Local News

Development near RBC Center may depend on one project's success

Posted July 19, 2007 8:42 p.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2008 5:08 p.m. EDT

— The success of a mixed-use development known as the Wade Project could determine future development near Raleigh's RBC Center.

A mile away, construction is under way on a four-story office building that will make up part of the development, which is located between Interstate 40 and Wade Avenue. About 75 percent of the office space is already leased.

When it's complete, which could be as early as 2009, it will consist of more than 1,800 residential units and a mix of commercial and retail shops.

"I think that the development that was promised is beginning, and there's always residual effects for us," RBC Center General Manager Dave Olsen said, "because they'll come to hockey games."

When Triangle leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of the $160 million tax-funded arena 10 years ago, advocates promised a surge in economic development.

But since opening in October 1999, only one hotel and one sports bar had opened in the area within a seven-year period.

One reason, developers say, is that the Wade property has changed hands a few times. Now, developers are ready to move forward, and RBC Center managers are counting on its success.

"Seeing that it's finally coming alive – we're very excited," developer Brett Hayes said.

With the benefits of the long-overdue development, Olsen is also wary of projected traffic. An estimated 5,000 cars could be going in and out every day.

"That development is actually creating more traffic," he said. "We shouldn't be responsible for that."

Developers will help pay for traffic improvements, including stoplights and officers during big events. But it is not the only thing with which Wade might assist.

The success of the project could lead to more development in the area, Raleigh City Councilman Russ Stephenson said.

"I think the 40-Wade project is a critical piece," he said.

With plenty of state land still on the potential real estate block near the RBC Center, Stephenson said what happens with Wade could determine what happens nearby.

"It's part of a larger vision for the surrounding stakeholders," he said.