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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A co-worker of mine shared the following link with me and I wish to do the same here:

Condos Expected To Lead Residential Surge To Downtown Raleigh

I would post the entire article, but there is a little copyright notice at the end which may not allow me to do so... legally. Please feel free to visit the link and share your thoughts. The story is very small and easy to read. For those who are not as familiar with DT Raleigh, the condo building in the photo is the 5-story Dawson, which is nearly completed. This project is a classic case of downscaling; it started as a 15-story tower, only to become victim of slow market :(

My take on the article is this: DT Raleigh is following the same patterns any other developing city is. The numbers mentioned in the article are interesting and I would like to create a little summary:
  • Today, more than 3000 people call DT Raleigh their home.
  • About 1200 residential units are currently in the works.
  • The city expects another 400 units to be built at the South End District after the current convention center gets demolished.
  • City leaders project that 10,000 units will be added in the next 10 years.
All these numbers paint a positive image of DT Raleigh and I surely hope the city's projections are accurate and realistic. I will not be surprised at all if the future number of residential units surpasses 10,000 in less than 10 years. The 21-story [unrevealed] residential project and the proposed Reynolds tower are great examples of what momentum and enthusiasm can do. What we are witnessing all over the South - downtown revitalization efforts and luring of residents to the core - should also affect Raleigh.

Nothing major, but the above article succeeds in introducing WRAL's audience to the core of our city and familiarize them with the on-going efforts to bring back the glorious days of DT Raleigh, when people used to live, work and play within walking distance.
 

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This is great news for downtown Raleigh.....the local news should spend more time on the positive aspects of the city!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just wait until a couple more projects get under way and the two biggest visions for DT Raleigh are proposed... I don't hold my breath for stalled projects (i.e. Metropolitan) as I am sure they will happen once the momentum proves to be steady and very real in the eyes of the developers. The overpriced condos market will eventually reach its 5-year pick when (and if) Reynolds tower gets built. I predict most of the projected 10,000 units to be affordable housing and not high-end condos/homes.

Just thought of something: I wonder how successful it would be if a developer could take all those houses to the South of St Augustine's College and build a series of residential mid-rises and townhomes. Sure, dormitories are desirable, too, but regular residences should be more attractive. The shops at the South-West corner would become very profitable and form the basis for a mini Hillsborough Street. I think the potential exists, but I am not sure the people would be willing to sell. Technically, St Augustine's College is not located downtown, but the proximity should help. Once North Blount Street gets developed, the area around St Augustine's should be too close to the core to ignore... Just a thought ;)
 

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Yeah, I'm pretty sure its in the 60% (at least) range and the Paramount is over 80% sold out and its not complete yet (putting the brick facade on it now). I hope the condo boom continues, especially near the convention center b/c I'm about to close on a condo in that area and it'd be nice for the price to go up some before I sell it to move somewhere like the Dawson in a few years ;)
 

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I saw the sales figures for The Dawson on Morgan recently, but can’t remember the exact numbers. However I remember being shocked they were as low as they were, I thought they were on par with The Paramount. 60 % seems about right, but not much more. :eek:

As far as the Metropolitan goes, seems like I read the developers wanted to test the waters again sooner rather than later. When first proposed, I think the location was a little more ‘urban pioneer’ than a lot of people were willing to go. With the things that have been renovated close by (Nana’s chophouse, the freight depot and others) I think it is much more attractive. The convention center sure won’t hurt either.

At any rate, I can’t wait to see what’s announced next. :)

Any idea when something might be released about the 21 story condo tower :whisper:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
First of all, no developer starts construction without having 50% pre-sold. This is not a law, but merely a common practice. The Dawson is definitely above that, but as Justin and Raleighmark mentioned, 60% sounds just right. The Paramount is more successful, for obvious reasons, one of them being the Glenwood South address. Also, The Dawson was a pioneer and more like testing the waters. Without any previous project to create momentum, The Dawson took the lead. Palladium Plaza missed out in terms of momentum, and quite frankly the developer screwed up big time; where is the ground floor retail/entertainment component that was promised? Also, Hudson isn't going to sell like hot cakes, at least until Fayetteville Street gets completed.

The stalled projects (Metropolitan and Bloomsbury Estates I & II) will most likely come back this year as renewed proposals. The developers have to do that, before 222 Glenwood starts selling big; the developer is ready to break ground as soon as final approval is offered, next month - hopefully there will be no problems. The 21-story proposal is very real and people already know about it. I was walking by that site - sorry, can't reveal anything yet - and a nearby store owner stopped me and asked me why I was taking photos. Then we talked about all the on-going projects and I was speechless to hear about the "secret" proposal. Evidently, the developer has discussed his vision with the nearby store owners and people seem to like his idea. When something comes out officially, I will post something immediately :)

@uptownliving: I doubt VERY seriously that DT Raleigh is going to surpass Uptown Charlotte's residential units growth. Besides, Charlotte already built a stronger residential component. Raleigh may add residents faster for 1-2 years, but in the next 10 years the balance will shift towards Charlotte even more. It appears to me that the available land for residential developments is similar for both cities. The difference will be in the size of the residential projects (21 vs. 53 stories) and the amount of land Charlotte will need for business purposes. Raleigh is ages behind Charlotte in terms of commercial square footage, but I sincerely envision DT Raleigh to become more mixed-use than Uptown Charlotte. I am talking about the ratio between residential and commercial space and not actual numbers.

Much of DT Raleigh's need for residential space will be satisfied by district plans, such as South End, Moore Square and North Blount Street. Along with the revitalization process of older neighborhoods, like Boylan Heights and Oakwood, new districts are being formed (i.e. Glenwood South and Warehouse District); both areas have been underutilized for a very long time, and only in the last 7-8 years they have started emerging as destinations. I am sure nobody can tell whether the existing enthusiasm is based on real numbers or simply what the consultants think as realistic. When I see developers stepping to the plate and delivering the goods, I cannot help but get enthusiastic and optimistic, too. The 10,000 units envisioned for the next 10 years do not necessarily represent 100% occupancy, but their very existence should attract at least another 5000 residents to the center... minimum. This figure is realistic for DT Raleigh, especially when considering that these units are not just condos, but single-family houses and townhomes, as well. Personally, I am almost ready to move downtown. My need for space (including storage) does not exceed 2500sf, so I will be happy with something average. The only thing I am waiting for is a development that is neither overpriced, nor cookie-cutter, like the Village at Pilot Mill.
 

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To put this in perspective Raleigh would have to build Four (4) 25 story condo towers each year to reach the 1000 units per year mark....Doing the math that means that Downtown Raleigh in 10 years will have Forty (40) 25 story condo towers.

Personally I think that is pie in sky and no way in hell will there be that many condos in downtown Raleigh.

I think a more realistic number for Raleigh would be 2500- 3000 units over the next 10 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Give us the benefit of the doubt, at least... Math helps a lot, but I am sure that WRAL must have gotten their numbers right, even if they sound inflated. Unlike Charlotte, DT Raleigh depends more on "small area plans" to boost its residential units, rather than 4 25-story condos per year. The latter can be done only through private initiative and less through public involvement. Projects like 222 Glenwood requires nothing from the city, while North Blount Street revitalization depends a lot on "rules" that the city places. While DT Raleigh is not a sea of continuous parking lots, which can easily be replaced, there are plenty of tracts waiting for infills. The Moore Square area screams for redevelopment and that area, by itself, can provide you with 2000-3000 units. Keep your eyes focused on two more areas: Warehouse District and West Street, North of Peace Street. These places are going to boom with residential activity and while I don't foresee major towers, many mid-rises will most likely appear.

The assumption we are making here is that the momentum will continue, and demand of downtown living space will become the norm. As insane as it sounds, it is not impossible. I would agree that it would be hard to fulfill demand for 10,000 units... that would be more than insane. That is why I believe that bringing another 5000 residents to the center is not hard.

Also, very important to remember is that "units" doesn't refer to condos, alone. In the number, they include houses and townhomes. Now, 10,000 houses would definitely be pie in the sky... There is no room for that many houses in DT Raleigh. Time will tell, of course.
 

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10,000 seemed on the highside to me as well. It is possible however, once DT reaches some critical mass and commerce and shopping start taking off as well. But even 5000 units in 10 years would be amazing for Raleigh's core: We'd be knocking on the door of 10,000 residents.

BTW that figure that says 3000 residents in DT raleigh now, what are the boundaries for that? Are we talking traditional downtown (bounded by North South East West etc) or are we talking that + adjacent neighborhoods?
 

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I really believe residential is a key element in having an active downtown. I wasn't aware that Raleigh already has 3,000 people living in the center-city. That is a good start. I think however, for downtown living to be attractive to a large number of people you have to have amenities such as grocery stores, drug stores and other common type places. Downtown living really becomes attractive when you know that you can walk to stores and restaurants.

How does downtown Raleigh look as far as grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants and other common type places?
 

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I heard that there is a grocery store going in at the Seaboard Warehouse site north of Peace St, but that's, well... north of Peace St. It's close to Oakwood and not that far from Glenwood South, but it's more than a mile away from the convention center district, for example. Granted, Fayetteville St. is flat, so it'd be an extremely easy ride on a bike, but most people I know would be unwilling to bear the "indignity" of having a wire basket on the rear of their bike to make it useful for shopping.

The best solution would be to have two grocery stores downtown - one to the north at the Seaboard Warehouse, and another further south, maybe near City Market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
@jmancuso: Thanks for honoring my request and reopening this thread. I really appreciate it...

Yes, DT Raleigh has somewhere near 3000 residents (not counting the students who live in the Shaw University dorms; I read that this number is about 900, but I have not confirmed it). This number is not inflated, and includes Historic Oakwood, South Park, Boylan Heights, Capitol Park, Village at Pilot Mill and everything that is in between, except for the students. I am not sure if the population figures include Historic Mordecai's residents. What DT Raleigh lacks is high-rise living, which is normally a big-city element and makes it obvious that a city has a population living in its center. Not counting the [under construction] Quorum Center's residential component, there are only mid-rises (6-12 stories) that offer some kind of urban living beyond townhomes and detached homes.

The grocery/super market component in the downtown area is till behind other cities, but in all honesty, Harris Teeter (Cameron Village) and Food Lion (New Bern Ave) are both within less than 10 minutes distance. Also, downtown does have a grocery store, in the City Market area (see photo below, at the rightmost), even though I am not sure if they are open during week days:



In addition, there is the Condi's Deli, near Historic Oakwood, but that is not a grocery shop, although it does sell items you would normally seek in a super market. As for the future of downtown's grocery shopping, Orulz already mentioned Seaboard Warehouse, which promises to fill the gap with a super market presence, but we can't cheer until we see it happen. If we do get something like Harris Teeter it will be a major success for DT Raleigh, mainly because such names look for a population of at least 12,000 people. If they feel that growth is steady and certain, then they may decide to go against their "policy" and service a smaller segment. Again, this is a speculation that I hope materializes. I must say though, for Glenwood South residents, the Cameron Village Harris Teeter is less than 5 minutes away, which would make it difficult to attract another location in the downtown area. At best, we may get a competitor, such as Kroger, or Lowe's Foods (I assume they are still around).

I forgot to mention Farmer's Market, also within no more than 10 minutes away from any location within downtown limits. I thought this is VERY important, as it presents a lot of competition for a super market. Ideally, I would love to see a second location of A Southern Season in downtown. The one in Chapel Hill is very successful and I do not see why not repeating this type of success in DT Raleigh. Maybe I am day-dreaming, but I feel that such a store can succeed, even if they go with an express-type of branch. I have met people who live in Raleigh driving to Chapel Hill, just to shop at A Southern Season.
 

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I believe that there are alot of elements that could work in downtown Raleigh. It just has to have a chance to get started. Southern Seasons would work.,...I believe that it should go somewhere in the City Market though. To me, chains stores belong along Fayetteville Street and the private store owners on the Salisbury and Wilmington Streets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well said, ejohnson :eek:kay: A store like A Southern Season belongs to an area with unique character and personality. In its current location, A Southern Season doesn't appear as unique, nor says anything about its character. I expect some chain stores to occupy the ground level of many buildings along Fayetteville Street and its surrounding streets. For A Southern Season it makes a lot of sense to choose a location where parking decks are nearby (i.e. Moore Square).

As an update, there is an article from today's News & Observer, posted below, showing the continuous momentum in residential development for DT Raleigh and its surrounding neighborhoods. Some people may argue that the proposed site is not exactly downtown, and I will have to agree with them, but in all honesty we should expect our core to reach beyond its current borders once the South End district gets filled up, which should not take longer than 6-7 years from today. The South Fayetteville Street area carries HUGE potential for redevelopment. Currently, it feels out of place and disconnected with downtown, which is expected, given the placement of the BTI performance center. I have taken several photos from that area and I will present it in the future.

Let me be up front and honest about my view of the developer (Greg Hatem). He reaches the extremes when it comes to preservation, to the point of making me sick to my stomach. He thinks that Raleigh is Savannah, or Charleston, and by preserving old buildings he disillusions himself with the notion that DT Raleigh's image will be that of a major tourist destination. He hates skyscrapers and opposes EVERYTHING that could boost Raleigh's skyline. Unfortunately, he has been too involved into the local development process and he is one of the many individuals willing to stop anything major in our core.

Before forumers think I am trying to demonize the developer - he is like the Darth Vader of the skyline wars - I must say that I know he means well, even though he looks after his own interests, not Raleigh's. In fact, Raleigh needs people who understand the importance of preserving our historical fabric and fight for it, but at the same time Raleigh needs balance between growth and preservation. Everybody who knows a little bit about Fayetteville Street knows that the block where Brigg's Hardware is located has some very interesting facades, which must be preserved for as long as it is possible. At the same time, across from there lie several buildings of no architectural interest, whatsoever. Same holds true for most buildings along Wilmington and Salisbury streets, between Hargett and Davie streets. Old low-rises doesn't necessarily equal historic buildings, especially when they are surrounded by parking decks and surface lots. Some of those lots can easily turn into residential high-rises, or at least some taller mid-rises, which is why I am not bothered as much with the way they are used today. I'd rather wait for another 5 years and get a 20-story residential tower, than seeing just 1-2 mid-rises, 5-10 stories high within the next 2 years; assuming that the developer is smart enough to place some ground-level retail/entertainment options.

Here is the link to the printable format of the story.

Plans in works at water plant
Developer buying historic property

By DUDLEY PRICE, Staff Writer


The E.B. Bain Water Treatment Plant on Fayetteville Street, built in 1940, was used for water treatment until the late 1980s and water storage until the late 1990s. Staff File Photo

RALEIGH -- Developer Greg Hatem, one of downtown's largest private landlords, plans to redevelop a landmark water treatment plant into an office, condominium and restaurant complex that could spur development south of the city's new civic center.

Hatem is buying the historic E.B. Bain Water Treatment Plant on Fayetteville Street near the intersection with South Wilmington Street, about a mile from the emerging convention center.

"It's an amazing site," said Hatem, a principal at Empire Properties. "It's also part of the southernmost link to downtown."

Hatem plans to convert 4,000 square feet of the two-story Art Deco building into a restaurant. The remaining 25,000 square feet will be for offices. A five-story or six-story building with several dozen condos also is planned for the 2.88-acre tract.

City officials hope the project will prompt more development south of downtown, which hasn't been redeveloped like other inner-city areas. City Market and Glenwood South, for instance, have been redeveloped with shops, bars and restaurants, but the area on South Wilmington Street near the Bain plant has little commercial development.

"The site could be the spark plug to convince other investors to recognize the area's potential," said Dan Becker, executive director of the Raleigh Historic Districts Commission.

Becker said that adaptive uses of other historic properties such as the former Pine State Creamery and Powerhouse Square boosted redevelopment in the Glenwood South entertainment district. City Market renovations more than a decade ago helped transform an area around Blount Street.

City officials have had hopes for the water treatment plant before.

Designated a city and national historic property, the plant was built in 1940 by the federal Works Progress Administration and has cast-iron hanging lights, detailed French doors and gold moldings.

It was used for water treatment until 1987 and water storage until 1997. The city sold the property in 2001 to a private development partnership, Water Works II LLC, which planned to spend $7 million to convert the building into offices and a restaurant. The project never got off the ground and Hatem recently contracted to buy it.

Hatem declined to name the purchase price but the property is assessed on Wake tax records for $328,560. Hatem said he won't begin redeveloping the site for about two years. By that time, the $192 million civic center should be nearing completion, as will an adjacent 400-room hotel.

"We'll stabilize the building [but] we want...the market to focus more on the southern end," he said.

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

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Unfortunately the construction of the Western Blvd expressay severed the southern portion of Fayetteville St from the rest of downtown. It'd be tough to really call that area part of downtown as it is. If you want to do that, you'd need an overpass over Western Blvd that connects Fayetteville St with Kindly St. I seem to recall that the topography is favorable for an overpass, but even so it'd be prohibitively expensive.
 
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