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.