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Noticed this RFP for architecture and engineering services to design a new 14 story state office building to replace the building at 703 E. Main Street, no timetable that I found.  This is early on as

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Have you been to Raleigh? 

I was there last weekend.  What a pit. 
It is far more desolate than downtown Richmond  and small and unkempt. 
I hadn’t been downtown in 15 years and had expected it to have tuned into something pretty special by now.  Nope.  Still feels very much like a backwater (small  curvy sidewalks, small town scale to everything, vacant store fronts, dated signage). 
 

I did go to a very nice food hall in the Warehouse District.   My Greek lunch was fantastic and all of the food that I saw paraded by looked very good, well crafted. 
 

This is one of my favorite buildings in Richmond.  Glad to see life returning to it.  I’d rather the demand for office space be so great that it remain an office building but removing stock bodes well for new office construction in the future. 

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11 minutes ago, Brent114 said:

Have you been to Raleigh? 

I was there last weekend.  What a pit. 
It is far more desolate than downtown Richmond  and small and unkempt. 
I hadn’t been downtown in 15 years and had expected it to have tuned into something pretty special by now.  Nope.  Still feels very much like a backwater (small  curvy sidewalks, small town scale to everything, vacant store fronts, dated signage). 
 

I did go to a very nice food hall in the Warehouse District.   My Greek lunch was fantastic and all of the food that I saw paraded by looked very good, well crafted. 
 

This is one of my favorite buildings in Richmond.  Glad to see life returning to it.  I’d rather the demand for office space be so great that it remain an office building but removing stock bodes well for new office construction in the future. 

Interesting, no I have not been to Raleigh - thanks for the recon. I'm not sure where I picked up that impression.

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21 minutes ago, eandslee said:

You also went to Raleigh during COVID.  No downtown is really hoping these days. Raleigh probably is just as desolate as Richmond. 

Agreed.  While I far prefer Richmond, Raleigh did not seem that bad even 7 years ago (surprised that is the most recent I have been down there).  It felt odd that their entire downtown seemed to line just one street but there was plenty of life there and the surrounding areas.

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I’ve been to Philadelphia, Norfolk, Milwaukee , Madison and Chicago during covid too. 
My expectations  were managed because like the rest of the world, COVID is the new normal for me.

Raleigh during covid is decidedly more desolate and provincial than Richmond during covid. 

2 hours ago, whw53 said:

Interesting, no I have not been to Raleigh - thanks for the recon. I'm not sure where I picked up that impression.

A week ago I would have thought downtown Raleigh had become a vibrant  place too.  I would go pretty regularly 15 years ago and there was a really great energy and a push to become some place special.  Over the last decade Raleigh has grown tremendously and has added a lot of amenities to the downtown area.  I assumed critical mass had been achieved by now.  Far from it, IMO 

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13 hours ago, Brent114 said:

I’ve been to Philadelphia, Norfolk, Milwaukee , Madison and Chicago during covid too. 
My expectations  were managed because like the rest of the world, COVID is the new normal for me.

Raleigh during covid is decidedly more desolate and provincial than Richmond during covid. 

A week ago I would have thought downtown Raleigh had become a vibrant  place too.  I would go pretty regularly 15 years ago and there was a really great energy and a push to become some place special.  Over the last decade Raleigh has grown tremendously and has added a lot of amenities to the downtown area.  I assumed critical mass had been achieved by now.  Far from it, IMO 

That is a shame.  I wonder how much of the downtown living has centered around schools rather than permanent residents?

Norfolk looks like they did some decent work with the restaurants along Granby, something Richmond has really failed at.

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Glenwood was the first place I went.  It’s all of 5 feet away from Fayetteville Street which I hit up too (not having been since it was a pedestrian mall).  I was surprised by the number of vacant spaces (vacancies that appear to predate COVID) along Glenwood.

 I was there on a Saturday, lunch time, beautiful weather.  Believe it or not I don’t look for nightlife during the day and every city in America is an events oriented city so I’m not sure why you’re posting photos of festival crowds to demonstrate how vibrant Raleigh is. I racked up about 9k steps on the phone so I covered a lot of ground (and all of the downtown area, from the government center/governors mansion  to the convention center, warehouse district, Glenwood) 
 

BTW, , I choose Morgan Street because it was more centrally located to the parts of town that I wanted to explore.  I’m happy with my choice.   It was solid....  but food halls are just food courts so it was never going to be all that interesting, regardless of which one I chose. 

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And for the record, I don’t even dislike Raleigh.  Obviously it does many things better than Richmond.   But pound  for pound Richmond’s urban are  is much more vibrant, interesting and 21st century than Raleigh’s and quite frankly I find it insulting to compare the two. 
 

I accepted the comparison, the “Richmond is run down compared to Raleigh” for example, because I hadn’t been there in a while and all of the press coming out of Raleigh has been positive for the last 15 years.    Now that I’ve been again I see that it hasn’t gained anything on Richmond and that downtown Richmond has pulled even farther away over the last 15 years. 
 

Sorry to get so off topic.  
 

With  the 4 new residential projects along these 4 blocks of Main Street maybe we’ll see more amenities soon. 

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RVA's was a proper city 100 years ago while Raleigh was a small town of little importance until recently. Hold your horses, there's more tower/economic development happening in Raleigh metro than RVA. 

 

But yeah this subject is off topic but that being said anyone visiting Raleigh should spend 5 minutes on VisitRaleigh.com at least. 

 

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11 hours ago, carolina1792 said:

RVA's was a proper city 100 years ago while Raleigh was a small town of little importance until recently. Hold your horses, there's more tower/economic development happening in Raleigh metro than RVA. 

 

But yeah this subject is off topic but that being said anyone visiting Raleigh should spend 5 minutes on VisitRaleigh.com at least. 

 

I am so happy for you. 

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58 minutes ago, Icetera said:

I have been following Raleigh a bit as I see it as having the best bones and potential of the largest NC cities, having some historic fabric unlike Charlotte.  I had been jealous a little of the new development but this sidebar has led me to dig deeper.  I did not realize how much of the larger, taller projects are actually not in downtown Raleigh, but out in the suburbs.  These outer mini-cities make sense around a built out city like Washington, DC but seem like they would hurt in the long run for a downtown core with such potential.  In comparison, while smaller, Durham's growth actually looks healthier. 

This makes me thankful that Richmond has had all these old structures to renovate in the core rather than having little clusters of new towers competing with each other all over the metro.  With the Mutual Building potentially being the last gem to transition to residential, we have built up a healthy critical mass to encourage taller, denser development in a healthy progression.  We are starting to see this come to fruition with several 10+ story new constructions within the inner city, of which had been rare even with our large growth rate (though less than Raleigh's).  Hopefully we are now seeing the beginnings of Monroe Ward and the Capitol / Financial Districts truly merging in the skyline.

Yep, Raleigh metro supports 4--soon potentially 6 cores (Downtown Raleigh, North Hills, RTP, Downtown Durham, in the future Downtown South and Downtown Cary), if it was more concentrated in a single core it would certainly mean  a lot more cranes in DTR. North Hills for example is currently building a 35 story tower that could have been in DTR. We've even, out of nowhere, created a new district called 'Midtown' that is sucking up a lot of the development energy of the city including dozens of 15+ story towers. What a mess!

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

Back to Richmond, here is a quick progress shot of the new General Assembly Building with the new Children’s Hospital in the foreground. The massing and materials just seem so timeless and attractive.

I was just noting how great the added density and overhead cranes are coming in from the Manchester Bridge.  It looks like steel has reached the top floor of the GA so watching the crown develop will be nice and it will really pull off blending into the Capitol Square's existing towers while still making a statement.

The new Outpatient Tower is really adding an impact when traveling East on Leigh so if VCU moves forward with the office tower we will really have a nice healthy northern expansion to the skyline.  I imagine CoStar would go with a glass curtain tower to match its existing building leading to an interesting bookend effect of glass towers on the Northeast and Southwest ends of the skyline.

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Wanted to wait a little to weigh in on the Raleigh vs Richmond debate: Count me in the native Richmonder camp who likes what's going on in Raleigh and actually would like to see a version of it happen in Richmond. These satellite "cores" - where there are clusters of towers in a distinct part of town could certainly take place in Richmond. Perhaps the location BEST suited for this is that gateway to Scott's Addition where the Diamond is. Even the Richmond 300 Plan depicts Arthur Ashe Boulevard built up/built out as an urban 'core' with true 'downtown' characteristics. How wonderful it would be to see that part of the city transform from what it is now into a true urban 'core'.

Ditto somewhere between there and actual downtown - yes, in the Allison/Carver/Newtowne area. Probably why the nutcase Fan NIMBYs are losing their lunch. They fear an urban 'core' - a 'Midtown' perhaps - being built on their back doorstep. I hope it happens. It doesn't have to encroach on the Fan - everything north of Broad - and along Hermitage Road. A cluster of towers and associated development there would be fantastic.

As for southside - I guess a different animal - Manchester is not that kind of 'core' neighborhood - it's really laying down a footprint very much like Richmond's version of Brooklyn. Absolutely perfect! (Much as I love Manhattan, Brooklyn becomes 'home' to me anytime I am in New York).  Where I see Manchester's huge upside is the capacity to host a LOT of highrise residential mixed in with the more Brooklynesque 7 or 8 story developments. Manchester is on the way to becoming an AMAZING location that perhaps not too far down the road could generate national attention. I honestly believe that.

The point that is being missed in this debate: look at what's rising in Raleigh's 'core' centers - a 35-story tower. "Dozens" (even if not dozens let's say 'multiple') 15-plus story buildings. Can we get a few of those in Richmond, please?

I'd have no problem with towers popping up in/around Libbie Mill (wasn't that part of the original plan?) - or if Green City comes to pass -fine, there too. Yes, Richmond has a much larger, far better defined downtown than does Raleigh (at least from what I remember from the last time I was there) - and I've said for years that Monroe Ward -- if done right -- could become an amazing forest of highrise residential buildings that would be a smaller version of say the Upper East Side or Upper West Side. No reason for it not to. Raleigh was never designed to have that. If Manchester and Scott's Addition really fill out and grow upwards, these are tremendous, old-school, northeastern U.S.-style urban neighborhoods that Raleigh won't have.

But let's not lose sight of the fact that Raleigh IS building the towers. Lots of them. And they're getting taller. And Richmond is NOT keeping pace. Sure - things are picking up here - but maybe let's turbocharge this growth here. Getting the damn upzoning along Broad Street would be a good start.

Here again, Richmond has the urban infrastructure in place to essentially blow Raleigh out of the water. And she's not doing it. It's been a problem that I have seen for 50 years now.

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Icetera: - that would be interesting to see what CoStar eventually builds. There have been just a ton of glass-curtain towers built in Richmond lately. I wonder how long that trend will continue before we see some different architectural styles come into play?

Coupe: - fully agreed. Seeing that immediate area densify all at once is very gratifying. If we can get that next full-block redevelopment underway on the public safety building site, that entire corner of downtown will see fantastic street-level density, and yet another gem on the skyline. 

eandslee: - same here. There are several parcels that the NH plan called for development that are of potential interest to me:

- SE corner of 4th & Broad - why not a 20-story residential tower!

- Broad between 6th/7th (old Thalhimer's store footprint) - again, a large-scale development - residential seems to be working. Good place for another tall residential building. Maybe some mixed-use or two buildings even.

- The City Center site:  this should be a signature development to establish "City Center" as a destination downtown district. Residential/hotel/mixed use - retail, etc., - even without an arena, tie it into everything in the neighborhood. This should  serve as an anchor. Not that I[m counting on ever seeing it - but could we maybe get something 30, 35, 40 stories here?

- The Hyatt Regency site - so let's get a 550-600-room 25-story Hyatt Regency there! As much as an arena might have helped seasonally (example: NCAA tournament games when hosted in Richmond) - if Hyatt was even remotely interested in putting a major convention hotel smack in the middle of this part of town when NH was being planned, then here's hoping they'll still play ball.

Obviously there are a number of other developable parcels in the old NH plan - plus what to do with the Coliseum site. But the four outlined above are key components that, if done right, could really start some momentum in that part of downtown.

 

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2 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

I'd have no problem with towers popping up in/around Libbie Mill (wasn't that part of the original plan?) - or if Green City comes to pass -fine, there too.

Keep in mind any tower built in the counties is a tower NOT built in Richmond, NOT contributing to the urban dynamic, and NOT contributing taxes to the City.  In fact, the arena will now be drawing business away from the City while being less accessible to many of its residents.  While Raleigh's outer cores also do not contribute to the city skyline or urban dynamic, they at least are within Raleigh's massive city limits so they contribute financially and economically.

Thankfully, it is unlikely that residential towers will be built in either Libby Mill or Green City anytime soon.  If the Scott's Collection developer could not yet justify the rents needed to build an 11 story tower in the popular Scott's Addition, citing that the prices only make sense currently with views of the river, then it is unlikely people are going to pay high rents for views of highways with limited connectivity.  This makes filling out Manchester and Monroe Ward much more likely, as well as development in immediate proximity of the Pulse.  Hopefully the current collection of 12-15 story proposals is the beginning of some serious momentum upwards.

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