I was feeling it for awhile now but I think it’s official. The developments planned for the Raleigh Union Station Bus Facility, RUS Bus as the cool kids are calling it, is now my favorite and most anticipated new development for downtown Raleigh. With some new renderings dropped at a recent meeting, I thought I’d post them here for us to go through.
RUS Bus will infuse a lot of new residents into the warehouse district with a residential tower and hotel. On the ground-floor, a bus station with retail just might elevate the area into a shopping district in the future. At least that’s what the optimist in me is hoping for.
While the Raleigh Union Station was very exciting (and still is!) to see build out, the rest of the station attaches a key piece of transit. For me, this just seems like the new center of town, the gateway to downtown Raleigh and for some, the entry-point to our city.
With that large plaza between the current train station and the bus station, there’s a lot of potential for it to a be a central spot, a meeting point, and even cultural center for our city. It’s very photogenic and has a sense of place. What’s missing right now are the sights and sounds of people!
And where are these people going to come from? We have apartments, a hotel, and lots of nearby restaurants and shops. In addition, the hustle of buses cruising in and out, dropping people off and on.
As a reminder, there are plans to also make this a stop on the future bus-rapid transit line. Easy way in and out from North Raleigh? That just might be it. Alternatively, the addition of more parking is fine plus The Dillon across the street has almost nine levels of parking.
It’s such a dramatic change from the warehouses we have on the site today. We may see the ground-breaking this year even. This one will be fun to watch.
Site plans for RUSBus, or the Raleigh Union Station Bus Facility, have been submitted to the city. Plans show a 34-story residential tower plus a 15-story hotel. The latest rendering, above, shows you an aerial of the site and a concept of what it could look like. As always planned, the towers would be built over a bus station that would connect to nearby Union Station.
We’ve covered the ground floor a bit in a previous post so I won’t get into that today but seeing the towers now is pretty exciting I think. There is an affordability component to the residential units as a means to secure some government funding for the project. A hotel would be great but I wonder if that one will actually happen as you can point to a few cleared sites in downtown with hotels announced but construction yet to take place.
Construction is planned to start in 2022 and my guess would be the residential tower goes up first.
At a GoTriangle Board meeting this week, there were updates related to RUS Bus that show off some high level updates including a 30% schematic design. For those new to the project, RUS Bus is an extension for Raleigh Union Station (RUS) including a mixed-use development with a bus station on the ground floor.
Located right next to Raleigh Union Station, serving train passengers today and possibly commuter rail passengers in the future, the bus component would be the more local transit connection. It’ll most likely have a bus rapid transit stop as well.
Finally, being in the warehouse district, the location would bring a hub of activity to the west side of downtown. I’ve got lots of love for a project like this, which should come as no surprise to long-time readers.
There are more renderings on the architect’s website, showing preliminary designs which look fantastic, but for me, I’m most interested at this time in the preliminary site plan shown below.
The ground-floor of developments typically interest me because that’s probably what most people are going to use anyway. Some interesting elements I see include:
A bridge directly connecting RUS bus to RUS.
Lots of ground floor mixed-use spaces.
A big connection directly into the current civic plaza.
There’s a lot of function shown here along with elements that could elevate the entire transit station into a destination. If you look at the rendering with towers on top, this could be a pretty nice hub of activity at all times of the day, on weekdays and weekends also.
From the GoTriangle board meeting agenda, we also have some dates.
Planned Construction start date: April 30, 2022
Substantial Completion Date: June 30, 2025
Grant funds must be fully drawn: September 30, 2025
The 2020s will be a big year for transit investments in Raleigh.
2019 is shaping up to be a pretty active year for development in downtown Raleigh. New projects have been announced and ground breakings took place throughout the year. One thing that kind of jumped out to me is the possibility for some taller structures in our future.
I put “possibility” in emphasis as there is a big window related to the height restrictions set in our development code. At the tallest end of the spectrum, we have the following zonings:
12-story height limits
20-story height limits
40-story height limits
It’s a bit of a jump if a project wants to do something with 20-30 floors but you have to ask for permission to do as high as 40. Just to level set, downtown Raleigh’s tallest three towers (all shown in the header photo above) include:
PNC Plaza with 32 floors (538′ to the tip of the spire)
Two Hannover Square with 29 floors (431′ tall)
Wells Fargo Capital Center with 30 floors (400′ tall)
Density is typically a more important factor for me personally but if height is what you are interested in then you probably want to follow along these new projects we’re tracking over on the Community.
121 Fayetteville is planned to be a 30-story office tower right on Fayetteville Street. Sitting on the 100-block, on top of (or partially replacing) the Alexander Square parking deck, this new tower will be adding parking space as well multiple terraces on different floors.
For the zoning geeks in the house, the block already has a 40-story maximum, meaning this project probably just needs tenants to sign on before construction begins.
The Raleigh Union Station Bus Facility (RUS bus) will be along West Street between Hargett and Martin Streets. This year, GoTriangle has received approval from the city for a rezoning with a height of up to 40-stories.
The bus station with a tower on top is planned to have a mix of housing, market-rate and affordable, as well possibly office and hotel uses. The tower portion is being worked on now but it seems that a 20-story height limit was limiting in possibilities here.
We expect more details on this project next year but you can find out more here: rusbusnc.com
Smoky Hollow Phase 3
You must be new if you haven’t heard of Smoky Hollow so please jump back to the tagged posts and catch up. Phase 3 was formerly zoned for a maximum of 12-stories but a request for the 40-story maximum was approved this year.
Those behind the project shared details of a mixed-use building with housing on the lower floors and a tower for offices. The development may have active uses along Harrington, Peace, and Johnson Streets as it’ll further build out the fabric of the Smoky Hollow developments nearby.
You can see more about the nearby projects delivered by the same developer here:
Opposite of Smoky Hollow Phase 3 over Capital Boulevard, another 12-story zoned property is seeking a rezoning for a 40-story maximum. The developer wants to get the rezoning set for a possible large tenant in the future and could build a tall office tower on this 1.5 acre property.
Currently, the rezoning ( Z-17-19) is working its way through the process and may hit the city council for discussion early next year.
From conversation on the Community, the location wasn’t so clear. The site is located on Peace and alongside Capital. Below is an aerial with some labels to help orient readers.
Like I stated earlier, it is a big window in height between 20 and 40 stories. 121 Fayetteville is advertising a 30-story tower but, pending rezoning approval in some cases, the others may be 20-somethings or closer to new heights up and around 40.
As always, this new trend will be interesting to watch play out!
More of a rendering or cross-section this week. As I was looking through the RUSbus grant application, I noticed this diagram of how the mixed-use project could look like. Now this isn’t set in stone by any means but I take it as what the planners have in mind including market-rate and affordable housing, hotel, office, and retail space. Being a transit hub as well, this may be the most mixed-use project in downtown Raleigh.
Possible rendering of the Raleigh Union Station Bus Facility
With a ribbon cutting date set (April 30 at 9:30 am by the way) for Raleigh Union Station, it is never too early to take a look at a new project nearby. For years, plans have been light about integrating buses near Union Station that there hasn’t been much to post about. However, within Wake Transit’s Fiscal Year 2019 Draft Plan, details arise about the bus facility planned next to our newest train station.
A hat tip to a long-time reader for pointing me to the rendering above, showing what such a bus station could look like.
Funded by the half-cent sales tax passed in 2016, FY2019 will allocate $700K towards design of this facility. This is in addition to $2.7 million for FY2018.
Quick summary from the FY2019 draft work plan
Located across the street from The Dillon and pretty much the only adjacent property to Union Station, I think it should not be a surprise that this building is set up for some major changes in the coming years.
The rendering, which readers should take with a grain of salt and is nothing close to final, suggests what a mixed-use bus facility could look like.
Future site of the Raleigh Union Station Bus Facility. Hargett Street, April 2018.
The Triangle Transit Authority already owns the buildings. With a zoning of DX-12, (Downtown Mixed use, 12-story height limit) I imagine a public-private partnership is in order to put some office, for example, over transit in this area.
I’d like to think too that The Dillon and nearby Citrix have also paved the way for how warehouse development can happen in the Warehouse District. There’s no reason this facility could not attempt to keep some of the character that exists here.
Raleigh Union Station civic plaza adjacent to future bus facility. West Street, April 2018.
This area will truly be our city’s transit epicenter and as the Wake Transit plan comes together through 2027, I see nothing but increased pedestrian counts here.
Coupled with all the changes coming to West Street (here and here) overall and how planners working on Dix Park want to connect downtown, these are all huge moving pieces that could really click in the future to make a great western side of downtown Raleigh.