Members of the public can weigh in tonight on a project that could add an up-to-forty-story tower downtown near the intersection of Peace and Harrington Streets. But don’t expect a vote from the city council on it just yet. 

Developer John Kane has already agreed to give $1 million to the city for affordable housing as a bargaining chip in his effort to convince the council to rezone the property, which currently allows twelve stories. The tower, which could be the tallest in the city, would include a parking deck and a mix of office, retail, and residential units. 

Kane managing director Bonner Gaylord, a former Raleigh City Council member, has said the tower would serve as a gateway to downtown. The North Central Citizens Advisory Council voted 10–5 in favor of rezoning the land for the project.  

But some council members worry the tower would worsen traffic on the already congested Peace Street and Capital Boulevard interchange, where not far away construction is underway on a building anchored by a Publix grocery store (also by Kane).

Others, like Kay Crowder, have said forty stories “is not a given.”

While state law prohibits what’s known as inclusionary zoning—or requiring developers to include affordable units in order to proceed with a project—the council hopes to use affordable housing as a way for developers to mitigate a project’s community impact, such as the strain on city infrastructure and increased traffic. In this case, Kane offered to put up $1 million and agreed to conduct a traffic impact analysis.  

That hasn’t been completed yet, council member Stef Mendell said Monday. And she’s not prepared to vote on the rezoning without seeing a study. 

“I need some kind of traffic information in order to make a decision,” Mendell told the INDY. 

Nicole Stewart, however, said the traffic study wouldn’t happen until the property was rezoned—which seems to set up a catch-22.  

“After the project has been designed, which is after the rezoning, staff will work with the builder on the [traffic study],” Stewart told the INDY.

Gaylord says it would be “impossible” to do a traffic study without the rezoning in place. “We haven’t designed the project yet so we don’t know the exact mix of products we’re going to include,” he told the INDY in a text message. “A lot of that comes out through the year-plus design process. … We have agreed to pay for the traffic study at the site plan, is the way it’s typically done (except in [downtown] where it’s not required).”

Gaylord says the chances of a vote were “very slim”: “We have conditions we need to add, so it will go to at least the next [meeting] for a final vote.

Among those conditions will be that the traffic study comes after the rezoning—which, for Mendell, seems to be a deal-killer. 

The council will adjourn for summer recess after the meeting, so without a vote, the project will not move forward until at least late August, when the council returns. 

The hearing is scheduled for the council’s evening session, which begins at 7:00 p.m.

Contact staff writer Leigh Tauss at 

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