320 West South Breaks Ground, Sets up Fancy Fences

Ground has been broken at 320 West South Street for 320 West South. The completely unique and originally named apartment tower will bring almost 300 apartments in a stand-alone tower. In addition, ground-floor retail space is planned and the parking deck will be built next door.

If you see in the photo above, the tower will bookend the 300 block of West South Street with the parking deck massaged between the apartment tower and the storage building currently up on South Street. It’s not a bad location especially when you look at a rendering such as this one.

I’m not sure there is a bad view here. I’m really hoping that this is a green or “green” roof there on that parking deck. We’ll get to watch this project rise up throughout the year and next as the tower is planned to open sometime in 2024.

Pic of the Week

It’s all concrete over at 400 Hillsborough. The mixed-use tower is starting to show it’s presence as it rises out of the ground. We’re still 12-18 months out from opening but maybe it’ll top out before the end of the year? Happy new year indeed.

In walking around the area, it reminded me of a 2018 post about South West Street and a 2016 post about North West Street. I have to say that West Street may be a critical street for downtown Raleigh in a few years as new projects have been announced. I’ve added a follow-up post on my to-do list so stay tuned for another walk of West Street.

Pic of the Week

The first concrete walls of the The Acorn apartments are standing up straight along Person Street. The apartment phase of the project is underway with plans for a hotel facing Blount Street to come later. I was walking down Cabarrus Street the other day and found this view to be lovely with the crane swinging back and forth and the skyline in the background.

Pic of the Week

Raleigh Crossing, or more locally called the Pendo tower, is now officially open. Construction began on the building in late 2019 and the ever-expanding, local startup Pendo is the anchor tenant. This tower is part of a multi-phased project for the same block so there is plenty more development coming here in the near future. (hopefully)

This lot has been something that I’ve watched since the beginning of the blog in 2007. I have a post about the original building at 301 Hillsborough being demolished and plans for an even taller building. That never came to be as these things happen sometimes and a surface parking lot has been the holdover ever since.

The grand opening was quite unique as, in addition to the typical speeches and such, a midair performance took place alongside the building. You just got to see it. See the video below.

A Walk Around Nash Square

I have a soft spot for Nash Square. It’s an urban oasis with city views throughout the winter, leafless months but then becomes an umbrella during the warmer months. It’s also where I got married so there’s that.

Nash Square is more of a ceremonial park rather than one for play and big events. The firefighter’s memorial in the center generates a feeling of pause and reflection. Also, I can’t name a better spot for an outdoor lunch on a park bench than here. It’s just lovely.

While Nash Square isn’t changing any time soon, the blocks around it have some big plans or construction underway. Nash Square bridges the Warehouse District with the Fayetteville Street District. There’s plenty of topics to look at here that I had to map it out. (as I do)

Let’s look at the eight blocks around Nash Square in a clockwise order.

Block #1: Raleigh Municipal Block

The municipal block, or city government block, has the current city council chambers and the Raleigh Municipal Building, shown above. It’s more or less the center of the city government offices and there are big plans for a new municipal campus on this block.

A multi-phased project to put larger towers on the site in order to consolidate the offices of our city’s government has been in planning for a few years. This would most likely see the demolition of the building above and the former Police Headquarters, now empty, next door.

I’ll leave it there but will drop this link to the city’s website for more information. The site lists construction starting in “Late 2022/early 2023”. raleighnc.gov/projects/civic-campus

Block #2: AT&T Building

There are no updates on this block. The AT&T building facing the square has a real nice mural but for the most part, this block is business as usual. I don’t expect much from this block with most of it being the AT&T infrastructure building, First Presbyterian Church, and nice, two-story retail buildings dating from the early 1900s.

Block #3: The Nexus

To the east of Nash Square is the former location of the News & Observer. The Nexus was a multi-tower development planned for this sizeable property but the timing may have been unfortunate as the 2019 plans seemed to be put on hold due to the pandemic.

In March 2022, a rezoning request for the same property was approved, to increase the height limits from the current 20 up to the next allowable limit of 40. (see Z-43-2021, pdf link) Perhaps this suggest even grander plans from the developer? We’ll have to wait and see.

Block #4: Wake County Offices

No plans here, just Wake County office buildings including courtrooms and jail spaces as part of the Wake County Justice Center. The latter being a pretty nice building actually. I love those art deco fins lit up at night.

Block #5: Hotels Incoming

To the south of Nash Square, within the sounds and smells of Whiskey Kitchen, there are three lots worth mentioning. The first has a big crane over it today as a dual-brand hotel is coming soon. A Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites hotel is planned to open next year.

On the opposite corner, we have an empty lot for another planned hotel. Demolition of buildings took place in early 2020 and the lot has sat empty ever since. However, a rezoning is in underway for this lot (see Z-12-2022, pdf link) to increase the height limits from the current 20 stories to the next allowable limit of 40. That likely means construction won’t happen this year as new development plans may be in the works.

Finally, the third lot is the former Firestone lot. It too went through a rezoning in 2021 to increase the allowable height from 20 to 40. (see Z-24-2021, pdf link)

Block 6: Warehouse district historic

The block of 300 West Martin Street is the Warehouse District gem. I feel that without it, there’s just no point in using that name anymore. There are no projects underway but another rezoning is worth watching.

Former plans to build a residential tower behind the buildings shown above haven’t materialized. However, rezoning Z-78-2021 (pdf link) asks for more height and includes conditions to keep the buildings above. The developments are more for the surface parking lots behind the old warehouse buildings. This seems like a nice mix of uses so we’ll see how it goes if the rezoning is approved later this year.

Block #7 and #8: Highwoods Bets on Parking

The block to the west of Nash Square is mostly a mish-mash of surface lots and short buildings. From the square, the Park Devereux condos are the standard for park-side views. I love that building. As for the rest of the block, it’s mostly the same as it was ten years ago.

One exception is the demolition of buildings on the northwest corner for a surface parking lot. Highwoods properties owns this lot and as is their style, they love to sit on parking lots in urban areas.

There are other rezoning cases in place but I’ll punt this one to a July 2021 post that covers this piece of the Warehouse District more in depth.

A 2022 Dive Into Seaboard Station

I’m kind of piggybacking off a post from two weeks ago but either way, I decided to dive deeper into Seaboard Station this week. There’s a lot of moving parts there with a project under construction as well as plans making their way through the approval process for more development. Consider this post a quick catch up and overview of the northern side of Downtown Raleigh.

As always, we’re following Seaboard Station in-depth on the Community, thread is here, so lurk as much as you want but all are welcome to join the conversation.

For me, it’s got to start with a map and I’ve doctored up one such map that I think will help show where we’re at here.

It’s also important to list out what we’re talking about as well as what we are NOT talking about. The map above, modified from the Seaboard Station website itself, shows five key components as to the future development of Seaboard Station. Let’s put a chart together.

LocationWhat’s There NowFuture Plans
Block AFormer Sunflower’s location has been demolished. Empty lot todayHotel, Apartments, Retail
Block BCurrently under constructionHotel, Apartments, Retail
Block CRestaurants and Retail including Galatea, Night Kitchen, and Marigold ParlourHotel, Apartments, Retail
Block DRestaurants and Retail including Ace Hardware, O2 Fitness, and Peace ChinaNone
Logan’sLogan’s Garden ShopRezoning request in progress

As of this writing, these are the only properties we’re talking about. What’s NOT included is the single-story retail strip with shops like Mon Macaron, Hunky Dory, and Sola Salon as well as the Shell gas Station that faces Peace Street. There are also some smaller buildings and lots that are either owned by others or next door William Peace University. There are no plans for those properties as of this writing.

Block A

Block A kind of started things off in 2018 after the sale of Seaboard Station from nearby William Peace University to a developer. Plans included a hotel and apartments, which the website still states is the case. Construction hasn’t started on that however as the pandemic of 2020 made new development take a pause. What was a more solid bet, and still is, was housing which made Block B, with plans for only apartments, more attractive.

I’m speculating here but that seems to be what’s happening now. The former location of Sunflower’s was demolished and Block A is basically a storage yard for nearby construction.

Block B

Block B is close to topping out. About 300 apartments with ground-floor retail should open later this year. This is the first development of the new era of Seaboard Station. The units on the east side looking at the university should have a nice view.

Block C and Block D

Block C and D are still in the planning phases. I got nothing on Block D as the attention has mostly gone to the other areas.

Site plans have been submitted (see ASR-0033-2021, pdf link) to the city for Block C showing another apartment over retail building with around 220 units. However, there is still active retail on this block. I’m hoping that spaces in Block B are offered and time is given to the local businesses to move over.

Logan’s Garden Shop

Logan’s has hit the news recently with an announcement of moving their business in the future. This is a “years from now” announcement and no changes will take place soon. However, in the background, the developer has filed for a rezoning. (see Z-5-22, pdf link) The current zoning has a seven-story heigh limit and the owners want to increase that to 20.

The local controversy here is the train depot building that once served the Seaboard rail line. The new development suggests the replacement of this building. However, no site plans have been submitted as the rezoning really dictates what can be built here or not. It’s my understanding that the building has no historic status and therefore can be demolished today, rezoning approval or not.

At the same time though, the building is in great shape from what I can see and would be a nice touch to an area that will mostly feature “by-the-book” 5-over-1 generic buildings.

The Logan’s property is mostly surface lots around the station including the train canopy and yards that currently serve the garden shop. New development would be a significant boost to the area. Building massings, such as the one below, are being worked on but no definitive plans have been put out there.

I tend to take the contrarian route on most “historic preservation” issues. I say we give them all the height allowances with the stipulation that the station must be preserved. At the same time, if hundreds more residential units or office spaces are built at the expense of the station then I won’t cry over that. I see no way Downtown Raleigh loses here.

Seaboard Station, a glorified shopping center really, is going through an urban transition. The residential units are welcome, especially at a time when there’s a housing crunch in Raleigh, and I can’t think of any better way to make urban retail work then to stack hundreds of residents on top and around you. That’s really what the downtown Raleigh of the future looks like to me.

You can also insert a lengthy argument about putting tall buildings around future transit lines here which I’ll save for another day.

Seaboard Station is on the path for more people spaces with less car spaces. I think this future Seaboard is going to look great.

Pic of the Week

The first major building of the future Seaboard Station has really been moving. I believe this is the first residential building for the area in quite awhile, maybe ever. Seaboard Avenue is a mess right now and with future construction planned, might as well get used to it.

More rezoning requests are in the works for the western part of the Seaboard Station area as well so we may have a crane over us for a few years each time you visit Seaboard.