Downtown hotels


It’s not the point that the residents don’t expect something to be built next door. It’s that the city put in place zoning that sets expectations with us. They also put in a process for variance that is inclusive of adjacent property owners’ participation. I don’t understand the ongoing criticism in this community toward residents who chose to leverage that process when the variance was requested.
Also, please realize that the two other properties that were developed post occupancy of The Paramount were done so outside of the standard processes in place. The first was that McDonald’s on the corner. Under the process at that time, the city was required to notify each resident individually of the hearings for it (especially since it was varying from the Peace St. streetscape plan intentions). Well, the city failed to notify each resident and we had no say at all. To put that in context personally, one of the reasons I invested at The Paramount was specifically because of the Peace St. Streetscape Plan. Secondly, The Paramount now has another immediate neighbor that circumvented the zoning process with the hotel occupancy across the street at Revisn.
To everyone who has criticized Paramount residents in the past over this, please pardon us “awful people” for getting involved when the opportunity to follow the city’s stated process actually presented itself.
FWIW, I was never against the hotel on the corner, or the extra floors requested. As a resident, I wanted to trade the floor/height variance request for other concessions that I thought would make the project stronger and a better next door neighbor. The proposed hotel was/is in alignment with the initial Peace Street Streetscape plan, and the initial proposals proposals looked like a good foundation on which to negotiate.


John, what concessions were you looking for? Just curious. And I applaud your getting involved in these things. McDs and Revisn are both second rate outcomes that I would be disappointed with too.


Thanks Mark. The lot depth from Peace St. is deep enough to accommodate a double loaded corridor running parallel to Peace with rooms facing Peace and rooms facing the north facade of The Paramount, if the rooms aren’t oversized. (full disclosure: I don’t have a unit on that north facade). What I wanted to see is a landscaped courtyard, in effect, between the rear of the hotel and our north facade. This would prevent the units that only face north from looking directly into the side wall/windows of a hotel. On the Boylan side of the property, the building could come much closer to our building without detrimentally impacting residents that live on the NW corner of the building. This idea would start to build a more contiguous and purposeful looking urban network of buildings in the neighborhood. (despite that horrible suburban McD’s on the corner, but I digress…)! Like urban neighborhoods in places like NYC with buildings placed at the sidewalk, there would be rear hidden green space acting as a buffer between buildings. in the end, it would be a better experience for both residents and hotel guests in terms of privacy. As the UDO stands, the owners of that land could have built a 3 story building really close to our building by “right”, without our engagement. I looked at the variance request as an opportunity.
In the end, the maximum possible distance between the hotel and The Paramount sounded like a good bargaining chip to me, along with requiring all facades to be treated equally. After all, The Paramount is treated with equal attention to detail on all sides.
See my quick plan sketch that’s clearly not to scale to illustrate what I was thinking.


I like it. Another option that comes to mind is the U-shaped floorpan common in early 1900’s apartment buildings, like the Capital Apartments, except the open end of the U could face y’all.


There is no such thing as tourism in Wake county unless you consider conventions and business travelers. No one is packing their bags and wasting a vacation on visiting Raleigh. There is very little “culture,” no historic buildings to look at, very little shopping, no water, no mountains, no music scene. We have hopscotch, Blue Grass, and food truck festivals. Its absurd to compare us to NYC.


Haha I agree about the lack of tourism (IMO). But some of my wife’s cousins from rural VA made a big deal about coming to Raleigh for a long weekend and how much they enjoyed it. Maybe we just take it for granted since we live here and see it everyday, but they really thought it was a happening place. (To be fair they live in dairy country in the middle of nowhere, so cows really aren’t that exciting.)


Yeah I travel around the world myself. Hello, from Hanoi! Just flew in this morning. A common thing people ask me in non-traditional tourist locations is why I’m here and not Paris/London.

Because I’ve already been there and a tiny village in the middle of nowhere is pretty interesting after seeing 50 different Paris-wannabes.


I think you are certainly taking Raleigh for granted. We have far more cultural, recreational and sports amenities than a large majority of the rest of the people in this state. Many people take weekend trips to Raleigh; just like we go up to NYC or DC. People travel and stay everyday to go to the Ballet, plays, games and tournaments, museums and festivals, and to just visit the Capital. Just because their vacations are not as fancy as yours does not make them any less of a tourist and certainly we appreciate their dollars just as much. We may not have beaches or mountains but its not about where we are for us, it is about who we are. We generate over 50% more visitors than Asheville and I think we can all admit that is a tourist town.


We did a family trip to Raleigh (from Asheville) when I was a kid at least once that I can recall. The museums and such were plenty to keep us entertained for a weekend. On the downside, there’s not that much here, but on the upside, it’s also pretty cheap.


I mean, hard to beat the two great FREE museums we have downtown when it comes to cost. :joy:

Seriously, though. I’m all in favor of investing more in cultural resources. Raleigh hasn’t got natural splendor, but we can keep building culture.


Yeah when you think of tourism in Raleigh, don’t think of people flying in from Seattle or Singapore or wherever. Although I’m sure that does exist to some extent, you should mostly think of people driving in from smaller towns in eastern NC like Greenville, Tarboro, or Jacksonville. Compared to those places, Raleigh is Manhattan.

I once was at the Greyhound station back when it was downtown at Jones and Harrington. This was maybe 15 years ago. I was waiting to catch a bus that was delayed for some reason. I wound up talking with somebody at the station who was laying over there for a connection. He said that Greyhound gave him the option between transferring in Raleigh or somewhere else (Greensboro perhaps). He said he picked Raleigh because he figured it must be a pretty happening place since they always talked about it like it was the big city on the Andy Griffith Show (which was his favorite show as a kid). I got a good chuckle out of that one. It’s bigger than Mayberry… bigger than Mount Pilot, even! That’s gotta count for something!


Exactly, Raleigh doesn’t hang with the big boys as far as tourism, at least not yet. But you need to view it as the hub of all of Eastern North Carolina (an area with a population of roughly five million), not to mention parts of VA and SC.


LOL I grew up in Mayberry, and my folks refer to Raleigh as the “Big City” HAHA My dad refuses to come visit b/c according to him “the traffic is the worst he has ever seen outside of Charlotte”. (The irony is that he used to travel all over the US for work.)


I strongly disagree with everyone downing Raleigh’s tourism. Those are strongly opinionated statements.

I work downtown Norfolk, live in VA Beach (used to work downtown Raleigh). The people here love Raleigh and several of them make frequent getaways there.

They always talk about Downtown/Glenwood South, Crabtree Mall or Hillsborough st.

When it comes to numbers, latest data shows our tourism stats are higher than VA Beach and just lower than Myrtle Beach.


I think Raleigh needs to begin thinking of itself as more of a tourist destination and market it as such. The NCMA is world class and if you’re an art tourist it’s probably on your list no matter where you’re coming from. While visiting Raleigh for that, the CAM, the Gregg as well as ArtSpace, Anchorlight, some decent art galleries and also the Durham and Chapel Hill museums make for a full weekend visit for those interested in art. Also add one of the best professional ballet companies around, the Carolina Ballet as well as the NC Symphonyand the NC Theatre. We attract a lot of people for concerts at Walnut Creek, Red Hat, PNC and many music venues. Our downtown museums including the natural sciences museum and Marbles and the history museum are good and attract a lot of people. For history, the Capitol building and legislative buidling are significant as well as Joel Lane house and Mordecai. While we certainly can benefit from more and more cultural attractions I think we shouldn’t sell ourselves short.


I can second this. I work in the Hampton Roads area twice a month for half a week and let me tell you it is fairly common for people’s eyes to light up when you tell them you’re from Raleigh. Not only have I heard numerous times that people plan on moving down here but also a surprising amount of people have talked about coming to Raleigh for a weekend. Both families that come down for the museum’s or Canes games, but also young adults that come down with their friends to shop, hangout, and hit the city for nightlife.

DTR is not amazing compared to other larger cities but I definitely feel like it’s viewed highly by people in smaller or peer sized areas.


Oh and I’ll add that people come here to eat as well. I think that’s an underrated aspect of tourism. Raleigh is a great food city. And is increasing that allure by adding Sam Jones BBQ.


I certainly agree with you that we already have a fair number of tourists and plenty of great draws for them, but I don’t want our focus to be building for tourism instead of liveability. Our cultural attractions should appeal not just to tourists, but also to existing residents. So while we could absolutely benefit from more great things to do in the city, there’s probably a line to be drawn somewhere when it comes to adding more cultural attractions.


I mean I visited Raleigh 3 times before moving here from Massachusetts, and found plenty to do. I don’t think people from Paris are going to be vacationing in Raleigh, but just as I take trips to Asheville, Richmond, Boone, Hillsborough, Winston-Salem, etc., I figure people probably come to Raleigh for visits. We have museums, but also a lot of nice breweries, restaurants, bars, greenways, and all of that. The one thing I wish we had more of, both for us and our out of town visitors, is a concentrated shopping area downtown. My 20 year old cousin visited recently and had fun, but couldn’t drink and didn’t have anywhere to really just hang out without it being a specific destination.


Let’s advocate and hope for Dix park becoming our shining beacon of tourism. An asylum turned hotel next to a 7k capacity amphitheatre with food halls and art spaces in between? You bet people from all over would be interested in that experience - not to mention proximity to DTR