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.

Moving Houses All Over Downtown Raleigh. A List.

Pictured above is the Pope House on South Wilmington Street. Currently a museum run by the city and registered historic landmark, the house belonged to Dr. Manassa Thomas Pope, a doctor and prominent businessman in Raleigh who would later run for mayor in 1919. It is also the only African-American house museum in the state of North Carolina.

100 years ago, this block of South Wilmington Street was covered by homes and the Pope house fit in nicely. Today, it’s floating in an ocean of surface parking with high-rise office towers nearby.

A collection of lots on the southern half of the block is currently going through a rezoning. (Z-1-22, pdf link) The request is to increase the height allowed from the current seven stories to a new limit of 20.

Construction in the area is taking its toll on the Pope House.

During a meeting with the Raleigh Historic Development Commission in March 2022, it was reported that construction from nearby Charter Square probably contributed to some structural damage to the house. To help with this rezoning case, it was asked if other construction techniques could be used that would not damage the historic structure.

The rezoning has not reached the city council for ultimate approval yet but it may be time to consider a serious move and uplift to the Pope House Museum.

A case NOT to move houses

I recognize that buildings and structures that remain on their original locations is a far-superior representation of the time that they once served. I can’t imagine what the 500 block of South Wilmington Street could have looked like with a variety of single-family homes. The Raleigh of the 1920s is practically another reality compared to today and at least for me, during my visit of the Pope House a few years ago, you could get a sense of it’s prominent location.

Dr. Pope’s house was close to East Hargett Street, or Black Main Street, which he and his family frequented. He also graduated from nearby Shaw University. You can kind of “travel back in time” and get a sense of the connectedness that his family had in the area.

If the house was moved a few blocks to the east, for example, placed between new construction homes of the 2020s, that history and sense of place, even if you have to really imagine it, is pretty much lost.

There are also practical issues such as major damage during a move, the cost of moving a house, and securing a new location. Think of the logistical challenges of moving a historic home through the streets of downtown Raleigh.

A case FOR moving houses

It just seems so simple. Move a house away from a site and you save it from demolition. We’ve done this before and it happens all over the country.

The house that once was a home may be reused as an office or even hotel. There is of course the risk and the cost but if a house is moved, it may stand for a hundred more years, continuing to tell its story.

Demolishing a house, or any structure, can also be seen as disrespecting the value that it currently brings. The materials and work that went into the house just vanish and end up in a landfill, most of the time anyway. To move a house, it saves that value and transfers it to another location. There’s a sense of sustainability here.

The List

When it comes to the Pope House, there are no plans to move it as of this writing. At the same time though, I did want to create a list of notable house moves around downtown Raleigh to kind of show that it’s not a far-fetched idea. If there is anything that I may have missed, let me know and we’ll get it added.

Guest House Raleigh

The boutique hotel, Guest House Raleigh, was originally located at 114 East Lenoir Street. On a cold Sunday in February 2017, along with its neighbor at 112 East Lenoir, the houses were moved to their current locations on Bloodworth Street.

For more, I’ll pass you over to an article in Walter Magazine as well as some great photos on the hotel’s Instagram page, the best being the one embedded below.

Merrimon-Wynne House

In 2008, the Merrimon-Wynne house was moved from it’s location on North Wilmington Street to its current location on Blount Street. It was only a two block move but the house has some considerable size and is one of the largest house moves to take place in Raleigh. It used to sit about where the Elan Apartments are today.

Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Building

Probably the largest move to take place in downtown was that of the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad building shown above. The building was used as offices for the railroad for a long time and sat on the 300 block of Halifax street. Note, this street doesn’t exist anymore as the state government complex built over it all.

They did move the office structure to the west onto Salisbury Street sometime in the 1970s to where it sits today. More on that, with older photos, in this post on Goodnight, Raleigh.

Andrew Johnson Birthplace 

North of downtown is Mordecai Historic Park which contains a house that is the birthplace of President Andrew Johnson, born in 1808. It’s original location was somewhere on the 100 Block of Fayetteville Street and has been moved three times.

In 1975, it found it’s way to Mordecai Park where it still stands today. More on that story here.

Levin-Tarlton House

I actually have a post on this move. This house was moved off of 208 North Harrington Street before The Metropolitan apartments were built. The house currently sits at 414 New Bern Avenue. There is some fun video from Instagram in the post so do check it out.

Quick Mentions

  • The Lincoln apartments on East Hargett Street was built on a block that only contained single-family homes. I talked to the developer of that project once and he told me that many of the homes there were actually moved instead of torn down. They sit in various spots south and east of that building.
  • Several of the elegant mansions on Blount Street were actually moved from a spot nearby to their current location including the Capehart House and Lewis-Smith House.
  • The Hume House and the Tucker House on Person Street are also not on their original locations.

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

This week, I wanted to throw up a picture of the building at 320 Hillsborough Street, currently the Holiday Inn. Site plans have been filed for a new hotel and apartment building that would lead to this building’s demolition.

A new owner has purchased the property here and the parking lot next door in order to build a 20-story building that will include about 180 hotel rooms and 350 apartments. A parking deck and ground-floor retail space is also shown in the site plans.

The “hair curler” was a unique building and it’s unfortunate that a renovation couldn’t work out. No renderings of the new buildings are out, yet, but I welcome completely upgraded sidewalks and the additional street-level activation that the new development will bring.

Taking A Deeper Look Into Glenwood South Crime Data

Embedded above (or here on YouTube) is the video of Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson presenting some data and observations about crime in Glenwood South for this year. The numbers are up and it’s been leading to concerns from nearby residents and the council overall.

The News and Observer started things off nicely:

The chief showed crime data comparing the 10 months leading up the pandemic and the last 10 months. Since June 2021, there have been 76 weapon violations, including 64 concealed weapon violations. That compares to 16 violations from June 2019 to March 2020.

There also is a sizable increase in traffic-related violations, but Patterson said the department increased enforcement and the number of traffic stops during that time.

Raleigh police chief makes recommendations to address rising crime in Glenwood South via newsobserver.com

The N&O article also has a graphic showing year-to-date (Jan 1 to Mar 20) figures from 2019 to 2022. Drug-related incidents are up as well as larceny and assaults. As expected, there is a dip in 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic restrictions and lockdowns.

Looking at these figures, I just had to see more as data from 2019 to 2022, with a pandemic right in the middle, may not tell us the whole story.

The Data

I went to the dataset, showing datapoints from June 2014, and built up my own app with charts and tables. You can dive into that here.

The site I built does the following:

  • Shows the Glenwood South map and only takes in incidents that occur inside the boundary area
  • Year-to-date figures for top crime categories from 2015 to 2022
  • Displays Total Yearly Incidents by top crime categories
  • Displays Total Yearly Incidents for all crime categories
  • Pulls data nightly and updates the year-to-date figures

What I’m calling “Top Crime Categories” are the types of crime, as identified by the data, that when summed up, represent about 2/3 of the total incidents. The remainder incident types seem to be so few in occurrence that it’s hard to know if a trend is taking place. I’ll just remove those from the “Top” charts for now.

Top Crime Categories include:

  • Assault
  • Larceny
  • Drugs
  • Weapons Violation
  • Vandalism
  • “All Other Offenses”
  • Drug Violations

I guess I could have added up Drugs and Drug Violations but I kept the data “pure” for now. Also, I’m not sure what “All Other Offenses” means exactly so this one might qualify to be ignored. Take it for what it’s worth.

Last thing to point out, I start with 2015 as the dataset starts in the middle of 2014 so a partial year isn’t helping that much. 2015 is great as we get five full years before the pandemic lockdowns took place starting in March 2020.

Yearly Totals

Indeed, when we look at just the top crime categories as well as all crime categories, the number of incidents has been increasing since 2015. It actually went down in 2018, not by much, but continued on its trajectory in 2019.

Again, the big drop in 2020 is most likely due to the pandemic lockdowns and we can see the recovery in 2021. If we remove 2020, some items to note:

  • number of assault, larceny, and weapons incidents have increased
  • number of vandalism and drugs are more of less the same
  • “all other offenses” has gone down

I’m not sure we can figure out what’s going on but there are some things to note. Consider that since 2015, more development has taken place. The number of residents have increased and the number of restaurants and bars opened has increased.

A good figure to share is from the 2021 State of Downtown Raleigh report which I’ll add here.

Does increased food and beverage sales lead to more crime? Not necessarily but if we think for a moment that there are more people in Glenwood South, leading to more F&B sales, we could argue that more people in a district could lead to more crime. The above figures show a 29% growth in F&B sales from 2015 to 2021 for Glenwood South. In addition:

  • From 2015 to 2021, Glenwood South had an 18% increase in crime incidents overall
  • From 2015 to 2021, Glenwood South had a 36% increase in TOP crime incidents

The real comparison, saved for a later post most likely, is to compare this activity with other districts.

Year-to-Date Figures

The app tracking the data runs nightly so if you want to check back later this year to see how we’re doing, you can do just that. Here’s the snapshot up until April 12, 2022.

Year-to-date figures are pretty much in-line with everything stated above so I’ll leave it right there.

Final Thoughts

The police chief had some suggestions to try and curb this increase in incidents including adding metal detectors at bars as well as changing Glenwood Avenue to a one-way street to keep car traffic flowing more smoothly. A catastrophic incident is not something anyone wants so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the trends.

We’ll see if any changes come from the city to try and smooth down these numbers. What I really want to see is a comparison of this activity and the number of incidents to other areas to get a sense of context. That’s a post for later this year perhaps.

If you’d like to discuss more about Crime in downtown Raleigh, we have a thread for this on the Community.

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.