2020 Rewind: Raleigh Goes Vertical As 40-Story Flirtation Continues

Downtown Raleigh continued its flirtation with the 40-story barrier in 2020 as the city continues rezoning parcels allowing for development up to that height.

The city kicked off the year with several parcels newly zoned to allow for development up to 40 stories tall, and would later approve several for that height.

Meanwhile, developers continued to provide a steady stream of new requests for potentially towering new structures.

Among 40 story zonings in 2020, the Raleigh City Council approved the first in February — a collection of properties at the corner of West Martin Street and west of South Harrington Street, which includes such area icons as CAM Raleigh and Raleigh Founded.

Later, the council approved Wilmington-based Zimmer Development’s request to develop a mixed-use tower up to 40 stories tall at 506 and 508 Capital Boulevard near Kane Realty’s Smoky Hollow project and Hoffman Associates’ Seaboard Station.

So far, site plans have yet to be filed for these projects and it’s unknown exactly how high they will go.

Muddying the waters is the city’s limited zoning offerings at this height. For developers considering a high-rise development, zoning designations are limited to either up to 20 stories or up to 40 stories, meaning any project in between would need a 40-story rezoning.

Meanwhile, it’s possible that the fallout from the pandemic could add uncertainty to the market and impact the financing for ambitious projects.

Still, that hasn’t stopped developers from filing new rezoning requests this year, including Highwoods Properties’ with an assemblage of properties across from The Dillon, and Turnbridge Equities with The Creamery property in Glenwood South. Kane Realty also filed for a 40-story rezoning for its Downtown South project, though later conditions reduced the maximum height that would be allowed at the project

Meanwhile, some owners and developers with recently rezoned properties continue working on plans for the sites. Notably, work continues on Kane’s Smoky Hollows site, though no plans have yet been filed for phase 3, which the council rezoned last year.

Elsewhere in the city, Greg Hatem’s Empire Properties has continued its consolidation of the 200 block of Fayetteville Street, after the council rezoned much of the block for up to 40 stories.