Local News

Downtown developments compete for residents

Posted May 1, 2008 5:19 p.m. EDT
Updated May 1, 2008 10:49 p.m. EDT

— Construction of four condominium projects downtown, including one that will become the city's tallest building, is scheduled to wrap up this fall, creating healthy competition for prospective residents.

RBC Plaza, West@North, 222 Glenwood and Bloomsbury Estates are expected to open at the same time, which developers said could become a watershed moment for downtown residential growth.

"(It will bring a) renaissance, rejuvenation. We're just getting started," said Ann-Cabell Baum Anderson, a real estate agent who specializes in downtown condos. "It's just the beginning."

Most of the developments will be featured in Raleigh's upcoming downtown home tour.

"Our feeling is that our product is distinct from the others," said John Bruckel, the developer of Bloomsbury Estates. "We relish the competition, (and) we encourage people to live downtown."

The developers all said they hoped other projects were successful, believing a rising tide of downtown residents will lift all condo projects.

"Everyone will do well, there's no question about it. The buyers are there," said Betsy Hewett, of 222 Glenwood.

"You put a great athlete out there by himself, it's tough to win a national championship. So, you want everyone to do well," said Ed Fritsch, chief executive officer of Highwoods Properties, which owns RBC Plaza.

The 33-story RBC Plaza, which soars 530 feet above downtown, will combine lofty condos with offices, including the U.S. headquarters of RBC Bank, and street-level retail.

"It's a lot of personal and professional excitement for me," Fritsch said. "It's a strong positive for our community to have a new landmark on the downtown skyline."

From the top of the building, Fritsch can literally look down on his competitors.

"It's good to be on top, but I hope someone comes along and tops it," he said.