A Walk Around Moore Square East

Talks of development proposals for the properties to the east of Moore Square have been in the works for years. It wasn’t until 2021 that things really started to pick up. In addition, city-owned lots to the south of Moore Square are included in this future development deal.

The city has been acquiring property in this area to kick start a mixed-use development that would supply multiple things including additional affordable housing and more retail spaces, all as a means to infuse pedestrian activity in nearby Moore Square and City Market.

At a November 2022 city council meeting, city staff presented an overview of development proposals for the city-owned properties to the east and south of Moore Square. You can watch the presentation above or on YouTube directly here.

If you look at the slide above, it shows the map with the affected properties. Moore Square East is being called the collection of parcels on the block to the east of Moore Square. Note, that this does not include the entire block but definitely most of them. Moore Square South would predominantly be the parking lots on the eastern side of City Market along Person Street.

Moore Square East is mostly a barren wasteland of parking. The land is a mix of gravel and grass so there’s little asphalt to tear up here. There’s really not much else to say. My unscientific observations as someone who walks, bikes, and drives by this site multiple times a week is that even as parking, it’s underused. Development here is more than ready to go.

The buildings on this block, closer to or facing Moore Square, as of today, include:

  • 313 East Martin – Two-story building, about 4600 square feet, used as office
  • 227 South Person – Former Killo Pest Control building, empty for at least 6 years and counting. (see this 2016 post)
  • 215 South Person – Former Salvation Army building, empty since the new facility opened on Capital Boulevard
  • 306 East Hargett – 100-year-old home that seems to change bar names/concept every year
  • 314 East Hargett – Raleigh Rescue Mission, open and active

The Raleigh Rescue Mission is kind of the key impact here. While the city doesn’t own that site and any development would not have a direct impact, it’s clear that increasing the urban density would have “neighborly impacts”, for lack of a better term.

Jumping over to Moore Square South, we can see lots of surface parking. The lot is also owned by the city and is a primary lot for City Market visitors who drive into downtown.

Closer to Moore Square, the city also owns a former Esso gas station from around 1915. The building has also been used as a dry cleaners in the 1970s and more recently as a horse barn for the Raleigh Police Department. Currently, it is empty and the city wants to encourage an adaptive reuse of the space.

And finally, the city also owns a historic house along East Martin. The Norwood House from the 1870s is currently being used by the parks department as the Moore Square Visitor Center.

So that’s what we’re working with today. Throughout the summer, city staff reviewed nine proposals for either Moore Square South, Moore Square East, or both. Skipping to the good stuff, city staff recommended proposals from Loden Properties and at the same meeting, council voted and approved for city staff to start negotiations with this developer. Final approval will come back to council next year.

I’ll include the slides for the Loden proposal below but the highlights include:

  • 160-190 affordable housing units
  • 400 market rate units
  • 135-room hotel
  • Grocery store
  • New building for the Raleigh Rescue Mission

On the positive side, this proposal is the only one that includes a hotel, the only one that mentions a grocery store, and the only one that mentions the Raleigh Rescue Mission. While some of the other proposals offer more housing units, the Loden proposal seems to have the best mix of uses. It’s also good to see all this proposed under current zoning.

On the down side, Loden and city staff mention that additional property is required in order to deliver all that’s presented. As mentioned earlier, the city doesn’t own all the land to the east of Moore Square so it’s possible that these developments may take longer to come to fruition as Loden would need to try and acquire more nearby property.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, practically anything that builds on top of surface parking is good in my book. There is still one more round of review, possibly in 2023 so this topic isn’t over yet. However, there’s a lot to be excited about here as it shows the big potential of these mostly empty sites.

Pic of the Week

Here’s an east-facing photo of the future apartment building called The Acorn. The project will bring about 100 apartments facing Person Street and is planned to open in Summer 2023. Since construction began, we now know that a Marriott TownePlace Suites hotel will later be built on the site shown in the foreground. The hotel faces Blount Street and will share the parking deck you see on the lower floors in the photo.

The hotel should begin construction in 2023. Check out The Acorn at their site here.

VeLa Longview Tower Planned for Marbles Parking Lot along Morgan Street

Plans came out a few weeks ago about a new 30-story building for the surface parking lot along Morgan Street and the Marbles Kid’s Museum. It’s the triangle-shaped lot where Morgan becomes New Bern Avenue at the intersection with Person Street.

Back in early 2021, the parking lot was rezoned with a height limit of 30-stories. It looks like the developer is planning to max it out with a new tower that will have 373 residential units.

The new tower, called VeLa Longview, will also have ground-floor retail and structured parking. You can see some of the developer’s other projects here.

I’m not exactly sure where the name “Longview” comes from but it does seem to pop up around Raleigh. On the same block is the Vintage Church which was formerly called the Long View Center. Owned by a local real estate developer, he sold it in 2013 to the current church. The same developer, Gordon Smith, helped start the Marbles Kid’s Museum and played a pivotal role in rezoning the parking lot that is now to become VeLa Longview.

Clearly, the Longview name has some significance here with someone involved. I’m going to throw this post up on the Community and see if we can’t figure this out.

Here’s the site as it sits today.

Pic of the Week

The demolition of the warehouses along Hargett and West Street has really picked up. This shot above is from this past weekend, overlooking the site from the outdoor mezzanine at Union Station. It’s a bit surreal how much space there is here and if you have an opportunity to see it this week, I would recommend a walk around the site.

For a recap of what is planned here, see the RUS Bus tagged posts here.

Development Plans Going for 30-stories on Peace and West Street

There certainly are a lot of rezoning requests going on for the downtown area these days. One in particular that I think is interesting to pay attention to is for a collection of properties along the 700 and 800 blocks of North West Street. This is mainly the properties to the east of West Street and north of Peace Street. Raleigh Development Co. has acquired a set of properties here and is requesting a rezoning to increase the maximum height allowed from 12 to 30 stories.

To zoom in, you can see a detailed map of the properties on iMaps here. Right now, a mishmash of warehouse buildings, built throughout the mid-1900s, dot the properties. The buildings also have plenty of surface parking. This is typical on this section of West going all the way up to Wade. Very little sidewalks exist and West really loses that urban feel that it has south of Peace.

Industrial is the theme here on this part of West Street. It’s not really a place to walk to or shop. That of course may change in the near future. To the east of the property is the pigeon house branch creek and there are plans for a future park on the nearby former city parking lots. The city is currently going through the planning process of that park, which is still years away, and you can follow that here as well as watch a cool video about it here.

To the south is Smoky Hollow which probably needs no introduction. Smoky Hollow is adding retail and restaurants as you read this and there is still has an empty property along Peace which may add more development to this area in the future.

This North West Street “wedge” of a property could produce a very interesting building or set of buildings due to the future park nearby and the fact that the land is at a higher elevation compared to the nearby area. The views of downtown should be fantastic on the upper floors.

Discussion on this rezoning will start at the Planning Commission meeting on October 25.

Pic of the Week

The Raleigh Union Station Bus Facility is seeing some movement. There’s a combination of demolition and preservation taking place at the old warehouses along West Street. In the photo above, the metal braces are in place in order to preserve the brick fa├žade as it’ll be incorporated into the new development. This is at the corner of West and Hargett.

Some buildings are coming down, especially the ones facing the railroad tracks. You can see plenty of photos being taken by members of the Community right here and I’m sure there will be more so do follow along.