Saunders Street Planned Development - Five Horizons (Saunders/Lake Wheeler)


Rezoning request asks for 30% reduction in required minimum parking.


Saw these on the architect’s website…


I attended the meeting as well. Sorry, I haven’t had time to post just yet. The slides should be available on the SW CAC email list so I’m sure someone can share them here soon.

Some quick highlights. The 9-acre parcel is kind of “split” into 4 areas.

  1. The area closest to the greenway will be kept for open space. They mentioned maybe a boardwalk and a bridge or two over the creek to the existing greenway.
  2. The next parcel would be for a 12-story height limit
  3. The next parcel would be for a 12-story height limit
  4. The southern end of the property would be a 20-story height limit.

@Brian Did you attend? Anything else you can add?

Development at W Cabarrus and S Harrington

Spy cam shot. :wink:


This is transformational in that area. Really hope it’s all solid enough to get started soon.


One thing that I took notice of was the complete support of this project after the presentation. At least from those that spoke up at the CAC meeting. Comments were supportive or questions were constructive, not destructive. (AKA NIMBY) Note too that Councilor Crowder was in the room so hoping she noted this.

Next step I believe is to come back in a month or two for a rezoning vote at the CAC meeting.


Of all the projects, this is probably the one (other than Dix) that I’m most excited about. It could provide this little end of downtown with a lot of much needed amenities and services. Restaurants, a grocery/convenience store etc would all be welcome additions. There are probably some infrastructure improvements that need to be made in conjunction with this development (looking at you intersection of Lake Wheeler/S. Saunders) to alleviate some potential headaches but other than that I can’t think of any downside to this project.


Leo - yes, I was there. Thought I caught a glimpse of you. I was sitting directly in front of the woman who was giving it to the traffic engineers during the Tryon Road widening discussion. She and I are neighbors and I agree with most of her points but her delivery leaves a lot to be desired.

My notes from S. Saunders/Five Horizons presentation:

The area is a little more than 9 acres, which equates to about 7 football fields, if that helps anyone visualize.

The area is conceptualized as four pods - A, B, C, and D. Maximum stories requested by pod: A - 12, B -18, C - 20, D - 15 feet. D encompasses the creek and existing greenway.

The team emphasized that they are Raleigh based. They all live, work, & play here and therefore have more at stake in the success of the project.

They see the development as including live, work, & play opportunities.

They want to include some type of public viewing platform in order to “democratize” the view to downtown. They noted the viewing platform at the Dillon, but that it required going inside the building. They envision something open to all.

They stressed the desire to create a sort of “cinematic moment” as you leave and approach the development. Something that would give people the sense of feeling proud to live here. I think that’s what really struck a chord with me and others in attendance. With the possible exception of maybe Ray Price/Tobacco Road HD, this area has been something of a wasteland that you just drive by on your way to somewhere else. Envisioning it as a destination is transformational and welcome thinking.

They want to do some bolder architecture here than what Raleigh may have previously seen. As such they’ve hired the LOHA firm based in LA. Interestingly they said that LOHA is doing highly innovative work but at essentially the same cost as other, less innovative firms.

They envision a boardwalk along the creek on the opposite side of the greenway and possibly one or more creek crossings. They definitely want to take advantage of the creek and make it more of a draw for people.

The buildings will be designed/spaced so that they all take advantage of views to DTR and Dix. Massing of the buildings will also be designed to avoid a monolithic “wall effect” along the edges of the development. I think this is very important so as not to declare the space special/privileged and everything outside of it less so.

They want the interior roads to be narrower than typical so as to provide a human scale experience. They’ve hired the same traffic engineering firm that is working on the Dix project - VHB maybe? - to help with continuity/coordination between the two spaces and the general area.

I spoke to some of the law firm guys working with Five Horizons afterwards and they said they’ve purchased about 3/4s of the land so far and have a few other closings coming up.

I’m very excited about this project.


That all sounds amazing. Do they have any timeline?


Wow, I wish this group was doing the Clancy & Theys property instead of Kane. It sounds like they actually care about their development’s impact on the community.


Yes, I was right next to her, the “old goldy” (her words) to her right.

Great summary. It’s something to really be excited about.


This project, along with the Smokey Hollow/Devereaux Meadow project, will make for quality “bookends” to downtown. I’m not sure what I think about the “bolder” architecture, but it is refreshing to see how much thought and effort they seem to be putting into the project. I’m looking forward to seeing this project develop and hope it begins soon.


Great summary, and very exciting indeed!
I’d really like to see this happen. The idea of creative architecture and the public/democratization of the view are the most exciting parts of this summary to me. Just the view access alone assures that this will be a destination.


Wow, 167,000 square feet of retail? That’s like a mini mall, hey hey.


Not clear on the timeline. They should be back at the SW CAC in a month or two. I’ll ask about schedule then.

Adding to what Leo said about support of those in attendance . . . Having been a resident in this area for 20+ years I was surprised by the level of excitement and acceptance by others in attendance. Maybe they were just the vocal minority? I don’t know. I’ll be shocked if the SW CAC doesn’t vote to approve the rezoning. They have my vote.


Well, usually the vocal minority that shows up to meetings is against something, not for it. So, that is promising. However, I predict that the enthusiasm will be challenged in a future meeting by the naysayers. It’s hard to get excited these days.


I think this seems like a pretty good proposal all things considered. Big plusses in my head 1) sort of makes the greenway more available to folks along that stretch. 2) sort of surprise density (if it passes) that I never imagined for the immediate area or the city as a whole 3) ups the need to better connect the south side of ITB to downtown. More than anything I want the Saunders/MLK intersection made at-grade and walkable, and this development should help foster the need to make this area walkable to the rest of downtown.


The core of the city needs more locations with “surprise density”. The core of the city and its edges should aspire to be well over 10,000 ppl/m2, if not much greater.


I have to say I never thought downtown would make the jump across MLK/Western. I would have predicted high rises along West Street as far north as Wade Avenue and before this. But if anything can make this happen, it’s the prospect of being next to a 300 acre park like Dix.

Can we start talking about fixing the MLK-Western connector to be less of a barrier?


I think Western/MLK will always be a psychological barrier. I don’t necessarily see a problem with it, though. I’m all for making it more traversable, but I also wouldn’t mind if “south of MLK” became its own thing.I would love for the area between Lake Wheeler, Hammond/Person, I-40 and MLK/Western to become a distinct urban area with a common identity (and lots of little pockets like Fuller Heights and Caraleigh still having their own sub-identity as well). I could see numerous mid-rises popping up (though 20 stories seems like the absolute max for the near future) and I was impressed by the city’s vision for areas like Cargill and S. Saunders. Once the BRT gets moving, it should have decent connectivity to DT proper. My hope is it becomes a neighborhood for people who want to live in urban areas but not in the shadow of skyscrapers.