Local News

High Life: Raleigh Skyline Grows With Taller Buildings

Posted April 23, 2007 5:38 p.m. EDT
Updated April 23, 2007 6:21 p.m. EDT

— Giant construction cranes are becoming a routine site in downtown Raleigh, where developers are thinking big -- or tall -- to accommodate interest in both residential and commercial space.

Five years ago, only 5 percent of Raleigh's development occurred downtown, according to city estimates. Downtown building is now closer to a quarter of the city's overall growth, Planning Director Mitch Silver said.

"It's probably the biggest downtown boom we've ever seen," Silver said. "We changed some of the rules. It's now easier to build taller in downtown, and it seems Raleigh has gotten over its concern about height."

The revitalization of Fayetteville Street, the new downtown convention center set to open next year and growth in nearby entertainment districts like Glenwood South are credited for increasing interest in downtown living.

About 13,000 people move to Raleigh every year, and developer John Bruckel said it makes more economic sense to build up rather than out.

"You have to go up. The land is becoming more expensive. You can get more units per acre the higher you go. It's a natural economic phenomenon," said Bruckel, whose Bloomsbury Estates condominium project is one of nearly a dozen residential high-rises under development.

"It's going to be a drastically different skyline a few years from now," he said.

Seven tall cranes working downtown are making that happen.

"We're seeing a nice mix of new uses coming to downtown. Because of the scarcity of land, vertical is an option," Silver said.