Local News

Another downtown Raleigh tower project on hold

Posted March 6, 2009 5:16 p.m. EST
Updated March 6, 2009 7:15 p.m. EST

— The slow economy has stalled another office and residential tower planned for downtown Raleigh.

Developers have halted plans for the 11-story Powerhouse Plaza, which was supposed to be built across North West Street from the 42nd Street Oyster Bar.

The tower was to have included five stories of offices, a 134-room hotel and a rooftop bar. Plans called for a six-level parking deck next to the tower.

Developer Cross Williams said he plans to wait until economy turns around before proceeding.

"I think we've lived under the false assumption that our economy was untouchable," City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said.

Last month, the city canceled its agreement to sell a site at the corner of Hillsborough and Dawson streets to Raleigh lawyer Ted Reynolds. He planned to build a 23-story mix of retail shops, a hotel and condominiums, but kept delaying the project because of the nationwide credit crunch and the recession.

Work on the Lafayette, a 22-story project at Lenoir and Salisbury streets, also has slowed. Developer Empire Properties planned a boutique hotel, offices and condominiums for the tower.

Baldwin said the tough economic times are frustrating, especially considering the development momentum the downtown area has seen in the last several years.

"When reliable developers who have invested a lot in this area can't get financing, you know it's a serious issue," she said. "Hopefully, by the end of this year, we'll see people stepping up and start building our tax base again."

Although the Powerhouse Plaza is on hold, a house that sits on the site of the proposed tower will be moved in two weeks.

Ann Adams has lived in the home for decades but decided in the last couple of years to sell to developers.

"I've been here quite awhile," Adams said. "It got valuable enough to sell, too valuable for one person to live here."

Builders of Hope plans to move her house to a community of affordable houses near State and Martin streets downtown. The nonprofit group plans to move 20 old homes to the area eventually, said work mentor program manager Barry Kirby.

"We want people to be able to stay there that live there and have grown up there their whole loves," Kirby said. "We've partnered with the churches there to do things in the neighborhood. So, it's a wonderful project, and this is the first home to go there."