Naked For Years, The L Covers Up?

What stands to be a great example of smarter development for downtown Raleigh, the still to come The L Building has been on hold for almost two years now. This office over retail project has suffered the same financial difficulties that other canceled or on hold projects have faced.

The L building, in its current plan, will wrap the Wake County parking deck that sits on McDowell Street, shown in the picture above. The deck, built to support the new county Justice Center now under construction, is open and currently in use. While the publicly funded parking deck happened, The L site now lays empty and the developer continues to ask for more extensions to get the books straightened out.

The L, if built, will hide the parking deck along McDowell and Davie Streets but for now we have a rather large gray wall. For almost two years, this wall has been naked but that should change soon.

The latest extension, until May 2013, was approved by the Wake County Board of Commissioners in their December 6th, 2010 meeting with certain conditions. Looking at the meeting minutes, here are some of the more interesting of those conditions:

  • Developer must obtain an extension until at least November 2013 from the City of Raleigh.
  • “Developer must obtain all required approvals from the City of Raleigh and pay the cost to design, fabricate, install, and maintain full-height durable banners substantially screening the entire unfinished east and north facades of the existing parking deck … Banner installation to be complete by April 1, 2011. In the event of default by the Developer, the banners become the property of the County. County reserves the right to reject banner graphic content.”

To the best of my online search abilities, the banner discussion has not made it to the city yet. The relationship with the city and Empire properties is a solid one so there is a good chance it will be approved by them as well. Below is a rendering of the parking deck with the proposed banners.

Expect the naked wall to be covered up in time for Spring this year.

See more posts about The L.

The Great Wall of Raleigh

There are two projects to discuss here. The Wake County parking deck looks very close to being complete. The L office building that will wrap the front of this deck has not started yet, leaving a nice big gray wall. The plan was for ground floor retail with office space above. I did notice something interesting here; the sidewalks are being paved. If there is still work to be done on the outside then why are the sidewalks being laid out?

The future

Waiting For The L

The parking deck at the corner of McDowell and Davie St. is starting to rise out of the ground. This is also the site of the future ‘The L’, office over retail building, which will hide the deck from the sidewalk.

At this pace, do not expect it any time soon because this deck will be nine stories tall and they are not building it lego-style like RBC’s deck. At least we will all feel safe parking in this slowly built deck.

Wake County Wants In, Builds Downtown

Hopefully by now we are all done mourning the loss of King’s on McDowell St. I hate that an original place and music venue was destroyed to make room for government offices, but I guess that’s progress.

Anyway, King’s has been demolished and there are plans for the site at the corner of Davie St. and McDowell St. A mixed-use building with offices and ground floor shops will occupy the space. Here is some information from the city’s website:

The project would be on 1.74 acres in the northeast quadrant of the downtown block bounded by Davie Street on the north, McDowell Street to the east, Cabarrus Street on the south and Dawson Street to the west. Planned are a 989-space, nine-level parking deck and a mixed-use development consisting of 109,513 square feet of office space and 11,341 square feet of retail space. The site currently is mainly composed of surface parking lots, although a few buildings would have to be demolished to accommodate the project.

I remember the original plan included some condos but that has changed. I like the fact that there is ground floor retail, rather then a solid wall adding nothing to the street presence and livability of downtown. With a good mix of shops, this site could be the spot to pre-game before clubbing in the warehouse district. No plans for the shops have been announced but it is still early. Below are some updated pics of the demolished site as well as the renderings of the finished project, the deck should be open for use late 2008 with the entire project finished sometime in 2009.

The view walking down Davie St.

The view off of McDowell St.