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How COVID-19 is affecting the timelines for local development.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Raleigh was booming with development projects all over the city, especially downtown. And while economic downturns, as are happening in the wake of this worldwide pandemic, typically spell bad news for commercial development markets, Raleigh’s, so far, appears to be continuing on its growth trajectory for the most part unscathed.
James Marapoti, the City of Raleigh’s manager for development projects advocacy, says city planners are not seeing a direct impact from COVID-19 in regards to implementing or furthering development projects. Planners guiding complex projects through the city’s approval process have not been slowed by working from home and city workers are still performing inspections, and awarding permits.
But Marapoti warns that if the supply chain for building and contracting materials is temporarily halted—as with what occurred with the meat production industry—it could cause an interruption in project timelines. So far, development-related manufacturers have yet to be affected and construction companies have been able to stay on track with projects.
Marapoti says deciphering “how we want Raleigh to be identified” is a key aspect of his job.“We are working to make Raleigh more visually identifiable as a city, so that when you drive into downtown Raleigh, you can know you’ve arrived,” he says.
Peace Raleigh Apartments, part of phase one for the Smoky Hollow development project, welcomed its first tenants in May, and Publix, located on the ground floor of the apartment building, eyes an August opening. The other two components of Smokey Hollow—The Line and 421 N. Harrington, both multi-purpose spaces with offices, retail and residential units—are moving ahead with plans to wrap up this November.
A Much-Needed Hotel Boom
It’s no secret that downtown is in desperate need of more hotels and several projects—including Home2 + Tru, Courtyard Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn—are underway to address the shortage. The Willard, an AC Hotels project, is currently under construction at 21 Glenwood Avenue and will offer seven floors of rooms. And permits have been completed for Nash Square Hotel located on the corner of W. Martin and Dawson streets; the site has been cleared and construction should start soon.
West Cabarrus Warehouses
Though still in the design stages, West Cabarrus Warehouses will be one of the first multi-use structures made of heavy timber in North Carolina. Part of a revitalization that’s rapidly expanding downtown’s Warehouse District, the project’s unique design and striking architecture will set the West Cabarrus Warehouses apart from the typical modern steel building. There is no set date for groundbreaking but the plan is to transform two existing structures—a warehouse and former auto shop—to eventually house the largest outdoor seating and live entertainment courtyard in downtown Raleigh.
Construction will begin soon on 400H, located on the corner of Hillsborough and West streets. The 20-story mixed use structure aims to forge together surrounding neighborhoods, offering high-end apartments and a ninth floor sky hub, with indoor and outdoor amenities including a pool.
A Setback for Dorothea Dix Park
Raleigh’s city council postponed a November bond referendum to support Dix Park (and other city parks). But Sean Malone, CEO of the Dorothea Dix Conservancy, the park’s independent fundraising body, says this is just a timing change and planners are moving ahead with park projects including the design for a children’s destination park within the park from Dix master plan design firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
Located directly across from the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts is the future Salisbury Square, a set of four structures
including two 20-story towers, to be used for residential, hotel and parking space. Dominion Realty bought the space from North Carolina Association of Educators, whose headquarters are housed diagonally to the site. Unique to Salisbury Square particularly is a plan to include 63 housing units at below-market rates that will be reserved for low-income tenants. Plans are expected to be submitted to city officials in the coming months.
At more than 30 stories tall, 121 Fayetteville, situated across from the Wells Fargo building, will help to frame the Capitol Building as you’re looking down Fayetteville Street. With soaring architecture and awe-inspiring views, this project will truly “change the landscape of our skyline,” says Marapoti. While there is no start date as of yet, plans are currently under review by city officials.
Tower II at Bloc 83
It’s no coincidence that most of the developments are within walking distance of Raleigh’s state-of-the-art transportation hub, Union Station, and Tower II at Bloc 83, located next to One Glenwood, is no exception. With its prime location on the corner of Hillsborough Street and Glenwood Avenue, Tower II will be a pedestrian friendly, multi-use facility for office, retail, hotel and parking space and will house Raleigh’s largest urban courtyard. Tower II is currently under construction, expected to be ready for occupancy late next year.
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