Revisiting The Downtown Plan’s Glenwood Green Project Area

View from the upper floors of the West at North Tower. Photo credit Robert Winchester

View looking north from the upper floors of the West at North Tower. Photo credit Robert Winchester.

There has been a lot to follow around the Smokey Hollow area of Glenwood South. The reader-submitted photo above shows another view of all the demolition that has taken place. The “Glenwood Green” area has basically been wiped clean and will be rebuilt over the coming years.

The term Glenwood Green comes from the 2015 downtown Raleigh plan and I thought this a good time to see if the planned developments are in line with what was envisioned for the area.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Peace (formerly Smokey Hollow) – 400 unit residential tower with ground-floor retail at the corner of Peace and West Street. A Publix grocery store has been announced so far.
  • Directly to the south, the same developers have bought land for a phase 2 mixed-use project.
  • Smokey Hollow. Courtesy of Cline Design.

    Latest rendering of the development for Peace and West

    By the way, the name of the development may have changed from Smokey Hollow to Peace but this blog will always recognize this area and basically any new developments going forward as part of Smokey Hollow.

    Let’s map it all. I like this one from Raleigh DLA.

    Map of planned developments in Smokey Hollow

    Glenwood Green Vision

    The Glenwood Green vision as part of the 2015 downtown plan so far is coming along. Granted, not much “green” has been planned in this area but once the Capital Boulevard bridge project (the square loop) is finished in 2019, the city can deliver that green with a planned Devereux Meadows Park north of Peace Street.

    Here’s the two-page overview of the Glenwood Green vision.
    Glenwood Green project area - 2015 Downtown Plan

    Click for larger

    The vision overview behind Glenwood Green wants Harrington Street to be a new “main street” for the area. This should be where the majority of retail is located and the planning folks have shown us this in their latest update of retails streets in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

    Harrington Street has the opportunity to be the gateway from the Devereux Meadows Park through Smokey Hollow and into the Warehouse District.

    Notice that Kane Realty has projects at both ends of this street. (All the Smokey Hollow work + The Dillon) Not a coincidence I’m thinking here.

    Public Space and Greenway Connections

    What still isn’t being talked about is the idea of a central plaza in Smokey Hollow to really give this area a sense of place. In addition, a greenway or urban cycle track connecting parts north and south would run through this area with this public space being the central hub.

    The vision in the downtown plan proposes a civic building and plaza but something else could work to make it into a destination. A park could also serve as a meeting place and destination.

    When you add up the plans for a greenway through Devereux Meadows, the city experimenting with a cycle-track along West Street, and connectivity from the Warehouse District to Dix Park, you can really see how important Smokey Hollow is to north/south connectivity through downtown Raleigh.

    If you look at the latest map of the Raleigh Greenway system, there’s a core loop around downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. We still don’t have that middle section that cuts through it. The Glenwood Green vision supports this major connection.

    Raleigh Greenway system, January 2018

    Raleigh Greenway system, January 2018. Click for larger

    A proposed route from Smokey Hollow to the north towards the current greenway exists. A lot of it would run through Devereux Meadows alongside Capital Boulevard. This was talked about as part of the Capital Boulevard Corridor Study, an effort that took place around 2011. Here’s a map of the proposed greenway route connecting areas north of downtown.

    Right now, there hasn’t been talk of incorporating that civic space or greenway into Smokey Hollow. Those interested in creating a vibrant area here should keep an eye out because as all this development starts, the opportunities for the connections decrease.

    If all the land is dedicated to buildings then the idea of a public plaza becomes significantly harder to plan for. The greenway connection may also turn into a glorified sidewalk path rather than something unique.

    As plans form, I look to the city to work with developers to get this built and see the vision behind Glenwood Green come to full form.

A Walk Up Peace Street

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017

Warning! (or treat!) This will be an image-heavy post.

I had the pleasure of taking a walk up Peace Street recently, during rush hour, to witness all the demolition and work taking place around the Capital Boulevard bridge. We’ve all been following the work in this area for awhile but when you walk it, it’s truly at another level.

I’ll write a little and then let the photos do the talking.

The Capital Boulevard work is really in full swing here as clearing for the new bridge over Peace Street takes place. Buildings have been demolished and old foundations chipped away to make way for the Square Loop.

At this time, construction fencing is up around the Smokey Hollow site. Even more demolition should be taking place in the coming weeks for the 12-story mixed-use project.

In the pipeline also is the West Peace Street Streetscape project, adding more chaos to the street in the future.

It’s a swarm of development in such a short amount of time. The end of 2019 should see all the street work wrap up for us to enjoy it.

I’m starting to think that the state’s Capital Boulevard project would be this decade’s most impactful public-funded project taking place in downtown Raleigh. (Fayetteville Street being the clear winner in the 2000s) I wanted it to be Union Station but so much is going on here that I think this edges it out.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017. The former Fairway Advertising.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017. The former Finch’s restaurant.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow.

Peace Street, September 2017

West Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow.

Peace Street, September 2017

West Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow.

Peace Street, September 2017

Johnson and Harrington Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow and future Johnson Street connector.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Boutique Hotel Planned for Peace Street Pending Rezoning Request

Corner of Boylan and Peace Street

At 615 West Peace Street, a request to rezone the property from 3 to 5 stories is working its way through the system. The developer wants to put a boutique hotel at the corner of Peace and Boylan.

At this point, only the request and information about the required meeting with nearby residents is posted on the city’s website. (see Z-017-17) I’m going to borrow some words from a regular commenter to the blog who was at that meeting.

In their initial pitch last night to neighbors, the developer promises a boutique hotel at that site but wants to exceed the NX-3-UG. The developer’s request came with no plans, elevations, or even design concepts to share. They have made no front-end investment in design services to sell their product but want neighbors to give their blessing to the zoning change to either 5 or 7 floors.

Thanks, John!

I kind of think that we have a wide gamut of proposed developments out there. Developers need a little salesmanship and need to do their homework regardless if they have a good idea or not. I really liked this article in the N&O comparing the pitches between 301 Hillsborough and 400 Hillsborough, both projects we’ve talked about on the blog.

You can see the reaction to a polished presentation versus the opposite.

It’s early on this project for Peace Street so we’ll see where it goes.

Municipography: Peace Street West Streetscape Improvements

Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center of the city.

I recommend email readers click through to the website to see the embedded video.

West Peace Street

A project older than the blog, a section of Peace Street has been marked for upgrades for over a decade. Buried power lines, more street trees, and new sidewalks could happen soon for the section between St. Mary’s and West Street.

There was a good overview of the project, including its history, during a recent city council meeting and I have the presentation and discussion for you here on the blog. If the embedded video isn’t showing for you, watch it here on YouTube.

The project’s main goal is to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety. The street will also get a few aesthetic upgrades with street trees, new crosswalks, and new signal poles.

One interesting piece of the project that we can pull from the discussion is the work to decrease the number of driveways in front of Peace Street Market and Fallon’s Flowers. Simply put, the solution presented would have been a one-way driveway across both shops with angled parking. This is similar to spots on Hillsborough Street such as the Fedex/Gumby’s lot or the Wells Fargo.

Google Maps of 800 West Peace Street

Google Maps aerial of the 800 block of West Peace Street. Click for larger.

Fallon’s Flowers did not support that so the plan isn’t happening. At the same time though, it was mentioned that the property was sold recently and perhaps plans for redevelopment are taking place. There are no public plans at this time for that lot.

This project, Peace Street West, should take place at the same time as all the other construction along Peace Street, including Smokey Hollow and the Capital Boulevard bridge, so expect a ton of activity in the area over the next few years.

Project timeline:

  • Right-of-Way Acquisition: Summer 2017
  • Advertise and Bid: Fall 2017
  • Begin Construction: Early 2018
  • Completion: Mid 2019

Weekend Video: Capital Boulevard Makeover

From the meeting this week hosted by NCDOT, the video above was being played on a loop at the Borden Building in Fred Fletcher Park Thursday evening. If you can’t see the embedded video, go here.

The video is a great watch for those following this project and construction starts on Wade Avenue first this Fall.

You can find more on the NCDOT’s project website.

Aerial Visualization of New Capital Boulevard Bridges

Thanks to a few readers who found this aerial visualization of the Peace Street and Wade Avenue Bridge replacement project. NCDOT should start this project this summer.

For more on it, especially the Peace Street part, go here.

[UPDATE:5-26-16]
A raise of the glass goes out to Jim who made this overlay of projects on top of a screen grab from the video. Click for a larger view.

The Capital Boulevard aerial doesn’t consider the new Williams and Kane joint projects but with the announcement posted earlier this week and the Smokey Hollow LLC purchase nearby you can see some of the possible development outcomes of the new square loop.

A Johnson Street connection from Glenwood to Capital would make for a great grid of streets around the planned developments and hopefully ones in the future. Johnson at Capital could be a major entrance to Glenwood South for those coming from North Raleigh.

With the Devereux Meadow Park on one-side of Peace, the opposite side has to come at a premium due to how much traffic is funneled down Peace Street. With Peace being practically the only east-west artery in this area, I imagine the vehicle, bike, and ped counts will continue to be higher than other streets.

Municipography, Capital Boulevard Bridges

Capital Boulevard going over Peace Street

Capital Boulevard going over Peace Street

Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center of the city.

I recommend email readers click through to the website to see the embedded video.

During last week’s city council meeting, there was a presentation with the latest updates on the bridge replacement projects that are going to take place on Capital Boulevard. This is a topic that’s been covered here on the blog for almost five years and we’re now under a year until construction starts.

If you need to play catch up, I recommend reading about the planned ‘square loop’ design here:

In addition to the Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street being replaced, Wade Avenue at Capital is also being replaced.


If the video does not show for you, click here.

Eric Lamb, Transportation Planning Manager for the city, gave a brief overview of the latest updates of the project. Here are some notes I took:

  • The project will remove the Jersey barriers and glare screens going down the middle of Capital and a landscaped median will be put in.
  • Seeing as how this is an NCDOT/City of Raleigh collaboration project, NCDOT will cover base costs with Raleigh covering enhancements like aesthetics, lights, etc.
  • The city’s share for the project is now estimated to be between $12 and $13 million.
  • During construction, one northbound lane on Capital will be closed for about two years.
  • At some times, Capital will be closed entirely but crews will focus on nights and weekend closings.
  • The official detour will be to use Blount Street and Person Street/Wake Forest Road.
  • The new bridges will have an art deco design maintaining a theme with nearby railraod bridges.

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street without columns

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street without columns

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street with columns

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street with columns. Click for larger.

The major enhancements of each bridge primarily revolve around adding either lights or decorative columns or both. As you can see in the rendering, the columns could have public art on top of them of some sort. Only a concept is shown in the rendering not the final art piece.

Of course, the more you add, the higher the cost becomes. City staff broke it down into four available options.

  • Option 1: Full enhancements to both bridges: +$2.4 million
  • Option 2: No treatments at Wade, full enhancements at Peace: +$1.16 million
  • Option 3: Enhance both bridges, including lights but no columns: +$1.61 million
  • Option 4: Enhance both bridges without columns or lights: +$1.21 million

Full breakdown of costs for Peace Street.

  • With columns and lights: +$1.25 million
  • With lights: +$860,000
  • Without lights: +$660,000

Full breakdown of costs for Wade Avenue.

  • With columns and lights: +$1.16 million
  • With lights: +$748,000
  • Without lights: +$548,000

Those figures make it seem like lights are a $200,000 cost per bridge. The columns come in around $400,000 per bridge.

Option 3 seemed to be, according to the light conversation, the one councilors preferred but no decisions were made at this time. There is still more work to be done to prepare an agreement with NCDOT and when those details are more solid, there will be a followup presentation. That will probably take place in a few months.

Construction will first start at Wade in July 2016 with Peace Street seeing work in July 2017. Everything should wrap up during the Summer of 2019.

On a slightly related note, I haven’t covered the Wade Avenue bridge much but I did notice this one little jewel in the renderings. Take a look at the Wade Avenue bridge design below. The right-most portion shows a greenway trail going underneath.

Rendering of the Wade Avenue bridge with columns

Rendering of the Wade Avenue bridge with columns. Click for larger.

We know that the city wants to get a greenway to go along Capital and the Pigeon House Branch Creek which is mostly buried. In the future, the creek may be opened up and we all can walk or bike along it starting from a park that sits just north of Peace Street between Capital and West Street.

Rendering of the Wade Avenue bridge with columns

The rendering suggests that there are plans to keep a connection open here at the bridge for such a future project. Good stuff!

Peace Street West Up For a Facelift

Intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Peace Street

Intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Peace Street

Here’s a project that’s moving forward after being on hold for a few years. Peace Street West, referred to as the street between West and St. Mary’s Street, is due for some streetscape improvements. This will include new sidewalks, burying of utility lines, consolidation of driveways, and other enhancements to this part of the street.

To get right into it, go straight to the project page on the city’s website: Peace Street West Streetscape

A lot of talk and focus has taken place over the last few years about improving Peace Street. The street is a major east/west thoroughfare with high traffic counts. Capital Boulevard and the railyards to the north and south have created a kind of bottleneck. No urban street grid exists in this area unfortunately.

North of Peace, the only way to cross Capital Boulevard by any mode is at the crossing where Wake Forest Road becomes Atlantic Avenue. To the south is a pair of one-way streets, Jones and Lane Streets. With so much separation and traffic counts hovering above 50,000 vehicles a day on Capital Boulevard, it’s no surprise that this area is dominated by car-centric development.

Peace Street West could be one-half of the solution as “Peace Street East” is due for some improvements also. Those are coming through the Capital Boulevard bridge rebuild and the Square Loop plan.

Diving into the Peace Street West information from the city’s project page, here are some highlights:

  • “The sidewalk areas along the length of Peace Street will be improved to increase safety and overall appearance of the corridor, in addition to repouring the sidewalks accent paver bands will be added at the back of curb.”
  • More trees will be added to the sidewalks.
  • The number of driveways will be reduced.
  • Traffic signals will be upgraded with mast arms.
  • Some of the overhead wires will be buried.

Intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Peace Street

West Peace Street

For me, the intersection of Glenwood and Peace has always felt like a gateway to downtown Raleigh. If you are driving or walking south down Glenwood, you transition out of the Glenwood-Brooklyn neighborhood and as you approach the intersection you start to see the density, the buildings of downtown Raleigh.

The intersection also sees steady pedestrian activity so it’s a nice reminder that you’re entering a walkable, active place. The improvements here will go a long way towards transitioning single-family neighborhoods into urban walkable neighborhoods.

According to the project page, this project should be completed by Summer of 2016.