VeLa Longview Tower Planned for Marbles Parking Lot along Morgan Street

Images Courtesy of NoTriangle Studio

Plans came out a few weeks ago about a new 30-story building for the surface parking lot along Morgan Street and the Marbles Kid’s Museum. It’s the triangle-shaped lot where Morgan becomes New Bern Avenue at the intersection with Person Street.

Back in early 2021, the parking lot was rezoned with a height limit of 30-stories. It looks like the developer is planning to max it out with a new tower that will have 373 residential units.

The new tower, called VeLa Longview, will also have ground-floor retail and structured parking. You can see some of the developer’s other projects here.

Images Courtesy of NoTriangle Studio

I’m not exactly sure where the name “Longview” comes from but it does seem to pop up around Raleigh. On the same block is the Vintage Church which was formerly called the Long View Center. Owned by a local real estate developer, he sold it in 2013 to the current church. The same developer, Gordon Smith, helped start the Marbles Kid’s Museum and played a pivotal role in rezoning the parking lot that is now to become VeLa Longview.

Clearly, the Longview name has some significance here with someone involved. I’m going to throw this post up on the Community and see if we can’t figure this out.

Here’s the site as it sits today.

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The sky’s the limit over at the Marbles parking lot along Morgan Street. As long as the sky can be reached with only 30 floors.

The city council recently approved a rezoning request for 40 stories at the triangle shaped lot shown above. However, the request had a condition to max out the floor count to only 30. This goes to show you that a new zoning request floor count of 30, in between the current 20 and 40, may be needed in the future.

No definitive plans have been announced but I’d love to see an expansion to Marbles, an already big-time attraction to downtown. With that kind of height, mixed-use would also be great to see. As downtown adds density, I think it allows Marbles to expand without moving or demolishing parts of their existing buildings. These structures are in, what looks like, decent shape so it’s great to see an addition to downtown buildings rather than a replacement.

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Corner of Blount and Morgan Street

The corner of Blount and Morgan is looking very colorful these days.

Marbles have demolished the car service shop here and, for the time being, installed this colorful mural and plaza. It’s a dramatic difference for sure and with evening shade is quite pleasant to walk through.

With expansion plans on the horizon, Marbles is sure to grow and I can’t see it being a total shocker that this lot is a holdover for something much grander down the road.

Kudos to the team behind this install though as it’s a great contribution to downtown’s public space!

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Marbles on Hargett Street, September 2017.

Marbles Kids Museum has purchased some property nearby with plans to expand. The building adjacent to the courtyard next to Marbles will be home to the expansion. This comes in addition to their plans for another courtyard at the corner of Morgan and Blount Street.

Marbles is a huge asset to downtown Raleigh and there are ways to experience Marbles whether you have children or not. Even today, I think Marbles is a stop for any families visiting downtown Raleigh.

Construction is still years away so when Moore Square has been renovated, the future of this area may turn more family-oriented than it is today. (at least during the daytime)

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Corner of Morgan and Blount Streets

Corner of Morgan and Blount Streets, November 2016

Marbles has tentative plans for an “urban courtyard” for the corner of Morgan and Blount Streets. The service station that currently sits there would be demolished for the expansion of the kids museum. The Raleigh Public Record has an in-depth look at the plans for this section of downtown.

Designed by Clearscapes Architecture, which has worked with Marbles in the past on projects such as the 2014 Kid Grid Expansion, the Urban Courtyard would see the entire property razed and turned into an outdoor green space.

*Development Beat: Major Work Wednesday

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Marbles Kid's Museum Expansion

An expansion being done at the Marbles Kid’s Museum. The Kid Grid exhibit will go here, partly thanks to a $1 million grant from ABB, Inc. The Raleigh Public Record reported on this back in July.

Marbles President Sally Edwards said Kid Grid will teach children about the Smart Grid and will be a full representation of the energy system. Edwards said the goal of the exhibit is to introduce children to science and math and encourage them to become engineers in the future.

*Commissioners Approve Loan for Marbles

Here’s a video from WRAL interviewing Edwards about the planned exhibit back during its announcement in 2012.

Click here to see the video on YouTube.

Thanks for the tip, Brian.