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Merboy

Building?

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It's Fall 2010. The economy is taking baby steps in the right direction. This is the site where I get my information on Raleigh construction but it's been pretty quiet around here for a while. Is anything new or exciting happening? I've been keeping an eye on the green square but I'd love to drive down Wake Forest and see the skyline changing. New Raleigh and Raleigh Connoisseur haven't been mentioning anything in the way of construction but I was wondering if any of you guys had the low down on any plans?

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At this moment most of the buildings going up around downtown Raleigh is government. Green Square (by the state) and the new county judicial building on S. Salisbury Street. And the city is building the Contemporary Art museum (CAM) on West Martin.

The one exception I can think of is next to Green Square--the SECU offices. I think they just broke ground recently.

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SECU is coordinating its construction with Green Square, though I don't know if its the same contractor. CAM is being built by the Contemporary Art Foundation. They are not affiliated with the City but actually merged with the NC State College of Design.

Empire Properties has split off the Hargett face of Brass Grill and appears to be turning it in to something within the shell of the original building (i.e., not connected to the rest of Brass Grill any more). Brass Grill actually encompasses 4 buildings (3 now) though the Wilmington facade makes three of them look like one...historic aside.

I got nothing on bigger skyline stuff though....

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From what I understand, the bulk of the downtown projects by private developers is still frozen. The economy is improving, but it hasn't improved enough to make anything mix-use viable, especially if that mix-use includes housing and retail space.

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RedHat is reportedly looking to expand into 300,000 to 600,000 square feet of space. They're considering staying in the Triangle, but are also weighing locations like Austin, Boston, and Atlanta as well (perhaps as leverage to get more incentives out of the state of NC.)

Assuming they decide to stay (I kind of think they will), there are several options for them.

One option would be to build and occupy more space on Centennial Campus. Another would be to move into a new building downtown. Meeker seems to want to keep RedHat within the city limits, so that's certainly a possibility. Another option would be to move to RTP, whether into an existing building like Nortel's or Sony Ericsson, or to build their own. Lastly, they might look at suburban office space elsewhere in the Triangle such as Brier Creek or Perimeter Park.

Clearly the a building downtown would be my favorite option. The bigger of the two Charter Square buildings will have 400,000 square feet of space split among office, retail, and residential, so that might be a possibility; the Edison might be another. I'm not aware of any other projects on the boards that would provide anywhere near that much space downtown.

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Companies "looking around" like this, from my observation, seems to be a pretty common tactic to get more incentives to stay where they are at. I'm also in the "Red Hat will stay" camp, given that the company, for one thing, has a huge partnership with State, which has been very reliable in providing them with high-caliber programmers, among other things. I read somewhere that even the city was offering up incentives, which is quite rare. I would imagine that developers in Raleigh could be chasing after Red Hat as well, as demand of this size could be just what the developer needs to get their project the funding it needs.

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I get the sense they will stay too. Instead of jamming up Fayetteville Street more, I would be a fan of working in a new building on Hillsborough St or the Warehouse district to keep our creative class companies on that side of downtown. Just a knee jerk thought though.....I realize something that has plans partly done could go up faster and existing space would provide for an immediate move if needed.

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If I were to bet, they'll wind up in RTP. RedHat probably needs a good bit of data center space, which means heavy duty HVAC and power, which seems like it would be difficult (expensive) to provide in a skyscraper. There are some pretty big vacancies out in the Park such as Sony Ericsson and Nortel which would fit the bill, and the price would probably be right.

It would definitely be cool if they wound up downtown, though.

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