RALEIGH, N.C. — It was move-in day for Progress Energy employees on Friday. A new 19-story building will be full of workers by the end of the year. The high-rise gives many people high hopes for downtown Raleigh.
The $100 million project with its offices, condos and retail space is the first major corporate investment downtown in 13 years.
"This commitment spurred the city and county to go forward with livable streets, the convention center and hotel, the opening of Fayetteville Street Mall and we've seen a lot of other small professional services already move in," said Margaret Mullen, of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.
The progress from Progress Energy was a big factor in Leigh Correll's decision to open her new shop at City Market. Twelve-hundred new prospective customers will be just a block away.
"They are going to be here for a long time. They are a prosperous company and have a lot of money to put where their mouth is," she said. "They believe in downtown Raleigh. You can see that from their building and how quickly they came up."
Correll is wrapped up with excitement, not just about new customers, but also about new parking. As part of the project, Progress Energy opens a public parking garage next week. It will add more than 1,000 spots to an area short on parking.
The new building has some pretty unique features. One of the coolest features includes a computerized elevator system. It is the first of its kind in Raleigh. You punch in a floor, and a computer tells you which elevator to enter. It is designed to reduce the number of stops you make.
The elevators are expected to be so efficient that Progress Energy put in fewer of them. Officials say it is a savings of more than $500,000.