A Walk Down South West Street

Looking South down South West Street.

Looking South down South West Street. January 2018.

As a compliment to a 2016 post on North West Street, today I wanted to take a look down South West Street. West Street through downtown is becoming an important corridor and from one end to the other, there are projects taking place that may make it a pretty desirable street in the future.

In case you weren’t aware, the directional prefixes for streets running north and south start at Hillsborough Street (west of the Capitol) and New Bern Avenue. (East of the Capitol) Hence, we start our walk at Hillsborough Street.

New developments and businesses are great but we always have to give a nod to the old favorites that have been threw a lot. I want to give a quick shout out to The Roast Grill, having been at this spot on 7 South West Street since 1940.

Photo of The Roast Grill.

The Roast Grill, open since 1940.

Will they make it to a hundred years? Time will tell but I certainly am pulling for them. The TBJ has an article (subscription required) that suggests they aren’t selling out. However, the pressure may rise as nearby developments take shape.

Heading towards the 100 block of South West brings us to the Morgan Street Food Hall. Food halls are a trend that’s happening around the country and Morgan Street will be our first (first, right?) food hall in recent memory. Plan for them to open this Spring.

Construction continues on Morgan Street Food Hall

Construction continues on Morgan Street Food Hall. January 2018.

Citrix employees should be food connoisseurs after that place opens.

The food hall will also get a nice infusion of nearby residents from the residential portion of The Dillon. Residents should be moving in this year and the developer has already landed a few restaurants and retail for the ground-floor spaces. Announced so far, we have:

And there’s plenty of space for more.

The residential units of The Dillon on South down South West Street.

The residential units of The Dillon on South down South West Street. January 2018.

As you walk by the residential units of The Dillon along the 200 block, there’s a sharp contrast between the life that will soon pop here and the still empty warehouse building on the west side. Plans have seemed to come and go for this huge warehouse.

Another Citrix-like rehab could be a decent proposal for this site as it has a large-footprint but hopefully a more mixed-use repurpose can be done. At this time, no plans have been announced.

The office portion of The Dillon.

Looking up at the office spaces at The Dillon. January 2018.

The end of the block approaches the office tower portion of The Dillon and Raleigh Union Station.

West and Martin Street will be a cool intersection I think. The Dillon’s 18 floors will draw activity here during the work days and the retail spaces, CAM, and Union Station will fill in the off hours a bit. I think it’ll feel lively and offer great views towards the downtown core.

Some warehouses nearby are also getting some renovation love. Father and Son’s newest location, the former Flanders Gallery, and the next-door neighbor have visible signs of upkeep.

Union Station is set to open early this year and I think you’ll see a small uptick in visitors as people from all over will come down to check it out. I remember when Fayetteville Street first opened in 2007 and on the first Sunday night after opening (when everything was closed) the street was jammed with cars filled with curiosity.

I think the same thing will happen this year.

Looking at Raleigh Union Station from West Street

Looking at Raleigh Union Station from West Street. January 2018.

Renovated warehouse along West Street.

Renovated warehouses along West Street. January 2018.

New train platform that will serve Raleigh Union Station

New train platform that will serve Raleigh Union Station. January 2018.

At this point, West Street ends but my walk does not.

The city is studying plans to make West Street tunnel beneath the train tracks and connect to itself at Cabarrus Street. The street currently goes below the tracks and turns into the Union Station parking lot so some of the work is already done.

Looking at Raleigh Union Station and The Dillon over West Street

Looking at Raleigh Union Station and The Dillon over West Street. January 2018. Click for larger.

Next to Raleigh Station, you can see how the grid is still aligned and the West Street tunnel would make the grid connect.

West Street across the train tracks

West Street across the train tracks

At Cabarrus, there is the old Raleigh Station, waiting to be demolished sometime this year. The future of this property is still up in the air as Amtrak services and offices will relocate into Union Station.

The 500 block of South West transitions us from the warehouse district into a more residential area.

Condos are planned at the corner of West and Lenoir. The Fairweather plans 45-units in a five-story, modern building. Construction hasn’t started just yet but the announcement of the project claims an early 2019 opening.

Worth mentioning again, one Raleighite has an idea to save two houses on this block of West. When pitched at a city council meeting in December, the idea didn’t fly with some councilors due to the fact that he sits on the city’s planning commission.

Old homes along West Street, planned for demolition.

Old homes along West Street, planned for demolition.

There is a risk of losing these homes that well represent Raleigh’s former Fourth Ward neighborhood, and in addition a plan to offer some affordable housing unless something happens in the near future. Jump back to the full story on this here.

At the corner of West and Lenoir, across from the future Fairweather project, is an old gas station that is planned to be renovated for a restaurant. No work seems to be taking place on the exterior at the moment so perhaps it’s all inside work right now.

Service station with plans for a restaurant.

Service station with plans for a restaurant at the corner of Lenoir and West Streets. January 2018.

Along the 600 block of West, the townhomes called West + Lenoir are wrapping up. These are some of the earliest townhomes to be completed in this area as nearby Fourth Ward and 611 West South have not really begun yet.

West + Lenoir Townhomes

West + Lenoir townhomes. January 2018.

West Street ends at South Street and so does our walk.

Along South, more demolition and construction is taking place as the area turns over. The South Street Market was just recently demolished and the storage facility has recently topped out.

Click here to view the map on Google.

Now that we’re familiar with West Street, I’d like to zoom out a bit. Above is a map of South West Street with highlighted locations from this post. In my opinion, the momentum behind Dix Park and downtown Raleigh put the affordable housing units of Heritage Park in the crosshairs.

I just can’t imagine the investment of over $10 million for a West Street tunnel, “bridging” just two blocks into downtown, is worth it if there was not some other driving force behind it.

When you look at it on a map, there’s no denying the temptation to push West further south, maybe even trying to connect it to Lake Wheeler. That would be a great downtown connection to Dix Park. With current politics, pushing aside Heritage Park wouldn’t be popular. However, from a strictly planning point-of-view, it’s worth a look.

I’m not advocating it. I do think there might be plans for a major road shakeup in this area in the next 3-5 years.

The end of South West Street at South Street.

The end of South West Street at South Street. January 2018.

Either way, West Street will continue to grow and play an important role for downtown in the coming years.

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  1. Wow, Leo! I really enjoyed reading this and seeing all the pictures! I think I might take a walk there myself this weekend. Very interesting developments, and I like the perspective on all of the projects fitting into a larger transformation. Something I noticed looking at the street view and satellite view on Google Maps at the current “end” of West St by CAM (besides the obvious changes to the street, the Dillon, and Union Station): what was formerly a rundown white building next to CAM appears to have been rehabbed with full red brick on all sides. Not sure what is going in here, but that whole area seems to have been fixed up when they made the tunnel. I definitely want to check that out too. Thanks for the great article!

  2. Isn’t Father&Son also opening up by Union Station too? It’s going to be fun intersection in the very near future.

  3. Awesome write up. Oddly enough I was walking up this street today. Had a few hot dogs at Roast Grill then proceeded to check out Morgan Street Food Hall. Amazing work they have done with the interior space, but there is a long way to go before food is served. Also interested to see how the “West St. Cycle Track” changes this area, and how it will cross Hillsborough St. safely.

    Lots of construction in either direction it’s incredible!

  4. Jeff are you sure you’re not looking at just the CAM building itself? All the white buildings on the west side of West street, are still white. HQ Raleigh also tore down two warehouses behind CAM, which are still visible on the streetview (One with amazing corbled brick gable ends…terrible move IMO)…
    Of note to me, is the current end of West St, at Union Station, has an obvious stub-end for the future West Street connection under the tracks.

  5. Mark, you may be right. I’m honestly not sure. Im planning to check it out tomorrow morning when I take a walk and have breakfast downtown. I can report back lol

  6. Leo, I’m sorry you missed 304-310 S West Street. The owners is completing renovations to three buildings that will house offices, event space and a local craft beer space with out door dining. This will be beside Father and Son. The owner has preserved these old buildings built in the very early 1900’s. Please stop by next time you’re down there or I can meet you and show you around. These three buildings are truly being preserved.

  7. Reid, I did notice the renovation work. Thanks for calling me out. Let me provide an update soon as I feel I missed including it. Thanks again and I’ll take you up on that offer!

  8. That tree all the way at the end of West in the first photo would be pretty cool if lit up during Christmas..

    Seems like that protrusion from the side of Union Station is neat, does it allow you to look North/South on West or to see trans arriving and leaving from above.

    Clever and nice looking design.

  9. Hey all. I added a small update to the post with a photo of the warehouses next to Union Station. As Father and Son closes shop on their Hargett Street location this weekend, above is their next home. The warehouses look to be getting renovated also which is great to see.

  10. Does anyone have any idea what restaurant is going in at West and Lenoir? That’s a James Goodnight project, who is involved in the brewery bhavana brewhouse space. I imagine something delicious will end up there.

  11. I appreciate these walks through Raleigh as I sit at my desk several states away.

    I will be looking forward to how Heritage Park comes up in relation to strengthening connections between Dix Park and Downtown. A well designed connection between Lake Wheeler/S. Saunders and South West Street makes a lot of sense. The interchange between MLK/Western and Dawson/McDowell has also come up and any changes would have a significant impact on the development potential of this area.

    Raleigh should leverage this land to maintain affordability near Downtown at a variety of price points (not just at the highest).

  12. Re: 200 S. West St: This site will be the location of the Bus Terminal that will compliment Union Station. It’s currently in the design phase right now which is being funded by the Wake Transit Tax. The idea is that once it’s finished, it’ll be a mixed use development with covered space for around a half dozen buses. Some bus routes may terminate there instead of GoRaleigh Station, some routes might serve both but either way, it’ll be a great multi-modal connection and be connected to Union Station proper via the plaza. It’s mentioned in this N&O article from last summer: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article149587754.html

  13. ^Dang. The warehouse that houses Five Star restaurant, one of the coolest restaurant spaces in Raleigh IMO. The warehouse district will have a hard time justifying it’s name if we tear down all the old warehouses and build glass and steel buildings in their place…

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