Local News

Building Booms in Downtown Raleigh

Posted July 24, 2007 12:52 a.m. EDT

— Since the re-opening of Fayetteville Street a year ago, Raleigh city leaders claimed the downtown district has grown significantly.

In that year, more than $1.3 billion in public and private investment has been spent or been promised to fund downtown development, said city officials.

"You're starting to see all the pieces coming in," said Mitchell Silver, Raleigh Planning Director.

Twenty-three private developers have planned, started building or completed projects in downtown that are collectively worth more than $870 million.

Projects include Site 1, a mixed-use development in southern downtown; 222 Glenwood, a condominium project; and the RBC Plaza, which will be the tallest building in downtown Raleigh.

The RBC Plaza is already becoming a success, said Andy Andrews, the plaza's condo developer.

"After seven weeks of going to contracts, we only have 11 units left in the whole building. So, out of 139, we're pretty excited to be where we are with out sales," said Andrews.

In the same 12 month period, local governments have also committed more than $470 million to the downtown development.

The largest and perhaps the most anticipated publicly-funded project is the Raleigh Convention Center.

The $228-million project will feature more than 500,000 square feet of space, 19 meeting rooms, an exhibit hall and a ballroom. The convention center is slated to open in 2008.

City officials credited, in part, the opening of Fayetteville Street for spurring the growth.

"This initial $10 million investment just to redo the street has really put a lot of confidence in everyone who wants to do business and live downtown," said Silver.

As development continues in downtown Raleigh, Silver said that his staff is making sure the area doesn't become over-saturated. In particular, his staff is looking closely at how many condo units can be developed at once.

The demand for any downtown site is so hot that Silver said he expects that all the property will be claimed in the next few years.

Five years ago, downtown building accounted for only 5 percent of Raleigh's development, but now makes up a quarter of the city's overall growth, Silver told WRAL in May.

The downtown building boom will positively affect all Raleigh residents, said Silver.

"It's great for our economy. I think people have to understand that as we start to see our downtown develop, it helps the entire city. It helps the region. Having investment in downtown helps keep taxes low," said Silver.