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Exclusive details on three groundbreaking projects: Raleigh Iron Works, Platform and 400H
It’s no secret that Raleigh is growing. The city is teeming with cranes, both in Downtown and in its exurbs, with new development projects announced what feels like daily. Three of these developments now underway—400H, Platform and Raleigh Iron Works—promise to make a huge footprint on Raleigh’s cityscape.
You may have heard of these (or maybe you haven’t) but what we scoop you haven’t seen anywhere—until now. No one has seen or heard of Platform. For Raleigh Iron Works, there has been not a single interview or new rendering in two years (the last of which was in our exclusive in 2019). And maybe you’ve heard of the recently announced 400H, but what you don’t know is there’s only three other buildings like it in the Triangle.
But if you’re from Raleigh and already mourning the loss of the best “little big city” in the States—don’t write it off or go packing your bags just yet. What first and foremost unifies these developers, who come from myriad backgrounds and mindframes, is the desire to maintain Raleigh’s unique character and identity.
Key word? Unique. So if you fear, as many do, these new projects will render Raleigh to look like Charlotte (monotonous high-rises, etc.)—that’s not the case at all. While each project will absolutely take our fair city next-level—from aesthetic to amenities and beyond—they will also add to the fabric of the city, bringing with them a plethora of unique opportunities for live, work and play… each distinct in their own right.
And while each of these developments are placing a large focus on residential, each will also become a destination for all Raleighites given their cutting-edge mix of retail, restaurants—not to mention open spaces.
Read on for the projects on pace to make our city one of the coolest and hottest in the country…
Raleigh Iron Works
You may have heard of (or been to) Atlanta’s vibrant and super-edgy Ponce City Market, a hip indoor-outdoor gathering space with local markets, a food hall, retail and more; or Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, a food hall, shopping mall, office building and television production facility. Now, Jamestown, the project designer behind these all-the-rage spots, is making its debut in Raleigh with Raleigh Iron Works at the former Peden Steel property, along with local real estate developer Grubb Ventures, S9 Architecture and Cline Design.
Grubb Ventures Managing Director of Commercial Leasing and Acquisitions Sam Crutchfield says that Grubb was very quickly drawn to the Peden Steel site—formerly housed by the Raleigh Iron Works company—after seeing such great success with Dock 1053. “… It had more momentum than we quite frankly expected, and very quickly we started looking around to do more of this—and especially how do we find warehouses of any scale in Raleigh,” says Crutchfield. That, and the site’s history and unique characteristics that would allow Grubb to transform it into yet another exceptional coveted development.
“We thought this was one of the few places in Raleigh where we could do something with a story that’s meaningful,” says Crutchfield. “It just has some of that charm, that nostalgia that people are looking for.”
As part of Grubb Ventures’ mission to “rethink, rebuild, renew,” the developer renovated and repurposed two of the historic former Peden Steel warehouses into a mix of office and retail spaces as part of Phase 1 of the Raleigh Iron Works project.
The Bow Truss Building (so named for the architectural style of the building) will feature roughly 23,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The second and third floors will house roughly 30,000 square feet each of traditional office space, and the building’s namesake bow trusses will be highlighted through vertical view corridors.
RIW’s Double Gable Building (also a nod to the architecture) will boast a private landscaped courtyard on the first floor, as well as 14,000 square feet of retail, food and beverage, and 47,000 square feet of traditional office space. The second floor includes another 65,000 square feet of office space with vaulted ceilings and lots of natural light. Every office space will have some sort of outdoor terrace.
The first-floor retail spaces of each building will face each other, creating a promenade for a more pedestrian-friendly walking experience and an almost town-square type environment. And while there won’t be any rides on either of the roofs a la Ponce City Market, there is an adult slide programmed into the plan to get folks from the second floor of the Double Gable Building to a plaza.
Dubbed The Forge at RIW, the newly constructed multifamily building is comprised of 219 units (along with 27,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor), most of which are going to be smaller studios and one-bedrooms—think around 430-square-foot micro-units on the low end, and only a handful of 1,200-square-foot two bedrooms. Crutchfield says that while smaller studios definitely exist in Downtown Raleigh, he doesn’t know that anybody has gone this small in terms of overall square footage, with the goal to keep as many of the units somewhere around the $1,200 a month mark as possible.
“This will be a great test for the early adapter crowd to prove us right in thinking that Raleigh is ready for something fun and unique like this,” adds Crutchfield.
Amenities will include your standard pool, business center and fitness center—but the neighborhood itself is meant to be more of an amenity than anything else. “Our goal is to offer up folks an amenity package of really cool food and beverage, retail, easy access to the greenway, easy access to their employer right next door in one of the buildings, and Dock 1053 across the street,” says Crutchfield. Hint: Plans are in the works for a future pedestrian bridge connecting Dock 1053 and RIW.
“People want to be inspired when they go to work,” says Crutchfield. “They want to feel inspired and be proud of where they’re living, and not that new construction can’t do that, but we feel like we really have the chance to do something that’s different and unique—that Raleigh as a community can be proud of. And we don’t want to take away from the fact that we hope there’s a lot of history that gets written here as well.” raleighironworks.com
As Raleigh’s Downtown quickly builds out (and up) there’s really only four directions for developers to go—south being the obvious direction for expansion, as Downtown is somewhat locked to the north, west and east with train tracks, roads and existing
Not quite in the Warehouse District and just outside of the Boylan Heights neighborhood, the area offered Kane Realty Corporation a special opportunity for the prolific developer’s most recent project, Platform.
“We see this as this kind of in-between neighborhood that’s just been quietly plugging along as the rest of Downtown had a boom around it,” says Kane Realty Director of Design Josie Reeves. “Just in general, we’re seeing Downtown really needing and wanting to grow to the south. And this is right in line with that macro-level thought on how our urban footprint is growing as we grow as a city.”
Platform is a seven-level mixed-use project featuring 432 apartments, 10,000 square feet of amenity space and 26,000 square feet of ground-level retail space. Longtime partners and friends, Clancy & Theys and Kane Realty began talks several years ago.
“The platform [at Raleigh Union Station], both then and now, rests in the backyard of this project,” says Reeves. “We just love the romance that the platform gives to the project—this idea of all these hopeful travelers with a ticket in one hand and a suitcase in the other hand that are waiting for the next train, ready to be somewhere.”
Nods to the train that can be seen throughout, as well as contributions from the surrounding community of makers and artists who will play a huge part in the design story of the project.
One of Kane Realty’s biggest focal points within Platform is work-from-home spaces, which are now more relevant than ever. There will be a plethora of options for residents to work, from community tables to small phone booths to larger meeting rooms equipped with all the tech needed to be successful. “We’re really making sure that this isn’t just a room with a table, that this is something that’s thoughtfully programmed to help somebody successfully work from home as much as they want,” says Reeves.
These work-from-home spaces are going to have a direct connection to the outdoors as well, where Reeves says you can find the same type of amenities: power tables, shade structures, etc. And when work eases into play, there’s a resort-style pool deck surrounded by greenery, an outdoor TV lounge, an outdoor kitchen and fire pits, and a sunken lawn to take advantage of to boot.
Additional indoor amenities include a light-filled fitness center with club-quality equipment, a full weight program, cardio machines, private training rooms and group fitness classes; a work room where residents can put together a piece of furniture, break out their paints or take up a new hobby (“We’re holding a mirror to the neighborhood,” says Reeves. “I think this is going to be something that is going to feel really special.”); and a rooftop lounge with a large terrace and a great view of Raleigh—and a view that’s forever protected because of the railroad, adds Reeves.
While Platform will offer a plethora of wonderful state-of-the-art amenities for its residents, the development will be shared with the neighborhood through 26,000 square feet of ground-level retail space—which could inevitably be office space, restaurant space or something else (Kane Realty is being flexible)—and other activations as well. An integrated parking deck will also allow those on wheels to access all the various retail and outdoor spaces.
“We’re building in lots of opportunities for public access and for retail to really be a great star of the project,” Reeves says.
The City’s goal of extending West Street under the railroad tracks through a tunnel will make Platform even more accessible. “This means that this site gets folded into Downtown’s grid,” says Reeves.
“It’s awesome to think about another underutilized block being given a fresh life and a walkable destination that the whole neighborhood can enjoy,” Reeves adds. “The southern gateway is such an opportunity for us to really manage the growth that is being demanded of us right now in a way that keeps the fabric of our city together rather than creating more sprawl. I think that’s what really drives us—is to create innovative ways to help manage this high-growth moment in a way that we can all be proud of and that keeps our neighborhood context intact.” All aboard, Raleigh—we’ll see you on the Platform. kanerealtycorp.com
When you can’t build out, build up. After seven years of planning, HM Partners and Trammell Crow Company have finally broken ground on the team’s highly anticipated new Downtown Raleigh development: 400H (cleverly positioned at 400 Hillsborough St., naturally—in the otherwise dead space that sits near Second Empire).
The $175 million, 20-story vertical mixed-use development—consisting of five floors of office space totaling 150,000 square feet, 10 floors of apartments with 242 units, three levels of parking (and an adjacent three-story garage), and 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space—will join the ranks of only three other developments comprising that trifecta (office, retail and residential) in the Triangle: PNC Plaza and F.N.B. Tower in Raleigh, and Durham’s One City Center.
And while the project is a complicated one to execute, it makes sense for this city. “Raleigh doesn’t offer 3-acre downtown blocks where you can have a residential tower beside an office tower,” explains Senior VP Woody Coley of prestigious Trammell Crow Company, which is entering the Raleigh market for the first time. “If you want to create the scale that the [400H] site probably deserves, vertical mixed-use is frankly a little more common in Raleigh than it is in, say, Charlotte.” Stacking the uses on top of each other only maximizes the density of the project to make it the most efficient for urban living and urban use.
Additionally, the complexity of the structure allowed for the developers—and Gensler, the architect on the project—to come up with a
ninth-floor Skyhub, where the office and residential floors of the building intersect, offering “more amenities than either one on its own could offer to its users,” says TCC and High Street Residential principal Josh Dix.
A prominent standout fixture in the development, the Skyhub features an oversize gym for both office and residential use; a pool for residential use only (“generally speaking, khakis and blue blazers don’t usually mix with bathing suits,” Dix jokes); indoor and outdoor conference/social space; an indoor bar; and a terrace with an outdoor kitchen, grills and TVs—not to mention a spectacular view of Downtown Raleigh.
“We’re trying to create the next latest greatest thing,” says Coley. “The Skyhub ought to be very useful to all of the occupants.” And, adds HM Partners Managing Partner Gregg Sandreuter, it will bring that fun mixing on the street.
With the development’s location on an entire city block, residents will get four sides of light and air within the units (developed under HSR), which will vary in size and price points. Thirty percent of the units will also have in-unit office nooks for at-home working, while 60% of units will feature balconies.
“We really want our residents to feel at home in their units, and not just feel like it’s a crash pad,” says Dix. “That means you can work from your home; you can exercise; and you can have outdoor space.”
Residents of the top two floors will have their own private amenities as well, a cozier space with an oversized club room, reservable kitchen and meeting room. “If you’re brave enough to go out on the 20th-floor terrace, we do have a terrace looking back toward the city skyline,” adds Dix.
Extraordinary amenities such as these aren’t lost on office levels either. In addition to the indoor/outdoor meeting space on the ninth floor, the office spaces will boast timeless forward-thinking finishes that will appeal to not only the tech-user, but to the traditional occupant of the Raleigh market as well, adds Coley—not to mention the 20th-floor signage that will be available for larger occupants, providing brand recognition from the high point in the Warehouse District.
While 400H will certainly change Raleigh’s skyline, it will only add to the breadth of restaurant, retail and entertainment offerings in DTR’s surrounding districts, what with its 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, which is set back from the street to create additional patio space for the curated retailers.
“We want to be a contributor to all the things that are special about the Warehouse and Glenwood South districts,” says Coley. And, if they do it right, it’ll drive interest to the development as a whole, adds Sandreuter.
Being that Raleigh is still very much car-dependent, 400H’s three levels of parking within the tower—plus another three levels of parking diagonally across the street atop of the Powerhouse Square Parking Deck for office space (that’s an unrivaled parking ratio of 4 spaces to 1,000 square feet)—doesn’t hurt either.
“When you build a building, I think of it from the inside out,” says Sandreuter. “What do tenants need and want? Parking is one of them—if you can’t park it, you can’t lease it.”
With all of its great amenities and offerings—for both office users and residents, as well as for Raleighites in general—400H is sure to be one of the most sought-after new developments for live, work and play in Downtown Raleigh.
“We think we’re going to be the only tall building that opens up in DTR in 2023,” says Sandreuter. “And that’ll be our moment in the sun. We hope it’s just going to be a good, fun place to live and work. If we do that, we know we’ve done the right thing, and we can say that 10 years from now.” 400hraleigh.com
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Id like to see it on a map;)
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