Warehouse District Potential Rises With a Pair of Approved Rezonings

I propose we rename the warehouse district to the rezoning district. I’m kidding of course but with a pair of approved rezonings earlier in July of this year plus plenty of cases in the recent past, you can’t deny the potential for multiple new projects adding a lot of new space to the area. It’ll be quite a change!

Approved recently were two cases around the intersection of Hargett and Harrington. Mentioned earlier this year, the “Legends block” was approved for a max-height of 40 stories. Across the street, now a parking lot owned by Highwoods Properties, is another piece of property with a similar 40 story max zoning.

There’s not much else to add about the Legends parcel in that it includes the entire building, front and back bar, and the small parking lot along Harrington. No details as to what is planned have been released. The owners of the property is CityPlat, a local commercial development company.

The owner of Legends was quoted in the News & Observer that the deal here was a positive thing for the business.

“The deal with CityPlat ensures the long-term survival of Legends as an on-going business and an opportunity to collaborate for future development,” said Tim Bivens, one of the club’s owners, in an email. “We are coming up on our 30 year anniversary and plan to be around for another 30.”

Downtown Raleigh LGBTQ club Legends sells property for $4.3 million – link

The Highwoods Property on the other corner was mostly surface parking. The surface parking expanded with some buildings being demolished in February 2020. It’s not even fully paved, a move Highwoods seems to be fond of like their property on the corner of Wilmington and Martin. Similar to Legends, no details on future plans have been announced.

What gets me excited about this potential is the possible future for a nice two-block street of retail and restaurants. 300 and 400 West Hargett could have retail facing each other on both sides of the street on their ground floors. That’s actually quite rare in downtown outside of the Fayetteville Street core and Glenwood South.

Long term, we have planned bus-rapid transit and an already running train station nearby with plans for commuter rail. Office, residential, or even hotel uses could be nicely served by these alternative transit options.

We’ll have to see what’s announced in the future.

Multiple Rezoning Requests on the Table

Dillon Supply Company in downtown Raleigh's Warehouse District

There’s a nice cluster of rezoning requests at the city right now that could bring new development to where there is currently none or very little existing activity. The RalCon commenters have been all over it recently so I wanted to bring it up top for more exposure.

Rezoning requests don’t sound exciting but it does fuel the rumor mill. While I enjoy speculation at a “for entertainment purposes only” approach I think we should lay out what’s on the table and what the comprehensive plan says about these areas.

To date, none of the requests discussed here have been approved or denied. They have only been submitted.

301 Hillsborough Street and 320 W. Morgan Street

Case number Z-038-14 has been discussed on the blog before. It’s the site of the parking lot used by Campbell Law school along Dawson Street between Morgan and Hillsborough Street. If you need a refesher, we talked about it back in October of 2014.

The request is for a DX-20-SH. In short, that means Downtown Mixed Use zoning with a 20 story max height and a shopfront frontage.

The latest update on this rezoning request is that there are some big projects being discussed behind closed doors. The N&O writes:

The city government has been entertaining at least two “substantial and serious offers” from private developers for the 1.2-acre property. Now the city has moved to apply a new set of development rules to the land, potentially clearing the way for a private construction project.

*Raleigh files to allow 20-story buildings at 301 Hillsborough St.

On the opposite side of the coin, there are a group of residents that are against the rezoning. The Central CAC has voted against this rezoning in a recent meeting. The article also states that The Dawson residents are against the rezoning and instead want the height to be capped at 7 stories instead of 20.

The last piece of this story that I’ll share is what the comprehensive plan says about this area. Here are quotes from it that seem relevant.

Reinforce the William Christmas Plan by encouraging prominent buildings and uses to be developed along axial streets (i.e. Hillsborough, Fayetteville, and New Bern) and the squares. (1, 3, 4, 6)

Highest density development should occur along the axial streets (Hillsborough Street, Fayetteville Street and New Bern Avenue), major streets (as identified by the Street plan), surrounding the squares, and within close proximity to planned transit stations.

327 & 309 Hillsborough Street and 324 & 328 W. Morgan Street

Case Z-39-14 is right next door and is for the same DX-20-SH zoning. This would be the western half of the same block that has 301 Hillsborough mainly along Harrington Street.

This seems like the same story as before. The same height concerns are mentioned by the residents at The Dawson. The same comprehensive plan applies to this lot as does 301 Hillsborough.

603 S. Wilmington Street and 112 & 114 E. Lenoir Street

Moving off Hillsborough Street, case Z-42-14, is a request for a DX-12-UG-CU zoning. If you’re following along, that’s downtown mixed-use at 12 story maximum with an urban general frontage, conditional use. An urban general frontage means that while the building is up against the sidewalk, ground floor retail space may or may not be there. It allows for walk up townhomes, an office lobby, or something similar.

The property in question here is where the Baptist Headquarters Building is located next to the McDonald’s facing Wilmington Street. According to the TBJ article, plans for a hotel are in the works and the rezoning would allow it to be as tall as 12 stories.

A hotel developer has submitted plans with the city to rezone a piece of property within the Prince Hall Historic District in downtown Raleigh for a hotel and office building that could stretch as high as 12 stories tall.

*New 12-story hotel proposed for downtown Raleigh

Taking a look at the comprehensive plan, this area seems to have the same density and urban core concepts as the rest of downtown. Close by is the start of an identified transition area, one that steps down towards the nearby neighborhoods.

The image below shows a piece of the map whereby the areas in blue have been identified as transitional. The map is just a guide however and with it being in a historic district I bet this topic gets heated.

401, 403 & 406 W. Hargett Street, 223 S. West Street, 410 W. Martin Street, & 126, 210 & 218 S. Harrington Street

Case Z-1-15 involves quite a few properties in the warehouse district near Union Station. This request is for DX-20-CU, downtown mixed use at 20 stories maximum, conditional use. The grandest building here is the Dillon Supply Warehouse, pictured at the top of this post, which is a real cornerstone of our warehouse district in terms of size and potential.

Just like the other areas mentioned in this post, this area again is identified as needing high-intensity development as it is in the downtown.

The developer here seems to be Kane Realty Corp, the group behind North Hills. If you take a look at the zoning request the “neighborhood” meeting was held up at the North Hills offices with only 4 Raleighites attending.

The writing is on the wall that the city wants this area to be hugely successful due to the upcoming Raleigh Union Station project. (set to break ground in less than 10 weeks) If you attended enough of the Union Station meetings, there is also another component that is seen as hugely needed adjacent to Union Station. Lots of new parking was seen as a huge need here and I wouldn’t be surprised if a big parking deck component is put in this area to accommodate that.

New Citrix Offices In The Warehouse District Working Through The Planning Phases

The 100 block of South West Street.

The growing technology company Citrix is making plans to move into downtown Raleigh next year. The city’s website has some details of their new building that is currently under review by the planning department. More of a renovation than a new building, the company will expand on West Street in downtown’s Warehouse District. For the warehouse lovers out there, the design does include a demolition plan which may upset some but others may welcome the added retail and parking spaces.

First, for those catching up, the announcement:

Citrix today announced that in response to rapidly increasing demand for ShareFile, the secure and reliable file sharing service, it will move its North Carolina offices to an ultra-modern 130,000 square-foot office space in the warehouse district of downtown Raleigh. The facility will become the new development center for the data sharing product group which is expected to more than double in size over the next five years. This move follows Gov. Bev Perdue’s June announcement of Citrix’s plans to create 337 jobs and invest $12.5 million in North Carolina. The move is anticipated to be completed in 2013.

*On the Move: Citrix Announces Expansion in Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina – July 30, 2012.

Looking at the development plan application on the city’s website, we have some more details as to what is expected on the 100 block of South West Street. The area under design is shown in the Google map screenshot below.

Area around 100 block of South West Street, Downtown Raleigh.

The entire block is under development and I’ve included two separate colors to show what is staying and what will be brought down. The orange indicates the warehouse that will be renovated for new offices to house Citrix’s future Downtown Raleigh employees. The red shows which buildings will be demolished to make way for a parking deck-over-retail development. This includes the Men at Work stand-alone building and the shorter warehouse attached to the Dillon Supply building.

West Morgan Street.

The 100 block of South West Street.

As of August 27, 2012, there was a sign on the front door of Men at Work stating that they will be moving, not far, starting on September 1st.

The parking deck/retail combo building will not be attached to the Citrix warehouse but instead be separated by approximately 26 feet of outdoor landscaping and walkways. Preliminary sketches have the block looking like the sketch below.

Parking Deck and Citrix building, east elevation plan.

The sketches show retail spaces and vehicle entrance/exits on West Street as well as a healthy amount of retail space along Morgan Street, including space along almost the entire length of the block minus the space for delivery access. 14 foot sidewalks and street trees will be put in place as is standard in new developments thanks to the city’s 2030 comprehensive plan. About half of the Morgan Street side will actually get 24 foot sidewalks. It’s also worth noting that the sidewalk improvements wrap the entire block.

See the document for more details but the plan looks promising to bring life at all hours of the day to the warehouse district.

Buried Tracks In The Warehouse District

High-speed rail and train travel out of downtown sounds like a thing of the future to some people. To others, its a thing of the past now that cars are king and planning of our cities happen around it. It’s no surprise that cities across the country have demolished or abandoned their train stations.

In case you missed it, we’ve mentioned before that Raleigh actually still has its Union Depot, now re-purposed as an office building. It will probably never see trains again but the warehouse district around it continues to have trains roll by. Its possible to uncover some of the older tracks that once ran through here. Let’s jump straight to the maps.

Above is a map of the area around Nash Square in 1914. Union Depot is marked on here as ‘Depot’ and you can see the old tracks leading up to the back of the building coming from the west.

This is a current map overlaid on top of the previous and it is obvious to see that the tracks are not there anymore. You can use a more interactive old/new map overlay at the North Carolina Maps site where I got them from. They set up a very slick Google Map to show this.

The truth is that the tracks were never torn up and are blatantly noticeable if you walk around the warehouse district. The tracks that used to lead up to Union Depot can be seen on West Street, they continue through one of the Dillon warehouses, and there are suspicious cracks along the asphalt leading up to the office buildings behind the old depot.

Click on the pictures for a larger view.

Tracks crossing West Street.

Tracks running through the Dillon Warehouse.

Harrington Street. Look for the cracks in the asphalt in neatly spaced, parallel lines.

The tracks lead up to the offices and disappear underneath.

Next time you are walking in the area, look for the tracks and imagine that at one time passenger trains were unloading people right into Nash Square and a few blocks from Fayetteville Street.

The State of the Warehouse District

By day, the warehouse district of Downtown Raleigh is quiet and sleepy. By night, it wakes up and comes to life, exploding on the weekends. This nightlife hotspot has seen some problems in the past, but with a convention center only a few steps away, why can’t it enjoy some traffic just as Fayetteville St. will be getting? Here is some recent updates if you have not been down there recently.

  • Penrod’s Antique Warehouse has opened up next to White Collar Crime and makes use of the entire 10,000 sq. ft. warehouse. They have very old furniture and all kinds of random plates, paintings, silverware, etc. They are open seven days a week.

  • Jibarra is re-locating to The Depot but work there has not yet started. The place is still filled with the old bars from the trio of clubs that left back in November of 2007. Jibarra seems confident on opening up this fall.
  • Renovation of a warehouse for the Contemporary Art Museum seems to be continuing. A recent ‘Pic of the Week’ entry had some good discussion from readers.
  • Discussion on the Multi Modal Transit Center is picking up and the city wants your ideas. Read their ‘Call For Ideas’ on the Transit Center and submit them by July 24th. I have not read the entire document yet but may post my thoughts later this week.

The warehouse district will need more shops and the museum to open for activity to rise during the day. The transportation center, I think, will define the warehouse district in the near future and when (if) built, this area will explode during the day.

Plenty of parking at The Depot