GoTriangle’s 40-story tower in downtown Raleigh could get more affordable housing

The latest planned 40-story tower in downtown Raleigh will combine public transit, shopping and office space in the Warehouse District.

And it will have more, or at least longer-lasting, affordable housing units than originally proposed.

GoTriangle’s RUS Bus — a station for local buses called Raleigh Union Station Bus — is being called a “transformational project.”

It cleared a significant hurdle Tuesday with a rezoning approval allowing up to 40 stories instead of the previously allowed 12.

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The station and surrounding housing and shopping will be built at 200 S. West St. The station will connect the city’s Bus Rapid Transit lines and have six to 10 bays for local buses to pick-up and drop-off passengers.

The City Council approved the rezoning by a unanimous vote.

“We are really excited that they worked with us and we were able to get this done,” said Shelley Blake Curran, GoTriangle’s interim CEO and president. “We think it will be a transformational project for downtown Raleigh and provide a multi-modal transportation hub with it being connected to the rail at Raleigh Union Station.”

Office buildings, including the former headquarters of the Dillon Supply Co, and a two-story brick warehouse are at the site now. The rezoning allows the project to rise 40 stories, though the tower may not actually be that tall.

In addition to the bus station, the project will also include retail, housing, office space and, possibly, a hotel above and next to the bus station. GoTriangle is selecting a developer for the project.

Affordable housing

The project originally had 20 units for affordable housing for people making 80% or less of the area median income with a guarantee they’d stay affordable for 10 years.

But after concerns by the Raleigh City Council, the project will include 20 affordable units or 10% of all units, whichever is greater. And those units will remain affordable for at least 15 years.

Other concessions made by GoTriangle include making sure the ground floor has active uses like retail, commercial, office and civic space, and for the preservation of the existing building and reusing the bricks, if possible.

It’s been important to city leaders that as the Warehouse District continues to develop that the area maintain its “brick” character.

“It’s a key part of us moving forward, connecting bus and rail and everything else,” Mayor Nancy McFarlane said. “I am really glad they understood the need to activate the ground floor, that they want to maintain as much of the character of the building as we can. They were very responsive to our requests.”

The project was funded, in part, by a $20 million federal grant, but the full cost isn’t known. Raleigh Union Station cost $111.4 million, according to the city. RUS Bus could open in 2022.

Once the station is open, people will be able to take an Amtrak train to the new station and then take a bus to their final location. And the station will also be connected to the future 37-mile commuter rail system that was approved by voters in 2016 as part of the Wake County Transit Plan.

“Whenever we can put transit connections together with housing and jobs, the community wins,” Curran said in a news release. “It’s going to be exciting to see all of the ways RUSBus contributes to improving the quality of life we enjoy in the Triangle.”

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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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