Seaboard Station Block B Plans Show more Mixed-Use, Underground Parking

During the Aug 20 meeting of the Raleigh Appearance Commission, a request for an alternate design came up for what’s being called Block B of Seaboard Station. The six-story building planned for this site is a mixed-use building with residences over retail. Above is a concept rendering

A bit unique to the building, and very welcome in my opinion, is that the plans show parking being underground. You don’t see too much of that with the development of the last few decades as a plethora of new buildings have been built over a parking deck or have the deck wrapped in the interior.

The site of Block B at Seaboard Station would loosely be over the current tennis courts along Halifax Street between Seaboard Avenue and Franklin Street.

It doesn’t look like the building would go all the way to Abe Alley so perhaps the remainder of that block is still being worked on.

The plans show about 180 units and all four sides of the building have an active use for either retail or residential. There’s just one parking entrance along Halifax.

Those are some of the high-level takeaways about this project from this request. If you’re curious about the request itself, the summary says:

The building meets the build-to requirement for much of the site but is missing build-to requirements along Halifax Street. A major Duke Energy 115kV transmission line and easement extends through the property along the entire Halifax Street frontage. Buildings and other permanent, above ground structures are not allowed within Duke Energy’s transmission line easements.

Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

Seaboard Station Plans for new Apartments and Hotel

Corner of Halifax and Peace Streets. January 2019.

The latest submitted plans (SR-034-19) for new development at Seaboard Station have been submitted. The plans are for a new 7-story building at the northwest corner of Peace and Halifax. Currently here is the building with the Sunflower’s cafe and other surface parking.

Apartments and a hotel would take up this entire block, named Seaboard Station Block A for now, which is bounded by Peace and Seaboard Avenue, Halifax and Seaboard Station Drive.

Aerial of Block A from Google maps.

The new building would be 7-stories and include parking with some spaces partially underground. It’s interesting to see the development proposing 236 parking spaces rather than the required 171. However, with 96 apartments and 150 hotel rooms, that may leave plenty for residents, overnight visitors and daytime, nighttime restaurant-goers.

The plans don’t list any retail or restaurant space other than the hotel bar and kitchen. The ground-floor spaces may be used for parking instead.

Cline Design, architects behind Peace and The Link, are working on the design for the new building.

Finally, the northern side of the block has a very generous sidewalk and converts the striped “turn in” parking to off-street, urban style spaces. The northern side may be the “front-facing” side as it supports the Seaboard Station area. The site plans suggests some public art here as well.

The plans are currently under review by the city so no real timeline is out there yet. When news hit about developing these sites, there was mention of sooner rather than later so hopefully, we’ll see things move soon on what is currently an under-used portion along Peace Street.

A Walk Around Seaboard Station

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

see Press Release

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.

Aerial shot of Seaboard Station from Bing Maps. Click for larger.

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.

Plenty of parking at Seaboard Station

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.

Upcoming: Smokey Hollow, Peace Street, and Seaboard Station

This is what it is like to take a walk downtown with @dtraleigh

A photo posted by Jennifer Suarez (@jenniferraleigh) on

Readers of the blog should not be surprised that there is a lot of momentum coming soon to Peace Street. The Smoky Hollow project near Peace and West, Devereux Meadow park, the new Capital Boulevard bridge, and new developments in Seaboard Station, including a Harris Teeter, are all going to dramatically change the look of Peace Street.

I went out there to take photos and I’m putting some lengthier stuff together, which I hope to finish soon.

Speaking of the bridge over Peace, put August 18 on your calendar as a public meeting about the Capital Boulevard bridge replacement project is planned.

Stay tuned.

The State of Seaboard Station

Seaboard Station

Seaboard Station sits at the northern end of downtown Raleigh and is a unique area compared to Glenwood South or Fayetteville Street. Over the last few years, the area seems to be riding with the downtown revitalization wave but there’s just something that’s holding it back. Why don’t people come to Seaboard and stay for awhile? I’ve always felt like the area was convenient for quickly getting there, but just the same, easy enough to get right out.

The Shops at Seaboard Station website plays on the locally owned theme of restaurants and services. 18 Seaboard and J. Betski’s have been serving at Seaboard for a few years now and the recently opened Tyler’s Taproom seems to be an instant favorite. While not included on their website, Sunflower’s needs a big nod for doing business here for almost thirty years.

In retail, Seaboard is creating a little variety for shoppers. Logan Trading Co. may be the anchor tenant and the family-owned garden shop has been open since 1991. Over the last few years, places like Seaboard Wine, Ace Hardware, and O2 Fitness have moved in to diversify the list of services.

But the most dramatic story in recent history may be what happened in 2007. A grocery store, Capital City Grocery, opened in Seaboard Station with high anticipation. The news was all over it, saying it was the pinnacle of downtown Raleigh’s re-birth. However, over time the hype died down and reviews were mixed about the store. For whatever reason, the grocery store closed and re-opened in 2008, only to close permanently later that year.

Around that same time, condo projects were even planned for Seaboard Station. The 111 Seaboard condos were planned along Seaboard Avenue but that project never came to be. Now, the empty building will not be razed for development but renovated for more retail spaces.

Today, Seaboard Station has a few new tenants in addition to the previously mentioned with plenty of empty space for more.

Empty Storefronts at Seaboard Station
Empty Storefronts at Seaboard Station

The events, the largest probably being the Music on the Porch series during the warmer months, have been fine but what will it take for Seaboard Station to naturally be a hub of activity?

The area has some natural obstacles all around it. To the south, the black hole that is the state government complex will almost never contribute more than a steady lunch crowd. The customer base to the east is not growing much with Peace College and the Mordecai and Oakwood neighborhoods. The area is also cut off somewhat with the train tracks to the north and Capital Blvd to the west. The area is somewhat isolated.

Seaboard’s contribution to downtown is not urban at all so its suburban nature makes it compete with other places of similar style. The vast parking lots make it easier for cars to go in and out so it is now competing with other shopping centers around the city. If I have to drive to Seaboard Station, then why choose that area if getting to someplace better outside of downtown is just as easy now that I’ve made the decision to drive? You can see it in the map below.

In my opinion, Seaboard Station cannot do it alone and needs to be tied into a few other projects in order for it to be a place to stay awhile. The Blount Street Commons project that essentially stalled when the economy went bad a few years ago needs to be re-energized in some way. More residents need to move into the northern end of downtown to feed Seaboard. The Capital Blvd Corridor study will also be a huge factor in realizing Seaboard’s potential. This study also includes a Peace Street corridor redesign which could greatly improve Peace Street.

The location is great but the barriers are too restrictive at the moment for Seaboard Station. The current stop on the R-Line is another plus but even greater connectivity is needed for this area to feel like an integral part of downtown Raleigh.

Peace China Hopefully Opening Soon

It has been awhile since I last checked up on Peace China over in Seaboard Station. The once empty space now only needs the food to finish it off. The signs are up on the building and a visual menu is displayed inside. The website for the shops at Seaboard says it is coming soon. However, since they still encourage people to come out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; I’d take that information with a grain of salt.