Pic of the Week

Oak City Market House of Fresh

The convenience store king of downtown Raleigh, Taz, has opened up Oak City Market House of Fresh in the Skyhouse tower. The shop is part deli, part grocer with a wide selection of produce, meats, and other essentials. What I like about this one is that the items are packed in there, as an urban store should be.

When you couple this up with DGX Raleigh nearby, you have some pretty convenient options along Blount Street.

A Peek Inside Google Fiber’s New Shop in Glenwood South

Email readers: This blog post has a virtual reality image. Read the post on the blog to see it.

I recently had a meeting that was held over at Google’s new shop on Glenwood and took a VR photo inside the new space for the blog. There’s a lot of hype about this new space with lines around the block to get in on First Fridays, tons of curious visitors, and even some getting their wedding photos taken inside.

Personally, I don’t get the hype but as an event space, it does look quite well done for a store that has no physical products to walk out with.

Dollar General Express Now Open in Downtown Raleigh

Dollar General Express

Email readers: This blog post has a virtual reality image. Read the post on the blog to see it.

A new concept for the company, this store, Dollar General Express, is now open in The Edison Lofts at the corner of Davie and Blount Streets. The store contains more convenience items rather than cheaper home goods like the larger stores. It’s actually a decent convenience store with some grocery items.

High-end, gourmet retail is nice but sometimes, you just need the quick and easy. From a resident’s point-of-view, I welcome the new store and hope it succeeds.

Dollar General Express

The Citrix Opening and More Warehouse District Retail Space

The Citrix Raleigh site at the corner of Hargett and West Streets

Over the last few months, the polish has wrapped up on the new Citrix office site along West Street and today employees are moved in. In case you haven’t seen them, there are some fantastic photos of the new complex up on the company’s Flickr page that you should take a look at.

The opening was big with a lot of media coverage. The mayor, the governor, and other VIPs were all at the official opening. The politicians and the city love this stuff and used it in a well-made video to promote Raleigh and Citrix. I have it embedded below for viewing or you can see it directly on YouTube here.

A company and city on the rise: Citrix moves to downtown Raleigh on YouTube

Now that we’re rolling here let’s take a look at the site.

To a degree, the office portion of the Citrix complex is not mixed-use with the building being purely dedicated to employees. However, if you zoom out that is kind of how the warehouse district is made up these days.

Davie Street contains a mix of restaurants and bars and probably has the most activity but besides the mixed-use nature of The Hue apartments, the single-purpose warehouses and buildings are just that. The future of the district’s urbanity is still uncertain.

The Citrix parking deck does contain some retail spaces along the length of Morgan Street. Walking by, there is a lot of space here and a huge amount of sidewalk in front. I would imagine that this will open the parking deck for visitors who want to go here and will create a more mixed-use environment.

Citrix Parking Deck retail spaces

Citrix Parking Deck retail spaces

Citrix Parking Deck retail spaces

If you go look, you can see that there is plenty of space for all kinds of uses here. The space even has west facing windows overlooking the railroad tracks.

Weekend days and weekday nights are still pretty calm for the warehouse district so my guess is that these retails spaces may sit empty for awhile. However, if the politicians and media are to be believed and Citrix is the great catalyst that we’ve been waiting for, then I hope that I am wrong.

2013 Top Places of Empty Spaces, Adding Retail In Downtown Raleigh

A friend of mine made a reference to an old post here on the blog and looking back at it after all these years makes for a great followup. In 2008, I made a list of ten retail spaces that should be filled. Today six places off that list are now occupied. It’s not just restaurants though, retail has taken hold and the quantity of shops is only increasing year after year in downtown Raleigh.

If you look at the post, you’ll see photos of empty buildings where popular restaurants are today. Beasley’s and Chuck’s have ignited the corner of Martin and Wilmington Streets. The ground floor of the Odd Fellows building was empty until Deco, Nora and Nicky’s, and High Cotton gave people a reason to window shop at Hargett and Salisbury Street. Almost all the spaces in The Depot were once empty until Videri Chocolate Factory, Tasty Beverage Company, Jose and Sons, Junction Salonbar, and Tuscan Blu set up.

Before getting into another empty spaces list, an important thing to note is that there are areas in downtown where empty spaces are few and need to be built. The “missing teeth” of retail is being filled in and the options and variety is increasing. As fewer historic buildings needing renovation are available, this will increase the demand to build new shops in new construction buildings.

Glenwood South, end-to-end, is practically full. With The Wine Feed guys renovating their space in the Hampton there’s really not much new sidewalk retail space available. Projects like The Gramercy should be adding more retail spaces right along Glenwood Avenue. The now under construction Ale House building, at Glenwood and Tucker Street, may add retail/restaurants where an empty office building once sat.

Other notables include individual buildings around downtown. PNC Plaza has leased their retail spaces and it appears the smallest one along Martin has paper over the glass as if something is going on behind it. The Hue has renters in all their spaces minus one. Red Hat Tower has seen turnover but is typically full.

The simplest way to put it is that creating a list like the one below was more difficult today than it was five years ago.

And now onto the list.

107 East Martin

A small empty space for years but just around the corner from all the great restaurants at Martin and Wilmington. The problem, I think, is that it probably needs a lot of work to get something started here. I don’t know much about the details of renovation but this building looks pretty sad and start up costs must be higher than most.

Blount Street Deck

The Blount Street Parking deck has two retail spaces, one facing Wilmington and the other on Blount Street. The downtown staple, Cooper’s BBQ is moving to the space along Wilmington and the one facing Blount is still waiting for its first tenant since opening in 2008. Facing City Market and being close to Moore Square, I would think this could be an attractive space. What will probably make it happen for this nook is when nearby residential projects like Skyhouse and The Edison open up. A services type shop would be perfect for downtown residents in this area.

The Atrium

The Atrium has such a good location along Fayetteville Street but needs a lot of work to be useful. The old, brick building is missing a roof in the back so someone with a lot of passion for this architecturally flat building will have to come along to spruce it up. Eventually, the location will be too good to pass on it for some developer.

Boylan Pearce Building

This has been empty ever since Fayetteville Street dropped the mall from it’s name in 2006. The Boylan Pearce Building sits in the prime 200 block of Fayetteville Street, experiencing some of the highest pedestrian counts in downtown Raleigh. Almost a year ago, there was news of a buyer of the building with plans to restore it.

Days before I planned to post this, signs of construction on the bottom floor popped up. So it’s possible this space is coming off this list sometime soon.

The Raleigh Sandwich Shop

Sandwiched, pun intended, between some busy shops and restaurants along Wilmington Street, the Raleigh Sandwich Shop has such a good location for someone to consider working with it. I’m going to punt this one over to a great post at Goodnight, Raleigh about the shop. Remembering the Raleigh Sandwich Shop

The Shops at 500 Hillsborough Street

This little strip of one-story retail spaces is kind of an island between Glenwood South and Fayetteville Street. The shops that are there serve niche markets, like the violin store, but next door, the spaces are empty. This is a tricky area I feel as the better move would be to join the cluster of businesses in the other districts. Until the growth reaches here, this may be the same for a long time.

City Market
I feel like the City Market building is the flagship in historic charm for downtown Raleigh. Some may say the Briggs Hardware building but I lean more toward the ole girl on Martin Street. The half facing Martin Street has been vacant for quite some time now with the other half being used by the event venue, Cobblestone Hall. It’s a big space and difficult to break up into smaller ones, if even possible. A big restaurant operation or large retail store is perfect for this space.

Currently, there are posters around it for an event space called 214 Martin.

Nüvonivo Adds Children’s Clothing, More Retail to Downtown Raleigh

More positive retail news for downtown Raleigh. Nüvonivo will be opening within weeks in their new space on East Hargett Street. The online children’s clothing store is bringing its first retail space to the area and I was introduced, through email, to Ray Malouf, a member of the Nüvonivo team. He told me:

I joined the business in 2009 working with my father Abdallah, who has owned ECA since the 1980s, and in April of 2012, out of a small condo in Downtown, we launched our first retail concept online calling it nüvonivo (new-voh-nee-voh). Translated from French, the words nouveaux niveaux means New Levels, and that is what we want to bring to our customers everyday, new levels of quality, design, and customer service.

The family behind the business are downtown supporters and Ray mentioned to me that they feel they are helping with the downtown revitalization. Raleigh’s malls and shopping centers were considered but “we kept coming back to Downtown Raleigh.”

The location of the store isn’t an accident as the Marbles Kids Museum is less than a block away. Good luck to Ray and the team behind the new store. It sounds like a lot of work is going into cleaning up that space.

City Journal, Urban Shopping In and Out of Downtown

My latest City Journal article has been posted over at the Raleigh Public Record. I took a look at other urban-style shopping and retail centers in Raleigh, mainly North Hills and Lafayette Village, and compared them to downtown Raleigh.

During the past few decades, Raleigh, like the rest of the country, is shopping differently. Yes, online spending continues to grow, but spending “in real life,” or in shopping centers, is changing, too. Urban in style with a mix of uses is the new trend in retail development, and in Raleigh, a few locations offer shoppers goods, services, and a place to socialize.

*Retail Becomes More Urban, Social

It’s interesting that there are some very similar qualities between these places and downtown. However, the dynamic is different in that downtown has hundreds of property owners while retailers work with just a single entity in the others.