Charter Square To Arise At Site One

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.

Charter_Square_North 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_South 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.


Make A Comment
  • VaNC Said:

    I wonder what ever happened with the possibility of a movie theater in this building? I, for one, would LOVE to see a movie theater downtown.

  • TONY Said:

    Who cares about cascading?
    This block should say signature structure all over it (15 and 20 stories, again, waste of land). This site along with Site 2 and 3 should have buildings that are 40 floors minimum. How many times must we say, go up, not out! We hear their strategy, but it never makes since. All future buildings need to be 40 floors and above, city council needs to start getting in gear, we continue to ruin great real estate in the heart of downtown.

  • Leo Said:

    Tony, I sort of agree with you. Should of been taller but I’m really happy with these photos, I like what I see. There is also plenty of space left for signature level towers in and around downtown.

    Being right on Fayetteville St. the focus should be the pedestrian and clearly these towers do just that. A 50 story building seems to focus on what is inside and that can be placed somewhere else, perhaps near some transit, which this location clearly does not have, not yet anyway.

  • Ernest Said:

    Site One has been a mixed bag for me. For one, I like this project’s urban form. I also like the design of the buildings, even though it is nothing memorable. Just like Tony, I am not happy with the height and I would have been ecstatic if the 3 developers involved truly acted like 3 companies and delivered something big. I can see one developer giving us this project, but three developers should have come up with something better. I am sure that the underground parking deck didn’t present issues for going taller.

    Oh well, if this project is successful, then I anticipate more developers to jump into the opportunity to develop Sites 2 and 3, hopefully with something more iconic and definitely taller.

  • TONY Said:

    It took three firms to come up with this? Wow!
    Agree, where is the movie theater, where is a two story Barnes and Noble, why not have a second floor of retail and restaurants (with balconies), overlooking street activity.
    Again, no vision, just a box like configuration (the attitude seems to be: well, it’s a new building and we are filling a void/empty lot – we cannot settle for “it’s better than nothing”, especially if we want to be a 21st century city – the term I hear much too often by city council – by no means does this design reflect 21st century city (and a few other buildings under construction in downtown do not reflect 21st century city).

    ****The Soleil Center has set the standard, anything less than this building is not acceptable***

  • Mark Said:

    Raleigh simply can’t support a bunch Soleils in its downtown. There are something on the order of 100 parking lots in downtown still. I will take a good street level experience any day over tower-beside-parking lot. Besides, a city full of skyscrapers is not all that pleasant an experience…its windy, dark, and not ‘livable’. Super-skyscrapers are primarily office structures with lunch joints. They do not make a neighborhood. Manhattan in 1900 had 1 Million more people than it does today, so there really no reason why row after row of midrises can’t be a highly effieceint use of land.

  • dbearhug Said:

    My vote is to tear down the old Wachovia Building and First Citizens and go high-rise there. There’s some potential on those sites if you ask me. Just a thought.

  • Ron T Said:

    I think both buildings look great. They are more up to date than a lot of the towers downtown and have focused on having retail on the first floor. I used to live in DC and despite the lack of skyscrapers, the downtown is thriving and has come back greatly. Do we really want to walk in the shadow of 50-60 story buildings? I would love to see one or two go up downtown, but think that a broad skyline with reasonably sized buildings will ultimately make for a better pedestrian experience.

  • dbearhug Said:

    By the way, who is the architectural firm that is doing this project? I thought it was J Davis, but then again, I could be wrong. Thanks!

  • Dana Said:

    That’s right, dbearhug. J Davis did the design and Clancy & Theys is the general contractor.

  • dbearhug Said:

    I thought so, but when I went to their website there was the old rendering. Thanks!

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  • albert Said:

    It looks like Charter Square North has stalled. They just capped all the rebar that we sticking out at the ground level. They also removed the tower crane from Charter Square North. South is still 2 levels below ground and under constuction with a concrete pour this morning.

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