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The Edison


Gard

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I've already deleted a number of posts that have both strayed way off-topic, and crossed the line into 'my city is better than yours' and personal attacks. There's no place for any of that here. If you post anything that can be considered a personal attack, I'm going to suspend your privileges on the site.

Posting here is easy. Just follow this rule of thumb, and you'll be fine. Always stick to commenting on the post content, and not the person who posted the content.

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On Saturday, the retail space on the Blount Street side looked like it was getting the framing necessary for the glass front. To me, this is an improvment of that long, dead, brick buliding with the garage doors that fronted Blount.

Have there been any rumors about tenants for this (and the Wilmington Street) space yet?

The taller towers will probably be closer to F Street, and probably won't be as tall as the recent proposal.

Taz market (formerly City Mart) is expanding into the storefront to its north, so maybe they are planning on being there for a while? The "just a storefront" shell near Wilmington/Martin had the glass painted white to make it look like a new business is going in. The anti-theft fencing on Reliable Loan makes it difficult to get a feel for how it and the other buildings were since it has been beat up for so long.

Edited by ncwebguy
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I am very happy to see the emphasis on retail at Edison, the parking deck in its midst and in general across downtown. This is indeed a vast improvement over say the Moore Square parking deck (retail facing the Edison site would have been nice), or the Wachovia Tower (one set back retail space). For towers, they have done about as good as you can do. My personal preference is to have towers spaced out around a downtown. Too many in one spot and you get extreme uneven need to be in one spot at rush hour. Also, lots of towers create a wind-tunnel effect by funneling high winds down to the street. I also happen to enjoy my sidewalk strolls in sunshine, my bagel and coffee too for that matter. I know, in the summer, the shade in NC is nice, but I prefer sidewalk trees for my shade. I think Edison would do fine to stick a 50-60 story building on one corner (on Coopers spot is fine with me), and surround the rest of the block in 5-7 story condo buildings with street retail to match up with Palladium and the rest of the buildings on the Tir-na-Nog block. The money shot would look better this way too imo. Another Raleigh Times, Morning Times, Big Easy and Adam Cave Fine Art would round out the Historic Reliable Loan buildings nicely.

Edited by Jones133
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  • 1 month later...

The N&O reports the parking deck is now open. Also, I kept meaning to post that RBC has an ATM machine on the Blount Street side (convienent to City Market) and maybe the Wilmington Street side (haven't been by in a while). The retail parcels are not spoken for yet I think, but I have not seen an "avaiable" sign, so maybe they are?

The entrance/exit is big, but isn't as bad to me as the larger hole in Palladium Plaza/PE II on the block to the south. It will be nicer when the Martin and Davie sides start to fill in, but financing might keep that from happening for a while.

This, RBC Plaza itself, and the Convention Center/hotel complex all coming on line within a month or so will hopefully jumpstart an already revitalizing center city.

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The N&O reports the parking deck is now open. Also, I kept meaning to post that RBC has an ATM machine on the Blount Street side (convienent to City Market) and maybe the Wilmington Street side (haven't been by in a while). The retail parcels are not spoken for yet I think, but I have not seen an "avaiable" sign, so maybe they are?

Yup. There is one on the Wilmington street side. $3 service charge, though. Glad my bank reimburses me for those :thumbsup:

Related - looks like the old Gandolfo's across the street has a Coming Soon sign up. It would be nice that when everything finishes there is a good street level experience on both sides of the streets surrounding this block.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After a lot of discussion about traffic, building form (two-not four designs), setbacks, fire safety, shadows, wind, and parking, the council approved the Edison by a 6-2 vote (Crowder & Koopman against). The two didn't oppose the project, but wanted to take a closer look at the details of the project in committee, while the others felt that city staff would be able to handle the details later in permitting.

Sandreuter said the project will be built over ten years, and that he may start pre-leasing for the office tower in 2010 IIRC. Interestingly, there was zero talk about the historic buildings nor the fact that the now-adopted downtown framework calls for uses other than parking wrapping the building above the first floor (ie, not like RBC Plaza). I guess that is a fight that will have to take place another time.

JDavis did show some new renderings (not unlike the ones we've seen) and I still like them in general. I still wish they could have incorporated the existing structures (Coopers & Reliable) in the design, bury some of the extra parking U/G, and mix up the designs a bit. For the skyscraper fans, this project will definitely overshadow RBC across the street at 574' in height.

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I'm all for the Edison, but I think it is so disheartening that no one is clever and creative enough to incorporate the existing historic buildings into the design for a cutting-edge project that blends new with the old. Raleigh is trying to build a "green" reputation, but how is adding to the landfills, perfectly good and sound materials, green whatsoever?

There's been a lot of banter on these boards (as well as the "downtown blogs") about how crappy those old buildings are and how not everything is worthy of preservation. While I agree that those buildings are not of "George Washington Slept Here" calibre, they add to the historic character of downtown - they give it a sense of place. Those are the types of places I look forward to walking by every day. Personally, I don't go to Cooper's just for good BBQ - I also go there for the ambiance. It's not cold and sterile (no, definitely not sterile by any means) like just about every other "new" place downtown. I was so bummed when the warehouses on the Blount Street side of the lot were torn down - I think they had great potential for reuse - perhaps for a nice courtyard dining opportunity which we are sorely lacking.

Why are places like the Times Bar and Landmark popular? Is it because of their overpriced beer, crowded quarters, or suffocating smoke? Hmmmm...maybe? I like to think it's because they are in buildings that have character, are maybe a little gritty, and are comfortable and even a little familiar. They feel like a place in the "neighborhood".

This is perhaps for another board for another day, but it's not like we're tearing down all our old buildings and putting up something we can all really be proud and shine about. They are all uninspiring, built of crappy materials, and I doubt will stand the architectural test of time, much less stand for relatively long at all...the Marriott, RBC, Quorum, 222 Glenwood, Dawson - and West at North - don't even get me started on that eyesore. They're all a big yawn and I am amazed that the City signs off so easily when they have such an enormous visual impact. The Convention Center is great (at least I think so without having seen the inside yet), and Bloomsbury is the best of the new construction (though I know many would disagree with me, but that's MHO), but the context of where it is sited is so horribly off, and who wants to drink their morning coffee while watching the inmates sharpening their shanks in the yard of Central Prison? And JDavis - the only thing they recycle is the same crappy design over, and over, and over...how do they keep getting all this work - are we that hard up?

For reference to a small southern city who has so far done a great job of retaining and enhancing its historic resources, but doing an even better job of introducing new, state-of-the-art modern architecture that will no doubt bring many from miles and miles around to see, look no further than Roanoke, VA...now I want one of those instead of, say, Hillsborough, Lafayette, HUE...

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destination...de-museum_N.htm

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just for the record, ^^ this is not me using another account. (feel free to check IP addresses) Haha. Those Blount side warehouses actually had elements that dated them to the 1870's or 1880's. The facade had been ripped off and replaced with modern brick and a garage door, but at two stories with 15 foot ceilings and the potential to punch out windows previously bricked up, it could have meshed perfectly with City Market. Exactly what JDavis could care less about. The scope of Edison should be say where the Two Hannover parking deck is. From there it would actually impact the money shot too.

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... look no further than Roanoke, VA...now I want one of those instead of, say, Hillsborough, Lafayette, HUE...

Just to clarify...the Toubman Art Museum in Roanoke is being built on a former empty lot next to a major rail thoroughfare. (map it) It looks great, but is kind of crammed in and doesn't offer many vantage points to appreciate the design as a whole. The classic, historical architecture folks up there hate it. They have a FANTASTIC convention hotel, the Hotel Roanoke, but it sits alone on the other side of the river (RR tracks) from the walkable downtown, and is only accessible for pedestrians via a habitrail (that was much maligned due to spiraling costs).

One other thing: while Roanoke has "preserved" their old buildings downtown, they haven't really had any choice. The most recent buildings of any size there are the Wachovia tower (1991) and the Norfolk Southern building (1992). I'm not talking about big projects, either. I'm talking about stuff that is 222 Glenwood's size and up. There are many, many blocks of empty former department stores, restaurants, etc, and their equivalent to the Sir Walter recently closed and now sits empty.

Historic preservation is sometimes achieved not out of choice. Be glad we have this choice.

Edited by dmccall
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True, the Museum has been a contentious subject in this traditionally conservative area but having just been up there this past weekend, folks are a whole lot more excited about it than they were a couple of years ago, and, dare I say, quite proud - and there's still a couple of months to go before opening. It's a bit jarring to see but wow! Besides art lovers, architectural junkies from 500 miles around will want to visit it actually has a startling vantage point from I-581 which wraps around downtown and it's not across the railroad tracks, but rather connected to downtown.

And, yes, downtowns like Roanoke's have been greatly preserved/"Charlestoned" because of stagnant/declining economic conditions but Roanoke, in particular, has undertaken loads of historic rehab projects these last few years and has a diverse offering of housing, cultural venues, commercial opportunities, etc., to show for it. It can't be said that there isn't any activity - or positive activity - just because they're not bulldozing something and throwing up a tower and calling it "progress". While there are indeed scores and scores of underutilized structures, their central business district is a great deal bigger than Raleigh's and has far more buildings (historic and non-historic) to consider. Some folks will argue with me, and that's fine, but we really have very little of our historic fabric left here in Raleigh. But I digress.

Like I said, I don't have a problem with new architecture that sacrifices some of the old stuff and I'm all for the opportunities that Edison has the potential to bring. I don't go around wringing my hands that we have to "save everything" and I'm all about density - but argue that we can do a much better job of blending our historic fabric with new and have a little creativity, progress, and connection to show for it. And in cases when it's necessary to demo those older buildings, then there's a responsibility to build something that's top-notch. No, not always Gehry-esque museums, but the Marriott, West at North, that c. 1984 RBC tower-topper? Come on that's the best we can do here in the state capital of North Carolina?? We've been afforded such marvelous opportunities these past few years and with the exception of the Convention Center and Progress Energy, which I'm sort of okay with (and the afore-mentioned Bloomsbury), there's just not a whole lot new "choices" out there to make my heart twitter.

Edited by ChiefJoJo
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Thanks dmccall for digging up these renderings & posting them on your blog.

OK, that does it, now I'm just convinced that this thing is never going to get built at all. Way too ambitious. How does Sandreuter propose to get financing for a project this huge?

Seriously though, those are some nice technicolor renderings. Not the most daring architecture I've ever seen, but it is certainly bright and flashy enough for my tastes. Borrows some elements from RBC, and yet winds up as a higher quality modern design than anything else we've seen proposed around here. Certainly more eye-catching than any other proposal for DT Raleigh (excluding the defunct CAM tower of course.)

However, I'm a little bit irked by how that the design is completely unified for the entire block. Twin towers with the same architecture are usually 'pushing it' in my book, but four towers of essentially the same design is a bit much for me.

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I LOVE how that looks from the street. I wonder if that Kodak sign is forshadowing a Kodak move to Raleigh...Kodak last I I heard through my connections was looking at moving their HQ to a more "tax friendly" area and with a cheaper cost of living than NY. Raleigh would be a PERFECT fit in both those areas (I'm certain the state would bend over backwards to get them here if they really do want to move), in addition to Kodak moving rapidly into digital photography and other technologies and away from film, which would make them a wonderful fit in our high-tech industry.

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Okay, two things

First off, I agree, this is never going to get built in a million years, it's just too beautiful and perfect and gorgeous and stuff. It'll turn into another reynolds all over again, and therell be delay after delay after delay while the lot sits as an empty dirt pile.

Secondly, Are they planning to put a movie theater in it?because if you look at the first rendering, there is definitely a kung-fu panda poster on the bottom of the building.

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First off, I agree, this is never going to get built in a million years, it's just too beautiful and perfect and gorgeous and stuff. It'll turn into another reynolds all over again, and therell be delay after delay after delay while the lot sits as an empty dirt pile.

This is why I started gogoraleigh. Not blind optimism, but we need a positive, can-do attitude in Raleigh.

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It is planned to be developed in phases over 10 years, which should cover another economic growth and recession cycle. The apparent inclusion of yet even more high-end condos even as 222 can't sell all of its units, begs the question still of product desired vs. product provided. Ringing this block with some 4-8 story neo-warehouse building with windows like those in say the Creamery, with retail spaces big and small and condos and apartments for the middle class, and this block could be built in two years. Site One has spec office space as does Ell, so landing even a big office tenant of the caliber needed to make Edison fly will be a challenge. Downtown really does not need a[another] Soleil style masquerade to stoke the naysayers.

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When I was at Raleigh Wide Open tonight, J Davis (The architects for Edison) had a booth. I went to talk to the people there, and first off they were surprised that someone was actually talking to them, but moreover they seemed REALLY confident that this project would ACTUALLY get built as rendered. I almost bust out laughing, because that is SO naive.

Personally, here's what I think is happening. J Davis wanted the property really badly, so they made up some really glitzy, super-chic rendering to convince people they were "serious" about the project, and so that city council would approve it and so that progress energy would sell them the land. Then, once they have all of the land, they'll sit on it, while it remains an almost entirely empty dead block in the heart of downtown, and keep delaying things (a la reynolds) until eventually they can scrap together some majorly reduced version of the project.

In short, I think that the renderings they've put out are complete crap, just a sham to get the property and approval.

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When I was at Raleigh Wide Open tonight, J Davis (The architects for Edison) had a booth. I went to talk to the people there, and first off they were surprised that someone was actually talking to them, but moreover they seemed REALLY confident that this project would ACTUALLY get built as rendered. I almost bust out laughing, because that is SO naive.

Personally, here's what I think is happening. J Davis wanted the property really badly, so they made up some really glitzy, super-chic rendering to convince people they were "serious" about the project, and so that city council would approve it and so that progress energy would sell them the land. Then, once they have all of the land, they'll sit on it, while it remains an almost entirely empty dead block in the heart of downtown, and keep delaying things (a la reynolds) until eventually they can scrap together some majorly reduced version of the project.

In short, I think that the renderings they've put out are complete crap, just a sham to get the property and approval.

How is having confidence in your project naive? Successful businessmen put all their confidence in a project. By the time they are scheduled to break ground, the housing sector is expect to have turned around. Anyalysts are saying the housing sector will turn around in 2009. This project won't even break ground till 2010, more than enough time. I also highly doubt they just threw some rendering together. Doing so would be both unethical and business suicide. Companies (by the way, JDavis is the architect, not the developer who bought the land. The developer has many successful projects all over the state) just don't make something up to get a piece of land. That can get them into a lawsuit. This is the real world, not a classroom. Reynolds can't even be compared to this project. Reynolds had financing problems largely due to the bad loan market right now, which is BEYOND THEIR CONTROL. You want to finance their (Reynolds) project in its entirety?

Edited by Gard
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JSaysToYou, I guess that's a possible scenario, except that it's actually Greg Sandreuter who is the developer. He has just hired JDavis as the architect, so they're pretty much just doing his bidding. It's certainly true that while architecture services aren't necessarily cheap, it's a lot cheaper than actually turning dirt and pouring concrete.

I have no doubt that Sandreuter will attempt to get financing to build this project as rendered (or at least something substantially similar.) For him, the quicker he gets financing and gets this under way, the happier he'll be. He's a developer, not a land banker. As to whether or not he will be able to get financing, though, that remains to be seen. He certainly wouldn't intend to sit on it, any more than Reynolds intends to sit on his project. It all comes down to financing.

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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.

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