Historic Preservation in Raleigh. What to keep?

Seriously, to each his own. Some enjoy a blank concrete wall or floor. I see the same logic with a brick wall or street. Some don’t. I think the historic preservation topic is really based on architectural significance of a building as well as built-character of an area.

The warehouse district has a built character that’s worth preserving because it’s a collection of similar buildings but, to the best of my untrained eye, gives us no significant architectural value. The community has chosen to preserve this which is why Kane preserved a few walls of The Dillon warehouse into the newer construction. Same with Citrix.

We could argue the merits of their worth in another thread as well as historic preservation if you guys want to.


It doesn’t get much more honest around here from a building material standpoint than pine timber or red brick. Cut down the trees and bake the dirt and you got yourself a building. Calling it ugly doesn’t change that fact.

Out of curiosity are you from California? I have heard a lot of shade thrown on brick from Californians. They are conditioned to think of it as an ugly inferior product but I suspect that is mostly just because of the association with its terrible performance in earthquakes, a concern which is completely irrelevant here.

I’m from the Northeast, actually. I guess I just think of the cities up there having much more historic character and notable old buildings compared to here. I just personally don’t like the style of bungalows, boring brick buildings, etc. The Victorian houses, the (Italianate maybe?) buildings on Fayetteville St, properly renovated warehouse buildings like Transfer Company, and a few other things are really cool and I definitely want them to remain. I’m just stating my opinions, I’m not acting like they’re fact or objective. Just trying to provide a counterpoint to the vocal people who want most buildings kept around. I am happy when many of them go away.

No, this is on the intersection of Boylan and Hillsborough St., SECU is St. Mary’s and Hillsborough, one block east.

@GucciLittlePig interesting take, is it a disdain for brick specifically or you just looking for new buildings in general? No judgment here, just curious.

Various hues of red clay brick is fairly ubiquitous across the globe.

I guess I just don’t understand why your disdain for certain architectural styles and building materials translates into complete and utter dismissal of their merits. It’s hard to debate such a position or even take it seriously.

Call me a zealot but If it were up to me, anything old and structurally sound should stay put which would imply historic preservation does not require architectural significance nor do I think it should. There are very few buildings with any architectural significance in Raleigh, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be preserved. Social and cultural significance should play a role as well.

Obviously, we are not Charleston and Savannah but I think (at least in Charleston) anything 75 years or older is untouchable. They are the gold standard. Kane gets a C- with his Dillon effort. And that’s being generous.

How about “movable”?
I wish Raleigh had a financial incentive to move or relocate structures… just my 2 cents. :blush:


Im all for that but I imagine thats only really practical/possible with wood frame houses.

I’ve heard of churches being disassembled and reassembled in other places but I’m sure it’s not very common.

Pulling some of this out into a new thread.

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I am sorry, I just don’t agree with this. Move it, sure, but if we preserved anything and everything old, our DT wouldn’t be able to grow and expand. This is the same mindset that has caused the bubble in SF.

We have very few buildings like the DC area, and even there, the density of older structures is much greater. You have old row homes. Not free standing brick buildings in DT DC.


I am personally not saying everything. But it doesn’t seem that we have saved much at all (kind of extreme in the other direction?) Also, when I say move, I mean move a house or other such structure to the suburbs or location the would be a better fit…

Right - nothing is safe except for Oakwood and maybe one or two buildings in the Moore Square district.

I’m sure if we dig dig dig we can find somewhat interesting history related to many house/buildings in the city that are from the 19th century and even early 20th century. I recently did the Triangle Glides history tour of downtown - some of the houses especially along the blount st. corridor have remarkable stories behind them. However, for me personally, I just don’t want DTR to increasingly lose areas and buildings that have a “feeling” of character that can’t be recreated elsewhere. Example: Lincoln Theater. Is it a world class concert hall? No. But it’s the best indoor mid sized venue in the area. It’s a better experience than Cat’s Cradle and the Ritz, and it’s not possible to replicate it. You can build a shiny new venue (if an almost philanthropic entrepreneur decided to fund it) but it wouldn’t have the character. Another example for me personally is the Five Star restaurant space - It’s one of my favorite restaurant spaces in the city, plus the food is great. I know many here would say, “really? one of your favorites?” Yes it is because it’s unique and authentic. It’s not right-on-trend industrial shabby chic like all the new renovated warehouses (cough, Junction west, bhavana, etc.) In my opinion those places are so aesthetically different from a warehouse, they might as well be located within new construction. i know five star is on death row and I’ll be sad to see it go, even though we’ll get a (hopefully) sweet 20 story mixed use tower out of it.


This guy gets it. Can all the armchair experts please be quiet now? These building are not just brick boxes.


“I obviously have a lot of interest in making this project high quality, to do something that is really appropriate for downtown and the Warehouse District,” Schuster says.

He believes this project works because it preserves part of the neighborhood’s character while providing new development on a vacant parcel. “Surface parking lots really make no sense in downtown Raleigh anymore,”


Maybe try to envision a dilapidated building as properly renovated like Transfer Company? Every old structure I see, I think through what could be done with it. Also the fact that you can’t build old buildings, but you can build new ones anywhere, makes the logic very straight forward to me., even if I didn’t just straight up love the old materials and patina that comes with them.


Well, since I was the one who referred to these buildings as “brick boxes,” I would imagine that I am the person being subtweeted-but-not-tagged here.

Anyway, it is actually quite alright if, from time to time, people offer opinions on this forum that you disagree with! That’s what a public forum is for, and there’s absolutely no reason for people to “be quiet” because a developer chose to go in a particular direction with a project, or you disagree with those opinions.

The building in the foreground is actually pretty nice, and don’t get me wrong: I’m glad it’s staying where it is for the foreseeable future. Preserving it is definitely nice, but I don’t think that either aesthetically or historically, it’s so important that it absolutely needs to stay there forever, come what may or anything.

OTOH, the building on the corner of Dawson and Martin, in the background of this photo, really, truly is just a brick box, and absolutely nothing bad would happen to anyone if it got knocked down someday to make room for something else.


You aren’t the only one who shares this opinion. It’s been brought up on other occasions.

This developer didn’t just choose to go in a particular direction as if he could have just as easily decided to tear them down. He obviously sees the aesthetic value and historical significance of these old “brick boxes” and is saving them from the wrecking ball even though it may make better financial sense to just build new.

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Good for him! I am all in favor of giving landowners a pretty wide amount of latitude in terms of developing their property. If that means preserve something older because the owner thinks it has value, that’s really cool.

More than just about the owner here. The entire community values these buildings. These are very VERY obviously buildings to save. Very odd that you don’t see that. :confused:

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