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.

Taking June Off. See you this Summer.

Just a quick personal update. June is a packed month here at Casa Suarez. All good things so no need to worry. With so many plans on the calendar, I’m just not getting to creating content right now and it’s been awhile since I stepped away for a long time so why not enjoy June before it starts to get real hot out there.

As always, the Community is 100% open so if you want to dive into downtown Raleigh conversations, check it out. See you in July.

Video of the Week

I’m watching my way through this presentation from Bill King, President and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, on the state of downtown, challenges his organization has seen over the past year, and how downtown is coming back as Raleigh gets vaccinated against COVID. My main takeaway is that we are definitely ramping back to pre-pandemic levels as far as food and beverage sales go and pedestrian traffic is ticking up. This is great to see!

Glenwood South is leading the way with weekends being pretty busy. Fayetteville Street is lagging behind as the office crowd has still not quite returned, with around only a quarter of employees being in their offices compared to reports before the pandemic. Surveys and discussions with office managers suggest that office workers will be coming back slowly throughout the Summer and into the Fall. That should help the weekday hours kind of fill in.

It seems very positive and I encourage everyone to listen in.

Pic of the Week

There’s a nice view coming together while heading into downtown Raleigh along Morgan Street. A good amount of glass is being placed up on Raleigh Crossing, downtown’s biggest office project under construction at the moment. The building should be done before the end of the year.

If you haven’t been following, Raleigh Crossing is actually a multi-phased project with other buildings planned on the block. Recently, the TBJ reported that plans have changed and the hotel component has been dropped. A 20-story building for apartments is planned for phase 2.

This makes sense as the future of the hotel market is hard to read. There may be a huge surge in travel demand but how long can that really be sustained? Only time will tell.

14 Years of Ralconography

Movie in City Plaza, July, 2016

What is there to say about year 14? It was mainly during 2020 so there’s that. The grim year of the pandemic.

When I reread my 13th birthday post, I said the following:

In the last few years, I’ve been trying to get in touch with more people, more readers, and bring the conversation about downtown Raleigh into the real world.

Year 14 absolutely did NOT happen in the real world and what I learned most is that my interest and my social life depends on the face-to-face and group meetings I have, planned and unplanned, throughout downtown Raleigh. If you are reading this and I’ve met you at least once in real life, I thank you and want to meet you again after the 2020 pandemic is over.

I enjoy the chatter and banter on the DTRaleigh Community but it just doesn’t quite hit it compared to the in-person meetings at the bar. Discussions over public projects at community meetups aren’t the same online. And Zoom? It’s ok, I guess.

Maybe the kids are rolling their eyes at me but count me still 100% IN for downtown Raleigh and face-to-faces in the future. In fact, I can’t wait to start planning meetups and getting people together again. Maybe even more frequently than before.

My extreme binging of pop culture in 2020 was certainly fun while being indoors most of the time but I’m getting over it. The blog has certainly slowed down as a result of the lack of in-person meetings and inspiration from life chats with people.

This site is only the surface of what’s really going on out there. And I just cover development and some city meetings. There’s a lot going on out there and lots of people to meet.

The 100+ movies I watched and 100 hours of video games may have been a factor as well last year. Had to stay safe, am I right? Remember when we watched movies in City Plaza? (photo above) Nostalgia is so good sometimes.

It was a down year for the blog as content was less frequent on my part. I hope to remedy that with a positive outlook on 2021.

If you share my optimism then I hope you can consider donating to my work. I ask once a year, today only, and anything you can contribute helps.

  • Contribute through Paypal.
  • Find me on Venmo as @DTRaleigh
  • Email me if you have other ideas.

See you in-person soon.

R-Line Rolls Through 2020 With a New Route

Downtown mobility keeps changing. After 10 years of running the same route, the R-Line is running a little differently these days.

GoRaleigh is now running a new route that has the buses going in a two-way direction rather than the loop that was used throughout the 2010s. The new route should deliver faster and easier service.

The R-Line, more or less, services the same areas of downtown going forward with some locations being only a block away. Key highlights include:

  • Using West Street instead of Glenwood should be quicker
  • Service directly to Union Station and Moore Square Station
  • Salisbury and Wilmington Streets also move faster

The green and blue buses, from what I heard, are being repurposed elsewhere in the system and new buses running on compressed natural gas are being used. (shown above)

I think this is a nice change and improvement. Tweaks might be needed as BRT lines come online over the next few years but it’s good to see the system adapting a bit.

See more at GoRaleigh.

Pic of the Week

City Plaza is getting some work done. All the planters have been emptied and currently the fountain is being taken apart. It will be removed entirely with new pavers put in place. The existing planters are undergoing maintenance and new plants will eventually be put in.

There does seem to be a change against fountains over at the city as the fountains in front of the convention center and performing arts center have been drained and filled with plants over the past year or two. I’m not sure if it’s a cost-driven move, green approach, something else or some combination.

Not that any of them were particularly amazing but I’ve always been a fan of water features in a city. Perhaps this will allow for more diverse uses in the future.

Lucky #13. 13 years of downtown Raleigh Blogging

Today marks 13 years of doing this blogging thing. I like to call the art of being a Raleigh Connoisseur , RalConography. That works, right?

In the last few years, I’ve been trying to get in touch with more people, more readers, and bring the conversation about downtown Raleigh into the real world. The audience, you all, have been incredible.

There are still some people that keep in touch, online and offline, that have been around since the beginning, 2007. That slow growth over a long time has led to a strong foundation of community. A huge thanks to those of you out there. I appreciate you sticking with me.

At the same time, it’s just this week that I met new followers. They have either just heard of this blog because they moved to the area or they want to get more engaged. Hat tip to the new folks as well.

I’ll continue to keep the blog rolling with quick hits and photos of what’s going on in downtown Raleigh. The Community has really turned into a deeper dive into Raleigh politics, development, transit, and other cultural topics. The discussion is in-depth and there are some folks that are really making thoughtful and insightful contributions. If you want to go deeper down the DTR rabbit hole, join us.

I try to only ask once a year but I do take donations for my work on the front here as well as the back end to keep these websites rolling. Any contribution would be appreciated. It also goes a long way as a few dollars could support a whole month’s worth of hosting.

This year’s goal is to get at least 13 donations of $13.

Here’s how you can contribute:

  • Contribute through Paypal.
  • Find me on Venmo as @DTRaleigh
  • Email me if you have other ideas.

Last, each year I dive into the photo vault and post an older photo. Above is the steel shell that makes the Nature Research Center’s SECU Daily Planet theater. I remember during its construction that some national blogs joked that Raleigh was building its own Death Star.

It’s Friday so a beer is on order at the end of this day. Cheers!