November Night

November 20th, 2007 RBC Plaza at 21 Stories. The kudzu is starting to take over. Fall colors at city market. City Market. Market Plaza. Hudson. South Saunders Raleigh Skyline at night. Raleigh density. We’ll leave the light on for you. Coming soon, Raleigh’s tallest building, the Edison. RBC Plaza is will become Raleigh’s 3rd tallest in a few floors. Some fall colors at Dorothea Dix.


  1. Anonymous says:

    December 16th, 2007 at 5:57 pm (#)

    How amazing! I live in the Hudson and look forward to the downtown growth each and every day. Your work is incredible; please keep it up!

  2. Anonymous says:

    January 18th, 2008 at 10:51 am (#)

    Gosh!!! Ralegh is coming a long way from when I stayed there inthe arly 90s. Charlotte or Winston-Salem should get comfortable in their positions

  3. Anonymous says:

    January 21st, 2008 at 11:15 am (#)

    I wish I could work downtown and watch the progress every day like some here can, but instead I can only see still construction in the morning and night time as I am usually stuck in RTP. Does anyone know what the project is adjacent to I-40 East between the Page Rd exit and 540 intersection? There’s a big hole there with a bunch of equipment and some cranes. There’s a lot of work being done now southward in the park towards Morrisville and westward along 54. Too bad google maps and mapquest leave all this out (including the new completed stretch of I-540 to 55).

    Oh and as for skyline views from I-440, try inner beltline between the North Hills exit past Duke Raleigh towards Capital and New Bern. The trees part for a small section in some spots and you can witness an eastern perspective of downtown.. similar to that zoom shot Matt took from 264 one time.

  4. Anonymous says:

    January 21st, 2008 at 1:33 pm (#)


    The Page Road construction is the new HQ for Quintiles (will be a beautiful building).

    This is the kind of architecture that belongs in downtown Raleigh. I am a proponent of downtown Raleigh, but the architects in the Triangle are no where near 1st class (their is no vision or character in their designs, example: that ugly BBT building, that new Marriott is awful, The Dawson, brick and tan – no character, even 222 Glenwood – the building should have been designed as if it was there for years and fits in with the Glenwood South neighborhoods). Raleigh just throwing buildings up without thinking. Let’s see if the project next to Progress Energy is listening – let’s see something there that we would see in NY or Chicago.

  5. Anonymous says:

    January 21st, 2008 at 8:12 pm (#)

    The biggest problem is developers, not architects. I know because I have architect friends and I am aware of what they wished to do, if the decision was left up to them. The Edison will definitely be a great chance for something more iconic, and based on what I hear it will be at least a great project. Time will tell.

  6. Anonymous says:

    January 22nd, 2008 at 9:57 am (#)

    Here is a link to the story on WRAL about the new Quintiles HQ on Page Rd. The link also includes a small rendering image of the new facility. It will look very sharp as you drive around the corner on I-40 coming from either direction.

  7. Anonymous says:

    January 22nd, 2008 at 4:20 pm (#)

    Hey that looks pretty sweet. In addition to the skyline, I wish more buildings would start coming up along I-40 and I-540. I like how NC puts a heavy emphasis on trees, bushes, and plants along highways but some buildings would be nice too. I-440 is starting to look busier with the erection of the Renaissance hotel in North Hills, along with the existing buildings around the Capital Blvd exit. I wonder if we’ll be able to see the Soleil center from I-440 next year?

  8. Anonymous says:

    January 22nd, 2008 at 4:49 pm (#)

    Soleil Group has recently received the building permit for Soleil Center 1. It will be foolish not to start as soon as possible, but I wonder if the foundation work has been completed yet. I think that once North Hills East is fully built, we’ll have an interesting skyline developing along I-440 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    January 22nd, 2008 at 9:16 pm (#)

    Soleil Center caissons are still taking longer than first scheduled. It’s understandable, as some of them are 12′ in diameter and 60′ deep. They should be finishing the major caisson work for the beginning sections in the next month. I mentioned before on another thread that people should be able to see vertical structure above the construction fence by the end of March.

  10. Anonymous says:

    January 24th, 2008 at 12:52 pm (#)

    About the Richmond and Orlando thing…

    Orlando, better skyline? Perhaps, but only recently. As of a few years ago, Orlando’s skyline was really no wider or taller than Raleigh’s. Only recently has the city been on a skyscraper boom, similar to Raleigh.

    Richmond’s “newest” building was built in the late 80’s, the twin tower project near the James River. Most of the high rises in Richmond were built in the 70’s and only ONE is higher than 25 floors. In fact, I believe the highest tower in downtown Richmond is 28 floors. So, Richmond may have MORE buildings than Raleigh, but none are taller and we have two that are taller and several more being built…

    Also of note, Raleigh now has a significantly larger population and square mile radius than Richmond, which was not the case several years ago. In fact, the city of Richmond has steadily been losing population to it’s western and northern suburbs for about a decade now. This has also happened in Pittsburg, Buffalo, St. Louis, and to some extent Tampa, hence Raleigh’s equal or greater footing population-wise than those cities.

    By the way, I LOVE this site and it’s pictures, updates, etc. I am from Raleigh, born and raised and have seen it’s skyline grow from nothing to…at least something!…lol…
    I really like keeping up with the new movement and momentum downtown and the subject of skyscrapers is of great interest to me. Please keep up the good work!

    Thanks also for the info on the Edison…didn’t know anything about the project…still don’t really. Any more info would be greatly appreciated.

  11. Anonymous says:

    January 24th, 2008 at 3:07 pm (#)


    Thanks for offering your perspective. You are correct on your comments related to cities like Richmond and Orlando, but I am sure there are some high-rises being built in the former, although not taller than the existing tallest.

    What I like about Richmond’s skyline is the depth and density, particularly when compared to Raleigh’s. Maybe in 20 years we’ll have created the same effect for our skyline – with more taller high-rises, I hope – but for now we still fall behind Richmond, IMHO. Orlando’s skyline is becoming impressive, as well. I want Matt to forgive me for posting a link to another website, similar to his, but since this guy (Bill Cobb) has taken a lot of aerial photos of cities not shown here, yet, I figured it may be worth looking into his site:

    The link I posted features many great aerial photos of DT Orlando, which should demonstrate how far that city has gone in adding depth and height to its downtown area. Now, Raleigh can beat Orlando in terms of height, but the density that Orlando’s many 15-20 story buildings have created will not be easy to match, unless Orlando’s high-rise development comes to a halt. Another skyline that I view in a similar fashion with Orlando’s is Salt Lake City’s. What they lack in truly tall towers, they more than make up in buildings between 15 and 20 floors.

    The two Edison towers, if they get delivered at least as tall as planned – no, I am not suggesting otherwise, but it is wise to say “if” for all proposals – will add both depth and height to Raleigh’s skyline. Not to mention the additional street-level activity. This project is huge in size and scope, and we can only expect a slower than usual pace until the official groundbreaking takes place. If it was one tower, it would have been different, but the developer is hard-pressed to build something large, otherwise no sale will be finalized by Progress Energy, the owner of these parcel(s). As Derek pointed out, Raleigh is enjoying a larger population, today. As new residents continue to arrive, the need for urban living will make proposals like The Edison more desirable.

  12. Anonymous says:

    January 24th, 2008 at 3:46 pm (#)

    Ernest, I am glad you brought up the density aspect of skylines. Sure, RBC Plaza will be taller than any building in many big-time skylines – San Diego, for example – but I know that downtown SD has a lot more to offer than downtown Raleigh. An outsider could look at both skylines and easily tell SD has more life on the street.

    Raleigh’s main problem is that there is next to nothing north, east, or south of city limits… which is an ideal situation for suburban sprawl to occur. I know many people that live in North Raleigh, Cary, Garner, even out on Capital towards Wake Forest or Rolesville because everything is a convenient 5 minute drive away and the living expenses are cheap.

    I have been living downtown since August and I find myself frequently making trips to Cameron Village and North Hills simply because I can’t find what I need on a daily basis near my house. I don’t mind Raleigh being so spread out – but being spread out downtown is absurd. I hate having to get in my car just to go to the dry cleaners, grocery store, etc.. but the reality is that downtown does not make it easy on its residents to be 100% pedestrian.

    It makes me angry sometimes that city planners are so quick to put up an impressive skyline that they miss out on where the real focus should be. Honestly, I would be much happier if RBC Plaza was split into 2-3 medium-rise buildings with shops/restaurants/bars at street level. I mean, a 24-hour Harris Teeter is apparently too much to ask for within walking distance of the city’s core (Fayetteville St). I guess the RBC Plaza will attract more people downtown, but I think more thought has to be put into keeping those new residents in the area.

    Still, there is some progress being made in growing the pedestrian experience. There is a new shopping center in the works on Blount right across the street from the Krispy Kreme on Peace. The Reynolds project on Hillsborough is also going to go a long way for life on the street. There is a need for much more than just high-rises downtown, though. Fayetteville street is a great start but that scene needs to spread so downtown seems more like a neighborhood than a destination.

  13. Anonymous says:

    January 24th, 2008 at 4:37 pm (#)

    I am all for focus on retail and pedestrian experience, but I consider the splitting of any high-rise into several smaller buildings a very dangerous proposition. Wasting a prime lot on a smaller building will not add density and height, nor it will contribute to speeding up the retail boost we both want to see. I’d rather wait a little longer to get several 30+ story buildings (with retail and other street-level destinations), than placing several mid-rises in strategic locations (with the same amount of retail). If you truthfully want to see more retail – and I know you have EVERY reason to wish for it – then pray that we don’t waste land on mid-rises in the core of the city. Lack of space drives up land prices, thus making it harder to put affordable housing in downtown, as developers normally pass the costs to the buyers/tenants.

    You mentioned Harris Teeter. That is wishful thinking, and I am 100% with you, even though the chances of getting a chain super market are slim. The city tried to recruit a Harris Teeter express store, similar to the Uptown Charlotte location, but the latter has not been doing well – they are losing money. Uptown Charlotte has more than twice the population of DT Raleigh, so I can’t blame Harris Teeter for not taking the initiative to open a DT Raleigh location. Again, if we do not bring substantial population to our city’s center, neither Harris Teeter, nor any other super market chain, will be interested. For now, we have Capital City Grocery, with one Harris Teeter and one Food Lion close to downtown (Cameron Village and New Bern Ave, respectively. There was a speculation for Trader Joe’s, but those dumbasses opted for the Holly Park shopping center.

    I don’t know if ya’ll agree with me, but I would LOVE to see a second A Southern Season location, this time in DT Raleigh. That store is a great asset for the area, IMHO, and they should consider DT Raleigh, at least for the nearest future. It’s not as if the area they are located now (in Chapel Hill) has more population, anyway. That shopping center gets more traffic, but so does DT Raleigh, even on Saturdays. While hotel guests may not be as interested, the future residents will need a good place to shop, within short walking distance. Capital City Grocery may serve the North Blount Str, Mordecai, Oakwood, Capital Park and Village at Pilot Mill population, but the City Market area will not be served the same way.

    Back to the density factor, our skyline has some of it, but the linear pattern makes it look weak. The blocks between Salisbury and Dawson streets are VERY important and there is a golden opportunity to add depth, but so far very little evidence exists that we’ll see that. The Warehouse District and Glenwood South are wonderful transitional areas for getting many mid-rise and smaller high-rise developments – what JR spoke of, I assume. Instead of placing these mid-rises in the core, it would be wise to put them near the future transit stops, where residential density has to be increased for public transportation to make sense. I am looking forward to the day when Glenwood South will be filled with such mid-rise developments – not that I will say no to some iconic towers 🙂

  14. Anonymous says:

    January 24th, 2008 at 5:06 pm (#)

    I guess I just don’t fully understand the rush to the sky before things on the ground are in place. I didn’t exactly mean putting a mid-rise on Fayetteville St; instead, I am more in agreement with your idea to put them in the Glenwood South & Warehouse District side of downtown. I would simply like there to be more people and more activity during all times of the day in and around where I live. There are in fact a few projects going up over there around Hillsborough and Boylan… I am an advocate of connecting the downtown districts with exactly these sort of mixed-use buildings.

    Getting back to the density subject, I mentioned Raleigh’s sprawl as a disadvantage when it comes to skylines because we have buildings like Soleil Center and even those mid-rises on Capital and 6 Forks going up so far away from downtown. If all those buildings resided next to each other we’d certainly have a more crowded skyline. Although, if EACH of those concentrations of buildings gains height and more company in the coming years, well then… this site will have to be renamed

    By the way, I actually stopped into CCG this morning and I am eating one of their deli sandwiches in my office. I frequent that place as much as any downtown resident but unfortunately, they do not carry the kind of inventory that Harris Teeter does. All of Seaboard Station is a great addition to the northern end of downtown – hopefully that site between Blount and Person will have a similar effect – but you’re right, City Market needs something along those lines, too. My point is, the skyscrapers aren’t enough – we need a matching impact down on the sidewalks as well. Does anyone know what will occupy street-level retail space on projects like RBC Plaza, West at North, and 222 Glenwood?

  15. Anonymous says:

    January 25th, 2008 at 12:27 am (#)

    I couldn’t agree more… There is no real rush to create a huge skyline, just a desire to catch up a little. Skylines are about image, and Raleigh is way behind in that department. To me, it is important to bring a few skyscrapers with some decent architecture. Buildings that will: a) boost the skyline/image, b) overwhelm the not-so-pretty towers we have today, c) become iconic structures, equal of Raleigh’s good reputation, d) make better use of the available space, and e) bring additional employees and residents, in great numbers. The latter is the most significant, IMHO.

    Getting all the towers downtown may sound good, but not always feasible. Besides, all major cities have towers outside their downtowns. In the future, I expect to see Crabtree Valley and North Hills getting their own skylines, and I am fine with it. These areas will most definitely help us get some companies from the suburban markets, and let’s face it, not all businesses can pay the high rents of DT Raleigh. Residential high-rises outside downtown are also a good way to curb suburban sprawl. Those desiring true urban living, they will stick with downtown, assuming that retail will come back to the center. To avoid the mistakes that other, big cities made, we need to make sure that connectivity between downtown, other employment centers and denser residential areas is good. Having thousands of people driving to the center every morning isn’t exactly the prettiest sight when we talk about traffic.

    Anyway, I think that we are all anxious to see progress in all areas. Most of all, we want to see retail destinations popping up all over downtown. Without retail, it will be hard to convince people to populate downtown in large numbers. The beginning has been made with Glenwood South and I am sure it will become a model when fully (re)developed. Outside Glenwood South, there are several battlefields: CBD, Hillsborough Street, The Warehouse District, City Market/Moore Square, North Blount Street & Seaboard Warehouses area. They are all excellent candidates for retail and entertainment destinations, but it will be hard to develop them at the same time. Right now, Fayetteville Str (CBD) is getting all of the city’s attention, particularly as the convention area promises to bring a lot of people there. We’ll see if we manage to connect the dots in less than 10 years from now.

    BTW, I only know that 222 Glenwood will get a couple of restaurants, owned by Gianni and Gaitano. I am not aware of what exactly will go at the ground level of the other buildings 🙁

  16. Anonymous says:

    January 25th, 2008 at 10:04 am (#)

    Sorry for expanding on the skyline vs. street-level discussion, but I feel the need to clarify something. I am a big opponent of the “poor skyline/good street level vs. great skyline/poor street level” arguments. Nothing personal, as I have heard this many times in the last few years I participate in urban forums. I think that Raleigh has past beyond that point and that we can have both. In fact, we should start thinking big in order to improve the street-level experience. All we need to do is make sure that when skyscrapers are built, we ask for superb street level experience, with lots of retail and pedestrian friendliness. Not only it is doable, but it has been done many times. This is probably the only reason I hate the aforementioned debate. Granted, we all want a vibrant downtown, we can focus on both image and street level experience.

    Hope I didn’t confuse people more 🙂

  17. Anonymous says:

    January 25th, 2008 at 12:05 pm (#)

    I was watching the news last night and I saw that the Fitness store that opened on Glenwood in August barely sees $50 a day. I feel so bad for businesses like that, but on the same hand I think that they might be “jumping the gun.” Remember The Depot (3 bar venue) behind the Ess Lounge? That fell apart in about a month because of the high rent and small customer base. Good thinking, but too early yet for this place. I guess these businesses are just so eager to cash in on the growth downtown that they’re opening up too early and going under. If a better skyline attracts more people downtown, then in turn more businesses might see it as a profitable venture to open shop. Hopefully when all the condos and apartments are complete we will see a rush of retail come in with the increased pedestrian activity.

  18. Anonymous says:

    January 25th, 2008 at 1:59 pm (#)

    You are so right about it. Several businesses come to downtown, in hope that they will cash in on the growing population, but only a handful of these businesses can actually survive until the number of residents reaches a significant level. I feel for those pioneers. The same holds true for several new businesses that try to get into the Fayetteville Street market, before the street even matures. I try to support them as much as I can, but they will have an uphill battle until they actual get their ROI.

    The North End (Seaboard Warehouses, North Blount Street district, etc.) will prove to be golden in 5-6 years, but businesses there will definitely have to lower their expectations and barely survive. 111 Seaboard and the apartment building envisioned for that area will help significantly, once they are built. Franklin Street Plaza will also help.

  19. Anonymous says:

    May 18th, 2008 at 6:21 pm (#)

    these vies are magnificent…

Leave a Comment

November Night

Want to use photographs for commercial purposes? Please see the image licensing page.