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Economy doesn't hinder North Hills expansion

Posted December 29, 2008
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Despite the sluggish economy, tight credit and a lack of city financing, the North Hills expansion continues to move forward, with the opening of a luxury hotel and construction proceeding on apartments and office and retail space.

The 50-acre project on the east side of Six Forks Road at the Interstate 440 Beltline eventually will total about $1 billion in investment by developer John Kane and his partners.

North Hills expansion moving forward North Hills expansion moving forward

The 10-story Renaissance Raleigh Hotel quietly opened last Friday and will have its official opening next week. The hotel, which is operated by Marriott, offers 235 rooms and suites, a 5,000-square-foot ballroom and 8,000 square feet of meeting space.

The Captrust Tower, a 17-story, mixed-use office tower being developed in partnership with Duke Realty, is under construction, as are a two-story Harris Teeter supermarket, other retail space, 409 apartments and dozens of condominiums and townhouses. Work on other residential units and a retirement community is expected to begin in the coming months.

"We were fortunate with the two projects behind us that we got financing before the financing market shut down," Kane said, referring to the office tower and supermarket.

About three-fourths of the retail space is already leased, and tenants have been lined up for 40 percent of the space in the office tower, he said.

Still, the changing economy has altered Kane's plans for the complement to his successful North Hills mixed-use project across Six Forks Road from his new development. He recently submitted plans to city officials requesting more apartments at North Hills East because of the slow market in residential real estate sales.

The initial plans for the North Hills expansion called for 1,800 residential units, and a Kane spokeswoman said the request for more apartments would add to that number and not replace condominiums or other units.

"We see the 50 acres on the east side of Six Forks Road just being more density, more urban than what we've done to date," Kane said. "We're going to go vertical with things versus spreading out."

That stance is in marked contrast to Kane's statements last year, when the city rejected his request for $75 million in public financing for a parking deck. Mayor Charles Meeker and other officials said the tax-increment financing Kane wanted should be reserved for blighted areas in need of development, not a thriving area like North Hills.

At the time, Kane said the lack of taxpayer support would lead to more surface parking at North Hills, making it more like "a typical strip mall" than a primary piece of an area planners have started to call Raleigh's Midtown.

"We're doing our thing, (and I don't mind) if people want to call us Midtown," he said. "I think the city needs density in certain pods, and I think that's what we're doing."

Ken Atkins, executive director of Wake Economic Development, said North Hills is succeeding where other developments have stalled because "it's the right product at the right time.

"You've got housing – not only rental housing – retail, jobs, even a retirement community. It's a whole microcosm of what you see happening in larger communities," Atkins said.


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  • manofjustice Dec 30, 2008

    We need to setup subway stations before any more construction is done.

  • ncman Dec 30, 2008

    My church - the Church of the Apostles - was blessed to able to purchase the old State Employees Credit Union .... correction collie dave .. It wasn't State Employees Credit Union, it was the former Coastal Federal Credit Union Building.
    and to 37... I believe the building you are talking about in the middle is the temporary Aldert Root Elementary School whic is being rebuilt on Lassiter Mill Road.

  • 37 Dec 29, 2008

    What's with the little building in the middle that looks like the Legislative Building? I am sure it looks much better than that, although nearly anything would.

  • kbo0801 Dec 29, 2008

    The economy has already put this construction on hold. They have been working on that whole area for weeks. I will be glad when the disaster is over.

  • colliedave Dec 29, 2008

    My church - the Church of the Apostles - was blessed to able to purchase the old State Employees Credit Union and renovate it for our firat building. Our first public location was the furniture store at North Hills Mall, the second was the Lerners store, and the third was the Brendles behind Crabtree Mall. The running joke was that we were one step ahead of the wrecking ball.

    While our location is in North Raleigh, our mission is to build a bridge of service to Southeast Raleigh. I lead my church's outreach to NCCIW. A number of our parishoners are involved in ministries such as Neighbor-to-Neighbor, Community Hope, and Jobs-for-life.

  • foetine Dec 29, 2008

    Last Friday when we were returning from a movie, we nearly got run over twice by kids in their little cars drag racing in the parking deck. Kane has zero security in that death trap of a parking deck that forces people to walk into a blind traffic lane to get to the Target.

    And the new development is a major eyesore with another parking deck being slammed up against Six Forks Road.

    Kane is destroying our neighborhood with his bad designs and overinflated ego.

  • aroundthehorn Dec 29, 2008

    I'm glad the City called his bluff on the public financing.

  • pleshy Dec 29, 2008

    that multi-story Harris Teeter-mahal is going to be AWESOME!

  • curiousgeorgia Dec 29, 2008

    That's kinda cool. I don't like Fayetteville Street at all, nothing worth looking at.