Local News

RBC Plaza opens for business in downtown Raleigh

Posted October 2, 2008 5:59 a.m. EDT
Updated October 2, 2008 6:30 p.m. EDT

— Despite the struggling economy, there is good news on the economic front in downtown Raleigh: The banking business is thriving.

That's according to RBC Bank officials, who celebrated Thursday the opening of the RBC Plaza – the city's tallest, newest landmark that serves as the bank's U.S. headquarters.

"Even though these are uncertain and anxious times, our company is very strong and stable," Gord Nixon, president of the Canadian-based bank. "I hope that our company represents that in some way."

Although rules and regulations in respect to real estate are different in Canada, the company is not immune to struggles in the U.S. market.

But it has not seen the same negative financial impact as many American financial institutions, including Charlotte-based Wachovia, which reached a buyout deal this week with Citigroup after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. required the bank to sell itself..

"We take a longer term perspective, and in the long term, the U.S. economy will recover and business here will be solid and strong," Scott Custer, RBC Bank chairman and chief executive officer said. "We think having a flagship building like this is going to serve us extremely well."

Banking isn't RBC Plaza's only business. The 33-story, $136 million investment is also leasing space to several offices and retail shops and has luxury condominiums.

Three other downtown high-rise developments are also scheduled to be completed this fall – the $221 million convention center, the adjacent Marriott hotel and the Hue condominium building.

Business leaders say more than 1,000 people could soon be living in the condominiums or staying in the hotel.

The Red Bull Air Force daredevil team planned a parachute jump from the building to celebrate the tower’s grand opening. Citing the possibility of poor symbolism, however, bank officials decided to cancel the jump.