Abandoned hotel, long an eyesore on Capital Boulevard, could be redeveloped

This article was updated at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.

One of the nation’s largest multifamily apartment builders is considering putting apartments on the site of the former Capital Plaza Hotel, which has sat abandoned on Capital Boulevard for 18 years.

The property was most recently used controversially as a site for U.S. Army training exercises after hours.

The Phoenix-based Alliance Residential Company proposed a mixed-use rezoning request in an application to the city that would allow a residential development on the 8-acre property, which is connected to a major Raleigh corridor.

The developer’s proposal says that “rezoning will allow for redevelopment of an underutilized site at a prominent location” and create additional housing in a high-demand area that would provide “greater options for housing and transit and employment access for residents.” It would connect to Glenridge Drive in the nearby Brentwood neighborhood. County records list the land value as $4 million.

Alliance established offices in Charlotte three years ago and began construction there last year on Broadstone Bryant Park, a 345-unit luxury apartment complex that is currently pre-leasing. It offers 1- to 3-bedroom units with rental prices that range from $1,200 to $1,700.

Alliance has experience in this area, too, having acquired in 2017 the former Crown Park Hotel on Willard Street in Durham and redeveloping it into a 342-unit luxury apartment building called The Broadstone Durham. It is currently under construction and will be pre-leasing soon, developers say.

The decrepit and graffiti-ridden former hotel at the intersection of Capital Boulevard and Highwoods Boulevard in Raleigh has long been an eyesore for many people.

“If you drive by today, it’s boarded up, fence is broken down, the top windows are smashed. There is graffiti on it. This would eliminate this blight,” said Raleigh City Council member David Cox, who represents the area.

This area right outside the Beltline is poised for redevelopment, Cox added, pointing to the recent opening of the nearby Wegmans off Wake Forest Road. The developer is focused on apartments that are at 80% of the area median income, Cox said.

The vacant Capital Plaza hotel
The vacant Capital Plaza hotel in Raleigh in 2016. News & Observer file photo

In a meeting on Sept. 17 to discuss the Raleigh rezoning request, attended by 13 people, some neighbors supported redeveloping the hotel. Others expressed concern about adding to the existing traffic on Glenridge Drive.

The 227-room hotel, a former Holiday Inn in the 1970s, has had a number of owners and names in the past 30 years. It closed its doors in 2000 when it was a DoubleTree hotel. It was purchased for $1.4 million in an auction nine years ago by hotel investor Balbir “Bill” Brar.

Brar told WRAL at the time of his purchase that he intended to open a state-of-the-art hotel within a year that would be “a far better hotel than any hotel in the area.” However, the Triangle Business Journal reported in 2014 that he had given up on those plans and was looking to redevelop the hotel.

The hotel’s unpopularity grew after the city of Raleigh allowed the building to be used by the U.S. Army for a training exercise in March.

While some nearby Brentwood neighbors were notified, others complained on social media that they weren’t warned about the helicopters and booming noises from gunfire and explosions.

City Manager Ruffin Hall, who authorized the property to be used for military training, apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again.

“The exercise turned out to be louder and more disruptive to the nearby neighborhood than the City anticipated given our understanding of the proposed conditions,” Hall said in a statement at the time.

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Aaron Sánchez-Guerra is the Growth and Business reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers real estate, business, and development in the Triangle area. He previously worked at WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a freelance journalist in Raleigh and Charlotte covering the Latino population and related topics. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University, a native Spanish speaker, and was born in Mexico.
Anna Johnson covers Raleigh and Wake County for the News & Observer. She has previously covered city government, crime and business for newspapers across North Carolina and received many North Carolina Press Association awards, including first place for investigative reporting. She is a 2012 alumna of Elon University.
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