Omni Hotel for Site 2 Announced

Video from city council starting with request to approve negotiations with Omni Hotels

It’s all going according to plan.

Straight out of the 2015 Downtown Plan, the southern end of Fayetteville Street, currently being used as surface parking and owned by the city, was to be kept for a major “catalytic” project. In 2015, it was envisioned that a major hotel to serve the convention center and a large corporate relocation would set up on the two sites. Fayetteville Street would then be extended down the middle.

The Covid pandemic delayed things a bit but recently, we’re in the final stages of inking a deal with Omni Hotels to build a high-end hotel at the southern end of Fayetteville Street. You can watch the council presentation (it’s very short) above or on YouTube here.

That’s certainly exciting as a larger hotel, this one would have 500 rooms compared to the Marriott’s 400, should help secure larger conventions. More conventions means more visitor spending in and around downtown Raleigh.

Aerial photo of the hotel site.

The hotel is fantastic news but there’s more here that could possibly show up alongside the hotel, in addition to their own public offerings and ground-floor uses.

As mentioned, Fayetteville Street will be extended one block to the front door of Lichtin Plaza, the front door of our Performing Arts Center. That’s one more block of wide sidewalks, newly planted oaks, and benches for people watching.

What could be more likely now is that empty storefronts nearby become more attractive. I’ve seen restaurant and store spaces in the Residence Inn, the Truist Tower, and Charter Square sit empty for years. I’ve got my fingers crossed that a high-end Omni hotel sparks some real interest in getting those spaces renovated and open for business.

I am also curious as to the impact on the bookings for the performing arts center. Maybe we’ll land more shows, or even “higher caliber” performances (whatever that means), at our theaters including Red Hat Amphitheater.

The city also has plans for a convention center expansion, which I’ll save for another post, but there’s a lot of secondary effects for downtown that this project potentially brings. And we still have the eastern site for a future large project!

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