State of Downtown Raleigh

This week, I plan to dive into the 2018 State of Downtown Raleigh report. Has anyone taken a look already?

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I just spent the last hour perusing the report, and one thing really jumps out at me. Why oh why aren’t the boundaries of the DT element, the municipal service district, and the downtown districts aligned? Also, it would seem that a new named district could emerge in the western tentacle along the Morgan Street corridor. That corridor and the sliver of land up West St., north of Peace, are the only parts of the DT element that lack a District name. Perhaps the western tentacle could become West Morgan, and the tentacle up West St. could become Smokey Hollow? I also think it’s time to re-evaluate the existing districts and where the transition from one to the other happens. For example, what’s the real dividing line between Glenwood South and Warehouse? Also, would anyone really consider Kane’s West project to be in the Capital District when it’s on the other side of Capital Blvd and only a block away from Glenwood Ave.?
Another thing that I noticed is that the Revisn hotel is still listed as residences under construction with an asterisk beside it to tell you that it was recently announced to be an extended stay hotel. Of course, “hotel” isn’t allowed by UDO on that parcel and this developer completely circumvented the process by building it first and announcing it after the fact…super shady if you ask me.

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Hey Leo, how do I add a document to a reply? I’ve been playing around with the DT District map and I want to post it as a reply. Is that possible?

Yeah. You should see an upload tool that should accept pdfs.

Proposed DT Raleigh Districts.pdf (212.9 KB)
This is a first attempt at thinking about the districts from an experience perspective.
Smokey Hollow has been added by taking some real estate from both Glenwood South and the Capital District. I bounded the neighborhood by the railroad tracks to the east and west and to the point where they come together. Not only the history of the area, but the light industrial nature of the neighborhood is a unifying characteristic.
The Warehouse District now reaches northward toward Smokey Hollow and splits apart Glenwood South and The Capital District. I extended The Warehouse District due to the nature and importance of West and Harrington Streets to the character of the district. Also, buildings like the original Raleigh Electric Company Power House and others in the immediate area seem more connected to the Warehouse District than Glenwood South or the Capital District.
I added a new district to the west tentacle of the downtown element and called it St. Mary’s, inclusive of St. Mary’s College and the collection of post war multifamily complexes that anchor it and fuel the small businesses that align the western stretch of Morgan.
I extended Moore Square eastward to S. Swain St., but cut it off at E. Lenoir St. on the south to keep the focus of the district on its namesake square.
South Park, another new proposed district captures the former southern area of Moore Square and grows it both east to include Chavis Park, and south into the historic South Park neighborhood.
Small tweaks to the Capital District include changes aforementioned, and the elimination of Oakwood as part of it. I don’t understand how Oakwood could be a unified neihborhood but only partially within the Capital District. I’d rather see it added as a stand alone district than split. For now, I am just showing it being adjacent to DT as a historic single family neighborhood.
Finally, I simplified the Seaboard/Person Street District to just North Person and drew its boundary along the lines of its more mixed use development, generally to the exclusion of the single family parts of it.

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Here are my three favorite figures that I go to each year.

  • Employment Sector breakdown
  • Population Numbers
  • The big list of developments

We’re now at 8,500 residents in downtown Raleigh, almost 17,000 within a one-mile radius. Here are the figures supporting the other points.

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The data is very clear and well played in the report. The possibilities for new residential density in DT have only scratched the surface. 20,000 people downtown should not be too hard to attain, especially with new catalyst projects like The Dillon and West fundamentally changing the experiences of their respective neighborhoods. Projects like these only beget more projects when they are successful. In the next year or so, The Dillon, The Metropolitan and other projects will be occupied. These will bring hundreds of new residents alone, and Smokey Hollow (still not giving up on that name) will add hundreds more by 2020.

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First time poster and then is probably off topic but i was wondering if Raleigh ever had something similar to the Fan District that you see in Richmond.

John, I totally agree with your comment about the lack of transparency in the way the Revisn apartments switched over to becoming an extended-stay hotel. I heard the rumor that this could happen six months ago, but could find nothing about it on the City of Raleigh website. Then suddenly it’s a done deal! I assumed this type of change in use would have required some public notice.

Regarding Glenwould South boundaries, I see the northern end of West and Harrington Streets (between Hillsborough and Peace) naturally becoming an extension of the Glenwood South “Entertainment District”. The “Main Street” of GS has always been Glenwood Ave, but activity was beginning to expand eastward until the fire brought it to a halt. With the completion of the Metopolitan Apartments next year and the redevelopment of Smokey Hollow the district’s area of pedestrian activity will double in size.

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Unfortunately, not to the best of my knowledge. For all its charms Raleigh really lacks a lot of historic, walkable neighborhoods near downtown. The closest comparison to The Fan might be Oakwood.

It totally would have required public notice, meetings, etc. They completely bypassed that entire process and it appears that there’s no consequence. Nice job City of Raleigh. Sheesh.
As a resident of The Paramount, I made my decision to buy there based on “promises” that the city made through its own strategic plans. The very first opportunity to implement that plan effectively was tossed out the window with a prominent suburban McDonald’s. Now, we have two hotel projects, one that was built under false pretense and the other one that is approved in excess of the original UDO. So, we are now 3:3 in adjacent projects that have somehow not aligned to the city’s intentions.
Now, I completely understand that I live DT, albeit on the very edge of it. I want an urban neighborhood, but I don’t want some mish-mash of suburban crap and deceitful business operators as neighbors. FWIW, while I understand some of my building neighbors who opposed the hotel on the corner of Peace/Boylan, I wasn’t one of them. I wanted to leverage the opportunity to negotiate the best looking property adjacent to us, but my voice didn’t matter. The reality is that the variance process to the UDO is really the only opportunity for neighboring buildings to influence what “visually” happens adjacent to them. While the Paramount Association did obtain concessions, I personally would have given up one more floor to get more specific concessions on all of the elevation materials and finishes, stronger setback language from our north property line, rooftop unit specific guidance that would push those units further from our facade, etc. So, who knows what this “high end boutique hotel” will look like. I sure hope it doesn’t look like the Revisn Hotel.

Wasn’t sure where to put this but I was trying to get a handle on the total number of high-rises proposed in and around DT. I think I came up with possibly 17?

Active:
FNB Tower

Proposed
City Hall (3)
City Gateway
S. Saunders (3-6?)
Kane “Amtrak”
Bus Terminal

Stale/Unknown
400H
301 Hillsborough (2)
Edison

Anyone want to check my math?

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I might throw the N&O under stale/unknown

I can see that. I think I was only including something if I’ve actually seen a massing or conceptual rendering at least. I was also excluding anything under like 15-16 stories or so even though there are several proposals in the 10-12 story range.

You mean . . . like this?

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Fair point. That would be up to 18 then. Not bad for a downtown with about 2 dozen existing high rises.

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As I had uploaded this from another Post…Still wondering about the N & O site and any plans for this Tower to be built…if ever ?

Something will definitely be built here but there aren’t any firm plans as far as I know. The current owners are investors rather than developers, so I think we might have to wait a while before anything develops. I think the current owners will probably try to flip the property, which means whatever gets built will need to be pretty tall to make profitable.

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I was told from a fairly prominent real-estate agent that there are actually plans and renderings for the site now, and they are impressive. However, I won’t believe it till i see it with my own eyes.

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Man, I’d love to be wrong, but count me among the skeptics too.

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