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Downtown developments compete for residents

Posted May 1, 2008

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— Construction of four condominium projects downtown, including one that will become the city's tallest building, is scheduled to wrap up this fall, creating healthy competition for prospective residents.

RBC Plaza, West@North, 222 Glenwood and Bloomsbury Estates are expected to open at the same time, which developers said could become a watershed moment for downtown residential growth.

"(It will bring a) renaissance, rejuvenation. We're just getting started," said Ann-Cabell Baum Anderson, a real estate agent who specializes in downtown condos. "It's just the beginning."

Most of the developments will be featured in Raleigh's upcoming downtown home tour.

"Our feeling is that our product is distinct from the others," said John Bruckel, the developer of Bloomsbury Estates. "We relish the competition, (and) we encourage people to live downtown."

The developers all said they hoped other projects were successful, believing a rising tide of downtown residents will lift all condo projects.

"Everyone will do well, there's no question about it. The buyers are there," said Betsy Hewett, of 222 Glenwood.

"You put a great athlete out there by himself, it's tough to win a national championship. So, you want everyone to do well," said Ed Fritsch, chief executive officer of Highwoods Properties, which owns RBC Plaza.

The 33-story RBC Plaza, which soars 530 feet above downtown, will combine lofty condos with offices, including the U.S. headquarters of RBC Bank, and street-level retail.

"It's a lot of personal and professional excitement for me," Fritsch said. "It's a strong positive for our community to have a new landmark on the downtown skyline."

From the top of the building, Fritsch can literally look down on his competitors.

"It's good to be on top, but I hope someone comes along and tops it," he said.


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  • meteo May 2, 2008

    To RaleighRob (I know you already know this) and What_I_Think:

    Don't forget, Tucker Apartments are currently under construction. That's going to help the situation a lot.

  • What_I_Think May 2, 2008

    RaleighRob - My thoughts exactly!

  • meteo May 2, 2008

    To: Mr. Keeping It Real:

    Wow, your experience with downtown is a lot different than mine, and I live there. Nothing's changed? I've lived downtown for 4 years and a ton has changed in just that time. Dirty? Not at all. Unsafe? I hope you're joking. Go do some homework and find the numbers for Raleigh. Raleigh as a whole (and I'm talking all the way out to Briar Creek) is very safe for it's population, and if you limit it to downtown, it's amazingly safe. I don't understand your dog barking comment either. Where I live, there are HOA regulations that are quite strict.

    Downtown isn't for everyone. That's fine. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. Just want to share that my experience living downtown doesn't match yours.

  • ImBored May 2, 2008

    RBC Plaza condo's are sold out

  • Mr. Keeping It Real May 2, 2008


    I'd take my home in Johnston Co ANY day over living in the "revitalized" downtown. Contrary to your comment, our home prices top the condos downtown and we don't have five dogs barking all the time (it's called HOA restrictions).

    I hope all condos do sell, but seriously, I've worked downtown and was just there yesterday. Nothing's changed, still dirty, unsafe and one always needs to watch their back! I'll keep living in Johnston County suburbia thank you!

  • RaleighRob May 2, 2008

    What downtown is going to need more of in the coming years is mid-priced apartments. There's very few so far...but they stay full all the time. If an area is known for it's nightlife and restaurants that appeal to young single professionals, one would think you'd gear the housing market to those folks. Which does not mean high-dollar condos, but mid-priced apartments. That's where the demand is! Why aren't developers realizing that?

  • IceCreamMan May 2, 2008

    chivegas - if you want to save $ you're gonna have to wait a lot longer than fall. They're not gonna reduce prices right away so you'll probably have to wait a year or two to get one of these at a decent discount.

  • Spirit Warrior BallReceptable May 2, 2008

    If a light rail system existed, these units would be a no brainer.

    Thanks to the poster for explaining what a "reverse commute" is; I really appreciated the tone of condescension as it was explained as a "big city" term for the rest of us bumpkins.

    I am curious to see what condo fees cost in these units - can anyone say precisely?

  • Raydianse May 2, 2008

    I think it is great to see downtown being used to its full capacity. This is great for being able to have a market that can be affordable to young people as it is already very appealing for them to live downtown, close to all the nightlife. This also cuts down on possible drunk drivers as if they live close they have no need to drive - keeps people centrally located - and halts the need for urban sprawl which many people seem to be opposed of.

  • chivegas May 2, 2008

    "I'm just curious, if your office is in the suburbs, why pay extra to live downtown? At least you'll be going opposite the traffic."

    A) I'm too ADD for the boredom of the burbs. B) I really only need to go into the office about 2 days a week. C) It's a "reverse commute" (big city term) to North Raleigh anyway, so it's not that bad. D) If I live downtown, I can go out there and not have to crash on friend's couches so I don't drive home drunk.

    After I lived in the North Loop of Chicago, I realized I can't ever live in the burbs again*.

    *At least not while I'm single and can afford a condo.