Visions of Crabtree tower end with foreclosure sale

Posted May 11, 2011

— Five years after a Sheraton Hotel came crashing down to make way for what developers said would be Raleigh's tallest building, visions of a mixed-use tower near Crabtree Valley Mall have likewise crumbled.

The 5-acre property on Glenwood Avenue that was to be occupied by the Soleil Center went on the auction block Wednesday, a month after a judge cleared the way for a foreclosure sale.

RL Regi Financial LLC, the group that bought the note on the property from Regions Bank, submitted the only bid at the auction. Other bidders have 10 days to top the $4.2 million offer, and their bids must be at least 5 percent higher to gain control of the property.

"I think it's very disappointing to everybody around there," said Mac Jones, a real estate broker who represents a family that owns an adjacent property. "(The Soleil Center) would have been difficult in a good time, but it's not going to work in a bad time, and this is a bad time."

Raleigh officials approved plans in 2005 for the 43-story building, which developers said would combine upscale condominiums, a spa and a Westin hotel.

After a concrete slab was poured for the building's foundation, all work stopped as the economy stalled and prospects for loans to pay for commercial building projects evaporated.

Soleil Center property Visions of Crabtree tower end with foreclosure sale

Developers Dicky Walia and Sanjay Mundra, who bought the property in 2003 for $5.7 million wound up owing Regions Bank and contractors $6.9 million on the project, according to court records.

"This one was going to be a key building in one of our emerging growth centers – Crabtree Valley," Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said.

Silver and others said they hope a more modest version of the project will eventually grace the Glenwood Avenue spot.

"We would still like to see a major building at that location, probably in the neighborhood of 20 stories. They can go higher if they go to City Council," Silver said.


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  • marciamal1 May 12, 2011

    I was wondering if that was ever going to be built - they need to put something in place of the Steak & Ale area - get some businesses in there - that area needs some work done to it - it looks terrible from the road - I hope they can put something in place of the tower there -

  • SirWired May 12, 2011

    Just being pedantic, but it was a Clarion hotel, not a Shearaton.

  • ncguy May 12, 2011

    Developers Dicky Walia and Sanjay Mundra

    Pay your debts!

  • RaleighHunts May 12, 2011

    a local RE investment group purchased that back in 2002-2003 and demolished those places, then the development (the "galleria") stalled and then they just sat on it and then sold it to another development group in like 2006, who renamed the plans for the project to something else like "Crabtree Town Center", and then those plans stalled (even though they were busy expanding the mall on the other side to include those new restaurants and all), and now I have no idea if any progress has been made. There should be some sort of law that when you buy a site and demolish what is currently there, leaving a construction site and horrible eyesore that you are required to begin building within a certain period or put it back on the market. The raleigh development group bought it in like 2002 for $12 million, left an ugly abandoned eyesore sitting there for 5 years (for all to "enjoy") and then sold it for $19 million. Great for them, sucky for Raleigh.

  • Six String May 12, 2011

    Maybe any new plans will include a dike around the property and above ground parking, with lifeboats nearby.

  • redbottomshoes May 12, 2011

    What about that space up the hill, where the Steak & Ale used to be- what is being done with that?

  • howdiditgettothis May 11, 2011

    He's obviously done well in "developing" before.
    Wonder if Mundra gets to keep his 18,000 sq ft home on 5 acres in the Barony?

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman May 11, 2011

    luvbailey - "Of course they knew about the flooding and planned for it with the project design."

    Planned ineffectively.

    I worked for Davidson and Jones. Seeby Jones counted on the Raleigh Lake watershed to hold back flooding, but the lake was developed long after the Sheraton and the Mall were - too long to avoid flooding to those developments obviously.

    He thought as a previous Raleigh mayor, he'd have more "pull" than he obviously did, and the store owners have paid for that erred assumption repeatedly over the years.

  • RaleighHunts May 11, 2011

    There are still a bunch of available sites right in downtown where a development like that would have been much more appropriate, both for the developer, city planning, etc. So, while Im sad to see the economic environment kill a potentially interesting project like that, I would have much preferred the project to be much closer to downtown to begin with...

  • gingerlynn May 11, 2011

    These are NOAA pictures after a heavy rainstorm.
    Couldnt find the Fran ones easily.