Phase 2 of the West + Lenoir Townhomes are filling in the 500 block of West South Street. Paired up with the now open units next door along West, these townhomes offer similar amenities with a lot going on in the near future.
As a compliment to a 2016 post on North West Street, today I wanted to take a look down South West Street. West Street through downtown is becoming an important corridor and from one end to the other, there are projects taking place that may make it a pretty desirable street in the future.
In case you weren’t aware, the directional prefixes for streets running north and south start at Hillsborough Street (west of the Capitol) and New Bern Avenue. (East of the Capitol) Hence, we start our walk at Hillsborough Street.
New developments and businesses are great but we always have to give a nod to the old favorites that have been threw a lot. I want to give a quick shout out to The Roast Grill, having been at this spot on 7 South West Street since 1940.
Will they make it to a hundred years? Time will tell but I certainly am pulling for them. The TBJ has an article (subscription required) that suggests they aren’t selling out. However, the pressure may rise as nearby developments take shape.
Heading towards the 100 block of South West brings us to the Morgan Street Food Hall. Food halls are a trend that’s happening around the country and Morgan Street will be our first (first, right?) food hall in recent memory. Plan for them to open this Spring.
Citrix employees should be food connoisseurs after that place opens.
The food hall will also get a nice infusion of nearby residents from the residential portion of The Dillon. Residents should be moving in this year and the developer has already landed a few restaurants and retail for the ground-floor spaces. Announced so far, we have:
And there’s plenty of space for more.
As you walk by the residential units of The Dillon along the 200 block, there’s a sharp contrast between the life that will soon pop here and the still empty warehouse building on the west side. Plans have seemed to come and go for this huge warehouse.
Another Citrix-like rehab could be a decent proposal for this site as it has a large-footprint but hopefully a more mixed-use repurpose can be done. At this time, no plans have been announced.
The end of the block approaches the office tower portion of The Dillon and Raleigh Union Station.
West and Martin Street will be a cool intersection I think. The Dillon’s 18 floors will draw activity here during the work days and the retail spaces, CAM, and Union Station will fill in the off hours a bit. I think it’ll feel lively and offer great views towards the downtown core.
Some warehouses nearby are also getting some renovation love. Father and Son’s newest location, the former Flanders Gallery, and the next-door neighbor have visible signs of upkeep.
Union Station is set to open early this year and I think you’ll see a small uptick in visitors as people from all over will come down to check it out. I remember when Fayetteville Street first opened in 2007 and on the first Sunday night after opening (when everything was closed) the street was jammed with cars filled with curiosity.
I think the same thing will happen this year.
At this point, West Street ends but my walk does not.
The city is studying plans to make West Street tunnel beneath the train tracks and connect to itself at Cabarrus Street. The street currently goes below the tracks and turns into the Union Station parking lot so some of the work is already done.
Next to Raleigh Station, you can see how the grid is still aligned and the West Street tunnel would make the grid connect.
At Cabarrus, there is the old Raleigh Station, waiting to be demolished sometime this year. The future of this property is still up in the air as Amtrak services and offices will relocate into Union Station.
The 500 block of South West transitions us from the warehouse district into a more residential area.
Condos are planned at the corner of West and Lenoir. The Fairweather plans 45-units in a five-story, modern building. Construction hasn’t started just yet but the announcement of the project claims an early 2019 opening.
Worth mentioning again, one Raleighite has an idea to save two houses on this block of West. When pitched at a city council meeting in December, the idea didn’t fly with some councilors due to the fact that he sits on the city’s planning commission.
There is a risk of losing these homes that well represent Raleigh’s former Fourth Ward neighborhood, and in addition a plan to offer some affordable housing unless something happens in the near future. Jump back to the full story on this here.
At the corner of West and Lenoir, across from the future Fairweather project, is an old gas station that is planned to be renovated for a restaurant. No work seems to be taking place on the exterior at the moment so perhaps it’s all inside work right now.
Along the 600 block of West, the townhomes called West + Lenoir are wrapping up. These are some of the earliest townhomes to be completed in this area as nearby Fourth Ward and 611 West South have not really begun yet.
West Street ends at South Street and so does our walk.
Along South, more demolition and construction is taking place as the area turns over. The South Street Market was just recently demolished and the storage facility has recently topped out.
Now that we’re familiar with West Street, I’d like to zoom out a bit. Above is a map of South West Street with highlighted locations from this post. In my opinion, the momentum behind Dix Park and downtown Raleigh put the affordable housing units of Heritage Park in the crosshairs.
I just can’t imagine the investment of over $10 million for a West Street tunnel, “bridging” just two blocks into downtown, is worth it if there was not some other driving force behind it.
When you look at it on a map, there’s no denying the temptation to push West further south, maybe even trying to connect it to Lake Wheeler. That would be a great downtown connection to Dix Park. With current politics, pushing aside Heritage Park wouldn’t be popular. However, from a strictly planning point-of-view, it’s worth a look.
I’m not advocating it. I do think there might be plans for a major road shakeup in this area in the next 3-5 years.
Either way, West Street will continue to grow and play an important role for downtown in the coming years.
Now for sale are the 12 townhomes that we’ve touched on before in the West South Street area. The West + Lenoir Townhomes are billed as luxury homes with a long list of amenities including a private rooftop terrace. Location is the key selling point here, according to the realtors. The location puts you close to downtown Raleigh as well as the future Dorothea Dix Park.
The 12 units range from a 1,300 square foot, 2-bedroom, 2.5 bath with 2-car garage to 1,729 square foot 3-bedroom, 3.5 bath with a single space garage. Prices range from $469K to $579k as you can see below.
Those rooftop views look great but may get crowded if the plans at 522 Harrington take place.
Townhomes seem to be the luxury item right now in downtown Raleigh. I recall downtown condos being the “luxury” item in the mid 2000s with lots of rentals following afterwards. Perhaps we’re at the beginning of a townhome boom. Or maybe not.
On a warm Sunday morning, I took a walk along South Street, an area of downtown Raleigh that has a lot to talk about. South Street used to be the original southern boundary to the entire city.
Today, you could argue it’s the southern boundary of downtown but generally Western Boulevard/MLK Boulevard holds that title. South Street could just be the boundary of the “walkable downtown” as points south of it have no real business concentration and the area transitions to neighborhoods and wider streets.
The main point of the walk was to get a sense of the two-way street conversion that is currently under construction. With it’s pair, Lenoir Street, the streets have been pointing people in one direction for a few decades. The change may have a significant impact on the area.
Below is a map of points of interest and spots mentioned in this post.
If you don’t see the embedded map, click here.
Going east to west, South starts at East Street in the South Park neighborhood. (You guessed it, the southeastern corner of the original city) There is a mix of single-family homes, some newly renovated with others in varying states of age.
Nearby Lenoir Street makes for a great entrance to Chavis Park. When the two-way conversion of Lenoir is finished, eastbound traffic can come from downtown and into the entrance along Lenoir. Bicyclists can also exit the Little Rock Trail on Lenoir to get into downtown, and vice versa. It’s just a more direct route.
The pull of the park should increase over time as the master plan is carried out. You can read more about it on the project page on the city’s website. While Dix Park is exciting and getting all the attention, Chavis Park will be downtown Raleigh’s true park in my opinion.
Walking along, the area transitions into Shaw University and for a few blocks, there is a mix of single-family homes and collegiate buildings. Renovations on housing continue here as well with Shaw working on internal changes at the moment.
Recently, Shaw has shown positive signs of getting their books in order as this TBJ article (subscription required) states that employee pay is going up. I wrote about Shaw for Raleigh Magazine as well if you are interested in additional reading on the subject.
As you head past Shaw, you start to enter the Downtown Overlay District according to our development ordinance. While not quite exciting at this time, the area is zoned for urban development at much higher heights.
Standing on the edge of the district at Wilmington Street is a McDonald’s restaurant. I think it’s worth mentioning here as our newest development ordinance may make a big change here.
This particular McDonald’s hasn’t been updated like the ones in the rest of the city and I want to think I know why. If I recall correctly, the owner of this McDonald’s was against the new development ordinance, seen during the public comment period last year, and claimed the ordinance would prohibit him from making renovations.
The “Urban Limited” designation of that property dictates that parking is not allowed between the building and the street. I guess you can’t level the building and bring in a “McDonald’s in a box” like others have in Raleigh.
For now, we have an antique at the corner of Wilmington and South until an entirely new development comes about. I’m sure there are other examples of this coming change on the fringes of downtown due to the new development ordinance.
Next, you have the city-owned parking lots in front of the performing arts center. The city is thinking about how best to dispose of or use these properties, along with many other ones in downtown. Raleigh Agenda was at a recent public meeting about this and has more:
The most enviable property the city owns downtown may be the two-and-a-half acres at the south end of Fayetteville Street. Now a parking lot, the site sits directly across the street from the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. It is zoned for forty stories.
The same conversation also includes some of the gravel parking lots around McDowell and Dawson Streets. All I’ve seen them used for now are parking for amphitheater events, storage for convention center events (trailers, etc.), and fireworks viewing during July Fourth and First Night.
Here are all the properties that the city owns in this area.
No surprise to frequent readers but the Residence Inn hotel along Salisbury Street has topped out and is moving right along. I’m sure it will support the convention center but being under the 400 room magic number, it may or may not help book very large conventions.
Continuing east, the view of downtown from South at Dawson Street starts to get more and more prominent. You start walking uphill and the view is really photogenic.
The Heritage Park neighborhood spans from Dawson to South Saunders here along the southern end of South Street. Across South, long-time businesses and buildings have been operating. The South Street two-way conversion is taking a very wide South Street and adding bike lanes and landscaped medians here.
The TBJ reported earlier this month of a new development. NitNeil Partners, a builder of high-end storage, plans to put a four-story building where Rose & Sons Auto Service is currently located. The article states that they want to break ground this Fall.
The property is actually quite large and also faces Lenoir Street. The new storage facility will certainly have a major presence on this block.
Hopefully you’ve gotten a lesson on our historic street names as South West Street then intersects with West South Street. (The southwestern corner of the original city)
Around the intersection with West Street, older buildings contain convenience stores, a tattoo shop, and a club. Land is being cleared for 12 new townhomes along West between South and Lenoir. According to the site plans, there will be three four-unit buildings on the site with vehicle access to the alleys on Lenoir Street.
The hub of West South Street is probably found at Saunders and South, where a line of urban-facing buildings create a cluster of retail space. Shops such as Holder Goods, Boulted Bread, and Artikle 74 have moved in recently creating some neighborhood urban-scale activity.
The walk finally ends as South Street heads into the Boylan Heights neighborhood, the western bookend to South Park’s eastern bookend. The view looking back is the header image of this post.
South may become a strong artery for neighborhoods to get into and out of downtown. The residential elements already seem to be there with some institutional aspects, like Shaw, adding a different element that other streets may not have.
There’s certainly a lot to follow on the southern edge of town.