Height Restrictions : How tall is "TALL"

Okay, I’m no expert in height restrictions or zoning restrictions or what have you, But maybe this would be of help to some, including myself on how tall or how high a High Rise should be ? 10…20…30…maybe 40 ? Remember the Soleil Center that was to be built near Crabtree Valley mall, look what happen to that, i still believe today that it should of been in Downtown Raleigh but oh well. Any thoughts guys/gals.

Well, my answer needs framed…I think the majority of any city should be densely packed buildings from 3-10 stories tall. Then, you can plop a mega building here and there, and maybe have a few low density areas attached or burrowed in here and there, if they are done right. Both the low density and super tall stuff need good street experiences and be connected up to the street and transit systems properly. So 80 stories is good by me if it’s the Empire State building, but not if its the Bank of America building in Atlanta (go street view it and puke). Suburbs are cool if they are Oakwood or Cameron Park but not if they are Hedingham or Briar Creek. I really don’t care about height all that much but do care about the bigger picture in which any building is placed.


If I had to choose, I would rather a building be more architecturally compelling rather than tall for the sake of tall. I think scale should come into play as well. If the majority of buildings are in the 400-500 foot range, an 800 footer, while being impressive, would look somewhat out of place. I think Richmond, Va is a good example of a smaller city with an impressive skyline due to the fact that the building heights tend to complement one another.


I’m with @Mark here. Street level experience and density are paramount to height. We can have a skyline full of pretty towers, but there’s no guarantee the street life will be much of anything. I’d so much prefer to have a low-height, dense, mixed-use neighborhood that’s active 24/7 and is suited for residents rather than tourists.

So in that regard, I don’t have an issue with the height restrictions in place in Downtown. They may leave their mark on buildings such as 301 Hillsborough, but if they weren’t around we might be a city with a few tall buildings surrounded by parking lots.


I agree…for Raleigh, Height would not have to be so Important or needed But Compelling and impressive, blending in to the other high rise buildings like the BBT tower and the PNC building along with the Wells Fargo tower. so a max of 25 stories will do fine. But height shouldn’t be a factor but how DTR should transform itself, and so far it’s doing well. with the addition of the FNB tower being built, I hope that other projects will follow suit and really make Downtown Raleigh a place for all to enjoy.

From a purely skyline perspective, you don’t really notice anything under like 270, but having basically 3 buildings over 400 ft and most everything else under 300 makes our skyline look very small because you only really notice the big 3.

That being said, I’ve seen lots of 500+ footer that were unbelievably bland at street level and I will always take street experience over height


Reportedly the Raleigh Fire Department has adamantly opposed anything taller than 400-425. I have also read there concern about capacity of water lines into downtown and sewer lines out of downtown if it fills with high-rise buildings.

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That wouldn’t surprise me. The city obviously needs to make sure the RFD has whatever resources they need to deal with taller buildings…but the RFD also has to realize taller buildings are in the future.

The same thing with the water lines, taller buildings are inevitable and the city planning dept has to know that.


If there is a strong fire safety reason to stay close to 400 I am fine with that. Skyscrapers and skylines aren’t that important, particularly in Raleigh whose downtown is only barely visible from any major through highways.


Would someone please build Raleigh’s giant phallus so that we can get past this neurosis? :wink:
An example would be Oklahoma City.

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So, Raleigh is suffering from skyscraper-envy? :laughing:
Actually, OKC is a good example of a sore thumb.


I admit…I love tall skyscrapers, and coming from NYC i sometimes miss home, well…a little. So…i do not expect Raleigh to have any 40 + story High rise in the future but who knows. I think for now DTR is doing fairly well. with FNB…One Glennwood and soon Two Glennwood. also with 400 H and 301 H, things are coming together on it’s Own.


I love skyline views but personally have no problem with the projects currently announced and their height. For a city Raleigh’s size, downtowns 3 tallest are actually pretty good height. I’m more excited to see the skyline broadened and filled in more, so that the core doesn’t seem so small. A lot of these 150-300ft like the two Glenwood towers, FNB, 301, 400h, Smokey Hollow, and even the gateway vision and five horizons projects are going to do wonders for that. And they all seem to focus on a solid ground level experience as well so that’s definitely a plus. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Edison get enough tenants to start sooner then later as well and we still here rumors of the News & Observer site going tall so the skyline will definitely see some more variation in height eventually.


The Growth & Natural Commission is recommending to council that any project over 7 stories tall to have no height limits in feet ! You have to stay at the right story zoning but a 20 story zoning area can be over 250 feet tall & so. forth with 30 & 40 story projects ! This agenda will be in the next council meeting !


I support that. Honestly I wish they’d get rid of all height limits over 7-story zoning. If it’s a small neighborhood, 7 stories will be manageable. If it’s near downtown, 30, 40, 50 stories is fine. If you don’t like your new tall neighbor, there’s endless land with nothing for miles around in this state.


five horizons project ? I don’t think I heard of that Project for Downtown. Is there a link I can go to, and see ?


It’s nothing solid yet, but they want 20 stories throughout so we’ll see.

Not technically “downtown” but it would extend the skyline.


I agree with you ! About a year ago I sent the council this same type of message .

For years I’ve been saying that the heights associated with the floor counts in the zoning don’t make sense. You can’t build a decent 20 story commercial building under 250 ft. It’s a simply ridiculous number. The only way that you get 20 stories under 250 ft. is to make (at least) several floors of the building residential or hotel occupancy.

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I bet that Mr. Kane’s project , The Dillon , would have been higher than 250 feet if this height limit were not in place at the time !