State of Downtown Raleigh 2018: Highlights Part 1

Aerial view of downtown Raleigh

Every Spring, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance releases their “State of” report and it’s full of data goodness about our city’s core. If you want to dive into it, go here.

Having seen a few of these, there are some stats that I go for each year and I wanted to put them down here for Part 1.

Employment

Government everywhere.

We’re still a government town and the figure below shows the latest breakdown of employment by sector.

Employment by Sector - State of downtown Raleigh 2018

Downtown Raleigh has the densest office market in the Triangle. The count of urban workers is now at 47,000 and is projected to be at 56,500 by 2030.

Compared to last year:

  • Government went up 1%
  • Tech is up almost 2%
  • Accomodation and Food Services is up 1%

The rest more or less went down a percentage point.

Population

8,500.

There are now 8,500 residents living in downtown Raleigh and we’re projected to hit 10,000 by 2022. The occupancy rate is also at 95%, up one over last year so we’re ready to absorb more units.

Population Highlights - State of downtown Raleigh 2018

List of Projects

And finally, here’s the big list of developments from the report showing completed, under construction, and planned projects in downtown Raleigh.

List of developments - State of downtown Raleigh 2018

Stats From The State of Downtown Raleigh 2017, Tourism and Retail

Our final “visit” to the 2017 State of Downtown Raleigh report focuses on visitors and retail. Jump back to this tag to review some of the other things discussed from this year’s report.

The above figure shows the top attractions in downtown Raleigh. For years, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) has been at the top of the pack. It doesn’t hurt to have a state-wide draw, putting it in the top visited sites in the entire state.

Tourism in general depends on how you look at things. Since Fayetteville Street opened, 2007, the numbers have gone up by 36%. There seems to be a peak in 2012 with things leveling off more recently.

With the Nature Research Center opening as part of the NCMNS in 2012, that could explain the bump in that year. It may have “cooled off” after opening leading to the decline. In recent years, there hasn’t been any major openings or attractions to really ramp up visitors, ones that count the crowds anyway.

With events growing more and more, and numbers not reported in this figure, that, as well as other factors, may be at play here.

On the retail front, the report states a 28% increase in shops since 2010, most being independently owned.

At 96% local, you won’t see me complaining about a national retailer setting up to create an “anchor” for more increased traffic. I feel we have plenty of room for something bigger to come in and really inject more retail spending in downtown.

There isn’t anything too exciting with these figures but that could change once we hit that magic threshold that enables the big box stores to seriously consider downtown Raleigh.

Stats From The State of Downtown Raleigh 2017, Residents

Residential figures from the State of Downtown Raleigh 2017

Taking a look at more stats from the 2017 State of Downtown Raleigh report, there are a few that cover the residential trends in the area. The graphic above offers some highlights including:

  • 8,200 residents now live in downtown Raleigh
  • Average asking rent is $1425/month in downtown
  • Average asking rent is $1265/month within 2 miles of downtown
  • 7% vacancy rate for multifamily apartment buildings

My take on it is that downtown residential is still in high demand and supply is trying to meet it. There are more units on the way which will help meet that demand and bring more residents to the core. The report states that rents are down 3% compared to 2016 so maybe supply is keeping up to a degree.

Residential figures from the State of Downtown Raleigh 2017

Predictions on when we cross 10,000 residents?

The chart above projects 11,000 residents by 2022. By then, we’ll have the Capital Boulevard bridge work completed and parts of Smokey Hollow finished. If those projects are very successful, more may follow in that area adding to the resident count around 2022.

Residential figures from the State of Downtown Raleigh 2017

The population breakdown by district shows much the same as past years. Glenwood South is the leading home for downtown residents. Recently, Moore Square has had a big infusion of residents with Skyhouse, The Edison, and The Lincoln openings.

I imagine that will continue to be the case between these two areas as the others have less land available for residential. The warehouse district will see an uptick with The Dillon so perhaps this area could have a surge soon.

8,200 residents is still very small compared to the city’s 440,000. We’re talking about 2% of the population. However, in addition to residential projects, the commercial, convention, government, and everything else taking place makes a big impact on the health of our city from a tax point of view.

The revenue generated from downtown projects generate a lot more than those taking place in the suburbs. A dense development needs less stuff from the city; less pipes, less connections, less roads. We therefore get a lot back from it so I like showing this graphic below that a healthy downtown means that the whole city benefits.

Tax figures from the State of Downtown Raleigh 2017

Stats From The State of Downtown Raleigh 2017, Employment

This one I look for every year. I’m interested to see how the makeup of downtown office workers are changing, if at all.

For decades (centuries?), downtown Raleigh has been a government town. In the 2015 report, government workers made up more than half of the downtown workforce. In the 2016 report, the needle moved below 50%.

However, the recent report uses 2014 numbers to show a share of 42%. The graphics are shown above.

The change seems to be a bit dramatic year-to-year but the difference in sources may play a factor. Growth in STEM seems to be the hot selling point these days and the report plays right into Raleigh’s growth in those areas.


Stats From The State of Downtown Raleigh 2017, Developments

Released in April, I’ve finally gotten around to diving into the 2017 State of Downtown Raleigh report for the latest figures and fancy graphs of downtown activity. I’ll spread these out over the next few weeks and share what I think are some of the more interesting and thought-provoking stats.

I’ll start things off with the development list. This includes all under construction, recently completed, and planned developments. Development fans should keep this one close by for reference.

Of course, you can jump into the whole report here.

2017 State of Downtown Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh Employment Breakdown

2016 Downtown Employment By Sector

Last one from the 2016 State of Downtown Raleigh report. Here is the employment breakdown by different sectors. When comparing it to the figure from 2015, there are just a few changes to note:

  • In 2015, government employees made up over half of downtown workers. This year, the amount has fallen below 40%.
  • In 2015, the only other sector above 10% was “Finance and Insurance”. This year, the only one above 10% is “Professional Scientific and Tech Services.” (which was below 10% in 2015)

The 2016 figure doesn’t mention “Finance and Insurance” or it’s lumped into “Miscellaneous.”

The numbers in this sector could be dropping. At the same time, the other sectors may be growing making this particular one seem to shrink.

Raleigh Magazine recently asked, “Is Midtown NC’s New Financial District?

within just two miles you’ll find corporate headquarters, campuses for five major banks plus bank branches for PNC, BB&T and Yadkin Bank.

*Is Midtown NC’s New Financial District? via Raleigh Magazine.

The relocation of Bank of America from downtown Raleigh to North Hills may be a factor in the changing percentages.

Keep in mind that the figures aren’t quantitative but instead show the employment distribution. In my experience, technology companies prefer to cluster and collaborate. I’m not sure if that is the case with the financial sector. I’d welcome anyone with insight into that kind of thing.

If true, then expect the tech companies to attract even more tech companies leading to a rise in this sector in 2017.

2016 Downtown Raleigh Population Numbers

2016 Population Numbers

Here is some more data from the 2016 State of Downtown Raleigh report. This time, about downtown’s population numbers. We’re at an estimated 7,000 residents in the downtown area and projected to cross 10,000 in less than four years.

That’s between 1% and 2% of the overall city population, 3% and 4% if you bump out the boundaries to a mile-radius around the state capitol.

2016 Population Numbers

Glenwood South continues to be the most populated area, adding more units than any other district. However, Moore Square comes in at a close second.

2016 Population Numbers

I imagine next year, the warehouse district will make a big jump with the apartments at The Dillon. Glenwood South will add units from the Greyhound Apartments and Fayetteville Street will gain numbers from the Charter Square North tower.

They also included a map to show the catchment area of this data.

2016 Population Numbers