Bovis Lend Lease, an international builder with an office in North Carolina, was selected to build what will be Raleigh's tallest building, located across from Crabtree Valley Mall on Glenwood Avenue. Expected to bring about 150 jobs to the area and an annual tax revenue of about $4 million, the 480-foot building will include condominiums, a luxury hotel and a spa.
Bovis, which is building a 92-story Trump Towers in Chicago, is best known in the area for the redevelopment of North Hills in Raleigh, the American Tobacco Project in Durham and the 30-story Wachovia building in downtown Raleigh.
"Having a knowledge of the local market is very important in addition to the national," said Bill Baker, of Bovis. "So, having both is probably the real qualification that made us unique, I think."
Developer Dicky Walia, who chose Bovis along with his partner Sanjay Mundra, agrees.
"I think what it comes down to at the end of the day is the experience and the knowledge to do this type of a construction," Walia said. "Evidently no one locally has done anything of this size and nature here."
Dubbed the "Glen Tree" by the Raleigh City Council, Walia said the building will be called The Soleil Center, which means sun in French.
Developers will tear down the old Sheraton Hotel after Christmas so as not to interfere with the holiday rush at Crabtree Valley Mall. Once construction begins on The Soleil Center, the project, which is estimated to cost $100 million -- all private money -- is expected to take about 2 1/2 years to complete.
The Raleigh City Council approved the proposal earlier this month, even though some members of the City Council opposed the plan.
Councilman Thomas Crowder said he voted against the project because he believes the high-rise belongs downtown, not in a suburban area. He said that regardless of who the builder is, his opposition stands.
"What we are trying to promote is urban, livable streetscapes and having iconic, tall structures is not the way to get there," Crowder said in October.
Residents near the development have also voiced opposition, but they said they realize not much can be done now, since the plan has already been approved.
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