Bloc 83 Has Never Looked so Good

Have you been to Bloc 83 yet?

By Bloc 83, I mean the collection of new buildings along Hillsborough and Morgan Streets on the southern end of Glenwood Avenue. The Origin Hotel, One Glenwood, and Two Hillsborough form a node of office space and hospitality that is sure to see some activity as companies move in and programming starts in their new plaza space.

The name actually has a nod to the block numbers on the old insurance maps of downtown Raleigh. I guess at the time, it was just “Raleigh” as Block 83 was near the edge of the city limits back then. You can see all the downtown blocks numbered here from 1896 or see it in person thanks to this slick mural along the plaza showing a portion of the map.

The plaza between the two office buildings is now the Gold Standard for public spaces in Raleigh. There’s room to stroll and various nooks to sit at with a variety of views towards the small stage. Two kiosks are inside the plaza which I hope have some new local businesses. I can imagine small scale performances, popup markets, and art shows taking place here. Even late night parties and corporate events could use the space as it looks wired up with speakers and a large screen.

The exterior construction seems completed and if you walk the block, there’s plenty of retail space to keep things interesting. We already have spots filled in One Glenwood as they opened over a year ago. Two Hillsborough and even the parking deck across Boylan have retail spaces on the ground floor. Don’t forget about the restaurant, Good Day Good Night, in the hotel also.

Looking to the future, there may be more coming to this immediate spot as a plot of land at 615 West Morgan has been rezoned up to a maximum height of 20 stories. This is at the southeast corner of Morgan and Boylan and initial plans suggest even more office space with ground-floor retail. The Bloc 83 formula seems to be a hit so far.

We’re tracking Bloc 83 progress on the Community to great depths and some of our contributors have already toured the new building and shared photos. Jump on over to follow in the conversation. Perhaps a future DTRaleigh Meetup will take place at Bloc 83 one day.

A Walk Around Bloc 83

Hillsborough Street is a hot zone of construction right now. Since One Glenwood opened in early 2019, the twin tower right next door has been going up without missing a step.

The whole project, Bloc 83, is a mixed-use development with office towers over retail plus the newly opened Origin Hotel along the intersection of Morgan and Glenwood Avenue. A new parking deck is being constructed along Boylan as well.

Bloc 83 is the main stage of the area now with the two towers acting as the hub of activity. Ground-floor retail mostly wraps these towers and the space between will act like a courtyard for future outdoor events.

To support it all, the Origin Hotel is now open along Morgan Street. In addition to the parking deck built for the hotel, a second is being put together along Hillsborough Street. I can’t help but prejudge the glut of parking being built here but these seem to be the times we live in.

Once completed, this should be a nice injection of office workers to Glenwood South. I’m interested to see how the courtyard can be used for events, something this area doesn’t do too often.

I feel like with a larger hub at this end of Glenwood, Glenwood South may have the epicenter that the nightlife strip was lacking in the past. Everything should be wrapped up sometime in 2021.

We’re following Bloc 83 like a hawk over on the Community. Join us!

Pic of the Week

Steel is rising out of the ground at the Bloc 83 site. Two Hillsborough is now being built next to the already open One Glenwood. To the left of the photo above is the parking deck that will support the new building. This explains why Boylan has been closed here for awhile.

At the pace that the first building held, Two Hillsborough should be open this time next year. The space between them should also be something special as the website reps it as “Raleigh’s largest urban courtyard.”

Pic of the Week

Photo by @oakcitydylan

Demolition is taking place on the western half of the site named Bloc 83. By the time you read this, the site along the southern side of the 600 block of Hillsborough Street may already be cleared out.

This is the second-half development that will pair up with the already open One Glenwood. For a refresher of what is to come here, jump back to this November 2018 post about the development named Two Hillsborough.

I’m certainly missing the Esso Gas Station that stood at the corner and had one of my favorite bars, Dram and Draught. However, I’m happy to see new urban-style development that should be a part of the Raleigh of the future which makes transit-use more feasible and even brings about even more retail and restaurant space.

Dram and Draught has moved into One Glenwood and should re-open soon.

Finally, for nostalgia’s sake, I’ve got a snap of the Esso Gas Station in 2015 after it was renovated but before the bar set up shop in it.

Corner of Hillsborough and Boylan. August 2015.

One Glenwood + Two Hillsborough + Parking Deck = Bloc 83

700 block of Hillsborough Street. October 2018.

700 block of Hillsborough Street. October 2018.

More renderings and plans are being submitted for the Heritage Properties developments along Hillsborough Street. Readers might already be familiar with the soon-to-be-completed office tower, One Glenwood, and the second tower is coming soon with Two Hillsborough. The two towers will have a plaza in between, mid-block, with retail supporting a lively sense of place.

The latest renderings show the two towers with the plaza in between.

Rendering of the Bloc 83 development.

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The collection of towers is being called Bloc 83 according to the latest submissions. The third piece of the puzzle is a parking deck with ground-floor retail. Located on the 700 block of Hillsborough Street, the former auto shop and next-door house are slated to be removed for the new deck. The deck’s 693 spaces are most likely going to support Bloc 83. You can spy the deck in the renderings above.

The site plan looks pretty typical but with retail along both Hillsborough Street and a part of Boylan. Entrances to the deck will be on both Hillsborough and Boylan Avenue. Below is a snapshot of that site plan.

SIte plan of the Bloc 83 parking deck along the 700 block of Hillsborough Street.

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I can’t help but roll my eyes at more parking decks especially when you consider that one has already been built behind the Origin Hotel across Morgan by the same developers. I believe between the two decks there will over 1,000 spaces provided.

However, as I look at the plans and where we’re coming from, the new office towers moves the needle just a little bit towards a more urban and transit-friendly Raleigh. The parking decks are just a bridge that helps us connect to the rest of the region.

The way retail space really surrounds the outside and inside of Bloc 83, even in the parking deck, feels hugely positive. If the landlords can land some service retail and add to downtown’s plentiful list of tasty places to eat then by all means, bring it on.

The vibe on the Community is a tad negative over another parking deck but does give more reason to support pro-transit and pro-bike orgs to keep the mobility options varied in and around downtown Raleigh. As for me, I’m seeing a future where I spend more time in this area compared to what was there and I think others may agree also.

As One Glenwood wraps up over the next few months, I expect work on the rest of Bloc 83 to take place in 2019.

Plans Submitted for Ten-Story Building on 600 Block of Hillsborough Street

Corner of Hillsborough and Boylan. June 2018.

Corner of Hillsborough and Boylan. June 2018.

The southern end of Glenwood Avenue is mushrooming with new growth. In addition to One Glenwood and Two Glenwood, which we’ve discussed in the past, site plans were submitted to the city for Two Hillsborough, a 10-story tower for the same block as One Glenwood.

The plans indicate that the new development would replace the current buildings on the block. If I recall correctly this includes the two-story buildings along Hillsborough containing Stop Hunger Now and Audio Exchange, the one-story office building along Boylan and Morgan (not sure who’s in there) and the renovated former Esso station with the bar, Dram and Draught.

Some maps.

Two Glenwood map from the site plan

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Two Glenwood map from the site plan

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The mixed-use project is described as:

Development of 10 story, 275,000 sf mixed use building and two 1 story (4,850 sf total) retail buildings on 4 existing lots to be combined into one lot.

The site plans suggest that Two Hillsborough will be an office tower with ground-floor retail. One Glenwood, already under construction, plus Two Hillsborough will also have a courtyard in between the buildings with these additional retail stand-alone buildings. Gensler is the architect on this plan and it looks like they may be proposing a shipping container reuse for these one-story retail buildings.

Two Glenwood site plan

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Parking will be off-site, most likely in the deck already under construction across the street.

The site is zoned for 12 stories so the pair of towers, One Glenwood and Two Hillsborough, seem like a perfect way to maximize that area. I’m happy to see another infusion of office space at the southern end of Glenwood South.

I will have to visit the old Esso station on the corner a bit more before it’s possibly demolished. That building does ooze with Raleigh character and I hope Dram and Draught, if they have to move, can find a solid new home. With good architects, I think, and a much higher density plan in a transit-friendly area I can only be excited for the things happening on the 600 block of Hillsborough Street.

Discuss Two Hillsborough on the DTRaleigh Community.