Sir Walter Apartments


#41

And, being a registered historic building, any modifications to the ballroom have to be reversible.


#42

Does being listed on the National Register provide any protections for the property?? Maiden Lane was on the register and it was completely torn down without a fight.


#43

I agree it is unfortunate for the Sir Walter to have been used for such a purpose all these years but perhaps there is a silver lining. If not for the income generated from affordable housing what might have come to pass? Would the Sir Walter have fallen into the dust bin of history same as the Hotel Carolina? We’ll never know but for certain the building is still standing and the prospects for a better use are improving by the day.


#44

It’s a historic landmark. It isn’t getting torn down.


#45

Not now, but before it was protected, @Stew is right – it very well could have been demolished. The Washington Duke Hotel in Durham was grander and arguably even more of an icon to the city than Sir Walter was for Raleigh, but it ceased to become profitable in the 1970s and was demolished in 1975 when no buyers could be found.

Interestingly, that’s basically the same time Sir Walter was converted to offices due to downtown’s decay, and it became apartments three years later when it was bought by a developer. I think comparing the two trajectories is pretty humbling, and I’m thankful Raleigh’s most important hotel survived at all. Both cities suffered huge losses to their architectural history in that era.


#46

“Putting a bunch of essentially homeless old people on what should be the most prominent street in Raleigh is a stupid waste.”

Lmao seriously? No one is going to say anything about that comment at all? Who cares. It affects all of you none. Plenty of room on Fayetteville for whatever fantasy project you all want. Leave those people alone. Jesus that’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever read.


#47

You can’t make other people have empathy, they either have it or they don’t. Sometimes it’s just better to ignore these things and move on. There’s a couple people that say stuff like this over and over and arguing with them isn’t going to do any good.


#48

/\ /\ If that is the most disgusting thing you have read, you need to get out more. Nothing wrong with wanting that beautiful old property converted into a luxury hotel. And if that were to ever happen, I can guarantee you that the residents would not be tossed onto the street.


#49

I’m curious how you can guarantee that the residents wouldn’t be evicted when a new owner buys the building and wants to change the use? Is there something in place to prevent that? Legit question.


#50

“Guarantee” was hyperbole. I can’t actually guarantee anything. I believe there is a super high probability that something would be arranged for the residents.


#51

I think that a civil, caring society will continue to support its most vulnerable citizens. I also think that the best cities will maintain their history and make the best decisions to move the city forward.
These two idea don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Right now, the ire of some toward the residents of the Sir Walter is likely out of frustration. Whomever was occupying that historic hotel would likely face the same response.
I don’t understand why we can’t take care of our vulnerable and go forward with restoring our only opportunity for a grand historic hotel.


#52

I’m certain that both could be done but it seems to be pretty clear the new owners believe for the time being the more profitable path for them to take is to maintain the status quo.


#53

Hello @Dave_M. I’m not as confident the current residents of The Sir Walter would fare as well as you might imagine. There is only so much affordable housing stock available so when people on a limited income are forced to move they have limited options at best.

Have you heard about Wintershaven Apartments downtown or Forest Hills Apartments in Garner? Both of these affordable housing properties were purchased and converted to market rate. It is my understanding that existing residents encountered a difficult time finding other accommodations.

https://indyweek.com/news/wake/saga-forest-hills-apartments-ended-last-week.-wake-county-s-affordable-housing-struggle-continues./


#54

Right, so really it’s the city/state that is maintaining the status quo by not actively seeking an opportunity to grant gov land to a affordable housing developer…


#55

It sure would seem so, wouldn’t it?


#56

Check out DHIC, a not for profit developer.

https://dhic.org/

Then, from the main page, check out the section devoted to “Washington Terrace Updates”. Quoting information there … “After five years of committed outreach and engagement, planning, and assembling financing, … The Village at Washington Terrace including 162 apartment homes for families and individuals nears completion”

I think this organization is doing great work! DHIC owns 2,121 apartments in the Triangle and Beyond serving over 3,400 people at below-market rates. All of their properties are completely full, many with long waiting lists.

Getting back to Washington Terrace again 91 of those apartments have already been spoken for by families who lived at Washington Terrace before it was redeveloped by DHIC. As for the remainder over 1800 individuals have inquired with 250 applications submitted within the first 5 days.

Getting back to Sir Walter Apartments … I think you can see where I’m going with this.


#57

They are building a 18 story, 240’, 192 unit old folks home in North Hills right now. Seems like a win-win if you could put the same building on one of the corners of the block east of Moore Square. Then move the current residents there to allow for the change of Sir Walter back to a hotel.


#58

I agree, and that’s why I’m hoping DHIC is starting to look for additional opportunities to create low-income senior housing before things change for the Sir Walter.

I can’t imagine that the Sir Walter will remain affordable housing forever—mostly because I don’t know how the financials can possibly work out to profitably cover the maintenance and upkeep of a large historic building as the building’s value increases. It may not be now or even in five years, but at some point the property owner is going to want to capitalize on that value. I don’t believe that they are quite so altruistic as they may seem at the moment.

I think the same is true for Glenwood Towers. The value of that property continues to increase.


#59

Are these low-income units or market rate (or a mix)? I’d be shocked if they’re all low-income.


#60

I imagine that eventually, three big things are going push the use of the Sir Walter in a different direction.

The age of the building and its historic status limit what you can do to it. You can only renovate it so many times but to the best of my knowledge, the rooms aren’t that big and modernizing the building will get more and more expensive so those will lag behind new builds.

Even if they are affordable, senior housing units, the seniors there may not want to live there when they see brand new units being built elsewhere in the city. While some like it, I’d bet some would gladly move to a brand new building with modern amenities and a different city dynamic. (maybe with green space rather than city space) So we shouldn’t think of it as “kicking them out” but rather “upgrading them out” Families just might prefer it that way. We just need to make that choice more feasible.

Lastly, the land price may get so high that a public-private or private-non-profit partnership helps make the move happen.

The developer that can orchestrate all this when the timing is right just might pull it off. I’d like to think since the Sir Walter has a lot of Raleigh history, it might take a local firm that’s passionate about it to pull it off rather than someone who isn’t local like what’s happening now.