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Plans for Raleigh's Tallest Building in Limbo

Posted March 12, 2007

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— Last year, the implosion of the old hotel next to Crabtree Valley Mall cleared the way for the new Soleil Center. But once the dust settled and the debris was cleared, work stopped on the site.

The $140 million project is backed by private investors. Originally, the groundbreaking was set for 2006, and then moved to early 2007. But three months into 2007 and 10 months after the implosion, the work site is silent.

The tallest building in the Triangle is supposed to rise behind black plastic and a mound of dirt 10 feet high. The Soleil Center would be 43 stories high, with 49 upscale condominiums and a Westin Hotel.

The Raleigh City Council approved the plans in November of 2005. Sixteen months later, the developers insist they will break ground within 90 days. But they have not filed any plans with the city inspections department, and those plans can take months to review.

“I'm just not certain what's going to happen, given the extended delays that have occurred so far,” said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker.

“It doesn't concern me at all,” said Raleigh planning director Mitchell Silver. “(It’s a) complex project, very expensive. They want to make sure they're doing it right.”

However, when WRAL asked Meeker if the Soleil Center would ever be built, he said, “I really just don't know.”

A key piece of the project is its 49 condominiums. The Soleil Group said it needs to sell 25 of them to begin construction. The developers won't say how many they've sold, only that they've sold enough. The condominiums go for $600 a square foot.

“Condominiums at $600 a square foot is about twice the going rate downtown, so that's a very high rate,” Meeker said. “Now again, whether the market will accept that, I just don't have any indication right now.”

“I think people need to be patient,” Silver said. “Again, we have a mixed-use project. This one is quite complex, so I think people do need to be patient.”

When WRAL talked with the developer by phone, he said the Soleil Center should be completed in 2009, despite the delays, and despite the fact it has not yet broken ground.

55 Comments

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  • triangle citizen Mar 13, 2007

    Doggo, those people that moved here can always go back. We were doing just fine before they got here. Even if they were laid off I'm sure the job market is better where they came from. Oh I forgot, that is why they moved in the first place. However, this plan for Crabtree doesn't seem like it was thought through properly.

  • Trooper Mar 13, 2007

    stfugbtw sorry but you forgot the church they're scared they will lose some money in the collection plate to all the entertainment or bars that other States and cities have. The moral right, you should look in the trash and dumpsters at the liquor bottles at the hotels and motels when they come to town.

  • NCSUSally Mar 13, 2007

    Of course they are Doggo, the DOT says so! :-P

  • El Doggo Mar 13, 2007

    Yeah "traffic issues are taken care of." Wink, wink, nod, nod!

  • NCSUSally Mar 13, 2007

    Raleighwood- the traffic issues would have "been taken care of" for the council to approve (even though the planning commission said 'no' to the project.) And the flooding problem, well, that's why it's being raised to a higher ground floor level. Maybe they are looking into some re-engineering of Crabtree Creek but I'm sure it has to do with the pre-selling of condos and office space

  • El Doggo Mar 13, 2007

    This little "burb" called Raleigh will NEVER be a "big city" at the rate it is going. There are way too many people trying to rape it for as may $$$$ as they can! There is no interest in cultural activities, night life, etc! All they want around here is to sell houses and squander tax dollars! They have been very effective at that, too!!!

    There is no true interest in the comfort and well being of the current community. ALL EFFORT goes into dragging more poor souls here with the lies and deceit about how "great a place it is to live." All propaganda generated by the Chamber of Commerce to lure unsuspecting people into the area only to get stuck here when their "great" companies lay them off and they loose their houses to foreclosure - Oh but thats a whole other story - I forgot...

  • Raleighwood Mar 13, 2007

    Think this has anything to do with the flooding and traffic issues?

  • Nobody but Carolina Mar 13, 2007

    Agreed. I like my suburb living and access to Raleigh along with what entertainment options I have in Eastern Wake, minor league baseball for one. It would be nice to have that commuter train with easy accesibility to where I work in Highwoods and live in Wendell.

  • BlarneyStone Mar 13, 2007

    STFUGBTW you couldn't have said that better!

  • 777 Mar 13, 2007

    City life is awesome, the best thing ever. And if you don't like the city life, then working in a city and living in the 'burbs is awesome. Imagine having a home with a backyard and good schools, and relaxing on a commuter train on the way into work instead of driving your own car, getting stressed and pissed off at the other drivers around you. And you can even enjoy a beer on the way home!

    Raleigh would be an awesome place for a big city to develop. The climate is perfect, the location (near beach and mountains) can't be beat, we just lack the nightlife, cultural activities, etc. that can only really develop when you allow a high-density urban center.

    In a big city, those who like the suburban lifestyle can have it, along with an awesome city to experience art and entertainment in. And those who enjoy walking to the grocery store and resturants, and not having a yard to maintain, etc. can live in the Urban center and reap the benefits of that lifestyle.

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