Posts by Leo Suarez

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Longleaf Hotel Planned for Lane Street


Last December, 2018, the Days Inn on West Lane Street closed. Later, construction fencing went up around the old motor lodge and next-door deli space. A lot of folks took notice and it turns out that local developers have bought the two properties with plans to renovate it all.

Loden Properties plans to create a boutique hotel called The Longleaf Hotel as well as overhauling the former NC Deli into Ish Delicatessen.

The buildings won’t be demolished but the renovation will be pretty deep so I imagine this year we’ll see the lot looking pretty bare. Reports say the job will take around 9 months so hopefully visitors can start booking towards the end of this year.

Google 3D image of West Lane Street. Click for larger.

Looking around the area of West Lane Street, the hotel is a few blocks away from some of downtown’s latest developments but nothing exciting is directly nearby. A great location either way and easy walk to Fayetteville Street and Glenwood South, the new hotel would offer a more authentic Raleigh experience compared to a corporate hotel such as the ones near the convention center.

It would almost be good to review some of the street paint on this block of West Lane Street. The street is incredibly wide for the amount of car traffic and a sidewalk is missing right in front of the hotel.

No sidewalks along West Lane Street. No reason on-street parking wouldn’t work here also.

The grassy, shrubby “arch” to the north of the hotel is owned by the state so I expect nothing to change there.

The cool thing to see with a boutique hotel like this is that it is going after a more local, unique experience, trying to attract travelers who want the “Raleigh experience”. That should present well with Ish Delicatessen next door as it’s being run by Matt Fern, a veteran of the Raleigh food scene.

I’m excited to see how this goes and see some new activity to this area on the weekends.

Pic of the Week

One Glenwood, the first tower of Bloc 83, is really starting to wrap up along Glenwood Avenue. The sidewalks are basically open and the lobbies are mostly finished. All that’s needed is some furniture.

Once the tenants have their spaces ready, the building should really start adding activity to the southern end of Glenwood South. Next to watch is the Origin Hotel right across Morgan Street.

A Walk Around Seaboard Station

In December 2018, it was announced that a developer had been selected to buy parts of Seaboard Station from the owner, William Peace University. Plans for new development are underway including apartments, hotel space, and more retail.

From the press release:

PN Hoffman, the developer of premier urban communities across the Washington Metropolitan Area including the $2.5 billion Washington, DC, waterfront neighborhood The Wharf, along with William Peace University and TradeMark Properties today announced PN Hoffman’s purchase of Seaboard Station in the north end of downtown Raleigh. The expansive $250 million project will be built in three phases and consist of approximately 800,000 square feet of mixed-use space at full build-out.

….

Additional details include:
Approximately 650 Apartments
Approximately 150 Hotel keys
Approximately 90,000 square feet of new retail space and a total of 135,000 SF of retail space at full build-out

see Press Release

With this news, Seaboard Station has the potential to really break out from just a destination but into a district with its own personality. I thought this would be a good time to walk around and grab some photos of the area.

If you are not familiar, Seaboard Station consists of a hodge-podge of brick buildings from the 1950s and 1960s with Peace Street acting like the main “frontage” of the area. In addition to the former railroad station that now houses Logan‘s, a long-running garden shop, the businesses here make up Seaboard Station and are marketed as a destination.

Aerial shot of Seaboard Station from Bing Maps. Click for larger.

With the buildings built slowly over time, it’s doubtful that a master plan for the area ever existed so we have a frankenstein-esque retail area that represents the car-centric era that it was built. With a stagnating downtown in the 60s, you can see that no real urban feel exists in Seaboard Station with the development at that time.

Bolstered by downtown’s growth and surge of new residents in recent history, Seaboard Station has had a big increase in new tenants. Renovations have brought existing spaces to market but no new space has been built.

The one-story buildings dominate the landscape here with streets that are awkward to navigate and parking plentiful. There’s no real public space and even gravel parking lots sit empty giving the area a dull, uninteresting feel at times.

It’s best to just drive in, get what you want and leave.

Plenty of parking at Seaboard Station

The potential here though is that all this space can be used for wide sidewalks and plazas. Building upward is almost mandatory.

Indeed, the new owners have announced that the first phase of the development will include a hotel. Hotel visitors will want to be able to walk to places so anything nearby within Seaboard Station would be highly considered.

In the future, as Peace Street gets its road diet and Smokey Hollow continues to extend Glenwood South closer to Seaboard Station, Peace Street might become a destination street linking both areas together.

We’re following Seaboard Station in-depth over on the Community so come join the conversation.

Warehouse District Residential Tower Planned for Surface Parking Lot

Surface parking behind 307 West Martin Street. December 2018.

Clearscapes is planning a new building near their properties over in the warehouse district. They recently gave a short presentation at a Central CAC meeting about it and while the address of the project includes some of the brick buildings facing Martin Street, the real work will take place on the surface parking lot behind them.

307, 309, 311 and 313 West Martin Street are currently zoned for 5-story development. Clearscapes wants to rezone it for 12 in order to bring a residential tower to the parking lot behind the buildings.

As I shared on the Community, here is my sketch of the project as well as additional photos to help readers understand the location. 

Sketch of the proposed project location.
Brick buildings along West Martin Street
Parking lot behind the 300 block, Martin Street facing buildings.

Clearscapes envisions a 10 to 12-story tower with residential units. The first two floors will be parking however the top floor of the parking is actually at the same level of the lot shown above.

That means the tower’s parking garage will go underground and that can be done more easily due to how this lot sits above street level. You would enter the garage on Commerce Place, a street that is one-level below the current parking lot behind the buildings.

Commerce Place. The Martin Street brick buildings are seen in the left background.

Between the tower and brick buildings along Martin would be a public plaza as a means to tie the tower and warehouse buildings together

Next steps for the project is the rezoning and with Clearscapes’s solid Raleigh reputation, the fact that the Martin Street buildings will be untouched, and only surface parking being removed (private parking by the way) I hope the rezoning goes through smoothly.

Pic of the Week

There has been a lot of change along Peace Street this year and Phase 1 of Kane Realty’s development along Peace, as well as Harrington and West Streets, is really starting to take shape.

The apartment building at Peace and West is close to topping out and siding is already starting to go up. The parking deck behind this tower is catching up also.

There will be plenty to watch here into 2019 as the rest of Smokey Hollow unfolds.

Pic of the Week

Firestone’s downtown Raleigh location has now closed and plans for a hotel are in the works at this location. At this time, the building is being emptied out and no demolition has taken place.

This brings it up to three proposed hotels for this block. The “Firestone hotel” will go here, in the southwest corner of the block. We’ve heard for years about a possible Hilton Garden Inn for the southeast corner but still, nothing has taken place. Last, a hotel was proposed for the northwest corner of the block earlier this year. 

This cluster of hotels would be great to meet the demand in downtown. Let’s hope construction starts soon rather than being the same-old news of proposals that never happen.

Checking in on Moore Square

The Moore Square kiosk under construction. December 2018.

The Moore Square kiosk under construction. December 2018.

As the weather cools down and the leaves start to fall, Moore Square becomes a little clearer to see between the trees and the fencing. I thought it would be a good time to take a walk around the square as we wait for it to reopen sometime early in the new year.

Three major things jump out at as you look around the square. There’s a huge lawn in the middle, the sidewalks are being greatly improved, and the cafe/restroom structure is starting to take shape.

The grass has been put down for the big lawn and the walking paths around it are being put together. The lawn has a slight slope to it which makes it great for laying around or possibly sitting for a small show if a stage is set up at the bottom. This may make the square feel much bigger than it was before.

The Moore Square lawn under construction. December 2018.

The sidewalks have been completely overhauled. The corners of the square are spacious with bulb-out sidewalks The angled-parking that used to be along Martin Street is now gone and the sidewalk is being poured over this, making this end of the square feel much larger. Bulb-outs also exist for some of the crosswalks which makes crossing the street much easier.

New sidewalks around Moore Square. December 2018.

New sidewalks around Moore Square. December 2018.

Through the fence, workers sit for lunch along the new wall seating. The former sidewalk remains as the new sidewalk waits to be poured. December 2018.

The cafe and restrooms are coming together and the faux-stone siding is starting to be installed. The architecture around this should be high-quality and already it looks great. From a distance, it looks like a gathering place that should draw people into the park.

Moore Square cafe being constructed. December 2018.

Moore Square cafe being constructed. December 2018.

It’s exciting to see the square come together and the timing seems good to have it open before Spring 2019. Fingers crossed!