durham_rtp

Soleil Center I & II at Crabtree

1133 posts in this topic

Couldn't wait to put this on the board. Was just reading the News & Observer and saw the plans for the new Westin that is being proposed in Crabtree. :):)

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The article is here.

**Very exciting news for Raleigh....just wish it had been in downtown :(

Edited by orulz

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WOW! 40 stories at Crabtree??!!! I am amazed at that proposal. What are they thinking? :blink: I don't think this is a good idea at all--similar to that glass monstrosity in S. Durham near 15/501. Anything close to 40 stories should be DT, period, end of story.

Suddenly, the Reynolds tower seems very reasonable.

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In what is the biggest news so far this year in Raleigh :D "developers want to turn the former Crabtree Sheraton hotel into a 40-story glass tower filled with a luxury hotel, offices and condominiums."

This taken from the Raleigh news and observer. 6/16/05 edition

reg-928268-568285.jpg

Plans will be submitted next week, but already nimbys have had their say in it, saying that the building may be too tall. But that is precisely what the developers want stating they want the building to be iconic.

"Plans call for a six-story parking deck whose first level would be 17 feet above ground to reduce the possibility of flooding from adjacent Crabtree Creek. Three floors of offices with a total of 60,000 square feet of space would be included with the deck.

A 250-room luxury hotel would be built in four to eight floors layered atop the deck. A 20-story addition above the hotel would include 45 to 60 condominiums costing from $800,000 to $3 million"

I personally love the idea. "More I say More" :lol:

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40 stories at Crabtree?

Unbe (bleep) ing lievable! That's hideous. It'll stick up like a giant phallus in the middle of nowhere and be a constant lightning rod for criticism (and lightning, for that matter.)

Thank goodness that we have nimbys who won't let this see the light of day. Anybody know if Raleigh learned a lesson from Durham and the University Tower, and made a law prohibiting huge buildings outside the CBD?

A 40 story tower does NOT belong at Crabtree. Period. This is like pounding a stake through the heart of downtown.

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I was so excited when I saw the picture...but then I saw it was going at...CRABTREE?!!? Give me a break!! Maybe the city has some extra land they'd like to donate to this guy so he'll build it downtown. If this AND the Reynolds tower went up at the same time, DTRaleigh would get an amazing boost.

Also of note, it looks like Reynolds will be ready to make an announcement about 300 Hillsborough by the end of the summer. At least thats some good news.

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And to top it off, it sounds like this tower will be on stilts, 17 feet in the air. It's entrance will be off of an eight-lane 45mph thoroughfare with heavy traffic.

I'm glad they're doing everything they can to make this an uninviting monstrosity.

15 stories at North Hills? Sounds great. 40 stories at Crabtree? No. Way.

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Exciting! Crabtree has been developing as a "center" or "node" in Raleigh for decades. This proposal seems like the next logical step and is significantly better than the smae amount of space being incorporated into shorter (<6 story buildings) that would require much more space/land. Perhaps, in the future, the densification of Crabtree, North Hills, Oberlin/Cameron Village will give to the return to the use of streetcars along and between these "nodes" and "Downtown".

On a separate note, while occassionally useful, NIMBY's - if they had their way, wouldn't be witnessing the rise of North Hills and the associated remarkable rise in their property values because of the redevelopment of North Hills. Too bad the superficial opponents of the original Oberlin project had their way...

Essentially, the amount of development (b/c of demand) is finite. Either development is channeled to specific nodes it sprawls out - like water - finding its way along the paths of least resistance.

Edited by AmericanUrbanDesigner

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And to top it off, it sounds like this tower will be on stilts, 17 feet in the air. It's entrance will be off of an eight-lane 45mph thoroughfare with heavy traffic.

I'm glad they're doing everything they can to make this an uninviting monstrosity.

15 stories at North Hills? Sounds great. 40 stories at Crabtree? No. Way.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I see your point...I was thinking that they were also proposing to enclose the parking structure street-level retail and that the structure would be pushed up to the street. If not, then I agree with you.

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^ If some think 40stories is too tall for downtown...they definitely won't let this one pass (I hope).

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Exciting!  Crabtree has been developing as a "center" or "node" in Raleigh for decades.  This proposal seems like the next logical step and is significantly better than the smae amount of space being incorporated into shorter (<6 story buildings) that would require much more space/land.  Perhaps, in the future, the densification of Crabtree, North Hills, Oberlin/Cameron Village will give to the return to the use of streetcars along and between these "nodes" and "Downtown".

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sounds nice in principle, but from what I've seen so far (a description and a grainy rendering) The developers neither expect nor want anybody to get to this tower by anything except an automobile. And to be perfectly honest, there's no reason they should expect otherwise given Raleigh's suburban, auto-dependent nature.

I'm beginning to think that we should stop calling Downtown Raleigh the center of town. Instead, the "center of town" should consist of a half-mile wide strip of land just outside of the beltline. Depressing.

Most developers are not necessarily in the business of making make great environments that improve people's lives. They don't care what effect they have on a city or its people (good or bad) as long as it generates as much profit as possible. Even if this tower would work just as well downtown as it would at Crabtree, it'd go up at Crabtree because land is cheaper there, which means more profit.

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Most developers are not necessarily in the business of making make great environments that improve people's lives. They don't care what effect they have on a city or its people (good or bad) as long as it generates as much profit as possible. Even if this tower would work just as well downtown as it would at Crabtree, it'd go up at Crabtree because land is cheaper there, which means more profit.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

As a developer, developers actually respond to a community's regulation and political will. If Raleigh is a sprawling mess it's not because of developers alone...it's because regulations allow it and the city lacks the political will and vision to create anything else.

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Sounds nice in principle, but from what I've seen so far (a description and a grainy rendering) The developers neither expect nor want anybody to get to this tower by anything except an automobile.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That would definitely be a terrible result and missed opportunity.

And to be perfectly honest, there's no reason they should expect otherwise given Raleigh's suburban, auto-dependent nature.

See previous comment about regulations and political will. For an example, look at Raleigh's ridiculous "Unity of Development" ordinance that requires developers of commercial projects to "match" colors and materials and is held up as a example of "good" urban design and planning. The result of the "unity of Development" ordinance a landscape of pink shopping centers, green shopping centers, grey shopping centers. True "unity" of development has more to do with how a project is integrated with or into surrounding existing, planned, or projected development to create a better whole.

Edited by AmericanUrbanDesigner

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As a developer, developers actually respond to a community's regulation and political will.  If Raleigh is a sprawling mess it's not because of developers alone...it's because regulations allow it and the city lacks the political will and vision to create anything else.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You're absolutely right; I was speaking of development in the absence of regulations.

In Raleigh's case, it's plain to see that the political will to create better environments with less sprawl does exist: just take a look at the convention center and Fayetteville Street. They're really doing everything they possibly can to make downtown work.

In the case of this Westin tower, if there isn't already a height restriciton on this lot, the only reason is that nobody in their wildest dreams would have thought that someone would propose to build a 40 story tower there. It's in a floodplain, for crying out loud! And not a 100 year floodplain, either! Crabtree Creek threatens to overflow its banks just about every time it rains heavily.

If this building gets built, you can bet that the city will close the proverbial barn door after the horse is out and institute maximum height restrictions throughout the entire city. That might actually be what the developers want; with those regulations in place, this building is guaranteed to eternally stand out as the lone, monolithic phallic symbol that it is.

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For an example, look at Raleigh's ridiculous "Unity of Development" ordinance that requires developers of commercial projects to "match" colors and materials and is held up as a example of "good" urban design and planning.

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who would pay 800,000 to 3 mil to live in an urban style building in the middle of surburban Raleigh. I dont think the market is there - at all.

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LOL It would be kind of funny if this building is built....then the tallest building in Raleigh wouldn't be in downtown....but across the street from a mall. Just as Durham's tallest building isn't downtown...and was across the street from a mall when built. It will be scaled down....or made bulkier and shorter (if the land area allows it). Too bad it ain't downtown....

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Man how nice would that look downtown?? Why in the world would you build that outside of it. I cant see people paying upwards to 3 million for a condo there. I dont think this will get approved by raleigh. I could see a 20 story building possibly but that would just stick out too much in the middle of nowhere.

The interesting thing said at the end of the article is this though...

On Wednesday Reynolds said that he expects to announce the start of that project by the end of the summer. He wouldn't name potential tenants, nor would he say whether the building would be scaled back or remain 32 stories.

"You build these buildings to the market," he said.

So it looks like the reynolds tower is finnally coming. thank goodness!!

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OK, so there is no way this gets passed. What would be the appropriate height for a bldg at crabtree? I would think maybe 12-16 stories.

I found this link to Crabtree's Small Area Plan.

It's zoned O&I-1 which reads:

Office and Institution-1 District

All residential uses - maximum 25 dwelling units per acre; government buildings and grounds; charitable institution; parking lot, funeral home, radio and TV studios; office or studio of a professional or business agent, or political, labor or service association; colleges; nonresidential related service facilities (Board of Adjustment); profit-making recreational uses; emergency shelter type B. Most Office & Institution uses more than 25,000 sq. ft. within 400 feet of a residential use or zone require Planning Commission approval.

Edited by ChiefJoJo

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First post ever. Long time reader, live for Raleigh urban development and finally have to post. I see where people don't like the proposed 40 story building. In the near future, Crabtree will be an artery hub (MHO), just like North Hills, as just like the WF Road/Falls fo Nuese location around Hooters/Fiesta. (Capital Blvd is a lost cause) In 10 years, we will wish this building was there. I grew up within 1 mile of this building and this is why I think it is the start of a hub location. The strip center behind Crabtree is being redeveloped into (whatever is the latest plan). Kids Hill area (old resturant) will be redeveloped and so will any other property on the south side of Crabtree near the Old Ramada Inn/Homewood suites. The biggest point of future development in this area is the Koger Center which I think will be completely redeveloped along with Beckanna apartments, the 10-15 story apt building on Glenwood inside the Beltline. A person will be able to walk on the Greenway fro Koger to Crabtree. There is also a lot of land around the Holiday Inn and the big office park behind Crabtree. The Montique Apt will be torn down along with much of older housing/aprt on North Hills Dr. This will all be developed to a hub area and no amount of downtown development will change that. Some people will not move or visit downtown, no matter what. In 10-20 years, we will be happy that someone was willing to come in and build a large building. Now, maybe 40 is a little too tall, but I don't have a problem as long as it is all built tight and walkable. Raleigh has to get over the fright of height. If you remember, 15-20 years ago, people were screaming mad about the two 29 story buildings downtown (

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I agree with Subway Scoundrel. Crabtree is an urban hub. It is prime for a TTA rail stop (if those idiots can think that far ahead). I see Raleigh with three skylines (Similar to Houston). You've got downtown, Highwoods, and Crabtree. Yes, I think Raleigh's tallest should always be downtown. But think about this: If we allow this 40-story beauty to go up, then another developer will be along to build more towers downtown and Glenwood. This (and the Reynolds project) can be a major catalyst to start our own skyscraper boom. So, misplaced or not, this tower needs to be built (and Crabtree is dense enough to handle it).

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Okay. I've heard the argument of "If we miss out on this opportunity now, 10-20 years we'll look back and wish this tower was there" argument a number of times. I must state that I disagree. University Tower in Durham was completed when, 1986? Almost 20 years down the line, most people who I've ever talked to agree that it's out of place. There was discussion about making a "hub of activity" with other tall buildings around it, but it never happened. Beautiful building (that design probably won't ever look dated) but wasn't and still isn't the right place for it.

I'll be the first to admit that the situation at Crabtree is different. I absolutely agree that it should and will become a hub of activity, but I still do NOT believe that this is the right place for a 40 story signature building. Something in the 10-20 story range would be fine. Split it up into two towers, a hotel and condos. If we get two buildings of that scale there now, 30 years down the road I doubt we'll look at them and say "What a waste of space! Wish we'd gone with the 40 story plan instead."

It's unfortunate that the whole area is located in a floodplain, but the problem shouldn't be dealt with by putting everything up on stilts and having people drive between. For an activity center to be a success, there has to be activity on the ground, at street level. Don't put everything up in the air in a single tower on stilts. If you want Crabtree to be a success as an activity hub, get people walking around on the sidewalks and patios; make it an attractive and nice environment. Heard of Atlantic Station in Atlanta or the Town Center in Virginia Beach? Aim for something like that. Neither are perfect and neither are exactly like Crabtree, but the same principles apply. If you're going to turn Crabtree into a live/work/play activity center, do it RIGHT.

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Just an addendum, in summation:

If the Westin project (however big it ends up) in conjunction with whatever renovations happen at Crabtree Valley Mall, can't be done in a way that significantly improves the auto-dependence of the Glenwood Ave corridor, then the project should not happen. Period.

If, through lots of investment and a minor miracle, they can turn the mall district into a more inviting and walkable area, then I'm all ears.

The webpage for the former incarnation of this project can be found here and here. I suspect that what we're seeing now is the same two concepts meshed into one and given a massive injection of steroids.

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I think the tower would make a nice addition to the Glenwood area. It would certainly raise the development bar.

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Here's my thing....University Tower was supposed to have several other towers built along side it. So, in effect, it would have been a cluster of towers, instead of just 1, rising out of the trees across from South Square Mall. I was only 5 in 1986, so I have to rely on rumors that I've heard, but either a.) the developer simply didn't follow through with the other towers for economic reasons, or b.) Durham suddenly changed it's mind after the 1st was built and changed zoning b4 the other towers had officially recieved permits. I'm guessing that situation "a" happened, and the city simply changed the zoning afterwards to prevent it. But God don't you think a couple of towers, even if not in the 20-30 floor range, but 10-20, around it would have made more sense. Then again think of 15ish story Erwin Square built out in a field along Main St and Hillsborough Road in the mid-late '80's. There were supposed to be several other buildings of that height, only 1 was built....I think due to the economy. I think that the city put the height restrictions into place shortly thereafter, probably getting nervous about all of the "new proposals" for office towers outside of downtown, preventing any other tall buildings from going up. Wow the mid-late '80's were a mini boom period for towers in Durham, but I'm already straying 2 far from the subject to get into that.

I guess that my point is, if the 40 story tower gets built, the city council shouldn't put height restrictions on buildings to prevent others. I mean, if a few other buildings, even 20-30 floors in height r eventually built around it, then that would look better then just a 40 story skyscraper rising out of the trees (or parking lots) across the street from a 2 story mall.

Edited by NCMike1981

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who would pay 800,000 to 3 mil to live in an urban style building in the middle of surburban Raleigh. I dont think the market is there - at all.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I wonder if there is not more of a market for these condos than other high end condo's in Downtown. I work in the park with people who can afford that and they would not think of moving downtown Raleigh, but given the chance to be closer to RTP and in something new, glassy and more footage per dollar, they would sign up. Just as in the newspaper the other day, the most expensive condo sold in the Triangle is just down the street from Crabtree at Glenwood and Oberlin. Plus near the same place, there are those really nice condos. I know of some of them sold for $800Kplus and they are not downtown. JMHO

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