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dmccall

The Sir Walter Hotel on Fayetteville St

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urbanesq had a good point about reviving the Sir Walter. A GREAT example of what could be done is the old Bismarck Hotel in Chicago. They totally renovated it and it is now the ever-chic "Hotel Allegro". The hotel also has a large theater adjacent which was renovated and is now the Cadillac Theatre (Chicago's home of broadway productions).

Check out the old photo of the Bismarck on their history page and see how similar the basic structures are (the Bismarck is the shorter building in the right half of the picture, not the prominent left half):

http://www.allegrochicago.com/allourh/

Here's the main page for the Hotel Allegro:

http://www.allegrochicago.com/index.html

Here is the page for the virtual tour:

http://www.allegrochicago.com/alleg_tour.html

Pretty neat! I stayed in the old Bismarck in the 80s and these photos have blown me away. Hopefully we'll have demand for more hotel space so we can revive the Sir Walter in a cool way.

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If Fayetteville St becomes too crazy of a place by night I doubt the elderly would really want to live there. Is the Sir Walter home to poor elderly people or is it a very expensive place for them to stay? If they are poor I would hope they would recieve some relocation assistance if their homes were ever changed to a different use. I have a feeling that the Sir Walter isn't a cheap place for them to live though.... Isn't there a tall tower for the elderly on or right at Glenwood South? I recall hearing talk about how it was only a matter of time until something happens to that place. I just really feel quilty about relocating our elderly, hopefully, when or if changes occur with these buildings the residents are given some sort of assistance....

I could eventually see the Sir Walter being renovated for super expensive condos to tell you the truth.

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I've said before that I would love to see the Sir Walter transformed back into a glamorous hotel like it was when it first opened. I think it would be a very hip place to stay and definitely could find a niche in the market here.

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hey, thanks for opening the thread.

the Sir Walter is HUD housing. There was some talk a couple of years ago about moving the residents to a new, nice facility in the Garner area (maybe?) but there was a substantial glitch of the federal sort the particulars of which completely escape me. nothing insurmountable as I recall.

A showplace hotel with a 5-star restaurant in the lobby (streetside and at mezzanine level) would be such an incredible addition to downtown Raleigh.

Then if the Lichtin Building was revived across the street on the Progress exec. parking lot site.... oops. there I go starting another thread...

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I always thought it would be cool to restore the Sir Walter back to its days as a grand hotel. With the new convention center coming, I think it would be a great addition to Fayetteville Street. A nice restaurant and bar to go along with it and it could become one of Raleigh's premier hotels

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It is hard to belive that Chic Fil A has been there nine years now... I won two round trip tickets as part of their grand opening, but couldn't get time off of work to use them, and couldn't transfer them/give them away :(

Just east of downtown, HUD is currently rebuilding Chavis Heights, and Carlton Place will break ground in the near future at east davie between bloodworth and east streets. These projects, plus the senior center in capital park, could house many of the current Sir Walter residents. If they stop accepting new residents now, by the time those projects come on line, they will be able to handle Sir Walter's population at that time.

It made sense to have elderly housing there when the pedestrian mall was there. There was benches and neat checker/chess boards in the plaza to sit at. Now that traffic is coming back there, the pedestrian dynamic of that area will change, and not in a good way, for the elderly.

Hopefully this will spark interest in that whole davie st. block... I understand the need for those bail bond places being close to the county jail, but they give the area a bad vibe. It will be close to the convention center, and is somewhat of a prominent corner going from the sheraton and marriot to the depot and warehouse districts. Not that the auto and tire shops help either.

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It is hard to belive that Chic Fil A has been there nine years now... I won two round trip tickets as part of their grand opening, but couldn't get time off of work to use them, and couldn't transfer them/give them away :(

Just east of downtown, HUD is currently rebuilding Chavis Heights, and Carlton Place will break ground in the near future at east davie between bloodworth and east streets. These projects, plus the senior center in capital park, could house many of the current Sir Walter residents. If they stop accepting new residents now, by the time those projects come on line, they will be able to handle Sir Walter's population at that time.

It made sense to have elderly housing there when the pedestrian mall was there. There was benches and neat checker/chess boards in the plaza to sit at. Now that traffic is coming back there, the pedestrian dynamic of that area will change, and not in a good way, for the elderly.

Hopefully this will spark interest in that whole davie st. block... I understand the need for those bail bond places being close to the county jail, but they give the area a bad vibe. It will be close to the convention center, and is somewhat of a prominent corner going from the sheraton and marriot to the depot and warehouse districts. Not that the auto and tire shops help either.

Slightly off topic but going with that thought...who thought it was a good idea to put high-rise prisons in the middle of downtowns?? Durham has one too. County jails should be beside county homeless shelters since often people leaving prison have nowhere to go.

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The location of the county jail has to do with the location of the county courthouse. If they built it elsewhere, then they would have to transport in the inmates for hearings. I think it was a logistical/safety decision.

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The location of the county jail has to do with the location of the county courthouse. If they built it elsewhere, then they would have to transport in the inmates for hearings. I think it was a logistical/safety decision.

Anything to add on this thread. My wife took me to the SWR Hotel for some dancing lessons on First Night a couple of years ago and I was amazed by the Grande Ball Room. It was outstanding! It would be a shame to see that wanderful building fall to the wrecking ball or worse. Thanks.

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It seems like the perfect Greg Hatem restoration project. After he's done with The Lafayette, maybe he could buy and redevelop the Sir Walter into a grand old hotel worthy of it's namesake. :)

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Anything to add on this thread. My wife took me to the SWR Hotel for some dancing lessons on First Night a couple of years ago and I was amazed by the Grande Ball Room. It was outstanding! It would be a shame to see that wanderful building fall to the wrecking ball or worse. Thanks.

I agree. I went to a company Christmas party in the ballroom several years ago and it was great. Very Very nice and almost like a 1930's movie. Hotels just don't have ballrooms like that anymore. All new hotels have the divided panel rooms with multi-colored carpet.

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the Sir Walter is HUD housing. There was some talk a couple of years ago about moving the residents to a new, nice facility in the Garner area (maybe?) but there was a substantial glitch of the federal sort the particulars of which completely escape me. nothing insurmountable as I recall.

Wasn't there something about building a new facility on the St Augustine campus and transfering the current residents of the Sir Walter there. There was some voucher credits per resident or something and a concern for public transportation options. I just can't remember. Only the federal government could skrew up a good deal for all involved. The residents get a brand new modern building and the Sir Walter gets renovated to its past glory.

Every great city has a great old hotel full of history and architectural beauty. The Sir Walter is Raleigh's. Lets just hope with all the new development around DT that the value of the Sir Walter building becomes too great to leave in it's current state.

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This article dates from 2002. I guess HUD didn't approve the change.

http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/storie.../08/story1.html

You have to think that this place will be renovated once all the current big projects are finished or near completion. Like the rest of you have said, it's too nice a structure and in too nice a location to remain in it's current state.

My grandfather still recalls stories of coming up to the big city during the 50's and staying at the Sir Walter. He said it was the grandest hotel he had ever seen (this was before he had traveled to NYC). Maybe someday I'll have the opportunity to relive his experience.

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Believe it or not there used to be a gay bar in the basement of the SWR--I came over with a few friends from Carolina in the mid-70's to check it out but it wasn't exactly a college crowd there

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Does anyone know any potential development plans for this property? (I know this has been discussed before). It is in such a prime location. I walked past it the other day and noticed its getting pretty run down which is a shame. Would be great spot for a Novotel (like the one in Toronto).

Novotel Toronto

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I think RaleighRick has it right:

Every great city has a great old hotel full of history and architectural beauty. The Sir Walter is Raleigh's. Lets just hope with all the new development around DT that the value of the Sir Walter building becomes too great to leave in it's current state.

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I think RaleighRick has it right:

No info, mind you, but I doubt it will be very long before something is done with the hotel in order to restore it to it's old glory. Certainly, by the time 2009 rolls around, the RCC will be open and F-St will be bustling with activity... I think it's only a matter of time.

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The Sir Walter is much too important to leave to the vagaries of HUD. I'd hope that a viable proposal comes along soon. Raleigh could certainly support a grand hotel. Please keep us apprised of new developments here.

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Anyone ever been upstairs in this building where the residents live? How suitable would the rooms be for a modern hotel? Would they have to take this building down to the framework and exterior walls and basically rebuild it?

The Ballroom is a major part not only of Raleigh's history, but of North Carolina's...the site of many a political event/rally...

Re HUD, if there is a federal bureaucracy that is more obtuse and less accessible to the general public, I'd like to hear about it...

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I would absolutely love it if the Sir Walter were a hotel again - but I would imagine it'd be a PR nightmare...imagine kicking all of the elderly people out of their homes, where would they go?

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