The PNC Spire Lights Up Downtown Raleigh for 10 Years


See tweet by @metroscenes of fireworks with the Raleigh skyline on Twitter.

Ten years ago today, there was a dedication ceremony held on the roof of our city’s tallest building. The spire of the PNC Plaza, then called RBC Plaza, was lit up for the first time. As I noted in this August 2008 post, then RBC Bank CEO Scott Custer said:

The lighting of the RBC Plaza is a symbol of the progress of the revitalization of downtown Raleigh.

Ten years have gone by and the 33-story PNC Plaza is still the tallest building around. That could mean a number of things. Some of us may measure progress with height and flash while others with amenities and vibrancy.

A lot has happened over the last ten years in downtown Raleigh including a great recession that scrapped plenty of projects that may have joined PNC Plaza’s height. A wave of apartments has crashed in downtown Raleigh since then and PNC Plaza remains the only building with residential units at that height.

You could say PNC Plaza was the end of an era.

RBC Plaza under construction seen from the Boylan Bridge. May 2008.

RBC Plaza under construction seen from the Boylan Bridge. May 2008.

While height above 30 floors doesn’t seem to be something popping up in and around downtown Raleigh since the completion of PNC Plaza, downtown continues to deliver new buildings that are filling in around her. People keep moving here and new businesses continue to open up here.

I’d like to think that the PNC Plaza spire lighting up ten years ago wasn’t exactly a symbol of our revitalization but rather the homing beacon for future newcomers. It’s also a welcome home sign to long-term residents journeying back.

It may be hard to spot but you can see it with the right window seat when landing at RDU at night.

It’s become a part of our home.

Here’s hoping we never miss a night with that light off.

Come discuss this and other downtown Raleigh-related topics on the DTRaleigh community.

The Rise of RBC Plaza Through Time

One year and a few weeks ago from now, the crown of RBC Plaza was lit up. There was good discussion on the blog that day so jump back in time and re-live it. Digging through my photo archives, I found lots of pictures of the tower under construction. Here is a small collection showing the tower grow from nothing to 500+ feet high.


View of the construction site from Fayetteville Street on October 19th, 2006.


The tall red crane is being put together on January 20, 2007.


The lower floors for parking are under construction on June 26th, 2007.


The building starts to make a dent in the skyline, showing its blue glass on December 12th, 2007.


RBC Plaza has now topped out and more glass follows its way to the top on April 12th, 2008.


The crown is being put together on April 27th, 2008.

Dusk in Raleigh
RBC Plaza now towers at the top of the Raleigh skyline.

The RBC Spire is a DT Raleigh Symbol

The lighting of the RBC Plaza is a symbol of the progress of the revitalization of downtown Raleigh

[Via MyNC]

I agree with Scott Custer’s statement. The RBC Bank CEO and others lit up the spire last night at a ceremony on Fayetteville St. You may have been lucky to see it lit up a couple of times in the past but it’s now official; the RBC crown is now lighting up the nighttime skyline. It is the symbol of the private sector’s investment in downtown Raleigh.

When the crown is lit up, it is impressive. I think it will be Raleigh’s version of Atlanta’s Bank of America Plaza. The crown stands out at night, from Fayetteville St. all the way out to the beltline and hidden views beyond that. Until something taller comes along, this will probably be the center of most of our national exposure photos; TV shots during sports games, the next billion top 10 lists Raleigh makes, promotion items, etc. Whether visitors like it or not, I think a majority of them will remember the RBC crown and if they see it again outside of the city, they will remember that it is in Raleigh.

The bar has been raised, when will it be topped?

Leisure Aquatic Features Coming to Downtown [UPDATE: 6-11-08]

It’s been a slow news week but RalCon strives to keep posting as much as possible. Pictures have massively been lacking but we can make it through the slump. Some travel plans over this summer have pushed back my purchase of a new camera. Once I get it, you’ll be begging for me to stop posting pictures. Until then we can still discuss other topics.

Summer is here and you can start to really feel the heat. This only means that it is time to relax from all of that stress at work by chilling next to a pool.(besides relaxing by reading a RalCon post while at work, right?) I hope most of you like to hang out by a pool as much as I do but this amenity is hard to come by when being in downtown. I decided to go through a running list of the aquatic features currently open or being built downtown.

RBC Plaza

Up high on the 23rd floor, this pool should be a very cool feature for people living in RBC Centura’s national HQ’s building. Tenants on the south side of the building will be able to look over their balconies at people getting or trying to get tan. High diving from your balcony is not recommended. Coming summer of 2008.

The Tucker

With the lower priced condos at this Glenwood South project, the pool will be covered with kids out of college, enjoying life out of school and less responsibility on the weekends. I may have too much fun if I lived here with a pool and Glenwood down the street. Coming summer of 2009.

West at North

Another Glenwood South project. This pool is 16 stories up above; you guessed it, West and North Street. Even though I vote this building to have the most unoriginal name in downtown, it earns pretty high marks and I’m excited about it being built. This may be the hardest pool to get to, if you do not know someone living there. Anyone? Coming late 2008

The Paramount
I have always had a hard time finding any information about the Paramount. The high prices just don’t work with me, I guess that is what it is. Anyway, I have to link it over to Raleighing for a tour of the building and pics of their pool.

The Lafayette Boutique Hotel

I have not found any concrete plans for this building or the rooftop bar/restaurant planned for this high-rise hotel. The pool is rumored to be a part of it and this rendering came out sometime last year. I think it will easily have the best view of Raleigh……if it ever gets built.

The Raleigh Municipal Fountain


This little oasis is probably the most accessible of them all and is downtown’s only hot tub. Some have criticized its small size but it is not the size of the pool that matters. It’s the rushing waterfall that massages out my arms from lifting too many pints at the flying saucer. Open daily.

[UPDATE: 10-18-07]
The Hue

This cozy little pool will be wrapped on three sides by 7 floors of condos. To finish it of is a nice parking deck. Oh well, better than nothing.

[UPDATE: 6-11-08]

222 Glenwood

This post is just plain fun to update. Here is a new image from the 222 Glenwood pool. It looks pretty slick and the squares on the parking deck wall are a nice touch.

Thanks, Ashton!

RBC Deck Update

While we’ve all been watching the crown and spire rise up on RBC Plaza, its parking deck accomplice has been slowly cleaning up. On Blount St., the sidewalk should open up soon as brick and concrete have been laid. There are still more touches needed to the façade but for the most part, we can see what this end will look like. The Wilmington St. side needs a little more work as the façade is still bare and the sidewalk is all clay with a huge hole in one area.

It looks like each side mirrors the other. There is space for one, maybe two retail spaces on each end. This is sandwiched in between the entrance/exit for cars and the stairwell/elevators.

Blount St.

Wilmington St.

Living It Since 2008

The downtown condo supply has been slowly rising and we all have seen new buildings open up over the past few years. Help me out with the years if I’m off but

  • Palladium Plaza opened in 2007
  • The Quorum Center opened in 2006
  • The Dawson and The Paramount opened in 2005
  • The Hudson opened in 2005 (?)

There are other buildings that have been holding it down for longer then this but 2008 has to be exciting for the downtown condo scene as we welcome four newcomers to the party. As an extension to the WRAL article that touches this, here is the list.

RBC Condos

RBC is probably the most obvious and more unique of the group. It depends on your definition, but I think this is the first example of true high-rise living in Raleigh. Word is that all 139 condos have been sold.

Bloomsbury Estates

The seven story, 56 unit condo building is over half sold and should also open this year. Hopefully in the near future we will see the second phase of the project, which consists of the twin being built in the back.

222 Glenwood

The website is claiming that only nine units remain available in this building as of this writing. The location cannot get any better for fans of Glenwood South. The added retail presence along the street is a big welcome also. I heard from a friend that the views from the top are excellent.

West at North

This is a spacious building with a large footprint. The residents within the 170 condos will have a rooftop pool and easy access to Glenwood South. The ground floor retail will help West St. become Glenwood’s little brother.