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DT Raleigh - New proposals

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There have been a couple of new proposals for two lots near Glenwood South, the up and coming area at the North-West side of DT Raleigh. The two articles below offer a good insight of how the domino effect works for DT Raleigh and the direction several new developments are going, especially as TTA's regional rail comes closer to fruition each day. While I do not favor low-rise projects, I can see the new trend that is slowly created around the future commuter rail stations. There will be great demand for housing, along with retail within walking distance from the stations and I do not see a better way to start this new pattern than two significant development. Here are the two articles:

Developer buys David Allen site

Hatem snags acre in Glenwood South

By DUDLEY PRICE, Staff Writer

RALEIGH -- If location is everything, developer Greg Hatem's latest purchase has it all: an acre of downtown land between the booming Glenwood South entertainment district and the Triangle Transit Authority's planned State Government Center station.

Hatem's Empire Properties has contracted to buy the former site of the David Allen tile and marble company at Harrington and North streets. He plans to redevelop the site into a $4 million mix of restaurants, shops, offices and condos.

"It's a perfect location," Hatem said. "It's the first place you'll go when you come off the TTA. It's up on a hill.

"It's got great visibility, and a rooftop restaurant will have a view of downtown over to Glenwood South."

A decade ago, the site in a industrial area, just south of the former Pine State Creamery and adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks, wouldn't have seemed so attractive.

But the southernmost blocks of Glenwood Avenue, including the old creamery, have been redeveloped into a bustling strip of bars and restaurants. Two blocks away, the TTA has chosen a site at Lane and Harrington streets for a station that it plans to open in late 2007.

Real estate experts said the former tile company land stands out because only a few other sites are available for redevelopment in the Glenwood South area, and those parcels are much smaller -- only about a quarter-acre.

"Glenwood South at this point is pretty much occupied with retail," said Diana Conn, a commercial real estate appraiser and president of Paramount Appraisal Group. "There really isn't that much else left out there in that immediate area.

"Now people will be looking for other retail space, so this will expand it into the surrounding area," Conn said. "Without the Glenwood Avenue address, they may be able to get in for lower rental rates."

The area's popularity and scarcity of sites has sent property prices soaring.

Land for the 510 Glenwood condominium and retail project cost about $15 per square foot when it was assembled in 1997. Only a half block away, but six years later, developers of The Paramount condo project on Johnson Street paid about $40 per square foot, Conn said.

Hatem, one of downtown's largest landlords, wouldn't say how much he has contracted to pay for the David Allen site. But in 2000, he paid $1.5 million for three-fourths of an acre on North Street with a 24,000 square-foot building now occupied by Capital Fitness. That comes to $62.50 per square foot. Hatem said he will pay about 25 percent more per square foot for the former tile company.

The site has three buildings on it. Hatem plans to renovate a 4,000-square-foot building at Harrington and North streets for offices. An adjacent 6,000-square-foot warehouse will be razed and replaced with a four-story, 20,000-square-foot structure with retail on the lower floors and three condominiums on top. A two-story, 7,000-square-foot building facing West Street will be renovated for a restaurant with rooftop dining.

The David Allen Co. had occupied the site since the 1920s, but the property became available after the company moved to Rush Street in South Raleigh about a year ago, Hatem said. The redevelopment project is expected to take a year to complete.

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Glenwood South may get more retail

By DUDLEY PRICE, Staff Writer

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Sandreuter has until spring to buy from the association.

RALEIGH -- One of downtown Raleigh's most prolific developers is planning a large project near Glenwood South that could contain condominiums, shops, restaurants and offices.

Cary-based Hamilton Merritt has contracted to buy the property owned by the State Employees Association of North Carolina at North and Harrington streets. The lot includes an 11,000 square-foot office building and nearly two acres.

"I'm noodling on a variety of different plans -- restaurants, retail, office and residential," said Greg Sandreuter, Hamilton Merritt's president.

The lot is nearly twice as large as a lot at Morgan and Dawson streets where Hamilton Merritt is building The Dawson on Morgan, a $20 million five-story building with 52 condominiums and 4,700 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Sandreuter, who would not disclose the contract price for the State Employees property, has until spring to decide whether to buy the lot.

The property is in an industrial area that is getting a lot of attention from developers and transportation officials.

One block away, the Triangle Transit Authority plans a commuter rail station at Lane and Harrington streets that it hopes to open in late 2007. Another block south, at Jones and Harrington streets, developers are grading a site for a 14-story, $35 million office and condominium tower.

And just south of the State Employees site, at North and Harrington streets, developer Greg Hatem has plans for a $4 million mix of retail, offices and residential on the former David Allen tile and marble company.

Dana Cope, the State Employees executive director, said developers began inquiring about the site about four years ago. "We turned them all down," Cope said.

But about a year ago, the board that represents about 60,000 state employees began considering selling because the 27-member staff had outgrown the building.

Cope said the State Employees is searching for a 30,000 square-foot office. "We want to stay pretty close" to downtown Raleigh, where most state government offices are, he said.

Among Sandreuter's other downtown projects are the three-acre Powerhouse Square entertainment area that he co-developed with CP&L off Glenwood Avenue in the late 1990s and the former Southern Railway depot, which is off Cabarrus Street and owned by the N.C. Railroad.

The Dawson on Morgan condominium project is half sold, although completion is not scheduled until April 2005.

Staff writer Dudley Price can be reached at 829-4525 or [email protected]

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To give you a clearer understanding of where these developments will be, I provide a couple of photos. In the first one, you can see Hatem's site at the right hand side of the picture, where the rail tracks curve and "disappear":

29084137.jpg

In the following photo you can see the lot where Sandreuter is possibly planning on delivering his new project, at the left side of the picture. The building with the green roof is [most likely] sitting on that lot, which is directly to the North of Hatem's proposal:

29084148.jpg

There is great significance in carrying out new [urban] projects around these areas, but they need to be of certain scale in order to accommodate the growing numbers of DT Raleigh residents. In the next few years we expect many new people to call Raleigh's center their home and it would be a shame if growth cannot be satisfied with affordable living. This area is a good candidate for nice mid-rises (6-14 stories) and should not be wasted in low-rise projects, which dominated this district, anyway. If the price is right, then more and more people will choose the North-West side of DT Raleigh as their home. The potential is massive, but it needs to be realized and be taken advantage of before it becomes yet another missed opportunity.

Your thoughts and reactions are most welcome...

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Since this thread serves more like an update on Glenwood South (re)development, I will stick to this pattern instead of creating new threads. My opinion has been stated several times in the past. Not only I believe in the domino effect, but I also believe strongly in Glenwood South's future as an outstanding example of mixed-use neighborhood.

I am sure there are still skeptics out there who think that TTA's regional rail won't benefit the Triangle; they fail to see that a regional rail system hides some other benefits, not immediately seen by the average person. The series of revitalization projects either under way, or planned, signify the importance of DT Raleigh to some developers. While far from the vision that some of us have for this area, it is known that nothing happens overnight. My belief that Glenwood South District will emerge as the best example of revitalization for the city of Raleigh is stronger than ever. I must admit that I want to see taller structures (6-15 stories) dominating the area between the railroad tracks and the State Government Complex. I must also admit that some momentum is required before my hopes materialize, and this won't happen with the tallest buildings possible. Between the 14-story Reynolds Project, the 10-story Paramount and the proposed low-rises, the momentum will be there for more and taller buildings.

Enough talk. Here is a newer article on what is coming to this area; some information may be redundant:

Glenwood spirit spreading

More redevelopment around West Street

By DUDLEY PRICE, Staff Writer

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If planned deals go through, almost four acres around Raleigh's West Street would get new offices, retail and condos. Staff Photo by Mel Nathanson.

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Redevelopment of West Street in Raleigh has been boosted by spillover from Glenwood South. Staff Photo by Mel Nathanson.

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George Gives enjoys dinner at the Hibernian Restaurant & Pub on Glenwood Avenue. News & Observer File Photo.

RALEIGH -- Downtown business owners in the weathered warehouses and storefronts on West Street can see the future right across the railroad tracks on Glenwood Avenue.

There, what was a collection of equally nondescript buildings only a few years ago has become a bustling entertainment strip of bars and restaurants called Glenwood South. Now that same redevelopment is spilling over to West Street and surrounding blocks.

"It's been ever-changing the past five years," said Tommy Gardner, owner of Auto Interiors & Tops, which was founded by his father 27 years ago and now counts an Irish pub, an Italian restaurant, a microbrewery and a string of antique stores as neighbors. "It's picking up speed."

Gardner said his landlord has rejected repeated offers from hungry developers to buy the West Street building that houses his business. Other nearby tenants may be less fortunate.

West Street landowners bounded by Hillsborough and Peace streets are being besieged by potential buyers. So many big land deals are in the works that developers are calling blocks along West and Harrington streets "the new Glenwood South."

"There's a good deal of land available for development, and it's an excellent location," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. "It's a hot area, particularly for mixed use. Over the next three to five years, we'll see West Street developed and the streets nearby developed as well."

Three pending land deals could add almost four acres of restaurants, shops, offices and condominiums to the old industrial area.

* Developer Gregg Sandreuter is buying the State Employees Association of North Carolina property between West and Harrington streets. He's considering a mix of condominiums, shops, restaurants and offices on the two-acre tract. It will be twice as large as the lot at Dawson and Morgan streets where another Sandreuter project, The Dawson, with 52 condominiums and 4,700 square feet of retail, is going up.

* Greg Hatem, whose Empire Properties owns numerous buildings downtown and in the warehouse district, is buying the property just across North Street from the Employee Association's land. Hatem is planning a $4 million mix of restaurants, offices, shops and condominiums on the one-acre site.

* An unidentified development group is negotiating to buy nearly an acre at West and North streets that was once used by the old Pine State Creamery for vehicle maintenance. The group is considering housing, offices and retail uses on the site, said Susan Cannon, a Raleigh architect making a feasibility study of the tract.

Demand for space in the area is peaking because every week Triangle residents pour into the clubs and eateries along five-block-long Glenwood South. Land prices have jumped 40 percent in the past five years, Sandreuter said, and lots owned by the few remaining small, traditional businesses are being snapped up.

For example, land at Supreme Brake and Alignment, at 409 Glenwood Ave. since 1992, recently went under contract, as did Hill Printing Co. at 606 Glenwood.

Sue Hill, the printing company's owner, said the buyer was planning a bar and restaurant on the 0.2-acre site, which was listed for $700,000. She didn't know the purchaser's name and declined to name the purchase price.

With such expansion westward limited by established neighborhoods, it was inevitable that development would head east, across West and Harrington streets toward Capital Boulevard and the state government complex, developers said.

"It's the new face of Glenwood South, because the old one is all filled up," Hatem said.

Hatem and Sandreuter predicted other projects will go up in the area once theirs are finished in about two years.

An added attraction is the Triangle Transit Authority's planned state government station at Lane Street and the CSX Railroad, which is expected to be a transit stop for hundreds of state workers when it opens in late 2007.

Developers don't appear to be waiting.

Burnie Batchelor, a longtime Raleigh studio photographer, has owned 1.2 acres at West and Harrington streets for 25 years. He leases to multiple tenants. Batchelor, 79, said he's been receiving offers on the property for five years but didn't want to sell.

Bob Roberson, CEO of David Allen Co., a tile and marble company, said he had two or three offers a month from developers interested in the company's property at Harrington and West streets before he decided to sell to Hatem.

The biggest landowner in the area is Wake County, which owns 6.1 acres between Harrington Street and Capital Boulevard for its General Services Administration, which maintains county buildings and vehicles. Joe Durham, deputy county manager, said no developers have asked about buying the property, but county officials expect it's only a matter of time.

Hatem also predicted the county property and adjacent tracts will be redeveloped.

"It's inevitable somebody will buy that site," Hatem said. "Over the next five years, all that will be either spoken for or redeveloped. The people willing to sell will have sold because the prices are going up so much."

Staff writer Dudley Price can be reached at 829-4525 or [email protected]

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The 34-37 story proposal was originally the "up to 29 stories" vision that Reynolds & Reynolds brought to the table several years ago, only to abandon this vision back in 1999 (although they toyed with it for another year, or so). Back then, they said that they couldn't deliver it as envisioned and almost scaled it down to around 15 stories (if I recall correctly). Mayor Coble tried to encourage the developers to keep the tower as tall as possible, but the market wasn't there. Recently the developers came back with the shelved project, saying that it could reach as high as 29 stories, but no less than 20. During the last two interviews with David Reynolds (WTVD-11) and Ted Reynolds (Triangle Business Journal), the developers said that the building will go as high as 37 (according to David) and 34 (according to Ted). They are courting a Fortune 500 company (not necessarily headquarters) and a boutique/upscale hotel name. I would assume that the hotel anchor is waiting to see how things will go with the new convention center before they commit.

As we all know, things may go wrong, and I am prepared for it. The 14-story building is under way, so I hope to see no delays here. However, DT Raleigh isn't there yet in terms of skyscraper market, so I won't be surprised if the 34/37-story proposal stalls again. Unless a major shift takes place, I am not sure how things will go for Raleigh's center. The projects mentioned in my previous postings are more in sync with what I expect to see around DT Raleigh. In other words, I expect to see true urban projects flourishing before I see skyscrapers. On the other hand, DT Raleigh is long overdue for a new tallest. Surely, a 34-story tower is not an overwhelming proposal for mid-sized cities, but it surely is a bold move for Raleigh's standards. Outside the two new towers, DT Raleigh can ONLY hope for RBC/Centura to consolidate its operations in this area and create the need for an additional high-rise. I do not predict any major tower being proposed for the next five years, at least. I do not count the new convention hotel as a serious project because in my opinion it isn't. It represents a missed opportunity to see something above 20 stories, in an area that needs it the most.

I took the time to modify one photo, in order to reflect the changes in the skyline if the two proposals get delivered:

32418707.jpg

I think that DT Raleigh will look pretty neat from this angle. The new towers will boost density and image on the West side, while creating an interesting pattern. If one looks at downtown from the North, he/she will be able to see another book-ends effect. I like the density around the South end of Fayetteville Street Mall area, but there is a tremendous need for towers above 20 stories around Wachovia Center, too. Hopefully, Reynolds & Reynolds will make other developers aggressive in building high-rises, and not only along Fayetteville Street. Unfortunately, there are only a few lots available along Wilmington Street. Most of our hopes lie along Salisbury Street.

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I'm suprised no one has mentioned this (taken from the Raleigh News & Observer)

Glenwood South is getting another makeover.

Blue Ridge Realty and Trammell Crow Residential are buying one of the biggest tracts in the Raleigh entertainment district yet to be redeveloped. They agreed to buy a building and 1.5 acres owned by Warren Distributing, a distributor for grill maker Holland Co. of Apex. The price wasn't disclosed, but one of the partners said it was $2 million to $4 million.

Plans are to raze the existing building and replace it with a nine-story, 120,000-square-foot development with shops and condominiums

This is the tract due north of the 518 W. Jones St. building (houses the resturant 518)

It's nice to see housing coming to the southern part of Glenwood Ave.

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It pays to watch Raleigh's government access TV (Time Warner Ch. 11, schedule here: http://www.raleigh-nc.org/ctv/chan11.htm ). In between all of the procedures, formalities, and other non-development related issues, you get to watch developers, the planning commission, and city council decide what Raleigh is going to look like 5, 10 years down the line.

What I learned today while watching a replay of a recent city council meeting is that the Reynolds family (of Quorum Center fame) is at it again. Several years ago (2000 or so), Reynolds & Reynolds purchased a city-owned parking lot at 309 Hillsborough St, proposing to build a 25-32 story tower on the site. In order to seal the deal, City Council signed a repurchase agreement in which Reynolds could sell the property back to the city if he decided not to build there. It seems that the market just wasn't there at that point, but in the intervening years, that part of downtown - specifically that parcel on the corner of Hillsborough and Dawson - has become very desirable. Speaking of its location, Mr. Reynolds himself called it "The most developable parcel in the city."

There is, however, no proposal on the table yet, and the the repurchase deal is about to expire. There are other developers interested in the parcel, but Reynolds & Reynolds doesn't want to jump ship just yet. The property has appreciated significantly from the originally negotiated price, but with respect to R&R's good track record in Raleigh, (Hello, Quorum Center) City Council agreed to extend the repurchase option to February 2006, with the stipulation that R&R pay the city the balance of the current appreciated value. R&R also expressed interest in combining the 309 property with the adjacent (currently city-owned, also underutilized) property at 301 Hillsborough St to make room for a larger project.

Everything at the meeting was going very smoothly. Mayor Meeker said he wanted to discuss how tall a building would be built there. There is no height restriction in that part of the city; The Hillsborough street area is listed in the comprehensive plan along with Fayetteville St as one of the areas best suited for taller buildings. The general guideline says that developers should use double the width of the right-of-way that the building faces as a starting point for discussion. In the case of Hillsborough St, this would mean a 14 story building.

In the ensuing debate, some noticeable friction began to develop. Mr. Reynolds' architects inform him that the parcel was large enough to hold a very tall building (he didn't say just how tall) but that such a building probably wouln't really "work" there. He said that he'd consult with his archictets to determine what would be the best fit- mentioning 18, 22, or 28 stories as potential options. Hearing that, councilmember Thomas Crowder said that he'd "rather have 10 8-story buildings than one 30 story building" because while tall buildings may look pretty from afar, they put a lot of activity high up in the air and don't contribute much to the street-level environment. He cited the Houston effect, in which the downtown becomes a patchwork of skyscrapers and open lots as smaller buildings are torn down because the property taxes are so high that anything less than a skyscraper is unprofitable. He also voiced concern with the parcel's location, roughly at the halfway point between the Government Center and Downtown Raleigh transit stations.

At this point, Mr. Reynolds said that if it came down to an 8 story building, he'd "fold up his tent and pull out right now, because you don't pay that much to buy a piece of land and then put an 8 story building on it." Some members of council, not wanting to offend him, took on a conciliatory tone. Michael Regan, the councilmember who leans furthest to the right, went so far as to say that council should basically let developers do they please, because the market will punish them severely if they were to make a mistake.

This debate highlights the issue of where skyscrapers belong in a city, and how they affect the surrounding area. I'm very dubious about giving developers free reign since their overriding interest is the bottom line and not the downtown environment, but at the same time you can't risk losing a great project by being too restrictive. I also agree with councilmember Crowder's assessment that there's more to a downtown than how many tall buildings there are: density and contiguous development is far more important when it comes to making downtown an interesting place to be. But I personally think that a building with a carefully designed, attractive streetscape (no first-floor parking decks please) in the 18-24 story range would fit the bill very well. Mr. Crowder's transit station "problem" is also a non-issue, since it's only a quarter mile walk from either station.

In the end, bost councilmembers and Mr. Reynolds himself seemed to concur that a 30+ story building in a sea of 2-story buildings would not fit in very well, but they eventually decided that this is not the point where such decisions should be made. They decided to put off any judgement until Reynolds submits a site plan, which will hopefully be within 6 months of the February 2006 deadline. So, stay tuned- we'll probably hear more about this project within the next 8 months.

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In the end, bost councilmembers and Mr. Reynolds himself seemed to concur that a 30+ story building in a sea of 2-story buildings would not fit in very well, but they eventually decided that this is not the point where such decisions should be made. They decided to put off any judgement until Reynolds submits a site plan, which will hopefully be within 6 months of the February 2006 deadline. So, stay tuned- we'll probably hear more about this project within the next 8 months.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hi, I'm new here, but have been following Raleigh's downtown revitalization for some time now. I'd just like to say this: Ted Reynolds' 32-37 story building will be a perfect fit on that property. For council members to beleive that it wouldn't fit in there, shows their lack of forsight. It would be directly across the street from a 20-story hotel, and the nearly side-by-side with the 14-storum Quorum Center now under construction. I don't call that a sea of 2-story properties. This would form a beautiful cluster of highrise buildings on the southwestern side of downtown.

When is this city ever going to look as big as it really is?

Oh, and let me add this.....

Why are our leaders traveling to Greenville, SC and Richmond, VA (both significantly smaller cities) for ideas on downtown development? Shouldn't we be looking at places like Dallas, Cleveland, Tampa, and St. Louis? Just a thought..

sorry to rant, but it's been bugging me lately.

Isaac

metro Raleigh

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No...IBruton you're right on with your criticism there. Why civic leaders are going to regions that are smaller than ours..I'll never know! Dream big!!! One thing I will say is that I believe Asheville has the most interesting street life of any city in NC, and it's not a large place. Asheville seems to have somewhat of a grass-roots ideal to it's revitalization, and in that sense I believe Durham may actually be ahead of Raleigh in what they're trying to do right now.

It seems to me that you have two schools of thought that conflict with one another here. Some people are advocating more mid-rise buildings that would increase density(somewhat like Portland, OR), and others would like to see the high-rises...which set a precedent and could negatively affect density. I don't buy the latter belief and I think Raleigh should strive for both. I think Raleigh is a real sleeping giant in terms of what could happen downtown. Think about it...climate is pleasant but you have 4 seasons, beaches and mountains flank the area on either side. If someone isn't capitalizing on living downtown with these other things surrounding the Triangle, they are seriously sleeping on HUGE possiblities. With rail in the future, I'm extremely excited about what is happening around this area.

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Hi, I'm new here, but have been following Raleigh's downtown revitalization for some time now. I'd just like to say this: Ted Reynolds' 32-37 story building will be a perfect fit on that property. For council members to beleive that it wouldn't fit in there, shows their lack of forsight. It would be directly across the street from a 20-story hotel, and the nearly side-by-side with the 14-storum Quorum Center now under construction. I don't call that a sea of 2-story properties. This would form a beautiful cluster of highrise buildings on the southwestern side of downtown.

When is this city ever going to look as big as it really is?

Oh, and let me add this.....

Why are our leaders traveling to Greenville, SC and Richmond, VA (both significantly smaller cities) for ideas on downtown development? Shouldn't we be looking at places like Dallas, Cleveland, Tampa, and St. Louis? Just a thought..

sorry to rant, but it's been bugging me lately.

Isaac

metro Raleigh

You apparantly have never been to downtown Greenville, SC. Its nightlife will give any city in the Carolina's a run for its money despite size. It is very active! Keep in mind that Greenville is truly around 302,194. 56,000 is encompassed in only 30 sq mi of city limits.

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