A Cranetastic Year for Downtown Raleigh

An easy thing to notice from following developments, not being in the industry by the way, is that a lot of planning goes into all these things. It’s probably an underappreciated aspect of building larger structures but of course it is; there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. When it all starts to come together and construction starts, that’s when it feels real.

In just a few short weeks, new tower cranes have popped up in downtown. We’re still building stuff and that’s great for downtown’s vitality and future. Investments continue and that’s a sign for optimism for downtown Raleigh. Let’s recap the things we can actually see being built right now.

Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites

Shown in the foreground of the above photo, a new hotel is coming to the corner of McDowell and Davie Streets. The building will have two brands which include a Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites. That’s 259 additional rooms within walking distance to Fayetteville Street, the Raleigh Convention Center, and the Warehouse District.

The Hampton Inn on Glenwood is Hilton’s first presence into downtown Raleigh so this would make it their second offering. I imagine a variety of brands is great to see. Plus, another rooftop bar option isn’t bad either.

400 Hillsborough

400H for short, the tower crane at 400 Hillsborough was met with lots of excitement on the Community when it went up around Thanksgiving 2021. 400H is a true, mixed-use project with office, retail, and 242 apartments in a 20-story building.

For new office space to be built, I just can’t emphasize enough the optimism for downtown Raleigh here. Not everyone is working from home all the time and I believe innovation and creativity takes place more easily in-person.

The residential portion makes sense to me as downtown Raleigh is near capacity as far as residents go. We should be seeing the building open up in late 2023.

Platform

A crane is up on East Cabarrus to build Platform, a new residential building for over 430 units. That’s downtown’s largest complex yet!

Playing off the proximity to Raleigh Union Station, the building will have an excellent view of the rail lines going through the Boylan Wye including the station itself. Train-themed designs will probably be used to give it that modern warehouse feel.

Raleigh Magazine has an excellent writeup on what’s to come here so I’ll bounce you over to them.

Seaboard Station Block B

Already well into construction, Seaboard Station‘s first new building in a long time will be Block B, a 298-unit apartment building. In addition to ground-floor retail, this building starts a multi-project overhaul of Seaboard Station itself. There are plans for more residents and hotel units for Seaboard in the future so what once was a district of shopping may grow into a much more active district on downtown’s northern end.

You can check out what’s planned at Seaboard Station here.

Coming Soon

Not quite crane-worthy, or at least not yet, but dirt, concrete, and wood is being moved at a few other spots in downtown. We’re keeping our eyes on a few other spots as well.

  1. Dukes at Cityview – townhomes are being built on South West Street
  2. 615 Peace – Condos are almost sold out along West Peace Street
  3. Person Street Apartments – A construction site is being prepped for about 100 apartments on Person Street

Seems like the name of the game is all about residents. In this post, I’ve mentioned projects that will deliver over 1,000 homes that are currently being built in downtown Raleigh. My long-time hope is that retail truly follows rooftops and downtowners can then support a thriving shopping scene.

Cheers to 2022!

Pic of the Week

After demolition in September, construction is really humming along at 400 Hillsborough. As you can see above, I felt like the northwest corner has a nice view when looking southeast. I’m sure the ninth-floor terrace, or the Skyhub as the website calls it, will have a real nice view.

On the site for 400H, it looks like foundation work is taking place right now. Perhaps by the Spring, this project will start to go vertical.

Demolition Underway at 400H Site

This week, the buildings along the 400 block of Hillsborough Street are being demolished to make way for the 400H development. This mixed-use project has been years in the making and you can check out former posts about it here. The new development will include a mix of uses with over 200 apartments, 144,000 square feet of office space, and ground-floor retail.

The building is expected to finish in Fall 2023.

In recent memory, I don’t recall that many occupants for the spaces on this block. There was a small gym and perhaps some offices but the larger space on the northeast corner of Hillsborough and West Street has been empty ever since I’ve started blogging. (since 2007 by the way)

If you like Raleigh history, you may be following Olde Raleigh, and have seen the post of the A&P Supermarket at the same site. From their post:

Pictured is the A&P Supermarket located at the northeast corner of Hillsborough and West Streets c. 1946. This building was constructed around 1929 and later burned in 1952, but the stout stone walls remained intact. Although the building has changed considerably since 1946, you can still see some of the original stonework on the western side.

See the post on Facebook
Photo by Albert Barden. From the Albert Barden Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC. N.53.15.2412

The photo is from the Albert Barden Collection courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina. You can browse the collection on Flickr.

The Apartment Mid-rise Boom is Fading in Downtown Raleigh

The Dillon Apartments on Hargett Street

It hit me recently during a conversation in a downtown coffee shop that The Metropolitan apartments would have seen residents moving in this month. If you don’t know the history, the project, while under construction, met an unfortunate fate and went up in flames in March of this year.

The developers plan to rebuild and the site is currently being cleared.

If it wasn’t for the fire delaying the delivery of The Metropolitan, we could easily see the end to the multi-unit, mid-rise apartment product line in downtown Raleigh. At least for the foreseeable future.

Site of The Metropolitan Apartments fire site.

Site of The Metropolitan Apartments fire site

Barring any new project announcements, the apartment pipeline would have ended with The Dillon opening in 2018. Taking a look at the latest list of projects released by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, we can see that there are no planned projects similar to these.

To be clear, I’m referring to the 5-7 story, wood-construction buildings with a larger footprint. Typically to make these work, developers have had to acquire multiple properties and combine them.

That’s not to say the residential projects aren’t flowing. The product is just changing.

Smokey Hollow plans to bring 445 residential units in a 12-story building on Peace Street. FNB Tower will mix up office and 247 residential units across 22 stories. 400H will also mix office and 220 units in a 20-story building. Details are still light on 301 Hillsborough but with a similar style to the other projects there’s no reason to guess that more residential units could be included.

That’s 900 units across three projects right there.

Rendering of 400H

Most recent rendering of 400H

The other side of the picture is the rise in townhome projects. These are adding infill to the periphery of downtown. Currently under construction, we have:

  • The Saint – 17 units
  • Hargett Place – 19 units
  • 10 Arros – 10 units
  • West + Lenoir – 12 units
  • 611 West South – 42 units
  • The Ware – 15 units

115 townhomes are in the works and more are in the planning stages.

Perhaps we’re at a point where combining multiple parcels for large footprint developments isn’t economically feasible for mid-rise buildings. There could be other changes in the market that are affecting this. Downtown could also be much more livable than before, enticing buyers to purchase units than rent.

Maybe there is a hold on projects as plans for a downtown soccer stadium and big infrastructure changes to Capital Boulevard need to pan out for developers to pitch new projects.

You could look at it from a lot of angles. It’s certainly a great topic to discuss.

A Walk Around 400 Hillsborough

Corner of Hillsborough and West Streets, March 2017

Corner of Hillsborough and West Streets, March 2017

Site plans and other docs were recently submitted to the city for 400 Hillsborough, a 20-story development planned for the entire block between Hillsborough/Edenton Streets and West/Harrington Streets. The blocks along Hillsborough Street are a bit smaller than the larger ones around downtown so while I say “entire block” it actually isn’t that large due to the way the streets are made up.

Google map of topic area

The project, shown in orange in the map, plans for 220 residential units in a 244 foot building. There will also be plenty of ground-floor retail with a few floors of parking.

Rendering of 400 Hillsborough from AAD-009-17

Rendering from 400 Hillsborough AAD-009-17. Click for larger.

Rendering of 400 Hillsborough from AAD-009-17

Rendering from 400 Hillsborough AAD-009-17. Click for larger.

floorplan of 400 Hillsborough from AAD-009-17

floorplan from 400 Hillsborough AAD-009-17. Click for larger.

For awhile, the block has been pretty empty. I need help from readers to share what used to be here as the “main” building, the pink colored one shown at the top of this post, has been empty as long as I’ve been into downtown Raleigh.

Artcraft Sign and C U Fitness are still operating along the Hillsborough Street side while more empty (empty right?) buildings line Harrington Street.

Artcraft Sign and C U Fitness

Artcraft Sign and C U Fitness

Empty buildings along Harrington

Empty buildings along Harrington

I can’t help but lump that triangle property, shown in blue on the map above, in with 400 Hillsborough. I know it’s separate but with a large mixed-use building, especially with so many residential units planned, I can’t help but think this may finally stir something on this plot.

It may not look pretty but the tree-lined sidewalks are mature and lush on this lot. A pocket park sounds like a great use of that space but the city may have to acquire it in order for that to happen. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for a signature building with a unique design here.

Surface parking along West Street

Surface parking along West Street