RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – The City of Raleigh is relaunching plans to bring new development to downtown.
Before the pandemic, city staff were working with consulting firm JLL to develop a plan to bring a new hotel and mixed-use property to two downtown lots. The city put out a request for interest to see what kind of interest there were from hoteliers to develop on the site. When the pandemic hit, this process was reversed. The city council decided this week to relaunch those talks for new developments.
The city is looking to develop on two adjacent lands it already owns. Both are currently surface parking lots located across from the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. To the northwest of the grounds is the convention center. The hope is to develop the lot closest to the convention center into a 500-room full-service hotel.
The other lot, located northwest of Shaw University, was originally intended to be an office/mixed-use development. This week, however, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin suggested the site be used for residential and commercial purposes.
“Bringing more people to this area will create more permanent residents, create a better sense of security, but also bring customers on a regular basis to the businesses that locate there,” Baldwin said.
Raleigh has upgraded to host big events
The hotel’s goal is to generate more than five million additional visitors per year by 2028. Research by city staff and a consultant found that the city lost approximately $102 million in impact economy of event planners who choose to go to other cities for their big events. due to Raleigh hotel packages.
While comparable cities have an average of 2,465 hotel rooms within walking distance of their convention centers, Raleigh has 929. Pittsburg has slightly more at 1,226, but Austin and Nashville have over 4,000 rooms within walking distance. less than 400 meters from their convention centers.
The city’s research revealed that the lack of hotel rooms in the city was the main reason for the loss of business during conventions.
Council member Jonathan Melton called the lack of hotel rooms an embarrassment to the city.
“I say it’s embarrassing, because how many empty surface parking lots do we have around this convention center?” I mean, there’s a ton of them on all sides, including the two we own. So hopefully we can make progress on that,” Melton said.
The city originally set aside $30 million for construction costs, but with the cost of supplies rising, that’s a figure it plans to revisit. City staff aim to select a development by the third quarter of 2023.
The Downtown Raleigh Convention Center is also considering possible expansion. City staff expect this planning will also impact hoteliers’ interest in the property.