Good or bad, depending on how you see it, Seaboard Station is transforming right now. The construction energy is high and personally, I’m just thrilled to watch it take place. If you stop by on a weekday, it feels like every corner has construction workers moving and building. Numerous vehicles and machines are churning out materials. The hum and pure noise of the site suggests someone has the pedal to the floor here.
This is what top to bottom change looks, sounds, and feels like.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was more or less fine with the former Seaboard Station buildings. They had a nice warehouse, brick feel to them and a great collection of local businesses made their homes there. However, we’re seeing a complete transition from a suburban retail district into an urban one. That is pretty exciting to me.
The apartment building, called The Signal, on Block B (reminder of the blocks here) looks pretty good from the outside and the finishing touches are being applied now. Residents should be moving in around Spring 2023. The sidewalks are looking great (nice and wide) and when small businesses set up shop here, it’ll be on a completely urban dynamic that the retail district never had before.
Block A is starting to rise out of the hole they dug out at the corner of Peace and Halifax. More apartments and a hotel are being constructed on this block and it was announced recently that the hotel will be a Hyatt House hotel with a rooftop bar called High Rail.
Block C is the youngest site to get started but a crane is already up and work is humming along. At this pace, it won’t take long before this one goes vertical as well. You can take a look at the panorama shot at the top of this post for a peek at the site.
That’s it for the active work at Seaboard at this time. In the future, we’ll have work taking place at Logan’s after the long-time business moves out. Current plans look to move the Seaboard Station building further north and build a pair of towers at 16 and 20 stories. More on that in a future post.
I’m excited for it all and for a more urban Raleigh on downtown’s north side.
Seaboard Station is really humming. In the foreground above, Block A has been cleared even more with the former parking lot stripped away and trees removed. This piece will have hotel and apartment units.
In the background, Block B is getting bricked up and looking real nice. I expect the crane to come down soon but maybe it’ll be moved to Block A. Just a guess here.
Block C, not shown above, has fencing around it so perhaps demolition is upcoming. For a refresher on the layout of Seaboard Station, see this March 2022 post.
I’m kind of piggybacking off a post from two weeks ago but either way, I decided to dive deeper into Seaboard Station this week. There’s a lot of moving parts there with a project under construction as well as plans making their way through the approval process for more development. Consider this post a quick catch up and overview of the northern side of Downtown Raleigh.
As always, we’re following Seaboard Station in-depth on the Community, thread is here, so lurk as much as you want but all are welcome to join the conversation.
For me, it’s got to start with a map and I’ve doctored up one such map that I think will help show where we’re at here.
It’s also important to list out what we’re talking about as well as what we are NOT talking about. The map above, modified from the Seaboard Station website itself, shows five key components as to the future development of Seaboard Station. Let’s put a chart together.
What’s There Now
Former Sunflower’s location has been demolished. Empty lot today
Hotel, Apartments, Retail
Currently under construction
Hotel, Apartments, Retail
Restaurants and Retail including Galatea, Night Kitchen, and Marigold Parlour
Hotel, Apartments, Retail
Restaurants and Retail including Ace Hardware, O2 Fitness, and Peace China
Logan’s Garden Shop
Rezoning request in progress
As of this writing, these are the only properties we’re talking about. What’s NOT included is the single-story retail strip with shops like Mon Macaron, Hunky Dory, and Sola Salon as well as the Shell gas Station that faces Peace Street. There are also some smaller buildings and lots that are either owned by others or next door William Peace University. There are no plans for those properties as of this writing.
Block A kind of started things off in 2018 after the sale of Seaboard Station from nearby William Peace University to a developer. Plans included a hotel and apartments, which the website still states is the case. Construction hasn’t started on that however as the pandemic of 2020 made new development take a pause. What was a more solid bet, and still is, was housing which made Block B, with plans for only apartments, more attractive.
I’m speculating here but that seems to be what’s happening now. The former location of Sunflower’s was demolished and Block A is basically a storage yard for nearby construction.
Block B is close to topping out. About 300 apartments with ground-floor retail should open later this year. This is the first development of the new era of Seaboard Station. The units on the east side looking at the university should have a nice view.
Block C and Block D
Block C and D are still in the planning phases. I got nothing on Block D as the attention has mostly gone to the other areas.
Site plans have been submitted (see ASR-0033-2021, pdf link) to the city for Block C showing another apartment over retail building with around 220 units. However, there is still active retail on this block. I’m hoping that spaces in Block B are offered and time is given to the local businesses to move over.
Logan’s Garden Shop
Logan’s has hit the news recently with an announcement of moving their business in the future. This is a “years from now” announcement and no changes will take place soon. However, in the background, the developer has filed for a rezoning. (see Z-5-22, pdf link) The current zoning has a seven-story heigh limit and the owners want to increase that to 20.
The local controversy here is the train depot building that once served the Seaboard rail line. The new development suggests the replacement of this building. However, no site plans have been submitted as the rezoning really dictates what can be built here or not. It’s my understanding that the building has no historic status and therefore can be demolished today, rezoning approval or not.
At the same time though, the building is in great shape from what I can see and would be a nice touch to an area that will mostly feature “by-the-book” 5-over-1 generic buildings.
The Logan’s property is mostly surface lots around the station including the train canopy and yards that currently serve the garden shop. New development would be a significant boost to the area. Building massings, such as the one below, are being worked on but no definitive plans have been put out there.
I tend to take the contrarian route on most “historic preservation” issues. I say we give them all the height allowances with the stipulation that the station must be preserved. At the same time, if hundreds more residential units or office spaces are built at the expense of the station then I won’t cry over that. I see no way Downtown Raleigh loses here.
Seaboard Station, a glorified shopping center really, is going through an urban transition. The residential units are welcome, especially at a time when there’s a housing crunch in Raleigh, and I can’t think of any better way to make urban retail work then to stack hundreds of residents on top and around you. That’s really what the downtown Raleigh of the future looks like to me.
You can also insert a lengthy argument about putting tall buildings around future transit lines here which I’ll save for another day.
Seaboard Station is on the path for more people spaces with less car spaces. I think this future Seaboard is going to look great.
The first major building of the future Seaboard Station has really been moving. I believe this is the first residential building for the area in quite awhile, maybe ever. Seaboard Avenue is a mess right now and with future construction planned, might as well get used to it.
More rezoning requests are in the works for the western part of the Seaboard Station area as well so we may have a crane over us for a few years each time you visit Seaboard.
An easy thing to notice from following developments, not being in the industry by the way, is that a lot of planning goes into all these things. It’s probably an underappreciated aspect of building larger structures but of course it is; there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. When it all starts to come together and construction starts, that’s when it feels real.
In just a few short weeks, new tower cranes have popped up in downtown. We’re still building stuff and that’s great for downtown’s vitality and future. Investments continue and that’s a sign for optimism for downtown Raleigh. Let’s recap the things we can actually see being built right now.
Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites
Shown in the foreground of the above photo, a new hotel is coming to the corner of McDowell and Davie Streets. The building will have two brands which include a Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites. That’s 259 additional rooms within walking distance to Fayetteville Street, the Raleigh Convention Center, and the Warehouse District.
The Hampton Inn on Glenwood is Hilton’s first presence into downtown Raleigh so this would make it their second offering. I imagine a variety of brands is great to see. Plus, another rooftop bar option isn’t bad either.
400H for short, the tower crane at 400 Hillsborough was met with lots of excitement on the Community when it went up around Thanksgiving 2021. 400H is a true, mixed-use project with office, retail, and 242 apartments in a 20-story building.
For new office space to be built, I just can’t emphasize enough the optimism for downtown Raleigh here. Not everyone is working from home all the time and I believe innovation and creativity takes place more easily in-person.
The residential portion makes sense to me as downtown Raleigh is near capacity as far as residents go. We should be seeing the building open up in late 2023.
A crane is up on East Cabarrus to build Platform, a new residential building for over 430 units. That’s downtown’s largest complex yet!
Playing off the proximity to Raleigh Union Station, the building will have an excellent view of the rail lines going through the Boylan Wye including the station itself. Train-themed designs will probably be used to give it that modern warehouse feel.
Already well into construction, Seaboard Station‘s first new building in a long time will be Block B, a 298-unit apartment building. In addition to ground-floor retail, this building starts a multi-project overhaul of Seaboard Station itself. There are plans for more residents and hotel units for Seaboard in the future so what once was a district of shopping may grow into a much more active district on downtown’s northern end.
You can check out what’s planned at Seaboard Station here.
Not quite crane-worthy, or at least not yet, but dirt, concrete, and wood is being moved at a few other spots in downtown. We’re keeping our eyes on a few other spots as well.
Seems like the name of the game is all about residents. In this post, I’ve mentioned projects that will deliver over 1,000 homes that are currently being built in downtown Raleigh. My long-time hope is that retail truly follows rooftops and downtowners can then support a thriving shopping scene.
The residential building over at Seaboard Station is starting to rise out of it’s hole along Halifax Street. The underground parking deck should be done (or at least poured) and we will now get to watch the ground-floor amenity and retail space take shape.
This site is just called Block B according to the publicly released plan for the entire area. Block A, at the corner of Halifax and Peace, had plans for a hotel. It’s not surprising that hasn’t started due to the pandemic and uncertainty around future travel. New housing seems to do well in downtown so the additional 180 units would be welcomed.
The demolition at Seaboard Station continues. The site with the former Sunflower’s Cafe is no more. Mixed-use buildings with a possible hotel, apartments and ground-floor retail are in the plans for the future.
The area looks huge after the removal of all the buildings and surface parking. It really shows you how much more you can do when you remove all the land dedicated to parking cars.
Fencing has popped up around some portions of Seaboard Station. A demolition company has put up it’s sign around block B. I take it to mean that the central building, shown above, is about to be demolished.
Block B plans for a residential building over retail, described in more detail in this August 2020 post. Block A also has fencing around it as well. Residential is still a hot commodity in Raleigh so leading with this development over the hotel portion makes sense for this year if that’s what we’ll see take place.