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Some facts to consider when talking about Edison:

  • this is one of the fastest growing regions and cities in the nation
  • downtown office vacancy rate is about 5%
  • RBC condos sold out over one year prior to occupancy

The office market is very tight, and there are no properties that could accommodate a large corporate relocation--only Charter Square coming online with about 300k sf of space. The L-bldg is only about 100k, and consider a single medium-large law firm can take up 70k sf. RBC proved there is a pent up local demand for high-rise living. Throw in Sandreuter's track record for delivering projects (arguably the best of any local urban developer) and the high demand for hotels downtown, and I think Edison (in terms of it's makeup) is a winner. It's hard to imagine now with the state of the economy, but the trends for this area are still very good, and I think that Edison has a good chance of delivering.

I completely agree. I love the renderings and do hope it's built as planned. Complete with Coopers Barb-Q and all.

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Since the plans aren't 100% I was wondering what everyone's thought was on the idea of changing the heights on each of the buildings so that you would have ALL four buildings with varing heights? :)

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Since it seems there is no saving Cooper's and the Wilmington/Davie corner, I think it should get the tallest building. It will be closer to the convention center, but Progress Energy owns the land so they might not want PE II to be dwarfed.

I'd like to see the Blount Street side not overwhelm City Market and Moore Square, so those two corners could be the same height or a story or two above the deck at Blount/Davie and flush with it at Blount/Martin.

Wilmington/Martin will be tricky since it is in the "shadow" of RBC, but only in late afternoon. I don't like the idea of two of downtown's tallest towers being across the street from each other, since it could be overwhelming.

Since RBC only has 7,500 square feet of office available, the potential demand for more office space is there. Though it will be interesting to see how much demand will be there after The L and Charter Square.

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^After a nice visit to Manhattan this weekend I can speak better to such things now as tall and modern and old and short mix to the nth degree there. For one, you certainly do not want to obscure your monuments. Grand Central is where I got off the bus and it was obscured on all sides by shadows. Everybody wanted to be near Grand Central to the point that Grand Central was no longer a standout as it once was. Same should go for out City Market and Moore Square. Obviously in places without sun, trees have a hard time.... efficient use of space for sure, but not good space for hanging out or enjoying yourself. The best areas were by far where the residents were. Even locals said, the business district sucked for going out, hanging out...really anything at all except working. And surprisingly, while there certainly were tall residential towers, it seemed like many many more lived in mid-rise structures with flower boxes. People walked their dogs and sipped coffee on street corners where 5 story 100 year old buildings still stood. The really tall places had grab and go coffee, and Dunkin Donuts with nowhere to sit. Pretty much, the chorus I am a part of, about generally the people who want to live downtown, don't want it overrun with skyscrapers was played out even there to a larger degree than I expected. More than ever, I am glad to tell the skyscraper-philes to stuff it. Even our "sold out" RBC Plaza was one third sold to speculators according to an N&O article last week. Nice floor to ceiling glass and all, but there is no proof at all that people are all about "high-rise" living or whatever the moniker was. I would say, for folks in NYC that want to live high up, its about getting above the constant background din at street level for some quiet than it is about the view, since your view is likely straight into the Citibank building or other corporate HQ.

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^Even locals said, the business district sucked for going out, hanging out...really anything at all except working. And surprisingly, while there certainly were tall residential towers, it seemed like many many more lived in mid-rise structures with flower boxes. People walked their dogs and sipped coffee on street corners where 5 story 100 year old buildings still stood. The really tall places had grab and go coffee, and Dunkin Donuts with nowhere to sit. Pretty much, the chorus I am a part of, about generally the people who want to live downtown, don't want it overrun with skyscrapers was played out even there to a larger degree than I expected. More than ever, I am glad to tell the skyscraper-philes to stuff it.

Thank you for posting that, Jones133. Tall towes may be great for concentrating business activity and providing for great skylines, but don't make for inviting neighborhoods. I don't want Raleigh to aspire to be Charlotte - shiny and impressive, but lacking character. Perhaps the higher rents demanded by ground level space in tall towers keeps everyone but the corporate chains from moving in. I would be disappointed to see a Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts where Reliable and Isaac's stand now. I don't care so much for keeping the Cooper's building around as it is not much to look at and the business is not going anywhere anyway, but it would be a shame to lose the four buildings on the SE corner of Wilmington/Martin.

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^After a nice visit to Manhattan this weekend I can speak better to such things now as tall and modern and old and short mix to the nth degree there. For one, you certainly do not want to obscure your monuments. Grand Central is where I got off the bus and it was obscured on all sides by shadows. Everybody wanted to be near Grand Central to the point that Grand Central was no longer a standout as it once was. Same should go for out City Market and Moore Square. Obviously in places without sun, trees have a hard time.... efficient use of space for sure, but not good space for hanging out or enjoying yourself. The best areas were by far where the residents were. Even locals said, the business district sucked for going out, hanging out...really anything at all except working. And surprisingly, while there certainly were tall residential towers, it seemed like many many more lived in mid-rise structures with flower boxes. People walked their dogs and sipped coffee on street corners where 5 story 100 year old buildings still stood. The really tall places had grab and go coffee, and Dunkin Donuts with nowhere to sit. Pretty much, the chorus I am a part of, about generally the people who want to live downtown, don't want it overrun with skyscrapers was played out even there to a larger degree than I expected. More than ever, I am glad to tell the skyscraper-philes to stuff it. Even our "sold out" RBC Plaza was one third sold to speculators according to an N&O article last week. Nice floor to ceiling glass and all, but there is no proof at all that people are all about "high-rise" living or whatever the moniker was. I would say, for folks in NYC that want to live high up, its about getting above the constant background din at street level for some quiet than it is about the view, since your view is likely straight into the Citibank building or other corporate HQ.

Why so radical...? Really.

Move to a small historic town... I'm serious. It seems as though progressive modern cities irritate you.

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Why so radical...? Really.

Move to a small historic town... I'm serious. It seems as though progressive modern cities irritate you.

You've got it backwards...progressive places preserve historic architecture and build with people in mind. I actually like huge swaths of urban historic fabric best. Charleston. Georgetown and Alexandria near DC. Capital Hill in DC. Areas of Denver, Philly, Baltimore, and Boston all have this. Having an idea of what I prefer, and being able to explain why as it pertains to more than just a postcard, hardly makes me radical. You single me out over and over but I am not the only one with similar opinions....most folks, like me, favor a balance of some sort. Really only a developer or someone who never intends to actually live downtown would be completely of a mind to bulldoze whatever stands in the way of the next great new thing.

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Bulldoze what? You're comments come off as way too radical and idealistic. No one's bulldozing city market. I live one block over and I have absolutely no problem with this project. With progress comes trade offs.

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Charleston. Georgetown and Alexandria near DC. Capital Hill in DC. Areas of Denver, Philly, Baltimore, and Boston

Sounds like you prefer very old (for North America) cities that urbanized early on in their histories. With the exception of Denver(though it was more urban in 1900 than Raleigh was in 1980), Raleigh is younger than all of these cities and began it's urbanization at least 200 years later.

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My list of cities was just a cut of my favorite places, and was not meant to be a comparison to Raleigh....rather it was to blunt the small town comment before it.

Serapis, you are reading my comments as too radical and idealistic while missing the point...my point....entirely. If you have ever attended any of the downtown planning sessions..and I have attended three now...the participants regularly stress mid-rise development and preservation of our very small remaining number of historic structures. This is mostly regarding downtown functioning as a primarily residential area (with component commercial). Sure a business district gets recognition with high-rise bling, your sign being higher than the neighbor's is all important. There is a place for the business/office stuff in our downtown and I maintain that is primarily south of Davie Street and along Hillsborough Street. If you think I even implied I had an impression someone was going to bulldoze City Market, that is further proof you simply aren't paying attention to what I am saying. Not radical. Not bulldozing City Market.

Progress is about as subjective a word as there is. Bulldozing a block of buildings built in the 1870's and building four office buildings that will shadow City Market and Moore Square, is not the best build-out for that block. You are cool with it? Great. I am less so, with reasons. It seems like well thought out remarks irritate you since you find it necessary to respond time after time.

Edited by Jones133

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^

I think what really needs to be done is establishing a city market zone of sorts, with special building codes and the like, to preserve the feel of the area. That would clearly define what can and can't be built in the city market area. It would also establish us a cool historical district. Maybe we could call it "Old Raleigh" :) .

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CBD's have intense density. I see this block as no different. Those buildings on wilmington will be replaced with a project worthy of replacing them. A project that will be OUR legacy for generations to come...

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Is it possible at all to move buildings like this? There's a perfect location for them that's just the right size: the parking lot facing Person Street on the City Market block. I know moving commercial masonry buildings is not common, but then again this really isn't all that far, and Liggett & Myers did something similar to this in Durham in the 30s or 40s when they moved their office building to a new location to make room for the new cigarette factory. Heck, they moved the Hatteras Lighthouse, so it has to be possible somehow...

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Is it possible at all to move buildings like this? There's a perfect location for them that's just the right size: the parking lot facing Person Street on the City Market block. I know moving commercial masonry buildings is not common, but then again this really isn't all that far, and Liggett & Myers did something similar to this in Durham in the 30s or 40s when they moved their office building to a new location to make room for the new cigarette factory. Heck, they moved the Hatteras Lighthouse, so it has to be possible somehow...

Its possible but admittedly probably not economically feasible. Brick buildings require a more elaborate base to be constructed before moving them than just inserting a couple dozen steel beams. I also think the corner where Mechanics and Farmers is across from Times would be a good spot (though they would not quite fit). I suppose for the moment, this is all somewhat moot, since large scale commercial lending is pretty well frozen for the next year or so.

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You've got it backwards...progressive places preserve historic architecture and build with people in mind. I actually like huge swaths of urban historic fabric best. Charleston. Georgetown and Alexandria near DC. Capital Hill in DC. Areas of Denver, Philly, Baltimore, and Boston all have this. Having an idea of what I prefer, and being able to explain why as it pertains to more than just a postcard, hardly makes me radical. You single me out over and over but I am not the only one with similar opinions....most folks, like me, favor a balance of some sort. Really only a developer or someone who never intends to actually live downtown would be completely of a mind to bulldoze whatever stands in the way of the next great new thing.

Amen, Jones! The philosophy of tear-it-all-down-and-start-over is not what I would consider progressive; it's a very 1950s mindset. Yes, back in the 50s they would save a landmark or two, but otherwise, all that "old stuff" had to go! The great cities all preserve their historic buildings. This includes not only colonial cities like Charleston and Baltimore, but cities that are newer than Raleigh, like Portland, Seattle, San Diego, Melbourne, Asheville. And saving a few landmarks aren't enough; if Raleigh becomes a mini-Charlotte or a landlocked Singapore, I'll just have to leave. A place that discards its history is not a healthy place, from my perspective. And aside from history, the "old stuff" just tends to be of better quality: better materials, better design, better craftsmanship. Even though 90% of the buildings in Raleigh were built since 1950, 90% of the finest buildings in Raleigh were built before 1950.

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Two of the four buildings could've gone in any number of empty lots around the city. That they're going to be built as a single entity, razing and converting the whole block as a unit smacks of 50s style neighborhood planning. I'm disappointed that they opted to tear down the historic buildings.

That said, looking forward to the towers. At least they're much more architecturally inclined than the RBC building.

Edited by Spatula

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I don't think it was stated explicitly one way or the other, but I am guessing part of the reason four towers are proposed was to allow for them to be built in phases...one at time. I think, quite honestly, you are looking at 10-15 years, maybe 20, before all four get built...the ten year horizon I think was in the original announcement.

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So until then, we are stuck with all these empty lots. Hopefully, they'll build on the lots that really are empty first (ie, facing Blount rather than Wilmington) instead of tearing down the buildings along Wilmington ASAP. If the phases along Wilmington get postponed long enough, that gives more opportunity to pressure the developer to move the 1870s buildings rather than tearing them down.

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Remember that even the occupants are fed up with the condition the buildings have been allowed to deteriorate to. Dunno, if they are worth saving. A better use of resources would be to maybe redesign that portion of the facade on the replacement tower to mimic/honor the history of the site? Especially since the same businesses are tentatively supposed to go back in the new towers.

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Because the owners (the names speak for themselves if you are familiar with them)bought with their only intention to milk rent at no cost to them and sell whenever they got a price too good too refuse, is no argument in support of any new development. I have seen more than one building that incorporates the actual old structure into the new. The fact they are still standing with little or no maintenance is a testament to their design and materials....especially the Isaacs/Reliable Loans block. They withstood a huge adjacent fire decades ago.

The writer of this article is not impressed with state of how it is achieved, but you get at least one good pic. Critic will probably point out that the buildings pictured are nothing like the ones I keep bringing up, but in fact they are from the same era, perhaps the same decade(1870's my best guess). Raleigh simply did not have the money of places like DC so many of our designs are more restrained, but no less important to preserve.

Edited by Jones133

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Ah, yes, Jones - 100% in agreement with you as usual. Don't want to keep harping on the same thing here, but just because a building looks a little crappy and run-down, and perhaps also deprived of basic maintentance, doesn't mean it's automatically a great candidate for teardown.

When Empire Properties bought the Black Odd Fellows Building at 115-117 E. Hargett Street, the roof was pretty much gone and pigeons had taken up residence on the 3rd floor - I think they had to remove a ton+ of droppings...now THAT's bad. Rats were all over the back side of the building/storage rooms, the masonry was failing and sagging all over the place - it's safe to say it was pretty much written off...and look at it now. I challenge anyone to say that building isn't just beautiful - from the barber shop, to Adam Cave's floor and the yoga studio on the 3rd floor, to Landmark on the end.

The E. Davie/S. Wilmington block is worth saving by showing a little frickin' imagination here. Does that mean that towers still can't be built and add the density everyone keeps whining about? Absolutely not - there's a canvas for an amazing project there that could easily incorporate both.

I recently got my hands on an aerial of that area from the 1920's - talk about density. No, not height-wise, but lots of density and diversity nonetheless. Really pretty sad...The view is north towards the Capitol - E. Davie is one block up from the "Southern Air Service" tag in the bottom right corner - for reference, the large building to the left of the block with the three big arches was the old auditorium on E. Davie (burned in 1930), which was attached to the Municipal Building on Fayetteville St. - it's where the Capital Bank Plaza building stands today.

DowntownRaleighAerialc1920s-viewN.jpg

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Great pic Francesca. I love the black Odd Fellows building. I never saw the interior before renovation but I saw the facade falling off. Looking Good at the corner of Martin/Wilmington has seven bays along Martin. Punching those out and replacing the windows would give you a building better still than Odd Fellows in my opinion. Its certainly older. I can narrow the pic date for you some....Sir Walter is present (1924) but Capital Club is not (1929). I actually drank beer tonight with the founder of Fish Market. She spoke fondly of Empire and their mission to save these old buildings. They allow artists to use their buildings while they seek permanent tenants. No other developer has the big picture interest of downtown in mind like Hatem does. David Diaz of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance also speaks to the "funky" aspect of downtown and has commented on challenges Raleigh faces in creating that. All the people out in the downtown core tonight were in old funky buildings...Riveria/Loft 135, Times, Landmark, Two T's, Tir na Nog, Big Easy, Fayetteville Street Tavern, Slims, Alibi, Berkley......you don't get 'em back once they're gone.

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