Plans for News and Observer Property Include Multiple towers starting with Nexus Tower

Rendering of Nexus Tower

Announced in February with site plans submitted shortly after,
Acquisition Group, the developers behind the 3-acre, former N&O property, have released plans that include multiple towers for office, hotel, and residential spaces.

The first phase includes a 15-story, 250-foot office tower called Nexus which will, generally, be replacing the parking deck along Salisbury Street. Plans show a new parking deck below and behind the tower with street-level retail spaces.

Salisbury Street. February 2019.

Future developments after Nexus could be situated along a new internal street for accessing more retail and public spaces. The hotel and residential towers would all have access to these new mixed-use areas.

The future plans are still a work in progress as only the Nexus tower has been submitted. No rezoning is needed and the tower is planned to open in 2021.

With a collection of buildings and new public street, this is a pretty exciting thing to see. The mix of building uses should keep the area lively at different times of the day and week.

Rendering of Nexus Tower

A street that doesn’t really serve as new transportation means the area should be more human-scale. There’s no need to speed through making the area more walkable and bike-friendly. With the right design elements, the developers have an opportunity to make it look special compared to the streets that come straight from the Raleigh Department of Transportation playbook.

Expect to see the area cleared out and demolished sometime this year.

A Walk Around the News & Observer Block

The News & Observer building in downtown Raleigh

It’s great to introduce a new project to follow here on the blog. Just this week, it was announced that the News & Observer has reached a deal to sell their headquarters site in downtown Raleigh to local developers. The deal is one of the biggest, coming in at $20.2 million for the 3-acre site. Having walked by there hundreds of times, I had to do it again but this time with this deal in mind.

The News & Observer owns a majority of the land on their block but not all of it. Here’s a quick map of the block and the properties involved.

Click for larger

Between Martin/Hargett and McDowell/Salisbury Streets, the yellow and orange areas shown in the map are properties that were owned by the News & Observer. The yellow area is open for development. The orange indicates where McClatchy Interactive currently has a lease and this area is not part of the development deal.

According to the N&O, things will start taking shape on the southeast corner of the block.

The first phase will involve renovating the building at the corner of Martin and Salisbury streets that now houses The N&O’s printing presses. The N&O has signed a long-term lease to occupy about 50,000 square feet in the renovated building, which will also include street-level retail.

*N&O reaches deal to sell downtown Raleigh headquarters

That makes sense as the employees need space to work before demolishing the current site. It’s great to see the N&O employees staying in downtown Raleigh.

Corner of Martin and Salisbury Street

Corner of Martin and Salisbury Street

After that, there will be plenty of room for new construction and the development group will most likely work on the plans throughout next year. The article mentions a hotel and apartments.

There really are a lot of positives to this downtown site from what I see. The location puts you a few blocks from Fayetteville Street and Moore Square as well as the Warehouse District. There is easy in and out access using McDowell and nearby Dawson Streets when driving. Raleigh Union Station will be three blocks away and downtown’s main bus station is two blocks away.

Salisbury Street

Salisbury Street. I will not miss this crumbling parking deck.

For a hotel, the convention center is within walking distance as well as all the dining and amenities on Fayetteville Street. Government and private sector workers should easily consider a hotel stay here because of its close proximity to so many companies and government buildings.

While Fayetteville Street dominates the pedestrian population counts these days, the Martin and Hargett pair are becoming key east/west walking corridors. Being right in between these two streets, the new development could really add more retail space to Martin Street, keeping that “block after block” of active space theme that’s needed to create some real shopping activity.

It’s yet another fun-to-watch development in the pipeline for us.