Posts by Leo Suarez

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Bloc 83 Momentum Continues with New Mixed-Use Projects

The finishing touches were put on the Bloc 83 project earlier this year but the growth around Morgan and Boylan doesn’t seem to be over yet. Two projects worth following are planned along Boylan Avenue between Morgan and Hargett Streets. They both will be bringing more office space, more residential units, and probably just enough parking spaces that FINALLY, we can do away with the complaint that you can’t park in downtown.

First, let’s map it.

Shown in blue are the Bloc 83 projects that are already up and running. These include the office buildings, One Glenwood and Two Hillsborough, the Origin hotel, and two parking decks.

For the future, another office tower is trying to get built at the corner of Morgan and Boylan, shown in red on the map. The rendering at the top of this page is for this project and shows off the 11-story building. To provide even more parking for the building, the red portion on the map to the southeast would add structured parking to an existing surface lot. The building will also provide ground-floor retail space.

Next door, another developer has plans for Bloomsbury, a 135-unit apartment building. This will be at the corner of Hargett and Boylan. Studio, one, and two-bedroom units will be offered over ground-floor retail spaces. The building will be seven stories tall.

The 100 block of South Boylan will feel entirely different after this infusion of mixed-uses. Currently, the eastern side has a few one-story brick warehouses used for retail and two older homes that, to the best of my knowledge, are broken up into a few units. There are no definitive plans of moving the homes, which look great by the way, so let’s hope someone steps up to move them. They would fit in nicely in Boylan Heights.

Construction probably won’t start until 2022.

Video of the Week

This is a bit of a different post this week. Below is a video of a presentation I gave to the downtown Raleigh Rotary Club. After introducing myself, I made a list of 10 interesting things I’ve noticed after blogging for so long. It’s a presentation I need to refine and improve so hopefully putting it out there helps myself for future presentations.

Leo Suarez – Rotary Club Downtown Raleigh – June 2021 from Leo Suarez on Vimeo.

Enjoy the video and email me any feedback.

Pic of the Week

Have you seen the First Citizens Bank building recently on the corner of Martin and Fayetteville? The building was undergoing a renovation for the last year and they really opened that building up. Significantly more windows have been added and the ground-floor lobby has a nice contemporary refresh.

Buildings along Fayetteville Street have been getting modern refreshes lately. This is probably a result of landlords attempting to lure higher paying office tenants as rents are much higher compared to decades ago when they were first built. Constructed in the 1980s One City Plaza was given a new facade and lobby in 2015. The lobby in the Wells Fargo tower, from the early 1990s, was given a refresh in 2019 and 333 Fayetteville from the 1960s is being renovated right now.

Back to First Citizens, here is a photo pre-renovation.

Demolition Underway at 400H Site

This week, the buildings along the 400 block of Hillsborough Street are being demolished to make way for the 400H development. This mixed-use project has been years in the making and you can check out former posts about it here. The new development will include a mix of uses with over 200 apartments, 144,000 square feet of office space, and ground-floor retail.

The building is expected to finish in Fall 2023.

In recent memory, I don’t recall that many occupants for the spaces on this block. There was a small gym and perhaps some offices but the larger space on the northeast corner of Hillsborough and West Street has been empty ever since I’ve started blogging. (since 2007 by the way)

If you like Raleigh history, you may be following Olde Raleigh, and have seen the post of the A&P Supermarket at the same site. From their post:

Pictured is the A&P Supermarket located at the northeast corner of Hillsborough and West Streets c. 1946. This building was constructed around 1929 and later burned in 1952, but the stout stone walls remained intact. Although the building has changed considerably since 1946, you can still see some of the original stonework on the western side.

See the post on Facebook
Photo by Albert Barden. From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC. N.53.15.2412

The photo is from the Albert Barden Collection courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina. You can browse the collection on Flickr.

Pic of the Week

Readers have seen site work taking place at 200 West Davie Street, the location for a long-time planned Hilton Garden Inn hotel. Plans go back to even 2015 but earth is being moved at the site and sidewalk fencing was added about a month ago. I may be stretching a bit but perhaps construction will start on the 13-story, 259 room hotel here, which was covered in this 2017 post.

The hotel amenities also list a rooftop bar and restaurant facing McDowell street. Parking is also included in this project. There’s no indication of ground-floor retail but that’s not surprising as the The L building’s retail across the street has never been 100% full. It would be great for the hotel to support nearby activities such as new retail/restaurants and conventions.

Hopefully the next update is a crane in the air at the site.

Pic of the Week

The Willard hotel, or the AC Hotel, on Glenwood is nearing completion. Sidewalk pavers were being installed this past weekend and the place is nicely lit up at night. You can even make reservations on the Marriott website.

The 146-room hotel is missing it’s name though. “The Willard” must have been a local name for the construction project but Marriott seems to prefer “AC Hotel Raleigh Downtown” going forward. It’s a great location though and I’m sure visitors staying here will have a fun time.

Pic of the Week

Demolition is taking place along the 500 block of west Cabarrus Street. The single-story office buildings that lined the street are now mostly gone. In addition to some extensive utility work on Cabarrus, this will clear the way for a new mixed-use project.

My guess is the residential piece will go up first as that’s the safest bet these days. You can refer to this February 2020 post for more details.

Rendering of the Week

Site plans for RUSBus, or the Raleigh Union Station Bus Facility, have been submitted to the city. Plans show a 34-story residential tower plus a 15-story hotel. The latest rendering, above, shows you an aerial of the site and a concept of what it could look like. As always planned, the towers would be built over a bus station that would connect to nearby Union Station.

We’ve covered the ground floor a bit in a previous post so I won’t get into that today but seeing the towers now is pretty exciting I think. There is an affordability component to the residential units as a means to secure some government funding for the project. A hotel would be great but I wonder if that one will actually happen as you can point to a few cleared sites in downtown with hotels announced but construction yet to take place.

Construction is planned to start in 2022 and my guess would be the residential tower goes up first.