The Raleigh skyline could look very different soon.
A slew of new projects in development—consisting of 20- to 40-story mixed-use towers—will bring added density, housing, offices, and commercial space downtown. In total, these projects could add more than 200 stories of height, creating a denser, taller city center.
But there’s no way to know just how much taller the city could get. The city’s planning office doesn’t track building height, as city code doesn’t include height maximums for projects taller than seven stories, Raleigh Planning Director Ken Bowers explained. So when developers apply for projects, there’s no restriction for how high they can go. Everyone knows PNC Plaza is the tallest building in the city at 32 stories, but the city doesn’t keep an official record of its height. According to Emporis, an online database, it stands at 538 feet, followed by Two Hannover Square at 431 feet.
To complicate matters, the height of each floor in a building differs from project to project, with office and commercial spaces typically several feet higher than residential projects, due to greater infrastructure needs.
When looking ahead at these projects, all we have, for the most part, are estimates. While zoning will allow up to 40 stories for seven projects, it’s unlikely developers will actually construct buildings that tall because doing so is just really expensive.
If they did—estimating an average of 15 feet per floor—that would add more than 3,000 feet of height to the city. That’s akin to six PNC towers.
Here’s a rundown of what we know about the projects.
321, 327 West Hargett Street & 213 South Harrington Street
Located a block west of City Hall in the city’s burgeoning Warehouse District, this project could allow the construction of a 40-story, mixed-use tower on a half-acre block currently zoned for up to 12 stories. Developer Highwoods Properties also acquired a 6,500-square-foot parking deck nearby. The Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve the project in June. A public hearing will be required before the City Council votes on the project.
333 South Dawson Street
This project, a block from Nash Square, is currently a Firestone auto shop in an area zoned for up to 20 stories. The new tower will be zoned up to 40 stories with a mix of uses, including up to nearly 500 residential units, which the developer RALDT 2, LLC notes in the application is “likely to slow the rate of increase of housing costs nearby by adding units to the marketplace to meet the steady rising demand.”
The city’s Planning Commission is expected to vote on the project by the end of summer.
215 McDowell Street & 123 West Hargett Street
Dubbed “The Nexus,” this is one of the more hotly anticipated projects in the city, which aspires to transform a 3.3-acre site located across from Nash Square into an up to 40-story mixed-use development. Formerly the offices of The News & Observer, the property was purchased by California-based firm The Acquisition Group for $22 million in 2017. Original plans called for two towers, two stories each, for offices and residential units; however, the developer increased the request to 40 stories to allow for more flexibility, according to the Triangle Business Journal. Approval is currently pending.
400 & 410 Glenwood Avenue
Located in the heart of the city’s nightclub district, this historic building with a nightclub and restaurant would be transformed into an up to 40-story tower with shopfronts on the ground floor.
The request from New York-based firm Turnbridge Equities includes a historic easement to preserve the frontage of the building, known as The Creamery.
The request is still pending.
320 & 328 West South Street
This request for a 20-story tower is located near Red Hat Amphitheater. The request, which has already been approved, allows the developer to choose between two options: either 300 residential units with commercial storefronts on the ground floor or 211,000 square feet of office space.
330 West Hargett Street & 119 South Harrington Street
This site is currently the location of Legends Nightclub. The property was sold to developer CityPlat last year for $4.3 million dollars. While the rezoning request is for 40 stories, the developer has said it doesn’t intend to construct a tower that high, but wants to keep the options open.
506 Capital Boulevard
Currently zoned for up to 12 stories, this project known as Smokey Hollow Tower could add another 40-story, mixed-use tower to the intersection of Peace Street and Capital Boulevard. Zimmer Development Company says the project could include more than 1,400 residential units.
The site is located near several other planned and in-progress projects from John Kane, which city officials have described as a new “gateway” to downtown. The project was greenlit by the City Council last fall.
615 West Morgan Street & 117 South Boylan Avenue
Developer Crocker Family Properties has been granted approval for an up to 20-story tower for this site, currently a vacant lot. This site is next to the Origin Hotel and a block from Morgan Street Food Hall in a transition area between the Warehouse District and Glenwood South club district.
220 East Morgan Street
This site is currently a parking lot, but has been approved for an up to 20-story tower. The current owners hope to sell the lot to an interested buyer to develop it. The City Council has already approved the request.
Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.
Follow Senior Staff Writer Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to email@example.com.