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Downtown Raleigh's Future


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I don't think West At North will be tall enough to really make it on the skyline view. If so, it will probably only be as tall as that office space in the base of the Quorum. Did y'all see how low that balloon was? This is why I wish [email protected] were like 6 stories tall and had a companion building next door. That West St area is pretty low lying.

I am always with you on this but will offer a caveat on this one....the area bounded by Capital, Peace, St Marys and Hillsborough is of course "glenwood south". As it is not well connected to the rest of downtown (Hillsborough and Peace are it, with Jones being one-way out and Lane ending at Harrington) it still tends to have its own heartbeat seperate from downtown proper. Its organic development is continuing faster than the rest of DT....I can see it 'filling up' if you will, in a decade, 15 stories now will relieve the need for tear-downs in a decade. Buildings like the one Cherry is in have already been mentioned as spots for redevelopment. [email protected] spans the whole Harrington/North/West block, so while it will be a bit of a sore thumb at first over there by itself, I think it fits into the proper build out scheme for the area imo. Just thoughts, and like I said dmccall, I still appreciate the two six story building approach 99.9% of the time.

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I think it's a great size, and agree that the GlenSouth area has it's own "skyline" and "heartbeat" as it were. From an economic point of view, I think it makes total sense to capitalize on the fact that this is a hot part of town and send some vertical up to accommodate that demand. Visually, from Broughton I think the building will be completely in keeping with the Paramount, Boylan Flats, 630 North and the other developments in the vicinity. It should form a nice, mid-rise area just outside of downtown.

In fact, the more I think about it, the cooler I think it will be to have that area transition to the taller buildings in downtown proper from the low-rise north.

It also works as a nice set-up for future development between this building and Capital Blvd/TTA stop/Downtown proper, since i imagine that stuff would be taller anyway.

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  • 2 months later...

I was just thinking last night... I realize there are some projects that don't go "our way" or designs that we may not like, but if you look at all that is going on right now that will be built or in place in the next few years, this really is a great time to be here if you are a Sim City type or urban development buff... off the top of my head:

New transit plan/Cherokee developments, Dix Park, Blount St, RBC, Site 1, 222, Quorum, Bloomsbury, Fayetteville St, new RCC, Lafayette, West @ North, 630 North St, Paladium Plaza, Reynolds Tower, Nash, new Wake Co courthouse, Wake/Empire condos, PE III, N&O HQ, sites 2 & 3 (eventually), Tucker St, Boylan Flats, Glen on Peace... :thumbsup:

I'll see if I can put some time into a roundup topic in the near future.

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^i think about stuff like that a lot too. most of the projects you just listed will be done in the next 5 years also. After 5 years? by then we all could easily be discussing some great projects on a larger scale. exciting!

As for raleigh's immediate future what do people think will happen in 2007? we are kind of just getting this year started so any predictions or thoughts on how this year will unfold? I really think this year will be all about construction and watching projects get off the ground. I'm going to guess that before 2008:

- RBC plaza will have all floors built

- 222 will be in full form

- [email protected] will be at its peak height

- RCC will have an exterior

- marriott will be at its full height

- reynolds tower will be a few floors high

- bloomsbury is looking great

- more announcements for more development

whats your list like?

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In additon to all above, I think:

- Carlton Place will be at least 50 percent occupied and (hopefully) will have at least one tenant in the retail portion

- Paladium Plaza residents will move in and some of the first floor units that were converted to retail use will be open for business.

- North Blount will start to take shape -- the Person/Peace lot has been empty for a month or two now.

- something will get going on the Franklin/Person corner.

- construction might start at either the lot between Seaboard Station and Peace street or the other project behind Seaboard.

- if the Cherokee/TTA partnership is approved, work could start at the West Raleigh and/or Government stations.

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I was just thinking last night... I realize there are some projects that don't go "our way" or designs that we may not like, but if you look at all that is going on right now that will be built or in place in the next few years, this really is a great time to be here if you are a Sim City type or urban development buff... off the top of my head:

New transit plan/Cherokee developments, Dix Park, Blount St, RBC, Site 1, 222, Quorum, Bloomsbury, Fayetteville St, new RCC, Lafayette, West @ North, 630 North St, Paladium Plaza, Reynolds Tower, Nash, new Wake Co courthouse, Wake/Empire condos, PE III, N&O HQ, sites 2 & 3 (eventually), Tucker St, Boylan Flats, Glen on Peace... :thumbsup:

I'll see if I can put some time into a roundup topic in the near future.

just adding a couple of my favs.....CAM, Empire Properties stuff at Hargett/Wilmington and Green Square

Also I am aware that the entire block bounded by Hillsborough, Morgan, West and the tracks is for sale....

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Marsh Woodwinds is in the process of moving to the old Mordecai Bridal building on Person near Conti's north of Krispy Kreme. I figured they were moving because rent was going up, but if the whole block is for sale, a significant development could go there, across Morgan from the north end of the proposed TTA station. Maybe Cherokee could acquire it as part of the partnership???

As for the list, I thought it was downtown only...

Other ares of the city include 5401 and the 401 Wake Tech campus area, Kidds Hill/former It's Prime Only and the former Kidds Hill Plaza (Steak and Ale, Brendels), the St. Augs/Shaw stadium, etc.

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The block that Flex and the Violin Maker are on? Uh oh.....

I saw the sign that Jojo mentioned but its coming from none other than Dan Douglas that I am told the whole thing, minus the lot lost to the new bridge (what was that place...Innovations I think?), is being marketed by York.

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  • 3 weeks later...

As someone that graduated from Shaw U, I spent a decent amount of time downtown b/se of its close proximity. Whether walking to the bus station, to the clubs off of Glenwood, going to the bank, going to City Market for an expensive slice of pizza, attending festivals near the Capitol, or even walking to NC State, etc. So I guess if I had a magic wand I would definitely first all want Shaw Univ. to expand a few blocks east and north before the developers take over, and then definitely get that TTA rail station up and running, with some mixed used development all around it. Also, I think Central Prison needs to move from its location and make room for other developments, and also b/se a path could definitely be connected from the old Dorothea Dix into downtown. More residential space with a grocery store, cafes, and restaurants on the street levels. Lastly, I would probably vouch for all new developments downtown as much as possible to have green roofs.

Edited by urbanaturalist
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  • 1 month later...

I saw the sign that Jojo mentioned but its coming from none other than Dan Douglas that I am told the whole thing, minus the lot lost to the new bridge (what was that place...Innovations I think?), is being marketed by York.

Jones, are any of those buildings historic? I guess to be specific, historically significant? I walk by there every day, and I kind of like that area, although I wish there was more street-level activity. I assume York would demo the entire block and put up a new building.

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Jones, are any of those buildings historic? I guess to be specific, historically significant? I walk by there every day, and I kind of like that area, although I wish there was more street-level activity. I assume York would demo the entire block and put up a new building.

They are all relatively new....the block was all wood frame buildings for most of Raleighs history. I should have a better answer after lunch but at a glance the Flex building looks to be the oldest and probably only dates from the 1930's.

Edit: as of the 1909 Sanborn map there were 8 residences and one 2 story brick grocery on the current Flex footprint. Two of the residences were 2-story and faced Hillsborough and were very large, one appearing to be antebellum and the other victorian based on the large bay window. a one story house faced West and 5 one story houses faced Morgan, two of those being on the same lot as the antebellum house. As of a map that I think says 69, all of these structures are gone. There are lots of very interesting things to notice in the vicinity such as for you jojo, 610 Hillsborough sits on the site of the old Temple Beth-or and a skinny three story building called the Hillsboro Hotel. Snoopys is a gas station at this time, and Glenwood stops at Hillsborough(where it pushes through has a gas station). Morgan crosses the tracks by using two bridges, one concrete, one wooden.

Edited by Jones133
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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently visited Atlanta and love doing so. It is like a development lab

with a big pocketbook. They have created some of the most beautiful towers in the

world, fantastic professional sports complexes, and seem to always have a new

take on some aspect of development. There are some real examples of what Raleigh

wants to avoid, however.

I personally have always loved the tall buildings in Atlanta

Edited by dmccall
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Excellant photo-essay. I have railed on tall buildings with the assumption that this is how it will turn out....It seems to a degree that planning in Raleigh is doing a bit better as Site One, PE II and Reynolds all have demonstrated mixed use buildings. As an urban development and redevelopment philosophy leaving some older buildings such as we have with the proposed PE III area is another strategy for avoiding becoming too Atlanta-esque.

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I recently visited Atlanta and love doing so. It is like a development lab

with a big pocketbook. They have created some of the most beautiful towers in the

world, fantastic professional sports complexes, and seem to always have a new

take on some aspect of development. There are some real examples of what Raleigh

wants to avoid, however.

Thanks Dana, very insightful - and well illustrated. I bought William Kunstler's book "The City In Mind" at the Atlanta airport after a multi-day stay in the area you photographed. The book is a quick read, maybe overly provocative but pretty dead-on in it's damning of Atlanta's problems. I could always sense Raleigh picking up Atlanta's trends a few years later. There is a steady feed of Tarheels who move to Atlanta after college and then bring ideas, and businesses like Clarence Fosters, or Moe's from Atlanta to Raleigh. The tear-downs of smaller houses to build speculative McMansions was something I first saw in Atlanta 10 years ago. Raleigh used to be really modest about wealth I think part of the process of Atlanta-fiacation was the influx of flash and luxury goods. Atlanta's downtown is still a failure but it has succeeded in creating smaller downtowns within districts and maybe that's the goal with Wakefield, Brier Creek and North Hills.

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On a trip last year, I wanted to go into more of downtown Atlanta, but we were on a strict timetable and my fiancee's friends there said it wasn't worth going to. So we eneded up at Ikea and downtown Decatur, which was nice, but not Atlanta.

Looking at those pics, I think most pedestrians (if there are any other than Dana) are in the human habitrails over the streets. In the 70s and 80s, they seemed like a good idea. New York, Detroit, and other big cities had bad street crime problems. Shopping malls were popular because they were climate controlled. To "combat" suburban flight, New South cities' buildings were constructed to discourage street activity and move it up above the street. Science fiction was becoming reality, and the south was leading the way! Charlotte followed suit with the overstreet mall to connect towers built by NCNB, First Union, and others. The idea of being able to park in a deck and never have to step foot on a sidewalk was quite appealing to people who had seen the decay of the northeast (especially Times Square) in the news/movies. Starting with a blank canvas, southern cities were determined to "get it right" by keeping the "good people" off the street.

Also in Atlanta, shopping was concentrated in the Underground area, so there was even less reason to have any ground floor activities in buildings. It opeend in the late 60s, reopened in 1989, but is mostly a tourist area not intergrated into the rest of downtown. Rockefeller Center has an underground concoruse, but there are street level shops there as well. Fayetville Street Mall was Raleigh's answer to creating a shopping district in the center city.

When I was a kid in Charlotte in the late 70s/early 80s, we only went to "uptown" a couple of times, and never on the street. I didn't even question why, as I thought that was how things were supposed to be. I remember there being a lot of experimental lighting and mirrors, and every building in the "mall" was different, and pretty empty. They did have a McDonalds with McPea soup, which I thought was the future of food/soup. Discovery Place opened and was not part of the mall, but seemed to be a self-contained island unto itself.

In Raleigh, I know of only a few pedestrian bridges -- between the city parking deck on McDowell/Morgan/Dawson and the building, between buildings in the municipal complex, and between the Wake County Courthouse and the adjacent office building. None go across a through street. This may be due to the fact that Raleigh didn't see much construction in the CBD in the 70s and 80s, or the city didn't allow them. A lot of parking is provided under buildings in One and Two Hannover, Wachovia, etc. I think Progress Energy wanted to put one in to connect PE I and II/deck, but the city said no.

For the future of downtown Raleigh, the city is very fortunate to have Mayor Meeker create and listen to Dan Douglas and the Urban Design Center. The city has learned from others' mistakes instead of repeating them. I hope we can avoid several focus areas -- RBC Center/40 Wade, Crabtree, Brier Creek, North Hills, Triangle Town Center, Wakefield -- to *replace* downtown. But North Raleigh representatives Tommy Craven, Jessie T., and Philip Isley seem focused on doing just that. As mentioned in the Hillsborough Street thread, the overwhelming majority of road improvment money is spent north of 440, and any ideas to improve the center are dismissed as frivilous. The F Street reopening and Convention Center are only two pieces in a bigger puzzle to create a livable, sustainable downtown Raleigh. Requiring street level activity and uses in new buildings will provide a livable, human scale downtown as opposed to Atlanta's concrete jungle.

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In Raleigh, I know of only a few pedestrian bridges -- between the city parking deck on McDowell/Morgan/Dawson and the building, between buildings in the municipal complex, and between the Wake County Courthouse and the adjacent office building. None go across a through street. This may be due to the fact that Raleigh didn't see much construction in the CBD in the 70s and 80s, or the city didn't allow them. A lot of parking is provided under buildings in One and Two Hannover, Wachovia, etc. I think Progress Energy wanted to put one in to connect PE I and II/deck, but the city said no.

I think you're on spot there. In a lot of ways, we might be lucky here in Raleigh that major interest in our downtown has only recently begun, in a period where almost all urban planners/designers are touting and even requiring street level retail spaces in our newer buildings. The great thing is that in our older districts like Wilmington St, the space is already made for street retail and activity.

I heard that Dan Douglas fought and successfully persuaded Reynolds' to put in street-level retail space on the Hillsborough St side of their new tower, so now folks walking along our oldest in-tact corridor :whistling: will be able to look into retail space instead of a large parking deck facade.

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I think overhead walkways could be a boon to street level activity if they simply had stairs/elevators connecting to the sidewalks. It should be possible to design a 3-dimensional urban market. It should ultimately be the ideal design for buildings: modular floors up to a certain height, that can be outfitted with retail and connected to other floors/other buildings/the street. This would only successfully happen in areas with massive density though.

Raleigh is lucky to even get retail on the first floor.

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If you are implying that would lead to second story retail, well, that almost never works, even in Mahattan. Also, I don't think we're "lucky" to get street retail. Hell, we had plenty of it 100 years ago, so it's just a matter of zoning and creating a critical mass of downtown residential and commercial activity and we'll have it again.

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