The old Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street has now been removed.
Torn apart and dismantled during the night throughout the last few weeks, the bridge that was close to reaching its end-of-life and has stood up over Peace for over 50 years is no more.
The “square-loop” traffic pattern is more and more coming into place around the new bridge, which already has traffic flowing in both directions. With the northbound exit to Peace now open, the next major connection should be the new Peace to Capital on-ramp (and Cotton Mill entrance) road.
I’m really hoping to see this project wrap up this year as was planned.
The Smokey Hollow project along Peace Street is moving right along in waves with plans for phase 3 already coming to council soon. The developers, Kane Realty, are requesting a rezoning for the site called phase 3 and the request is to increase the height limit from 12-stories or 150 feet to 40-stories or 500 feet.
The request, found consistent with our city’s comprehensive plan and land-use map, has already been approved by the planning commission and will be coming to city council for approval in May or June of this year.
An extremely talented photographer and regular contributor over on the Community provided this aerial of the sites. I’ve reposted with edits and permission to show the scale of everything that’s going on in the area.
Kane Realty’s rezoning jumps from the 12 to 40 story height limit. There’s a 20 story limit as well so we can assume that their plans consist of something between 20 and 40 stories.
For more in-depth, jump on to the Community as we’ve been following everything but at this point in the development process, we can expect:
A large parking deck about 5 or 6 stories tall
The parking deck would be wrapped with apartments facing Johnson, Harrington, and Peace
The parking would be exposed to Capital but screened to make it better from an aesthetics point-of-view
A single mixed-use tower would sit on top with a combination of office and residential
With so much infrastructure here including road capacity, brand new sidewalks, a future cycle-track, and an upcoming bus-rapid transit route, there is a very strong argument for higher-density in this area.
It’s definitely part of a project that will make an impact and is single-handedly multiplying the resident and job count to this area by a factor of 10.
In December 2018, it was announced that a developer had been selected to buy parts of Seaboard Station from the owner, William Peace University. Plans for new development are underway including apartments, hotel space, and more retail.
From the press release:
PN Hoffman, the developer of premier urban communities across the Washington Metropolitan Area including the $2.5 billion Washington, DC, waterfront neighborhood The Wharf, along with William Peace University and TradeMark Properties today announced PN Hoffman’s purchase of Seaboard Station in the north end of downtown Raleigh. The expansive $250 million project will be built in three phases and consist of approximately 800,000 square feet of mixed-use space at full build-out.
Additional details include: Approximately 650 Apartments Approximately 150 Hotel keys Approximately 90,000 square feet of new retail space and a total of 135,000 SF of retail space at full build-out
With this news, Seaboard Station has the potential to really break out from just a destination but into a district with its own personality. I thought this would be a good time to walk around and grab some photos of the area.
If you are not familiar, Seaboard Station consists of a hodge-podge of brick buildings from the 1950s and 1960s with Peace Street acting like the main “frontage” of the area. In addition to the former railroad station that now houses Logan‘s, a long-running garden shop, the businesses here make up Seaboard Station and are marketed as a destination.
With the buildings built slowly over time, it’s doubtful that a master plan for the area ever existed so we have a frankenstein-esque retail area that represents the car-centric era that it was built. With a stagnating downtown in the 60s, you can see that no real urban feel exists in Seaboard Station with the development at that time.
Bolstered by downtown’s growth and surge of new residents in recent history, Seaboard Station has had a big increase in new tenants. Renovations have brought existing spaces to market but no new space has been built.
The one-story buildings dominate the landscape here with streets that are awkward to navigate and parking plentiful. There’s no real public space and even gravel parking lots sit empty giving the area a dull, uninteresting feel at times.
It’s best to just drive in, get what you want and leave.
The potential here though is that all this space can be used for wide sidewalks and plazas. Building upward is almost mandatory.
Indeed, the new owners have announced that the first phase of the development will include a hotel. Hotel visitors will want to be able to walk to places so anything nearby within Seaboard Station would be highly considered.
In the future, as Peace Street gets its road diet and Smokey Hollow continues to extend Glenwood South closer to Seaboard Station, Peace Street might become a destination street linking both areas together.
We’re following Seaboard Station in-depth over on the Community so come join the conversation.
With two cranes now operating over the Smokey Hollow site, I thought it would be a great time to walk around and check things out on a nice June evening. Nearby, the new Capital Boulevard bridge is also being worked on and it seems like all of these things are part of a wave that wants to open around the same time.
First, we need to review the new street configuration coming to this area. Parts of Harrington Street have been removed while Johnson Street will become reconnected. See the before and after maps below.
Map of Smokey Hollow area before 2018.
Map of Smokey Hollow area after 2018. (square loop not included)
The “Harrington Curve” is now gone and instead extends the street to Peace. At the intersection of Johnson and Harrington, you can see the future extension as the buildings have been cleared. Here’s where the walk starts staring to the north.
Intersection of Harrington and Johnson. June 2018.
Getting to West from this point is basically a pedestrian/bike only alley as the new Johnson Street connection isn’t in place yet.
Along West Street heading north to Peace, we can start to see the buildings of Peace at West starting to come up. What was once an area of suburban-style, one-story buildings will now have 12-story towers along new urban sidewalk. The change will be quite dramatic and there’s plenty of space for more.
West Street near Johnson Street. June 2018.
The building is just starting to rise up so you still have to use a little imagination to get a sense of what the intersection of Peace and West will look like in the future. Soon, Peace Street will start to resemble its future self as more lanes open up as part of the bridge construction.
Enjoy that view looking southeast while you can cause this building will go up fast!
West Street at Peace. June 2018.
There are temporary lights at the future new intersection of Harrington and Peace where you can look towards the south at the beginning of this walk. No doubt, Peace at West will hug some prominent streets, basically all the ones we’ve discussed.
Peace at the future intersection with Harrington. June 2018.
New Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace. June 2018.
Getting back to our starting point takes us south straight down the future Harrington Street to its intersection with Johnson. The Rollins Cleaners and other older buildings are still up on the eastern side but that may not be a surprise as demolishing a dry cleaner typically involves extensive environmental cleanup efforts that take years. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case at this site.
A quick one today. I’ve been enjoying this shot from The West looking at Smokey Hollow and the second crane being built over the site. This summer we should really see a lot of construction activity in this area.
On the left, the new Capital Boulevard bridge under construction. Center-right is the old bridge. April 2018.
Here are some observations from a walk along Peace Street, specifically underneath the new Capital Boulevard bridge. The photo above shows the old bridge, on the right, and the new bridge, on the left. You can see with the upgraded design that a lot of space is reclaimed when you compare the old “rock mound foundation” versus the “concrete wall foundation” of the new. (like my technical terms?)
It’s almost a vehicle lane, about 12-14 feet, on each side!
This made me pull out the map and below is the one shared from the NCDOT project page. When looking at it, up is West (peace going up/down) with Capital going left-to-right and the dark red being the new bridge.
Click for a larger, zoomed out view of Peace Street.
What is great to see is that while Peace is wider, it will still be a two-lane road just like today. The additional space is being given to turns lanes but also wider sidewalks and bike lanes. The bike lanes aren’t very clear on this map but if you look hard, they are there.
I will say that some of the added road space is going toward center turn lanes also. Either way, the road has to slim down because the CSX bridge to the east isn’t getting any wider.
Anyway, it’s cool to see this come together one small piece at a time.
The photo above shows the site of Peace (unofficially Smokey Hollow), the 12-story apartment building planned at the corner of Peace and West Streets. Foundation work has been going strong for awhile and recently, I noticed the foundation for a tower crane pop up.
Seems like we’ll be seeing this project rise up soon.