Views from the Top of Two Hannover Square

January 28th, 2010
Various Raleigh sights from 400 feet up.

Downtown Raleigh from atop Two Hannover Square
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Wachovia Capitol Center signage

Green Square Progess

North Carolina Capitol Building

Pigeons discuss the proposed Public Saftey Center on the edge of One Progress Plaza

East Raleigh

RBC Plaza Balconies

RBC Plaza signage up close

Wachovia and North Hills

Detail of Raleigh’s North Hills with Captrust Tower

Wake Forest Road and I-440

Clarion Hotel, Quorum Center, West at North

North Carolina State University

West Raleigh

Cameron Village with Downtown Durham visible over 20 miles away

DH Hill Library, Durham Sheraton and the Cary “fake tree” cell tower?

Raleigh Skyline

One Progress Plaza, One Hannover, City Plaza

Wake County Jail, Courthouse, etc

Shearon Harris Nuclear Power plant, NCSU Lonnie Pool Golf Course, Dorothea Dix

Portions of Shaw University

Entrance to Progress Energy Raleigh Memorial Auditorum

Knightdale water tower and 264 and Hodge Road exit visible

Warehouse District and western downtown

Winterfest Ice rink at city plaza

Raleigh Convention Center roof with future auditorium site

Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and Raleigh Marriott City Center

Charter Square site. . .anyone, anyone?

RBC Plaza

From the archives: the view 5 years ago


  1. Steve says:

    May 10th, 2010 at 2:06 am (#)

    I wasn’t proposing an outdoor mall or such, I was proposing more of a Newbury Street (Boston) or 5th Avenue type destination, though I guess those basically grew organically rather than some sort of concerted effort by their respective cities.

  2. JRD says:

    May 10th, 2010 at 11:20 am (#)

    Yeah, Blount Street commons is a failure in design and architecture. The hight is good though.

  3. laryea says:

    May 10th, 2010 at 3:00 pm (#)

    man all this time i thought they were already building the courthouse they just started today daaaayum!!? lol

  4. TheGonzoCode says:

    May 10th, 2010 at 9:22 pm (#)

    quick question- Where is silicon valley in relation to central San Jose, and what kind of effect has it had on the urban development of its DT?

  5. Pirmin in SF says:

    May 11th, 2010 at 9:13 pm (#)

    Silicon Valley essentially is the dense suburban 101 corridor along the SF peninsula between SJ and SF, including the northern/western parts of SJ and Santa Clara County as well as much of San Mateo County to the north. While it’s true that SJ has virtually no skyline, it’s not so much due to the suburban development of Silicon Valley, but more because SJ Mineta Int’l Airport is located only a couple of miles north of its DT, and the FAA strictly limits the height of buildings there. If you’ve ever flown into of SJC, typically you approach from the south, just above the DT buildings…so close that I’ve often considered how very loud the airport must be for some of those offices and condos. Also, unlike NC, land in the core Bay Area counties is EXTREMELY expensive to build on (both monetarily due to scarcity and politically in securing rights and fighting NIMBYs, so if the air rights of DT SJ buildings could be increased, I’m sure they likely would be. Even Oakland has taller buildings, although Santa Clara and Alameda counties both are about the same size at about 2 million residents each.

    In addition, “manhattanization” is fought tooth-and-nail here, from SF to Oakland to San Jose and everywhere in between. Good views = big money, and property owners will fight like hell to protect them. Here in SF, for example, we have voter-initiative-approved measures that LIMIT how high our buildings can go in various neighborhoods, including FiDi, and the great majority of us like it that way. As someone posted above, a great DT is really more about density, diversity and transportation options that about building height (simply look toward Europe). The proposed Transbay Tower in SF is still facing a hurdle of lawsuits, so I wouldn’t expect much there to happen for a while except the transportation terminal portion of the project…

  6. Steve says:

    May 13th, 2010 at 6:39 am (#)

    In other news, there was an N&O story yesterday about the proposed commuter rail system. The article said that there was a ridership survery that indicated the highest demand would be between Clayton and Durham. This sounds logical to me, as I can’t imagine that many people commute from Selma and especially not Goldsboro, to Raleigh, and I would think most of the workers in Chapel Hill are in UNC-related fields. I like the idea of adding commuter trains from Durham especially, the railway station in Durham is in a nice part of the city, near the American Tobacco Historic District, and commuter trains could encourage more development in that area. I’m not sure how many people would take the train from Garner or Clayton, but as the area grows I’m sure the demand would grow. At some point it might make sense to add a train from Greensboro to Raleigh, but I imagine that won’t be for a few decades at least.


  7. Ernest says:

    May 13th, 2010 at 11:12 am (#)

    I think that there is massive potential for ridership between Clayton and Durham, which of course is not a short distance, looking at the entire region as a whole. Such a line would certainly produce great results if the local municipalities actually encourage dense, urban development around the stations and along parts of the rail line. We can see how this worked well for many cities around the country and it could work here, as well.

    The big question for me is this: Can we afford such a system? Most of the opposition to the previous regional rail plan came from the price tag and the ways we looked into financing it – we asked the Feds for 61% of the cost, which is insane. The newer version of TTA’s transit plan seems to have received supporters even from the opposition camp, many of whom were concerned about the lack of good connection with RDU. I think that looking into this new vision as a long-term project is a healthy approach. As long as we bring a few decent developers on board, we may see some needed density in key areas of the future line. I am not sure that “build it and they will come” is going to work this time. First, we have to get some density, and then we can bring the rail.

  8. Matt K. says:

    May 13th, 2010 at 12:27 pm (#)

    I’d be curious to see where this rail route is supposed to go. Anyone who lives within a stone’s throw of the I-40 corridor from Clayton all the way through Wake County to RTP knows what a bear this route can be. The widening project around Cary will relieve some of that, but only temporarily, and to a finite degree at that. I would have to believe that downtown Raleigh and RDU would have to be key points along this proposed rail line to attract and maximize ridership.

  9. Steve says:

    May 14th, 2010 at 8:02 am (#)

    The rail line would be along the NC Railroad, which is a state-owned (or it may be a public-private thing) line. The NC RR owns the tracks and the right of way, and costs are estimated at around $250 to $350 million, meaning it should hopefully be no more than $500 million to build. That cost is for the Wilson’s Mills to Durham length of the trip. Since there is currently no rail link to RDU, there won’t be a link on this train to the airport. An RDU link would be more appropriate for a light rail system, since this commuter rail system would only run 4 trains in the morning rush hour and 4 trains in the evening rush hour, much like the Metro North or Long Island Railroad in New York (I think the service there is more frequent) where you have to transfer to the subway to get to the airport. The major stops would be Raleigh, RTP and Durham, here’s a map of the proposed system
    bear in mind that the study recommends just building the system from Wilson’s Mills to Durham, since that’s where about 2/3 of the potential riders would be, and it’s about 1/3 of the area (and 1/3 the cost) of building the whole thing right now. Most of the work would be on double tracking along the NCRR right of way from Cary to Durham.

    Who lives in Clayton/Johnston County? Would you take this to work? What would you need for it to be more convenient than your car?

  10. Steve says:

    May 14th, 2010 at 8:10 am (#)

    Oh, and if we did get 2 million people to ride this, it would be the 16th busiest commuter rail in America (out of 23) according to the report.

  11. Steve says:

    May 14th, 2010 at 8:35 am (#)

    My assumption is that a bus from either the Morrisville stop and/or the RTP stop would coincide with the 8 trains in the morning and 8 in the evening (assuming there would be 4 morning trains starting out at each end of the line) to take people to RDU.

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Views from the Top of Two Hannover Square

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