Local News

Developer Submits Proposal For Raleigh's Tallest Building

Posted June 23, 2005 5:48 a.m. EDT

— The developer of what could be Raleigh's tallest building turned the plans in Thursday for a proposed 42-story high-rise that would include offices, condominiums and a four-star hotel.

Develop Dick Walia submitted a plan to the city to put office space, a 250-room four-star hotel and 40 luxury condominiums on property where the Sheraton at Crabtree, now a dilapidated hotel, sits.

Walia said he is confident that city leaders will sign off on the plan, even though they have raised some concerns.

"It's really a needle in the sky," Walia said. "It's not a monstrosity that goes up in the air."

Mayor Charles Meeker and two Raleigh City Council members have raised concerns that the area near Crabtree Valley Mall is not the place for a high-rise.

Walia, however, said his proposal fits perfectly with the city's long-term development plan.

"If you read the comprehensive plan, it says the tallest buildings should be in the city focus area, and this is a city focus area," he said.

To prove that the building would not be an eyesore, Walia's group flew a balloon 42 stories at the site to see what it would look like across town.

Residents in the area are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

"I think it's going to look unusual, but you've got to look forward to the future and maybe this is what the future of Raleigh is," said Connie Edwards. "I don't really know."

"Every community leader says this is about time, and Raleigh is ready for a change," Walia said. "And today is a great day for our company because we are filing for a site plan today, and Raleigh is going to move into 2005 and beyond."

At 42 stories, the Westin would tower over Raleigh's other high-rises. Right now, the BB&T Building is the tallest in the city with 29 floors. The Wachovia Capitol Center is the second tallest with 28 floors above the ground and the new One Progress Plaza is 21 stories tall.

Until Progress Energy built two towers in downtown Raleigh, the city had not seen a new skyscraper since 1991 when Two Hannover Square, now the BB&T Building, and the First Union Building, now Wachovia Capitol Center, were built.

Developers said the City Council, after some study, should vote on the plan in the fall. If approved, Walia said his group hopes to break ground in December and have the building completed in about two years.