Downtown hotels

In the last few years, there were separate plans to build two hotels on McDowell St, and another hotel on Wilmington St.

• 13-story Hilton Garden Inn / Homewood Suites at Davie / McDowell
• 12-story Courtyard by Marriott at McDowell / Cabarrus / Gale
• 12-story hotel at Wilmington / Lenoir

Here’s a map showing the proposed sites:

However, nothing seems to have happened since then. The Wilmington / Lenoir hotel is proposed to be built in the Prince Hall Historic District, which resulted in some controversy. But the others don’t seem to have quite so many roadblocks in front of them.

Does anyone know the current status of any of these projects?

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@ Jack. I have ask that same question. How is it that Durham can seem to get hotels built in there downtown yet Raleigh struggles. Is it the the draw of the DPAC and the Durham Bulls stadium?


I found in a TBJ article that the Courtyard by Marriott on the Enterprise lot isn’t slated to break ground until fall, and the Wilmington St. hotel (which will be branded as an Element) is planned for completion on 2020. I don’t see anything about the other hotel except that it was on the Appearance Commission’s agenda as of February.

Where did you see that the new hotel on Wilmington St will be done in 2020? I thought I saw somewhere that they won’t even start on it till 2020.

This TBJ article and the Element Hotels website both claim a 2020 opening, but given the lack of progress made on the project I don’t see that happening.


Check out the massing for the Element Hotel. Found it here:



With the Convention Center in the Heart of DTR, shouldn’t a Hotel be more than 12 stories tall, if there is such a demand for more Hotels in DTR shouldn’t it be like 20+ stories tall and not 9,10,12 stories tall so as to accommodate Travelers coming to Raleigh for Business or Pleasure. Just wondering. :thinking::thinking::cityscape::hotel:


As long as this also has some ground floor retail, I am in love :blush:


I very much enjoyed the downtown hotel study that took place back in 2015. Here’s the doc for others to revisit if they haven’t seen it but I’d like to share the key takeaways.

DTR_market_hotel_study_2015.pdf (1.9 MB)

Key bullet is “business travel is the primary driver of demand growth.”

It’s only been a few years so let’s just assume that’s still the case. If so, we need to see more downtown office workers as well as new businesses with locations elsewhere around the country or even international. I think that will be the primary driver of getting new hotels out of the ground.

As for bigger and taller hotels, the report suggests that a 400-room hotel is the “magic number” in getting new conventions to consider downtown. There’s risk there so I bet there hasn’t yet been a developer to try and approach that one since we already have the Marriott, the de facto convention hotel number 1 with it’s prime location and underground tunnel into the convention center.

In my opinion, as more office space gets built and the DTR worker population goes up, more of these 10-12 story, 150-200 room hotels will follow. To land a 400-room hotel, I think the city would have to consider some incentives. (that will depend on a bit of politics there too, don’t forget)

Also, $135 a night seems so affordable when you consider business costs. I can’t see it being very attractive to bring a large hotel into a market like this one and having the rates comparatively low compared to other markets. That’s my feeling but would love to see more data on this from someone who knows more.

That’s my take on the state of hotels right now.


According to the hotel study, the Convention Center is experiencing a decline in attendance and in the number of events due to a shortage of hotel rooms. A 400-room hotel would meet the needs of the convention center without having an adverse affect on the hotel market, the caveat being a hotel of that nature is unlikely without considerable public incentives.

What is equally concerning are reports that companies located downtown are having trouble finding downtown hotel rooms for their clients.

There seems to be a dichotomy between what consultants conclude about the downtown hotel market and what developers think about the state of the market. I am inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to developers. After all, it is they who risk losing millions.


Another project I haven’t heard much of lately: The Willard.

It was planned to be a 7-story AC Hotel/condo at the corner of Glenwood and Willard Pl. AC Hotels’ website shows nothing in Raleigh aside from North Hills, and I haven’t seen anything new on the project. Does anyone else know anything?

If we could get a good hotel proposed for the Enterprise lot across from the convention center, couldn’t they build a tunnel to directly connect with the convention center lobby as well? (Again, politics, Marriott will protest this idea I am sure.) But the currently proposed hotel is a total waste of this prime property IMO. THIS is the location for our flagship hotel with direct ties to the convention center, Red Hat Amphitheater, and all the businesses in DTR. We may not be ready for a 40 story hotel, but we can do better than 12 on this prime property…


Completely agree. This is problem, all developers in Raleigh, Charlotte and NC are small time developers and thinkers, no vision or creativity (even Kane, REALLY look aT North Hills, it’s about the dollar, not the feel, that ugly suburban tan and stucco look, the East Side is layer out poorly, especially with that awful Mexican restaurant in the middle of the road)
POINT: Downtown Raleigh needs top tier developers from out if state!
People with urban vision.

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Whatever happened to this ?


This is the proposal that needs to disappear and be replaced with something twice as tall and much nicer street presence. To me this hotel looks like a bunker hidden behind a mass of concrete (parking deck). This is NOT what we need on this prime location.


“If we could get a good hotel proposed for the Enterprise lot across from the convention center, couldn’t they build a tunnel to directly connect with the convention center lobby as well?”

Agreed that a tall signature hotel would be perfect here. But just FYI, you can’t tunnel under Cabarrus St. That whole block of Cabarrus is a bridge structure over the loading docks for the Convention Center.

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Nickster: Agree! So tired of the box look in downtown Raleigh. Not one local developer knows how to put up a building with a plaza or a great entrance with a fountain (PNC HAS NO PLAZA and what happened to that pathetic fountain in city plaza, that small thing is laughable and never on).
Build structures that are not boxes!!
Hey, City Council, your always sleeping on the job


I’d be curious to know how much useful life the parking decks along Salisbury Street, starting at the corner of Cabarrus, have in them. Once the maintenance costs become unaffordable, I’d like to imagine that these get torn down creating a new lot for another prime convention center hotel. There’ll be pains during the transition with all that parking gone but it’s not a far off idea, I think.


The proposed Courtyard Hotel on the Enterprise lot is disappointing in many respects. Given it’s close proximity to the convention center, a 400 room full-service hotel is the most appropriate option. If not that, consider a dual or triple-branded hotel. I agree with @Nickster and @Raleighwood that the design is awful from an aesthetic point of view. It reminds me of a house of detention and would not look out of place next to Central Prison. The fault does not necessarily lie with the design firm(s). They work under the constraints imposed by their clients, the developers. The same architect for the Courtyard Hotel produced designs for hotels in Charlotte that in my opinion are superior. Here’s are some examples:

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Brand new Hampton Inn tops existing parking deck in Roanoke. Alexander Square in the 100 block of Fayetteville Street is a prime candidate for this type hotel development. Alexander Square is a huge waste of prime real estate.