquaintance about 522 Edenton and 6 houses are to be built there best he knows. This isn’t a huge revelation but at least something to chew on.

John, indeed. “downtown proper” is only the commercial core to some people. I allowed for it to encompass the original 1792 grid plus that tad. Perhaps, commercial core is a subset of downtown proper.

Daniel, you’r talking in very vague terms here. You also assume downtown=skyscrapers. Why is that? Like John and I are talking about, maybe the commercial core portion of downtown is the only good place for such buildings. Again…how about answering this question…would you support a skyscraper at say, the SW corner of Jones and Person? It’s now a parking lot, but it would loom over the governor’s mansion, and Gringo, and be adjacent to the Oakwood Historic District? Why not declare that downtown is now actually Quail Ridge Road and lets build rows of glassy office buildings in Quail Ridge shopping center and see how the folks on Quail Ridge Road feel about it. Maybe “downtown” is just a made up word, and the only thing we should worry about is structuring all development in a way that blends and compliments, regardless of where in the City it is. I am sure you think I am a NIMBY, but really I’m not at all….but I do have a problem with crapping out a 50 story building anywhere a developer feels like it. I don’t side with a lot of the NIMBY arguments actually…the guy who didn’t want bars in the Dillon or anything too tall next to the Dawson doesn’t get my sympathy. Bars were adjacent to Dawson when it was built, and the Dawson is a pretty new building…not a part of the long time resident crowd in the peripheral areas I was referring to above…I think 40 stories at 301 Hillsborough and bars in the warehouse district are fine. I don’t think 40 stories next to Oakwood is. (note I don’t live there)

Oh Brother! Our insecure big sister Charlotte is mentioned in a recent Newsweek article detailing 5 of the most bizarre HQ2 bids . Mayor Roberts has apparently declared a new Amazon-themed holiday #CLTisPrime day! She goes on to talk up the accolades of “Charlotte USA”.

lol, ok I’ll bite. I’m perfectly fine with a tower adjacent to Oakwood. Lots of historic low-rise neighborhoods are adjacent to towers and I don’t really see a problem with it. Also, just fyi, the corner you (Mark) mentioned is zoned for 5 stories, so I can’t see the city approving a 40 story structure there.

Since we’re on the subject, the BRT line running along New Bern is intended to stimulate low-rise, mixed-use commercial developments. Aside from the Historic Overlay District, the rest of that corridor is largely zoned NX-3.

Mark, why not have our city leaders come together and designate what “downtown” makes the most sense (I think it’s already established) and let the market takeover. I personally hate having any kind of height limits within our downtown. My point is there are plenty of other very good options for urban living where there are no obscured views because of other buildings. Why get pissy if the one area of our city that can develop vertically actually gets developed vertically? If I’m not mistaken, isn’t our “downtown” proper defined as Peace to the North, St. Marys to the West, MLK to the south and East to the east (with the exception of the Northeast)? If you have a problem with obstructed views, kindly avoid living within these parameters or keep the complaining to a minimum. I’m not saying you specifically btw. The one example that keeps coming to mind was when the residents of the Hue or the building beside it were up in arms over the lot where city centre is supposed to go. Screaming for a 7 floor max. It’s absurd to me, with some many fantastic living options in Raleigh and the triangle for folks to complain about height limits in what our city has defined as our “downtown.”

@Stew….
I couldn’t agree more. The neurosis of Charlotte as evident by Charlotte, USA and (my favorite) “Uptown”. It’s just insufferable and pretentious. On the other hand, “Charlotte, USA” does nothing to clear up the confusion that many still have about it being in South Carolina. But, whatever….

After looking at a map, the block that the NIMBYS were complaining about a 7 story max is 3 blocks from our Main St (Fayetteville). 3 blocks!!!! How absurd is it that someone lives 3 blocks from a city’s main street and wants to try to regulate a building to only 7 stories. This is why we can’t have nice things. I’ll see my way off the soap box now.

@Daniel,
I live in the official DT Element as defined by the city and I did so in order to be a part of the DT experience and leverage it for the lifestyle that I prefer. I also made my decision based on the plans that the city established. Like any buyer, I took everything into consideration based on the information at hand.
My experience as a DT owner is that there’s no teeth to anything that they city has promised me. Yes, there are adjacent properties that are growing taller than I was “promised”. Yes, there is a development across the street that I am hearing will violate the zoning from an occupancy perspective. However, those aren’t the only issues. There’s also a suburban McDonald’s plopped down on a prominent corner along Peace that the city promised would be developed in a pedestrian model. In my opinion, that allowance has killed/slowed the vision of the city in the Peace St. corridor because it set a very suburban tone.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the city needs to stick to its guns on the core values of its vision and make adjustments as necessary and in accordance with the neighbors affected on a case by case basis.
I don’t expect NX3 properties to suddenly get requests for 20 story buildings, but I can see a 5 floor exception. I just don’t see significant departure requests coming before the city. That said, I can imagine DX20 properties going to 25 or 30 floors and I can also imagine DX40 going 50 floors or higher.
IMO, floors and heights should be negotiable within reason but the city should have a core set of values that tie to a vision of how the different parts of DT are experienced at sidewalk level (commercial/mixed-use/entertainment/residential, etc.), and those should not be compromised with suburban model development like that McDonald’s

@John, I see your points. I believe the deeper root problems for the city is self inflicted. We should have never had these ridiculous requirements in our core downtown to begin with. As far as height limits are concerned, less is better. If the city wants height requirements then I would have liked to see them allow unlimited height for Fayetteville Street and 1 block over on either side as long as the utilities are in place to support it. I think the market should determine the development in the very core of our city, not capped by the city. Everywhere else in what the city deems as “downtown” should have the same limit (20, 30, 40) whatever. I can see your point that you buy a place with the understanding there are limits only to have them changed but in order for our city to continue to grow, we have to change the height requirements. I just can’t comprehend how a city the size of Raleigh could have a 7 floor max, 3 blocks from its’ main street. THat’s laughable to me.

Just for me personally, if I’m investing that kindof money in a downtown condo, 3 blocks from the center of downtown, in a lowrise building, I have to be aware that the height requirements for a city the size of Raleigh and growing as fast as it is, are extremely outdated and likely to change. Just too many fantastic options outside of downtown to take that risk if unobstructed views are that important to me.

To help educate… building heights ARE market driven. If a developer can go with 27 floors and its zoned 20 floors, they will submit a rezoning application. I seriously think a lot of yall need to understand these are not “caps” or “limits”. Just starting points for development approvals process. Just rules for which paperwork needs to be submitted based on whether you want to go above or below the zoning. Come on yall.

@Mike, You are correct. The “limits” assure developers that anything proposed within the floor/height/occupancy baseline will be approved. It also sets property values because the seller of the land knows what is allowed to be built and how financially productive that property can be to the next owner. The buyer of said land also knows that it’s in their financial best interest to gain exception if they can to make more money.
That said, I do not think that it’s likely that the city will entertain massive departures from their zoning heights in particular if those properties are in areas that transition to single family neighborhoods and low density multifamily housing.
The very core of downtown has single family residential abutting DT on its east side much more closely than it does on its west side. In other words, Oakwood is a lot closer to the very core than either Boylan Heights or Cameron Park. This is why the transition between the very core and the east side seems so abrupt. As a result, most of the real opportunity for a skyline exists to the core’s west.

@mike – To help educate… *y’all

hehehe

Daniel and Steve, I do appreciate your frankness. I have tried to not bash that opinion….tall buildings in more, not fewer places…like I said I mostly just want to defend other’s right to their opinions on why *not to do so. Some objective arguments can be made on both sides, but mostly it’s subjective. I especially think it’s 100% wrong that some old retired “NIMBY” is the reason downtown isn’t “great”. Total utter BS. Like Mike points out, the office market will find a way to get downtown, and get as tall as it wants, if the demand is there. If anything the NIMBY is likely to increase the demand on another site elsewhere if he/she wins a height restriction in their area. So downtown core/CBD…I want to toss out a thought I think outweighs any of the current discussion…single use parking decks. I want them all gone. They are a worse blight than a parking lot in my eyes. When the office market eventually necessitates the tearing down of them for 40 story towers, downtown, and all its varying corners, will be looking much sharper to me.

I’m hearing that Kane has dropped the name Smokey Hollow for a more generic Peace & West. How boring if this is true.

fyi, to locals, yall is a word and is one word. iphones and northerners add the apostrophe because they assume it is short for “you all”. another pet peeve, how they say barbecue for a grill… or barbecuing for grilling out -the worst!

@Leo, depressing news indeed. Maybe we should be sarcastic and send a letter asking him to rename North Hills as SixForks & LassiterMill?

@Mark,
I agree with basically everything you said. Definitely agree about single use parking decks (and parking lots). Those and other auto-oriented businesses (like tire shops, etc.) don’t really belong downtown. I also agree that floor counts are driven by demand, but I wonder if the height limits discourage architectural features? Or are architectural features reserved for buildings that want to make a splash?

I came across this most excellent article detailing the Triangle’s strength as a tech hub.

http://windowsitpro.com/open-source/raleigh-east-coasts-silicon-valley

Many of the “odds maker” articles I’ve read nary give Raleigh a mention when it comes to HQ2 but I don’t know … after reading the article I can’t help but think that we might actually have a decent shot.

Stew I feel like I i’ve seen 2 or 3 Raleigh but only quickly found this one https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/amazon-hq2-proposal-deadline-has-arrived-here-are-top-5-contenders.html

RE your thought two post up, our office building architecture is definitely at bare minimum most of the time. Dillon and the SECU building are the only ones downtown that make much impression at all. Hearst in Charlotte is still my favorite tall building in the State followed closely by BB&T in Winston (leaving out gilded age stuff as to me those all are better than any modern thing)

Does anyone have any tangible evidence that the City Centre project is moving forward? The City Centre website hasn’t been updated since December 2016 and City of Raleigh development sites tells the same tale–there’s been no project changes since last year and the company site does not list the City Centre as one of its projects. 400H across the street is breaking ground in February but City Centre is as good as dead unless someone proves me wrong. The Edison office in front of the SkyHouse is stalled as well.

Fran: Last I heard, City Centre was held back by the Appearance Committee in the City’s Planning Dept. or something like that.
I haven’t heard of 400H breaking ground in February. Where did you get that information? The FNB Tower (500 Fayetteville) is supposed to start around that time as well.

Jack, I read February as a possible start date for 400H in an older N&O article (maybe six months ago) but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’m wondering what happened to the HGI. Isn’t that plan about 3 years old now?

Mike, these “starting points” encourage developers to build at that height to avoid the process of getting something taller approved. All I’m saying is that the limits the city set in place is extremely outdated for a growing downtown. If you want limits as a “starting point” then make them higher. And the origin of this argument was that residents who choose to live downtown shouldn’t get their drawers in a wad when taller development occurs.

A little off the subject, but I was driving down Peace this weekend and noticed heavy equipment excavating Pigeon House Branch on the north side of Peace. Does that mean they’re daylighting it?

Will, I believe the Devereaux Meadows Park (I love the name) project does involve stream restoration and daylighting.

Based on the plans posted, I’d guess it’s just a simple rebuilding of the culvert under Peace. My dream would have been to raise Peace up 6-8 feet to the same level as a lowered Capital Blvd so they are at the same grade, and the new greenway could pass under the raised Peace and wrap around Smokey Hollow (or west at peace it’s called now) all the way around to across West from the old Ornamentea space. Then the Greenway would actually enter the downtown grid of streets, we get the at grade Capital/Peace that Leo lobbied for and thus a larger proper downtown fabric (i.e., no interchange at all).

A raised Peace with Greenway under it would resemble something more like say, Leadmine Creek under Spring Forest, for folks that have been north of Shelly on the greenway.

@Leo, yes the name is changing from Smokey Hollow which I think is big mistake but that is John Kane’s decision. I prefer the history of the area over any image issues related to the fire at the Metropolitan. Once the Metro is rebuilt, few will remember the fire.

@Fran & Jack, I hear that City Centre is wrapping up funding & 400H is proceeding. Both sites have not moved past preliminary plans so they are months from starting as concurrent plans are needed before building permits can be issued. They are reluctant to fund proceeding before the $$ is lined up. Both sites are zoned for planned building height so no rezoning which takes time due to public meetings.

N&O confirmed today Publix will anchor the ground floor retail of Smokey Hollow. Although the article depicts the name as only “Peace”. Which sounds strange.

@Drew, everyone knew that was Publix going in there a year ago! I posted it on this site. Publix won’t release till plans are approved!!!!

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