Posts by Leo Suarez

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Pic of the Week

Smoky Hollow is looking pretty nice these days. With some gorgeous May weather, the building at the corner of Peace and West Streets, Peace Apartments, looks good from the top of the Capital Boulevard bridge.

If not already, residents will be moving in to Peace soon. Work on the Publix on the bottom floor continues as well. There’s no firm opening date for the grocery store yet.

A Walk Around Bloc 83

Hillsborough Street is a hot zone of construction right now. Since One Glenwood opened in early 2019, the twin tower right next door has been going up without missing a step.

The whole project, Bloc 83, is a mixed-use development with office towers over retail plus the newly opened Origin Hotel along the intersection of Morgan and Glenwood Avenue. A new parking deck is being constructed along Boylan as well.

Bloc 83 is the main stage of the area now with the two towers acting as the hub of activity. Ground-floor retail mostly wraps these towers and the space between will act like a courtyard for future outdoor events.

To support it all, the Origin Hotel is now open along Morgan Street. In addition to the parking deck built for the hotel, a second is being put together along Hillsborough Street. I can’t help but prejudge the glut of parking being built here but these seem to be the times we live in.

Once completed, this should be a nice injection of office workers to Glenwood South. I’m interested to see how the courtyard can be used for events, something this area doesn’t do too often.

I feel like with a larger hub at this end of Glenwood, Glenwood South may have the epicenter that the nightlife strip was lacking in the past. Everything should be wrapped up sometime in 2021.

We’re following Bloc 83 like a hawk over on the Community. Join us!

A Walk Around The Creamery block in Glenwood South

In March of this year, New York City-based Turnbridge Equities bought some property in Glenwood South, the key building being The Creamery on the 400 block. While plans haven’t been submitted, renovations to the Creamery and development of the surface parking lots nearby are planned.

This map from Google, with my edits, show the properties involved in the sale.

The Creamery building is on the National Register of Historic Places and the latest plans state that they intend to preserve it as part of the new development. The more modern addition, the apartments and retail spaces, will most likely be torn down.

There’s plenty of surface parking on this block and it is likely that the developers plan to submit a rezoning for larger buildings here.

The brick, one-story buildings on the corner of Glenwood and North Street would also likely come down.

The site is almost 2.4 acres and if the Creamery is kept, which is great, I would expect some pretty tall buildings around it. The sale of the land was for $34.7 million and it’s possible the developers will go for the highest rezoning allowed, the 40-story max height.

What is desperately missing from Glenwood South is daytime activity from office workers and this site could inject thousands of daytime workers with a few office towers.

It is also located very close to a future bus-rapid transit line so I’m hoping a mammoth parking deck can be avoided but that’s how things are these days. Parking has been a sore point for Glenwood South businesses so maybe getting a large one here for daytime office workers and night life could be beneficial for this dense business area.

No plans for a rezoning have been submitted so we’ll wait and see how that progresses with respect to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic emergency.

Pic of the Week

More demolition is taking place in downtown Raleigh. This time, it’s along Dawson Street on the Caswell Square block.

The century-old, state-owned buildings, the biggest being a former heating plant for the state government complex, had interest from a developer but the Council of State did not approve selling to a private entity.

At this time, there are no plans for the land and there have been no released master plans for the Caswell Square block. I feel it’s a shame to see more Raleigh-history demolished, especially when there was interest for renovation. At the same time though, I’m not sure about selling the land for private use.

The state government is probably the worst landlord in Raleigh so behavior like this is not surprising.

You can revisit Caswell Square on this December 2016 blog post.

Checking out the Recent Demolition work Near Nash Square

The block to the south of Nash Square, think Whiskey Kitchen, The Berkeley Cafe, and the former Firestone Auto, is looking a bit more airy these days. Bloc 122 (for the history buffs out there) has had plans for a pair of hotels in the works for awhile and demolition of the existing buildings look nearly complete.

Shown above is the southeast corner of Martin and Dawson Streets. The former buildings have been leveled and are now being shoveled away.

Past submitted plans suggest a nine-story hotel with outdoor terrace on the fourth floor. There haven’t been any announcements as to which hotel brand the building may be.

On the opposite corner of the block, the northwest corner of Davie and McDowell Streets has also been cleared out. Here, we’ve seen multiple renderings for a hotel and maybe that project will finally start in the near future.

You can jump back here to review the latest on this but the latest plans were for a 14-story hotel. This project has been around for over five years so maybe, just maybe it’ll start soon. The brands for this hotel were to be a Hilton Garden Inn & Homewood Suites.

And while not quite demolition related, I wanted to throw up more photos of this block. As the former Firestone Auto has closed up, it’s left a little bit of a hole here especially with the removal of that classic sign.

We’re tracking these developments on the Community so follow along if you want to join in on the discussion.

A Walk Around Chavis Park

In case you’ve missed it, a big piece of Chavis Park is getting a complete overhaul and there’s plenty to spy over the construction fencing these days. While you can’t exactly walk around the construction due to the creek, you can easily get a sense of how much is being worked on.

Some quick history, Chavis Park is being renovated with money from a previous parks bond. The scope includes:

  • Building a new gym
  • Building a new community center
  • Building a new central plaza with splash pad
  • Rebuilding the playground area
  • Renovating the original carousel house

During this phase (more construction phases to come in the future) the former splash pad and outdoor pool have been removed but a future aquatics center is planned.

Below is the front of the new community center as seen standing right next to the existing carousel house. The rendering and aerial shot come from the city’s website on the project.

Progress as of February 2020

The old playground is gone and the area seems to be used to hold equipment for now. Same goes for the parking lot.

The former carousel house has also been emptied out. Renovation work was much needed on this structure.

It’s been pretty obvious if you follow the news the Dix Park gets a lot of attention and people want to find ways to connect downtown Raleigh to Dix Park. They often overlook the immediate availability and access that Chavis has offered for years.

With a new community center, gym, plaza, and playground for kids, Chavis delivers that community space in the near future as Dix goes on its decades-long journey to become a destination park. It’s a perfect compliment to having spaces for all in and around downtown Raleigh.

Phase 1 construction is planned to complete in Spring 2021. Phase 2 funding is actually tentatively planned for a park bond this year.