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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is not the usual focus on DT Raleigh, but we also need to be aware of what is happening outside Raleigh's center. Just a few miles north of DT Raleigh, near the intersection of I-440 and Glenwood Ave/Hwy70 lies an area called Crabtree Valley. The main attraction is the famous Crabtree Valley Mall, currently the second largest mall in Raleigh. The retail destinations are supplemented by several hotels and offices, along with plenty of residential options and restaurants.

About 1-2 years ago there was a serious discussion on how this area will be shaped in the future, with options ranging from high-density to low-density developments. The med-to-high density seemed to be the most preferable, but I haven't heard much lately, which sort of makes me think that the city's focus on downtown took a toll on this small area plan. One of the several projects in this area is the conversion of Kidd's Hill Plaza, a shopping center that was left to rot and became an eyesore, at best. Plans for Kidd's Hill included a 9-story hotel, condos, retail, offices and entertainment destinations, but nothing was publicized or promoted until a year ago. Since then, the project seemed to be frozen, but to my surprise things are moving just fine; several weeks ago I drove through that area and former Kidd's Hill Plaza was leveled.

Enough of speculations, though. What I wish to share with you is an article from today's News & Observer, which talks about the new plans for Kidd's Hill, now called Galleria of Crabtree Valley. Let's begin with an aerial image of that area, courtesy of Google maps, with some modifications made by me - it is at least 2 years old:



Galleria, also known as Crabtree Promenade, was supposed to be a mixed-use project, which would include a large number of condos, apartments and other destinations. One of the nicest features would have been the underground parking, an idea that makes a lot of sense to those who are familiar with that area. Let's take a look at a rendering of what was originally the plan. One of the parking decks of Crabtree Valley Mall is visible to the lower left of the rendering:



To my disappointment, the underground parking will not happen, obviously because of the inflated costs of steel. If I were a developer, I would have problems, too, spending another $21 million on the top of the $100 million price tag for the project, but this feature is the only one that makes sense, given the landscape. Anyway, I will let you read the article and draw your own conclusions. I am glad that the project is moving forward, as it will strengthen the density and create another North Hills type of destination. It may not turn out to be as urban as I was hoping, but anything in that piece of land would be an improvement. Here is the article:

Galleria plans condominiums after all
Also drops plans for underground parking

By SUE STOCK, Staff Writer

Developers are redrawing plans for the Galleria of Crabtree Valley -- the proposed retail, office and residential development on the former Kidd's Hill Plaza site.

The two major changes: moving parking from an underground garage to above-ground and adding 184 condominium units.

The condominiums were in the original site plans but were scrapped because of perceived lack of demand. Hundreds of inquiries about condominiums changed developers' minds.

"People were getting angry because we didn't have them," said Mark Tipton, head of Whistler Investment and member manager of Crabtree Avenue Investment Group, which owns the 12-acre site behind Raleigh's Crabtree Valley Mall.

The condominiums will be about 1,400 square feet each. The complex will also include 164 apartments, averaging 1,050 square feet.

Tipton said more residential units could be added in the future, up to 660 total.

"We don't know yet how many we'll do," he said. "I doubt we'll get to the 660, but you never know."

The parking switch was made because the steel and concrete needed for underground parking would have added $21 million to the project's $100 million price.

Now "the price will actually be similar, if not a little less, than originally planned," Tipton said.

The other components of the Galleria will remain as planned: 133,000 square feet of office space and about 250,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants that will be built in two phases.

The new site plans could go to the city for approval in as little as a month, and construction of the first phase will take about 18 months, Tipton said.

That would be good timing, because the biggest annual retailing convention is in Las Vegas in May, said Neil Rudolph, vice president of Plaza Associates, which is handling the project's retail leasing.

"There's good interest in the project," he said. "We've been kind of quiet about it because we weren't sure what it was going to be like. We'll crank it up good again for Vegas."

Plaza Associates will need an aggressive leasing strategy to find quality tenants for a project next to a major mall, said Stan Lisle, president of Retail Rep, a real estate brokerage firm in Cary.

"It's a project with a whole bunch of potential," he said. "But it's tough ... most of the tenants are in the mall or want to be in the mall."


Staff writer Sue Stock can be reached at 829-4649 or [email protected].
 

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Sounds cool. Glad to hear that a large number of condos are a part of this project. Sounds like there will be more changes to this part of Raleigh in the coming years. Keep us informed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I certainly will keep you posted. The trend is to urbanize all those areas that suffer from suburban type of development by increasing density and heights. The good news is, the city has paid attention to emphasize pedestrian activity and destinations, as well as improved transportation - Crabtree Valley Mall is serving as a small hub. The plans are solid, but the focus on downtown receives the bulk of the attention and publicity. I anticipate to see more demand on residential options, especially rental units, but not until Crabtree Valley receives more facelift. There are many hotels scattered all over that area and they provide steady clients to the existing restaurants and shops, but more needs to be done. Anyway, I will post news as they become available.
 
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