Pic of the Week

The Saint townhomes under construction. January 2018.

The Saint townhomes are moving right along with the first wave of units topped out. I like to think of this particular property as trying as hard as possible to balance the benefits of both urban and suburban living. They have spacious units but with a great location. Space for two cars but in an entirely walkable neighborhood.

Downtown won’t turn urban overnight but I’d like to think these new developments are moving the needle a few notches in the urban direction when you take in the entire city’s growth direction.

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  1. Oh cars…..I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love them when I need one, or when I’m being lazy. I hate them when they are are so visibly dominant in the built environment when I don’t want to see them. In particular, projects like this with a significant driveway system annoy me. This is especially true when the units themselves are facing that driveway and not facing the city streets. For me, that’s very suburban. I understand that the weird land assemblage forces units off the street, but it still annoys me! Land is expensive downtown; to lose so much of it to driveway alone hurts!

  2. I feel the parking requirement is severely hampering DTR growth. Look at the Dillion. It’s just a parking lot with a few floors of office on top (the apartments are not even on the tower but on l cheap wood frame low-rise buildings). What an eyesore. The future N&O site project will probably be the world’s largest parking lot with a tiny office on top.

  3. If we lose Amazon, it’s brcause of BS development
    like this.
    Put residential with commercial below in towers surrounding
    Dix Park with 40-60 story towers on both sides of street from
    Dix through warehouse to Peace Street, Raleigh,
    do this right or you will NEVER get a REAL HQ in Downtown.
    Get your heads out of your development a_ _es.
    No local developers for HQ2

  4. Sad, but I have to agree about the N&O site. No news yet, but nothing so far in downtown Raleigh to suggest anything different…

  5. I think that’s true yo a certain degree. Has anyone seen any kind of attempt to quantify the affects of minimum parking read?

    I loved the recent downtown hotel study where it made it plain and simple that there was a huge mismatch in parking requirements and downtown hotels. Just not the same as suburban hotels. We got those reqs lowered. What’s next?

  6. @Fran, doesn’t the Dillon also provide parking for Union Station in addition to the apartments and the offices? It might be a bit of an anomaly.
    @Leo, Miami Beach just went through the hotel bed/parking ratio debate a couple of years ago. It’s just stunning how hard it is to make this sort of change, even in a highly walkable place like South Beach. While we were successful in lobbying to cut parking in half for hotel rooms, the chamber was packed with retired people trying to stop the change. It’s like the old guard has cars so ingrained into their heads that they think roads and parking are always the solution. Unfortunately, these old folks seem to be the only ones who have time to get involved politically and show up to council meetings for hours on end.

  7. This is why more and more folks need to show support FOR things. I’m starting to think the whole public input process had a big flaw in that most people who agree are silent. It’s 10x easier to complain than it is to simply make the effort to support something. There has to be a better way.

  8. @Fran – I respectfully disagree with you regarding the Dillon. Yes, I too wish this building could have been taller.. however I believe Kane did a great job. I think the building along with the apartment buildings fit the area quite well. The fact that he kept the existing walls and added brick to the other structures is awesome! He didn’t have do that and could have saved money like all the other builders in the area.. but the fact that he did to keep the character and create something unique.. is what we need more of. The Dillon has already attracted many retailers and restaurants.. I think we have only just begun in this area.

    Outside of the Dillon.. I do agree.. we need other developers to come in! I just recently went to Nashville.. and they have SO much going on. They have tall buildings going up everywhere.. not just tall buildings.. but buildings with design and character. They are turning old buildings in hotels and restaurants.. its amazing. I really hope Raleigh can set higher standards for what we have coming in.

    Side Note: Anyone know of what Raleigh is doing to attract more businesses and restaurant owners? I feel like we only have a handful of restaurant/bar owners in the area that control the city. We can all think of probably 5 people or groups that own 5 or more restaurants/bars in the area. I would love to see some other people come in with new creative spaces. UNLESS.. everyone is fine with a 4th cornerstone (SMH.. why?? do we have a 3rd cornerstone going in??… Is there not anyone else that can bring something else and unique to that space??)

  9. Because the Triangle, as a multi-core metro, is structurally different from a place like Nashville, the challenge & frustration for us is that the core development is not concentrated in just Raleigh. IMO, Raleigh needs to brand itself better nationally to pique the interest of developers and companies. Being shortlisted by Amazon is very nice step in that direction but the city needs to focus on its vibe and experience to throw some fuel on its smoldering development scene. We need public and private leadership that can take some risks and do something really bold and impactful to build on the strong foundation we have today.

  10. @TheNightHawk,

    Well I think 2017 was critical mass for national attention on Raleigh. That and the Amazon spotlight, even if we don’t get Amazon we’re on people’s/developers’ radar now. There’s new developers from California and New York buying up property so I suspect Kaneland will be in for a shake up and given that DTR apartment have very low vacancies–I suspect more Skyhouse-like development in the near future.

    That is of course, until the city council drives everyone away with dumb restrictions like both floor AND height limits and parking requirements. Sorry you can’t build 200 apartment units since half the space has to be for parking and build above this many floors. Literally no other major city besides DC does that, why are we doing it?

  11. Umm, I know that was a bit of an exaggeration, but lots of big cities have height restrictions. San Diego and Boston are both restricted because their airports are very close to their downtowns. And as far as the parking requirements go, I generally think parking requirements are silly, but even without them, people will demand parking be included in most structures for a very long time. A lot of developers actually build MORE than the required number because they see it as something that customers want.

    @Nighthawk, I think you have a good point but let’s not forget that DTR is relatively tiny. The total population in DT proper is like <9,000 people, so we shouldn't be too surprised that a handful of people control a big share of the restaurants. As downtown grows, so will the diversity of restaurant (and other business) owners. I hope…

  12. A dear friend recently opened Bocci trattoria on Hillsborough St. Go support an ‘outsider’ restauranteur !

  13. @Steve

    Raleigh has a height AND max floor restriction and parking minimums. Most cities have height OR floor restrictions. But get this, almost no design requirements so any can look like sick and still get built–as long as they meet the height and floor and parking requirements. The new Residence Inn in DTR is proof of this.

  14. @Steve – I agree.. for me its not so much as height, but holding developers to a higher standard of design and quality. I would be fine with the height restrictions if we weren’t putting in buildings like the new residents inn.. a bland brown stucco box.

    We are at a point where Raleigh can really create something amazing. There are so many spaces right now to build and make Raleigh more dense… so why not have higher standards? Don’t allow certain developers to build unless they are bringing something to the table other than a hotel you would see next to an airport. We don’t need these average to below average buildings taking up all the great real estate. 100 years from now… no one is going to look at the residents inn.. and think to themselves.. thats is nice building. Hopefully these new hotels on Glenwood are what we want them to be.. and not just average or below.

    Raleigh is already such an amazing city with great people and a great location. This is the time we can take it to the next level!

    And anyone else agree… we don’t need another cornerstone?.. Was there not anyone else that could put something in there?

  15. Yes, The Dillon has extra public parking paid for by City for Union Station. Be patient Dillon, Union Station, One & Two Glenwood will cause the land around them to be sold and more restaurants & more 4-6 story buildings (sorry) will show up. 301 & 400 Hillsborough need to get going..

  16. Does everyone know there are six more townhouses going in at the corner of Tucker and St Mary’s? Or am I just oblivious? Anyway, the renderings look kinda neat, I think the front is brick. S-050-17 if anyone is interested.

  17. @Steve, Thanks for sharing. I didn’t know about them. From the elevations, It looks like they are going to be quite large and pricy.

  18. Back to topic! Based on the photo of their progress, I have higher hopes that The Saint units won’t look as dark and dreary as the exterior renderings. I just don’t get it; the interior renderings are really quite nice and then you get to the outside and see what they present to the market looking for million+ dollar buyers. It confounds me how the quality of the exterior renders are nowhere near as good as the interiors.

  19. I’m really confused about 301 & 400 Hillsborough, since they were mentioned. One has a sign but no progress even with demolition. The other doesn’t have any indication it’s ever happening. I’m looking forward to both of these projects for adding some height and for trying the Glenwood, Warehouse, Capital, and Hillsborough districts together. Can anyone provide any updates?

  20. @jeff, I don’t have any specific information, but I have higher hopes for 400 than 301. I have tangential relationships to folks involved in 400 and I don’t hear anything that would lead me to believe that it’s not going to happen.
    I’d love to see 301 get redesigned and, perhaps, trade a lower height tower on the east side with a taller one on the west side of the property. I’d love to see some variation in height in the project to lessen the blockiness of the overall project. Maybe one being 15-18 floors and the other one 25-28 floors. Having a taller tower on the west side of the property would allow both towers to have views toward the very core of the city and add more visual interest to our skyline.

  21. @John532 AMEN!! I hate the megabox that is 301 Hillsborough. A redesign is in order IMHO. There is a lot of potential at this site. This could be a visual centerpiece coming into DRT from both the north AND the south.
    I am still lobbying for the block-sized fountain at the Y where Capital Blvd divides into Dawson and McDowell. A big fountain would be a great welcome into downtown. (Much better than the tired Days Inn…)

  22. 301H is pretty much dead at this point unless Lundy Group hasn’t updated the website or produced additional paperwork in over a year. Maybe they’re waiting for the news about Amazon before they move forward. I’m pretty sure many projects are stalled right now until the Amazon HQ2 ‘ordeal’ is over and they can re-examine their projects. HQ2 not in Raleigh = move forward with mix-use projects, HQ2 in Raleigh, try to sell Amazon DTR space for a tight profit. Glenwood One project looks like metal framing is going up now.

  23. @Jeff & John532-
    I would imagine that 400H is waiting for some preleasing before they can get their construction loan – this is also what took One Glenwood so long to get moving. These projects will always have big announcements with pretty pictures to stir up interest for preleasing way before construction is ever to begin (sometimes construction will never begin).

    The massive box proposed for 301 was likely the developer trying to squeeze as much out of their proforma as possible given the price-point paid for the site. Unfortunately, my guess is that we’ll see this property put back on the market soon – no way can they float that much debt for too long without progressing on development, in addition to their unfortunate shake-up with leadership.

  24. Exploris/City Gateway Project is also ‘delayed’, wish it would be relocated. That location is absolutely prime spot for a stadium or much larger project as its close to rail transportation (future commuter heavy rail). Not a wimpy 10 story tower.

  25. @M, that unfortunately shake-up with leadership was a death of its leader.
    @Fran, that gateway site is possibly big enough for a smallish sporting venue but certainly not large enough for anything significant. PNC’s building footprint won’t even fit on that side, no less any plaza outside. It might make for a nice relocation of RedHat amphitheater when the convention center demands expansion space.

  26. A 32 story 575,000 SF residential tower with 308 apartments and 185 boutique hotel rooms has been announced for North Hills along Six Forks. Construction might start as early as this Spring.

    I realize this news is off-topic but it does support @John532’s observation of the Triangle being a multi-core metro.

    Speaking of our spread-out metro, I found this article supporting case for a suburban HQ2 location interesting. Perhaps RTP has a chance.


  27. City Gateway working out site issues as topo from MLK and railroad make site difficult for high rise.
    @Stew, the NH project is two towers almost next to each other. The second is 22 story.

  28. For 301H, I give my rare enthusiastic support for height….go to 40-50 stories….then preserve the Hicks Mansion, rebuild its destroyed portico, and let that be the social area/clubhouse for the residents and the leasing office. Surround the grounds with pergolas and grills and a small dog park behind/ in the somewhere.
    I can’t help but notice the Saint is stuck at 4 sales, while Hargett Place has sold all but 2 (one buyer bought two unit and combined them into one unit, facing the cemetery)….

  29. So, a million dollars or more for many of these bad boys and no Tyvek house wrap? Doesn’t that usually go on before the windows go in? You want to wrap the Tyvek into the rough openings before the windows go in for fewer seams in the product. Now, I know there’s Tyvek tape for seams but it’s still no replacement for doing it the right way!
    Their website lists all sorts of fancy brands and products going into these homes; wouldn’t they want to protect the walls from leaking?

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