Pic of the Week

Believe it or not, hotel construction is taking place in Raleigh. The crane for The Willard hotel was taken down this past weekend. That means this project has topped out.

The Willard actually started before the pandemic hit and based on my expert observational skills past and present, the hotel should be finished later this year.

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!

The Community Celebrates 1 Year of Discussion

It’s been a year since I announced the launch of the DTRaleigh Community and soon after shut down traditional comments on this blog. After 365 days, I couldn’t be happier with the results.

In the past year, downtown enthusiasts have been chatting more and even meeting face-to-face. There’s even more eyes on downtown development as residents report in and others ask questions. Answers are found through crowd-sourcing and the conversation is in-depth and respectful.

There are almost 300 registered users and easily hundreds more who read the public-facing topics. Registrations slowly tick up every few days.

As the sole moderator, I’ve found it easy and after users have gotten used to the software, it’s mostly self-policing with rants and flamewars kept to an almost negligible amount.

If you haven’t signed up, I encourage you to do that and jump in with whatever downtown Raleigh topic that’s on your mind. There’s room to grow and who knows where it will go from here.

On to year 2!

RalCon Serves a 12-Pack of Blogging Years

Raleigh Skyline during the supermoon on March 19, 2011.

Today marks 12 years of downtown Raleigh geeking, blogging, conversations, and meetups.

*Pats self on back*

The 12th year has seen a bit of a different format for the blog as we now have the newly launched Community sitting right beside us.

I always tell people that the reason I started this blog and all the other side projects is to create more conversations about downtown Raleigh. Since readers were chiming in with their own reports and getting to know each other, why not create a platform just for that.

There really is some good conversation over on the Community and I encourage readers to join us over there. The blog will continue on with quick hit photos, project summaries, and a variety of opinion pieces on urban Raleigh. However, if you want to really dive in to the Raleigh weeds, check that one out.

It’s also time for me to use this opportunity to remind folks that while passion runs these sites, there is always an opportunity for you to chip in. I run a lean setup here so dollars can make a difference in helping me out.

Donate to the Blog

Two ways to contribute:

  • Paypal – Click Here
  • Venmo – username: @dtraleigh

Thanks to the many folks who have contributed so far. I appreciate th support.

On to lucky 13.

Pic of the Week

There has been a lot of change along Peace Street this year and Phase 1 of Kane Realty’s development along Peace, as well as Harrington and West Streets, is really starting to take shape.

The apartment building at Peace and West is close to topping out and siding is already starting to go up. The parking deck behind this tower is catching up also.

There will be plenty to watch here into 2019 as the rest of Smokey Hollow unfolds.

Pic of the Week

Firestone’s downtown Raleigh location has now closed and plans for a hotel are in the works at this location. At this time, the building is being emptied out and no demolition has taken place.

This brings it up to three proposed hotels for this block. The “Firestone hotel” will go here, in the southwest corner of the block. We’ve heard for years about a possible Hilton Garden Inn for the southeast corner but still, nothing has taken place. Last, a hotel was proposed for the northwest corner of the block earlier this year. 

This cluster of hotels would be great to meet the demand in downtown. Let’s hope construction starts soon rather than being the same-old news of proposals that never happen.