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urbanesq

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Everything posted by urbanesq

  1. not certain of the exact breakdown of "place of origin" but since the vast majority of Cary's current residents didn't live there 10 or 15 years ago, the chances are high that there is a majority of northerners, many of whom have relocated to the area to work at the big RTP companies, and chose Cary because of its proximity to the park and the historically squeaky-clean image of suburban bliss.
  2. Interesting report from today's N&O
  3. ^^ that's cool; thanks for sharing. i've lived here almost 20 years and didn't know that history. LOVE this forum for stuff like that.
  4. totally. played 'em like a fiddle. not a good way to make friends in the business community, if you ask me. but I suppose it saved them some money on their deal.
  5. Wilmington has a great feel, a beautiful downtown, and is growing rapidly. There are fewer "fine" restaurants there, but this will change as the growth continues. It is also warmer than the other two, and of course, there's the beach. The schools there do not have a good reputation. The other thing to consider is the seasonal population of the coastal communities that lock down the traffic in the summer. I do not find Cary to have a small town feel at all. It is suburbia on steriods, and way over-priced. Wake Forest, north of Raleigh, still benefits from Wake County schools (consistently ranked among the best public school system in the nation), has a much nicer small town feel and has not yet exploded into one big suburb like Cary (although it's well on its way). The towns in eastern Wake County: Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon-- are all bedroom communities for Raleigh (they'll yell about that, but they are). Each has, though, it's own charm, and the property values in those places are getting ready to go through the roof. I've never been crazy about Charlotte, but they've done some great things with their downtown core. it's the state's largest city, though, so doubt you'll be able to feel much small town-ness. I don't know anything about Mecklenburg schools. If you want a small town there you'll need to look at Davidson, Cornelius or York, SC. Welcome to the forum and to the state of NC.
  6. I think the Duke proposal was specific to Site 1, but I agree: hopefully they have downtown on their radar now so if they find a tenant who needs space, they can make a run at another site. Or, in the (highly unlikely) event that the City determines that the current proposal for Site 1 doesn't meet their expectations, Duke and/or others will be at the ready if the process is re-bid.
  7. Can I get an Amen! Good question.
  8. I've posted this previously, but I gotta say again I'm confused as to why this guy's assessment of what the market can bear is suspect. He's in the business, I gotta think maybe he knows what he's talking about. OK. Quick show of hands from everybody slamming these guys: How much of YOUR money are you willing to risk on a spec investment in a market that has been historically very slow to absorb new space, and into which your competitors have just promised to infuse tons more product? Anyone? Anyone? Didn't think so.
  9. Doubt it has much to do with sour grapes and more to do with market pragmatism. As I've heard it, RBC courted Duke, not vice versa. Not sure how responding to the bank's overtures makes them (or any developer) any more opportunist than any player in any industry. If anything, RBC played them so it could get a better deal from Highwoods. Once that happened it only makes sense that they'd have an interest in Site 1. They've invested something like $500 million in Raleigh real estate, including about $80 million in Southeast Raleigh. I'm confused as to why everybody's slamming them.
  10. Like I've said before, these guys aren't in the business of building empty towers just for kicks, so unless something tells them that there will be demnd for their product, they'll stay out of the market. My concern has been that the City Council may have just missed its only opportunity to get a competitive offer for a downtown site for several years. But who knows-- if the market fundamentals are there, the development will follow.
  11. N&O article about the Site 1 process is here
  12. Oh, my. I imagine that the one of Jesse would become an international target for vandalism. Which, now that I think about it, would promote tourism and visitor dollars being spent downtown.
  13. I disagree, but since you brought it up, why is it a bad thing for a city offical to try to get a better deal for the City? Isn't that her job? If the market has changed and one can get more money for one's property, plus one has a contract (the RFP) that lets one accept better offers, why the heck not? Seems like the other Council members were bending over backward to protect the first team of private entities. Do we see anything improper there? Plus, from what Jessie said (and from other rumors I'd heard) Duke had been engaged in informal talks with the city for weeks, since RBC contacted it, and had been led to believe that the process was still an open one. Don't you think that the Council would've had a different response if RBC had said "we want Duke to build our HQ on site 1?" I was at the meeting, and I think JT's main problem was that the manager's office had taken it upon itself to advance the ball as far as it has gotten, without Council approval, and then say "well, we've come this far, so it wouldn't be fair to turn back ..." Her point was, I think, that the City hadn't been following the RFP process (until it authorized the manager to negotiate the contract today) and that the RFP has disclaimners all over it that one incurs cost in responding at one's own risk. Anyhow, it's done and it's good that there's been this much buzz generated about downtown Raleigh. I doubt Duke (or anyone else) will feel welcome to submit a proposal now, but hopefully the Site 1 team will make a success of that property, and the market will demand additional office space that will attract other big dogs to the show.
  14. I think the point was that the RFP required the Council to rank the proposals and authorize staff to negotiate with a preferred developer, and that hadn't happened. Plus the Council (and not the staff) has absolute authority under the RFP to alter timelines or any part of the process at will. Think, too, about the fundamentals of the downtown market since the deadline was set -- the N&O just reported (as linked on another thread here) that land values are going through the roof in the very recent months since the public investments have been approved and started to take shape. RBC's announcement only increases those market factors. Sure Duke was brought into the process late by RBC's request that they look at Site 1, but once that happened, it looks like it would be in the City's best interest to make certain the taxpayers are getting the best deal they can. If RBC has caused national developers to take note of that site, that's a great thing for downtown. All in all I think it's a good problem to have. Hopefully the City Council hasn't excluded competition for a prime piece of downtown real estate to the detriment of the citizens who elected them. It's usually suspect when a public bidding process results in a single bid-- how does one know one is getting a good deal if one precludes competitive offers? That said, I would hope Duke Realty and/or the other big boys will continue to have an interest in downtown. These guys make that type of decision for economic reasons, so if the office market stays strong, I imagine they will.
  15. MORE upscale than Fresh Market? Geez! For prices like that I'd better get delivery to my HOUSE, and a cook and clean-up crew to boot. (Seriously, though, it's great to have another grocer coming downtown)
  16. this is great news for downtown Raleigh. Although-- and I know nothing about the grocery store business-- Fresh Market's Cameron Village location is not that far from this spot. Perhaps the "catchment area" for shoppers at these stores is much more localized?
  17. one would expect that these will succumb to development pressure sooner than later.
  18. ...and will no doubt be redeveloped in the relatively near future into a SuperMax-BigBox-Plus. The reason it wasn't built in a "nicer looking" area is precisely that it was built at the intersection of 540 and 1. We all drive cars, and so traffic volume is about the only consideration. Who cares what the area looks like as long as people can pull into the parking lot directly off the freeway. Besides, the location has sparked exactly the kind of development that makes a few people very very rich. 100% success, right?
  19. great list! Wish they were ALL downtown. Of course, the infill happening around Duke Med is really impressive stuff from a design and density point of view.
  20. they have that pseudo-outdoor part with a couple of restaurants and a lame stream-like water feature. These were not, as I understand it, part of the original plan, but were hastily added when the Streets opened with such success in Durham.
  21. agree 110%. there's something so.... I dunno. mid-80's about it. the last-minute alterations to make it more Southpointe-like fell flat as far as I can see.
  22. another good principle of economics is that you have to make more money than it costs to operate. I think the consolidations are an alternative to liquidation. Department stores are in a business, as I understand it, with razor-thin profit margins. Loss of variety is another unfortunate byproduct of a mega-globalized system of product distribution where volume allows for reduced cost and thus the protection of those margins. It's really more about responding to Wal-Mart and Target in a race to the bottom, if you ask me. Speaking of which , has anybody seen the Wal-Mart movie? I've long argued that if one forced the capture of the externalities associated with "Extra Low Prices" that they wouldn't be extra low at all.
  23. we're fast becoming a legitimate bio-tech-nopolis, aren't we? this is exciting news.
  24. There was an article in this week's Business Journal about that project; they apparently scored a major commitment from Duke University that will allow them to jumpstart the next phase. Blue Devil Ventures did a great job with West Village, phase I. We went through those apartments a couple of years ago on the downtown historic tour and were impressed with how Big City they feel. Phse II should provide thatcritical link between downtown "proper" (inside the Urban Loop-- the worst idea ever-- don't get me started) and Brightleaf. These high profile projects are great, and I've posted before about how incredible it is to see the Am. Tob'o courtyard filled with people and music on a summer evening. There are other, smaller projects, too that have gotten less attention, but which have filled in the spaces in dowtown and taken together, I think, have added substance to the street, and boosted downtown's sustainability significantly. Go, Durham!
  25. Good call: parts of Bull Durham (the old Kevin Costner venue) were filmed in this part of Durham, pre-renovation, obviously. Had an edgy urban look.
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