The Future of Raleigh

In Buzz, Feature Stories, October 2022 by Lauren Kruchten4 Comments

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An Inside look at 11 of the hottest Raleigh development projects now underway—and shaping the future of our city.

Raleigh is changing—from one corner to another there’s a host of inventive, innovative and downright disruptive—in the best way—developments coming down the pipeline. There’s no denying our fair city is undergoing a major face-lift—primed to be all but unrecognizable five years from now. 

While most fear this slew of new development will hinder Raleigh’s identity and “turn it into the next Charlotte,” these projects are so unique and distinct from each other that they promise to add color to the city, as outlined in our “Building a Skyline” spread. These projects will only continue to make the city more attractive to people who want to live and work here—not to mention to companies looking to relocate (see: Apple and Google)—and to further up the ante for the accolades the capital city continues to garner on the daily (see “Raleigh Ranks”). These plans serve to honor our sacred “boring” identity while catapulting us into the postmodern age to join the ranks of all the urban powerhouses (Chicago, Atlanta) we’ve always found ourselves chasing.

Change is hard—but it can also be exciting. And as the saying goes, “to whom much is given, much is required.” In essence, the more we grow, the more options, opportunities and, yes, developments the city is expected to deliver. Here, we take a look at some of the major projects that are contributing to the city’s growing cool factor. 

The Exchange Raleigh

Raleigh’s first billion-dollar baby is about to cash in. We first told you about The Exchange Raleigh in December 2019. Now, Raleigh Magazine has new exclusive details on this groundbreaking project situated at the intersection of Wake Forest Road and St. Albans Drive in Midtown. And before you roll your eyes or flip the page—this isn’t just another 40-story tower. This is a 40-acre development anchored by a 4-acre highly amenitized park by Dewitt Carolinas that leans heavily into green space—getting in front of a trend that many other cities are trying to figure out how to incorporate into their existing infrastructures to meet demand.

And The Exchange delivers green space in spades. “It’s an urban development, so you have to try to provide as much outdoor space as you can,” says Dewitt Executive Vice President Steven Beattie. “And I don’t think you’re going to find anywhere in North Carolina where an urban developer dedicates a 4-acre park.” To boot, the development abuts the city greenway system, and Dewitt plans to create a gateway from the greenway into the park.

Add to that a water feature running down the middle of the property. The “common thread that ties everything together,” according to Beattie, the park became a huge focus for the developers once the pandemic hit, and they took a pause to reevaluate their priorities for the project (first announced in 2019).

Rounding out The Exchange will be up to 990,000 square feet of office space; up to 1,275 residential units (condos and multifamily); 125,000 square feet of retail; and 300 hotel keys in what’s sure to be a cool juxtaposition of biophilic, modern architecture and natural landscape—an extension of the project’s health- and wellness-focused core value. 


The state-of-the-art WELL-certified—think touchless elevators, air filtration, separate bathroom pods—twin office towers, dubbed 1000 Social (which broke ground in September) and 2000 Social, boast balcony space on every level, a terrace level and a back outdoor space dedicated to working outside.


When it comes to residential, Birchwood (one of the residential units that Dewitt is slated to break ground on next) features its own 20,000-square-foot amenity deck with a pool, outdoor working spaces and grilling spaces. “I don’t know of another apartment building that has something that large,” says Beattie. “There’s a lot of competition, so when you build a new development, you always have to push the bar just a little bit more.” 


A majority of that retail space will be occupied by food and beverage tenants rather than shops (“If you want to shop, go to North Hills,” says Beattie), with the goal to foster local talent. “We want to elevate the food and beverage scene in Raleigh,” says Beattie. And one of his personal goals is to get a Michelin-starred restaurant (!). 

Beattie explains the ground-floor retail, which fronts the park, will be an extension of the park itself. “What we found was that a lot of restaurateurs are having to get a permit from Raleigh to expand into the sidewalk,” he says. “We wanted the retailers to be able to use [the park] as an amenity, opposed to being confined to the space they lease from the building.” 

A “city within a city” almost, The Exchange is the future of Raleigh. And it won’t just serve the office tenants, retail tenants or residents—but the entire community. 

“Supporting Raleigh’s growth and success has always been a key part of Dewitt’s story, and building a future for our hometown that elevates community, connection, health and wellness, and work-life balance will be our legacy,” says Dewitt CEO Todd Saieed. “We’re creating something special at The Exchange—a new vision for Raleigh that marries the best of our local roots with the boldest of our aspirations.”

Developer: Dewitt Carolinas
General contractor: Brasfield & Gorrie
Architects: Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio; Humphreys & Partners Architects

Raleigh Iron Works

As you may have seen While DRIVING BY, Grubb Ventures and Jamestown’s Raleigh Iron Works’ Bow Truss Building and Double Gable Building are ready—and the hot development’s first commercial tenant, Wasserman Media Group, is set to open in mid-October. RIW has also announced a slew of retail tenants—with plans to simultaneously debut via a formal grand opening this spring, per Grubb Ventures Managing Director of Commercial Leasing & Acquisitions Sam Crutchfield.

Newcomers include, for starters, Jaguar Bolera, the first “eatertainment” concept from visionary restaurateur and entrepreneur Robert Thompson (of Punch Bowl Social fame); and F(X), a “fitness experience” delivering physical therapy, acupuncture, nutrition and science-based performance training. Two Bull City-based hot spots add to the lineup: Ponysaurus Brewing Co.’s sour beer facility and restaurant (think pizza, bar food and beers on tap); and Eastcut Sandwich Bar, slated to occupy a 2,600-square-foot space in RIW’s Double Gable Building, with a patio to boot. 

Beyond tenants, the developers are excited to share their investment in public art initiatives through a collaboration with local artists Morgan Cook and Johnny Lee Chapman, featuring murals, sculptures and the like. 

“It’s important for us to showcase local artists and give them a platform to showcase their works,” says Jamestown VP of Communications Lisa Serbaniewicz. “Part of our placemaking strategy is making a more dynamic environment. We really believe in having everything layered. So art is one of the important layers—and that’s something Grubb and Jamestown share in their values.” 

Salvage Yard

Salvage Yard

Giving credence to the Iron District as a viable growing district all its own is just-announced Salvage Yard, a mixed-use development that’ll “serve as an extension of what we’ve created [in the emerging district],” says Grubb Ventures’ Sam Crutchfield. 

Located just across the street from Raleigh Iron Works, the development will be made up of a collection of three soon-to-be renovated warehouses along Wicker Drive. With Triangle Rock Club as the project’s anchor tenant, Grubb expects the development to attract outdoor-focused patrons via green space and entertainment opportunities that aren’t available at Dock 1053 or RIW. Just north of the building (where TRC will be situated), there will also be an acre of green space Grubb plans to turn into a “really fun outdoor space.”

In addition to the rock climbing gym, Salvage Yard will also include existing tenant Green’s Car Care—a longtime staple on the corner of Atlantic Avenue. “We felt like [Mike Green] was part of the neighborhood,” says Crutchfield, “and fit the redemptive theme of what we’re trying to do there.” Crutchfield also anticipates some food and beverage, and nontraditional retail tenants to be included in the development, as well as an “entertainment/activity-focused user” the team hopes to announce soon.

And while Salvage Yard is a unique development from RIW with its own identity and style, Crutchfield expects there to be a flow of people between his three proximal properties: Dock 1053 (the developer’s first project in the area, acquired in 2014), RIW and now Salvage Yard. To accommodate—and facilitate—that expectation, Grubb is installing a pedestrian bridge between the properties (!). And, so, a new district is born.

Raleigh Development

North Hills Main District: Innovation Hardware

Kane Realty Corp.’s ~$350 million multiuse project replacing the now-defunct North Hills JCPenney is slated to open next year with a slew of new retail, residential and office space options. As the anchor tenant, highly anticipated RH Gallery—aka not your run-of-the-mill Restoration Hardware retail, but a showstopping gallery—will feature a rooftop restaurant and bar with wandering baristas serving coffee and wine to guests as they peruse.

Also creating quite the buzz is the first restaurant announcement for the Main District Expansion project: The Village Tavern (the uberpopular spot out of Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Charlotte), an open-kitchen concept boasting an incredible indoor-outdoor dining experience with sliding glass doors that will give way to the active public plaza.

And Ruth’s Chris fans delight. The local-fave restaurant demolished during construction is expected to return upon project completion.

Raleigh Development

North Hills Innovation District

In addition to its Main District revitalization, Kane Realty Corp. has broken ground on Phase 2 of its $1 billion 33-acre Innovation District. The first to open will be Channel House Apartments, slated for summer 2023, featuring 200 units, along with 13,358 square feet of ground-level retail designed to accommodate breweries, restaurants, micro-retailers and makers. Tower 5, a 17-story LEED Gold office building with ground-level retail, is expected to follow in Q2 2024. 

Future phases of the cutting-edge project include a two-story food hall, beer garden and 4 acres of open natural area.

Raleigh Development

Downtown South

While the “Southern Gateway” to Downtown Raleigh remains the most heavily trafficked entrance to the city, the area offers little attractions—until now. Downtown South—Downtown South—Kane Realty Corp.’s big plans for the South Raleigh area in partnership with Steve Malik (owner of the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina FC soccer teams)—will create a walkable mixed-use destination for the community with much-needed amenities running the gamut from dining and entertainment to everyday necessities like groceries and pharmacies.

The buzzy development—first proposed in 2020—will boast 535,000 square feet of office space, 650 residential units, 120,000 square feet of retail and a hotel situated among streets that are walkable, green and accessible. 

In May, Kane revealed plans for the first two high-rises as part of Downtown South’s Phase 1—a 21-story apartment tower and a 27-story office building. The six-story Downtown South Mass Timber Office—the first of its kind constructed in Raleigh and potentially all of NC—will begin construction in Q4 2022 and feature 160,000 square feet of office space and 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. 

And though plans for the proposed 20,000 seat soccer stadium anchoring the district have been halted, the project’s team maintains that Downtown South will serve as a connector to both the heart of DTR and the surrounding community.

Raleigh Development
Seaboard Station (Rendering Courtesy of Cline Design)

Seaboard Station

If you haven’t been by Seaboard Station recently—it’s unrecognizable. Drive in to find yourself facing a brand-new building by developer Hoffman & Associates housing 298 units with lower-level retail. Adjacent, you’ll see a demolition site that once housed the likes of Night Kitchen, J. Betski’s, 18 Seaboard and Phydeaux, among others. 

Site preparation for two additional buildings in that space is now underway—one, a 220-unit apartment building with retail; and the other a mixed-use space featuring retail, 75 apartment units and 149 hotel rooms. 

In September, Logan’s Garden Shop announced it will be moving from Seaboard Station to two buildings—totaling 19,850 square feet, aka twice the size of the Downtown location—on Tryon Road in Southwest Raleigh. While Logan’s Seaboard Station location will certainly be missed, the community is relieved it’s found a new home. But so far there’s been no announcement on the fate of Seaboard Cafe. Stay tuned.

Raleigh Development


HM Partners and Trammell Crow Company’s 400H 20-story vertical mixed-use tower will bring the trifecta of office, retail and residential that so far only exists in two other Triangle developments. 

The project is currently constructed through the ninth floor, which will house the cutting-edge Skyhub, a prominent standout fixture featuring an oversize gym for both office and residential use; a pool for residential use only; 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.

Raleigh Development

Park City South

Answering the call on “what’s going next to Dorothea Dix Park?” is Raleigh developer Merge Capital with its Park City South project, in partnership with Kane Realty Corp. Phase 1 of the groundbreaking mixed-use project “designed to activate the gateway to Raleigh and engage with Dorothea Dix Park” is currently under construction at South Saunders Road at the intersection of Western Boulevard and Lake Wheeler Road. The development is slated to include a seven-story 335-unit apartment building with 18,000 square feet of ground-level retail and flex office space anticipated to deliver in Q4 2024. 

Phase 2 construction plans call for a 20-story mixed-use tower with ~375 apartments and over 1,500 square feet of ground-level retail, plus a courtyard along the city’s greenway connecting to the first phase.

Smoky Hollow
Smoky Hollow (Photo by Susan Holt Photography)

Smoky Hollow

The Hollow is filling up. Kane Realty’s multiphase revitalization project Smoky Hollow, aka the “northern gateway of Downtown,” has a host of tenants coming down the pipeline. Midwood Smokehouse, with five existing locations across NC and SC, hopes to begin slinging ’cue before the end of the year/early 2023. Madre, a Spanish and coastal Mediterranean small plates restaurant and bar by Tyler Helikson (of Happy + Hale fame) is expected to open to the public in January 2023. Durham-based J. Lights Market & Cafe is hoping to acquire its certificate of occupancy soon, with an early October opening, according to owner Jared Burton. Award-winning Durham- and Charlotte-based craft cocktail bar The Crunkleton is still waiting for permits, with no opening date set yet. And popular rolled ice cream and bubble milk tea spot Milklab’s fourth location is anticipated to open by the end of the year.

Raleigh Development

West End

Another emerging district just south of Downtown, West End is primed to prosper thanks to not one, but two projects from Kane Realty Corp.—the first of which is Platform. The seven-level mixed-use development has broken ground with a goal of a Q1 2024 open, boasting 432 apartments, 10,000 square feet of amenity space and 26,000 square feet of ground-level retail. 

In early September, Kane announced another as-yet-named mixed-use development in the emerging neighborhood featuring five floors of apartments atop two stories of parking and an active ground level with 4,000 square feet of retail space, slated to deliver spring 2025. 

Having cited top-tier amenities as a chief priority—not to mention a major attraction for tenants—the developer will feature indoor/outdoor social and coworking spaces, a fitness center, a large central pool with a sundeck, and a top-floor sky lounge with views of DTR.

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