Later this year we’ll see the next addition to Raleigh’s skyline, Charter Square. The mixed-use complex will consist of two towers offering office space, condos, and retail space on a yet-to-be-opened block of Fayetteville Street. The North tower, standing at 358 feet with 20-stories will contain office and condo space. The 15-story South Tower will stand at 182 feet. (map it)
Charter Square is a key portion to Fayetteville Street’s renewal. Formerly known as “Site One”, the land used for the development was once the site of the eastern half of the Raleigh Civic Center. The location stands between Raleigh’s planned City Plaza and the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, so bridging the pedestrian experience between the two zones is a high priority for the project’s developers. Offering a large amount of easily accessible retail space is a key to the planned experience.
One of the challenges with this property is its long north/south exposure on Fayetteville St. Instead of creating a long, unbroken row of retail, designers separated the development into two buildings. The division creates more retail surface exposure and space for a pedestrian plaza between the two buildings. The plaza not only acts as a center of pedestrian activity, it is the focal point for one of the business lobby entrances and is a connector to Wilmington street via an outdoor stairway.
An additional plaza is planned between the North Tower and the Two Hannover (Bank of America) building. This plaza features entrances to both residential and business lobbies,
but does not connect to Wilmington Street (there will be a staircases down to Wilmington Street in both plazas). The planned City Plaza is just next door, and developers hope to create a district somewhat reminiscent of Rockefeller Center.
As mentioned before on gogoraleigh, Wilmington St has been the unfortunate recipient of many projects’ service entrances. Charter Square is designed with Wilmington Street retail space which wraps around to Lenoir Street, preventing a large row of service entrances.
Above the North Tower’s street-level retail space is 280,000 square feet of office space, distributed among 14 floors. The first two office floors have large windows which allow people to relate to the events on the street below. The other office floors feature a unique experience in Raleigh: balconies which allow employees to still stay in touch with life in the plaza. Floors 15 thru 20 contain upscale condominiums. Because these floors are higher than Two Hannover Square and the South Tower, views are bound to be impressive.
The accompanying rendering shows the North Tower to the left. The developers anticipate some type of exterior interactive display, portrayed in the rendering as video at the near left corner above the second floor.
YouTube is currently hosting two videos from a while back showing possible residential and office lobbies, respectively. The design has changed since their creation, but the flythrus are still interesting.
Charter Square’s South Tower provides a unique offering above it’s retail and lobby areas. The first four floors contain 2-story townhouses on the east (Fayetteville Street) side. The west (Wilmington Street) side of these floors creatively contains a high-rise parking garage. Not only will these townhouses have a great relationship with Fayetteville Street events, they will have adjacent parking within the building.
Floors 6 thru 14 are all complete with condominiums. Unlike the North tower’s units, these are aimed at a more price-sensitive market, and feature access to the tower’s rooftop community areas and pool.
The option to not build as tall as possible at Site One has been questioned by some. By dividing the Charter Square project into two portions, pedestrians will be able to have a superior street level experience and have several different choices for living within the project. The building heights will create a graceful cascade from the nearby taller buildings down to the Progress Energy Center. Presumably the future developments one block south (at Sites 2 and 3) will continue this downward slope of the skyline..
As shown a couple of weeks ago, Site One is currently a large hole. Since the demolition of the Civic Center, the property has been used as a staging area for the construction of the Marriott hotel and its portion of the eventual two-site subterranean parking garage. Recently “the hole” was turned over to Charter Square’s development team, and construction has begun on the Square’s continuation of the subterranean parking garage. Footings are being poured this month, and the site is anticipated to grow above ground by next winter.
Charter Square is loosely anticipated to be completed in early 2011. When that day comes the south end of Fayetteville Street will contain several blocks to explore. The final building blocks to the Fayetteville Street Renaissance won’t be in place for several more years, but piece by piece, a great destination is coming together.
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