Posts by Leo Suarez

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Pic of the Week

The residential building over at Seaboard Station is starting to rise out of it’s hole along Halifax Street. The underground parking deck should be done (or at least poured) and we will now get to watch the ground-floor amenity and retail space take shape.

This site is just called Block B according to the publicly released plan for the entire area. Block A, at the corner of Halifax and Peace, had plans for a hotel. It’s not surprising that hasn’t started due to the pandemic and uncertainty around future travel. New housing seems to do well in downtown so the additional 180 units would be welcomed.

Plans for New Apartments Land on 501 Hillsborough Street

Site review plans (ASR-0059-2021) dropped onto the city’s website recently for 501 Hillsborough Street. The plans show apartments over ground-floor retail wrapping a parking deck, a common formula we’re seeing these days. Slightly different, different to me anyway, is the fact that the plans show an eight-story building. Most apartment buildings in downtown top out at six or maybe seven if built on a hill.

The architect is Raleigh-based Cline Design. The plans state there will be 233 apartments with a mix of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units. What is typical here is that there are a lot more one-bedroom units planned compared to two and three. (202, 25, 6, respectively)

Ground-floor retail will line Hillsborough essentially replacing the old single-story storefronts that currently line the street today. At first, I wasn’t sure about a parking deck entrance right on Hillsborough but there’s a driveway there today so I guess that isn’t so bad.

The site currently has The Violin Maker, Meg McLaurin, AIA, Flex Nightclub, and along Morgan Street, Wilson’s Outdoor Equipment. There are other spaces that have been empty for some time, at least as long as I have been running this site, but overall, this has been a quieter block on Hillsborough Street.

Apartments should do well as residential capacity is at 95.9% as reported by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance’s Q2 2021 Market Report. (read here) As always, I’m happy to see surface parking lots developed into something more.

Let’s hope the businesses can find new homes if this project actually moves forward but indicators right now look good for it. The only other large apartment building being built right now is over at Seaboard Station and 615 West Peace.

Checking in on West South Street

South Street seems to come in waves here on the blog. This time around, we have a few items to mention as the Western portion of the street has new activity worth mentioning.

First, plans have popped up on the city’s website for a new apartment development. Named 320 West South, 296 apartments are planned for the corner of Dawson and South in a 20-story tower. The new development would be situated right next to the storage building.

The plans show mostly one-bedroom units and ground-floor retail space facing Dawson. Parking entrances would be along Dawson and Lenoir with a bike room on Lenoir. I love that these bike rooms seem to be standard at this point.

The plans also mention 396 parking spaces which comes out to almost 1 per bedroom. (201 1br, 92 2br, 3 3br) One space per bedroom might be the level that the market dictates in Raleigh I feel.

Going west down South Street, there are two renovations worth mentioning.

The old First National Bank is being converted into a craft beer shop and bar appropriately called Vault Craft Beer. The small building holds a little historic significance as Vault’s website states:

Settled between The Raleigh Convention Center and historic Boylan Heights resides a historical building constructed in the late 50’s. Designed by locally famous architect Fred Carter Williams, 518 W. South St was once one of the first ‘drive-thru’ banks in the area and home to First National Bank. The building served the community with streamlined banking for 25 years and our goal is to continue that service to the community with ten of the eighteen taps dedicated to the great beers of North Carolina, all while staying true to the original mid-modern century architecture.

Vault Craft Beer

Last I heard, they were aiming to open this Fall.

Over by Boulted Bread, another renovation is taking place. The future Hartwell building is being upfitted to host a variety of community uses. Plans for the space seems to be fluid and will have a retail section for local makers and artists. The gathering spaces can be rented out and there will be ongoing pop-up events inside and outside.

They have partnered with the Raleigh Night Market if that gives you a sense of items they will feature. Make sure to follow them on Instagram and sign up for their newsletter.

Last, I can’t help but mention The Lynde condos across the street. This development has changed hands and stalled for years and, no surprise, continues to sit empty. No update on this but it’ll definitely be a Pic of the Week once, if, this project ever gets going.

Pic of the Week

A building that probably wants the least amount of news now has a reason for you to look up at it. The AT&T building on McDowell Street will be getting a mural. The infrastructure building, from what I’ve been told, has very few employees in it but lots of telecommunication equipment inside. As for the aesthetically dull outside, you can see it doesn’t contribute much to the landscape.

Make sure to keep checking over the coming weeks as the new mural is painted. Kudos to those behind the project!

Warehouse District Potential Rises With a Pair of Approved Rezonings

I propose we rename the warehouse district to the rezoning district. I’m kidding of course but with a pair of approved rezonings earlier in July of this year plus plenty of cases in the recent past, you can’t deny the potential for multiple new projects adding a lot of new space to the area. It’ll be quite a change!

Approved recently were two cases around the intersection of Hargett and Harrington. Mentioned earlier this year, the “Legends block” was approved for a max-height of 40 stories. Across the street, now a parking lot owned by Highwoods Properties, is another piece of property with a similar 40 story max zoning.

There’s not much else to add about the Legends parcel in that it includes the entire building, front and back bar, and the small parking lot along Harrington. No details as to what is planned have been released. The owners of the property is CityPlat, a local commercial development company.

The owner of Legends was quoted in the News & Observer that the deal here was a positive thing for the business.

“The deal with CityPlat ensures the long-term survival of Legends as an on-going business and an opportunity to collaborate for future development,” said Tim Bivens, one of the club’s owners, in an email. “We are coming up on our 30 year anniversary and plan to be around for another 30.”

Downtown Raleigh LGBTQ club Legends sells property for $4.3 million – link

The Highwoods Property on the other corner was mostly surface parking. The surface parking expanded with some buildings being demolished in February 2020. It’s not even fully paved, a move Highwoods seems to be fond of like their property on the corner of Wilmington and Martin. Similar to Legends, no details on future plans have been announced.

What gets me excited about this potential is the possible future for a nice two-block street of retail and restaurants. 300 and 400 West Hargett could have retail facing each other on both sides of the street on their ground floors. That’s actually quite rare in downtown outside of the Fayetteville Street core and Glenwood South.

Long term, we have planned bus-rapid transit and an already running train station nearby with plans for commuter rail. Office, residential, or even hotel uses could be nicely served by these alternative transit options.

We’ll have to see what’s announced in the future.

The Madison Drops Office and Residential at 600 Glenwood

Rendering by Cline Design

Located at the corner of Johnson and Glenwood are some single-family homes turned bars that pulse with Glenwood South’s nightlife. The properties have slowly been acquired and we now have renderings for a development that will include office space and residential.

The Madison will consist of around 200 apartments and the typical laundry list of amenities that you see with the newer developments like a pool and fitness center. On the same property, 603 Glenwood will have 114,000 square feet of office space. There will be a parking deck as well to handle the residents, office tenants, and interviews mentioned plans for public parking here as well.

The new development does plan to offer ground-floor retail space which I hope fills in quickly as the pedestrian counts are pretty high on this street.

The new development would remove the four 100+ year old homes that are currently operating as bars and a parlor. Nothing has been announced yet whether the homes will be moved but if you ask me, I’d be impressed if someone steps up to save the houses.

I’m ecstatic for more office for Glenwood South as that should add some midday traffic to the area and businesses may start expanding their hours. Smoky Hollow is also adding office space a few blocks away and of course Bloc 83 on the southern end has already been doing this.

If it’s not clear already, Glenwood South is by far the densest residential area in the city. With the addition of office space, it would be a pretty mixed-use area justifying it for future transit improvements and perhaps less need for structured parking, something we don’t see happening anywhere else in Raleigh.

The new development plans to break ground in 2022.

We’re doing T-Shirts! Donate by this Friday to get yours

Things have come together and over on the Community, we’re talking t-shirts. We have a slick design from the 919 Collective and I want to thank them for the contribution. Think MLB Raleigh for an already underway initiative to compare these shirts to. More on them in the future.

Deadline for t-shirt orders is this Friday, July 16 at midnight. Want one? Keep reading.

To get a shirt, simply make a donation here and include a comment with what you need. We’re looking for:

  • Quantity of shirts if you’re ordering more than one
  • Color (Dark grey or Red)
  • Size – see details here
  • Shipping info if needed. Please add $5 to your donation to cover shipping costs.

I’d prefer to hand over the shirts in person at a meetup if possible to keep this as simple as possible but I’ll make every effort that I can to get you your t-shirt once they are in.

Of course, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Donations are going towards covering the t-shirt order as well as supporting this site and the Community.

Chavis Park is Ready to Summer All Over You

Chavis Park had it’s grand opening ceremony on June 12 and the timing couldn’t be better. This is where area kids need to spend their summers as the combination of the big playground and the large splash pad make it necessary for multiple visits when the weather is hot.

If you haven’t been following, the playground, splash pad, and community center was completely rebuilt and is now open to the public. The center includes a gym, walking track, and gymnasium as well as several multi-purpose rooms. There’s a nice second-floor space with a balcony with a great view and the skyline pops over the park edge’s tree canopy.

The historic carousel house was also given a refresh and is now a meeting space. With the existing carousel, playground, and splash pad, this makes Chavis a nice spot for parents to bring kids to spend a few hours on hot days.

There are still more plans for Chavis as the master plan was broken up into multiple phases and this work only covers phase 1. In the future, Chavis may get more outdoor courts, maybe tennis and pickleball, play areas, and an aquatic center.

Plan your visit here.