307/309/311/313 West Martin Street Rezoning

Looks like there’s talk about a rezoning from DX-5-SH to DX-12-SH-CU. I see it’s on the agenda for the Central CAC meeting on Monday, Dec 3. I’d hate to lose those brick shop fronts but maybe something tall can be built behind them, similar to what’s happening over on Hargett at the old Lumsden Bros Building. That parking lot in the back is perfect to build tall.

Presentation: Potential Rezoning Case
(Located at: 307/309/311/313 West
Martin Street)
Existing Zoning: DX-5-SH
Requested Zoning: DX-12-SH-CU
Application has not been filed yet


Agreed on the brick facades. Hope they can be kept, but crossing my fingers for some height here.


10 to 12 stories would be nice to see here but yes it would be perfect if they could keep the brick facade.


Those would be fine if they stayed low-rise. They just need livery add-ons and businesses. The buildings on the opposite side of the street have no design value and pretty generic. I personally do not care what happens to those except the defunct train station building.

I would be rather devastated if anything on that block facing Martin met with a wrecking ball, even as a facadectomy. The entire back two thirds of the block, which is all parking lots, except for a nondescript but probably oldish brick building at Commerce & Davie, can go as high as the developers wish. Commerce Street is a fantastic opportunity to create a little pedestrianized alleyway, something which is very rare in Raleigh.


Doesn’t Steve Schuster own all of that? He would never demolish that stuff…he even lives above one of them.


He’s actually the one giving the presentation.


My office is literally right next to these buildings, so I braved the cold and snapped some photos.

Maybe someone can clue me in, but I’m a little confused about the rezone for 307 and 309, since those buildings are attached to 305 and the Parkside Restaurant. I would have thought you’d rezone either the whole building’s footprint or none of it.

Anyway, 311 and 313 is a separate building, and between the two there’s a charming alley that unfortunately only connects to the surface lot, which is accessible from Davie. The current tenants of the four spaces include some art galleries and space for Legal Aid. I can tell you that there is not a whole lot of activity here. Commerce is narrow and you pretty much never see cars on it, except for deliveries to Humble Pie and street parking. It’s definitely a space that could be pedestrianized. The facades of these buildings are quite nice, but I would think that those elements could certainly be worked into anything that gets built here in their place.

I’ll certainly be interested to see the plans!


This is exactly the sort of demand (save the exteriors) that the city can wield in exchange for approving the variance.

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Forget save the facades or exteriors. ALL of those existing buildings should be saved. And I’m fairly confident WILL be saved. Based on the parties involved this is very very likely applying for just the parking lots.


Why exactly is preserving these buildings in their current form a matter of great importance? Aesthetically they’re nice enough buildings, but they don’t strike me as being of any notable architectural significance such that they have to stand on that block forever and ever.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love re-purposing old buildings, and there are definitely buildings out there of sufficient historical or architectural importance that they ought to preserved even as Raleigh continues to build. But these are basically just brick boxes, so I don’t see why they would necessarily fall into that category.


A bit more than boxes. Check out the details.

You mean the ones in the photos that I took and posted in the thread?

I walk by these buildings almost every day. And, yes, they are perfectly nice buildings. The detail is nice. I’m definitely not saying we should knock them down just for the sake of doing so, and it would be great if the facades could be saved or reincorporated. That would be awesome, actually.

But if the contention here is that these buildings need to be “saved,” which implies a not-now-not-ever attitude toward their being replaced with anything else, that ought to be a fairly rigorous threshold to clear, because the more times we say “No, you can’t build here,” that demand has to go somewhere, and other parts of the city wind up undergoing even more drastic change.

I don’t know that “it’s nicer than your average brick box” is a sufficiently high bar for saying that a building can’t ever be replaced.

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IMO these buildings are the linchpin that holds the warehouse district together. Without them, IMO, the warehouse district as a whole substantially falls apart.


Also, we can probably wait to not have this debate until after we see that the buildings will not be torn down.

That’s a really, really good point. The point of having a warehouse district is for it to have the feel of one. The work completed thus far in the warehouse district: Citrix, The Depot, The Dillon, Union Station, MSFH, The Pit, etc. has all honored the industrial roots of the neighborhood and is the differentiator for the district.
It would seem to me that it’s imperative to retain/re-use existing storefronts that further the brand identity and experience of the district.


These are the perfect example of what needs to be preserved in Raleigh. We have far too many empty parking lots and too few older buildings like these that actually give the city character. Build towers on the empty lots.


I say tear them down and put some nice 12 story mixed use boxes in their place. More Density.


100% with you Mike.
Quite frankly other folks who don’t see ‘architectural significance’ and ‘significant historical importance’ should quit with the big words and attempt to grasp some basic numbers.
Raleigh has virtually no buildings from these time periods. Of the commercial buildings standing in 1920, I guestimate less then 10% remain (I stare at Sanborn maps a lot).
The materials, the wood in particular is likely virgin timber…100-200 year old logs from the early 1900’s.
The materials and techniques involved (structural brick primarily, but also the virgin timber) are rarely used today.
You can build new buildings anywhere and urban environments are not a finite commodity if only the City would insist they get built outside of the original downtown grid so any imagined pressure to maximize downtown’s density is, just that, imagined.
The quoted phrases above are subjective despite attempts to make them objective, so please do not try to sound objective in your support for demolishing them. If you don’t see the value in these buildings, you never will even with my points above. If you already do, then you’re probably willing to speak up and fight at this early point.
I also hopefully agree with Mike, that this is probably just for the rear parking lots.
I know, nobody gives two sh&^s, but I am actively looking to get out of here after 31 years, to a place like Pittsburgh or Cincinnati where I can get my historic building spot tickled.


You really should move to one of those places. They have a lot of cool historic, underused buildings. I don’t think Raleigh really does. One of the reasons I moved here is that it was like a blank canvas that I could watch get transformed into a cool modern city.

That being said, I think these buildings are cool and I hope they can be saved. It’s actually something I was thinking about earlier. That one in E. Raleigh that’s like a stucco fake stone troll house is kind of cute but obviously terrible. I shed zero tears if it gets turned into that 3 story restaurant. However, I notice that basically across the street is a bunchy of empty space. Why can’t someone build on these empty lots all over the place? I don’t mind if a building I don’t care about gets torn down to build something I do care about. But I don’t think that all these old buildings need to be torn down when there’s empty lots right at the same spot.