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Downtown Raleigh is growing. Here’s how fast.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Raleigh Convergence is no longer publishing, as of April 1, 2022. Read more.

Downtown Raleigh is growing. The State of Downtown Raleigh report from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance shows just how much.

The cranes in downtown will stick around for a while — there’s still $2.3 billion in the development pipeline (compare that to $3 billion in development completed or under construction since 2005).

But soon, we’ll see a transformed skyline, a visible sign of the growing and changing center of our city.

Those numbers are a couple of many shared in the 70-page State of Downtown 2019 report compiled by the DRA (which you can also read in full here). Here are more numbers to know about Downtown Raleigh’s growth.

On working, dining and shopping in Downtown Raleigh

Expect 100+ new stores and restaurants with 623,000 square feet of new retail space planned.

Stores downtown tend to be locally-owned (93%), and downtown gained a net 40+ stores since 2014.

Meanwhile, the 150+ restaurants in downtown and the Downtown Raleigh nightlife spots have seen a 105% growth in food and beverage sales since 2009.

48,000+ people currently work in downtown, and office space is high in demand. 

Office occupancy is at 96.2%, and private office space adds up to about 7.4 million square feet. 

With 3.01 million more square feet coming (2.2 million sq. ft. of Class A — high-end office space — under construction or planned), expect the number of downtown workers to rise 12,500 people. 

Co-working is a big, growing way that Raleigh works.

Co-working increased 296% since 2016. Co-working space created since 2016 or under construction equals about 193,600 square feet. 

550+ startups and growing tech jobs in downtown Raleigh.

There are 550+ startup companies in downtown, representing 2,500+ jobs. Meanwhile, companies like Red Hat, Citrix and Ipreo have added 2,250 tech employees to downtown in the last six years. 

There are also many Raleigh-grown success stories such as Pendo, which will be moving from the Wells Fargo tower to Raleigh Crossing, adding its name to the skyline.

On that changing Raleigh skyline

When you look at the Raleigh skyline now, you’ll probably notice prominent skyscrapers PNC Plaza, Two Hannover Square (which you’d recognize from the BB&T sign at the top) and the Wells Fargo Capitol Center. 

PNC is 33 stories, BB&T building is 29 stories and the Wells Fargo building is 30 stories. 

Here are some projects that will change the skyline mentioned in the report and other sources (linked if elsewhere):

Raleigh Crossing: Three-story mixed use development with the first tower at 19 stories.

Status: Under construction. 

121 Fayetteville: 30 stories

Status: Planned.

400H: 20 stories

Status: Planned.

The Edge: 20 stories

Status: Planned.

The Nexus: Two 20-story buildings, one 15-story building and a 13-story building. 

Status: Planned. 

Tower II at Bloc 83: 10 stories. 

Status: Under construction. 

FNB Tower: 22 stories. 

Status: Under construction. 

Smoky Hollow Phase III: Up to 40 stories.

Status: Part II is under construction, part III, which includes the tower, was recently approved for its rezoning request on height.

On living in Downtown Raleigh

The number of people living downtown has increased 39% since 2015. 

If you live downtown, you’re about to get a lot more neighbors: 7,500 more. 

Currently, about 10,877 people live downtown. It will be more soon, with 4,966 more units under construction or planned, adding 7,500 new residents. 

Nearly 40% of new, under construction or planned housing is in Glenwood South. 

Moore Square is in second place at 16.5%, Fayetteville Street at 15.2%, Seaboard/Person Street at 13%, Warehouse at 8.9% and Capital at 6.5%. 

Downtown dwellers pay an average of $1,513 per month for rent. 

Downtown residents pay less per square foot than Greenville, S.C., Charlotte or Nashville, but more per square feet than Memphis, Tenn., Richmond, Va., and Dallas, according to a median rent square foot comparison among other downtowns. 

A lot of people want to live downtown for the space that’s available — multifamily properties in downtown have a 94.4% occupancy rate.

Downtown residents skew toward younger (25-44 years old) and with a college degree.

39% of downtown residents are ages 25-44 (compared to 28% in Raleigh in general, which is higher than the national rate of 26%). 

You’re more likely to have a college degree (since 50.8% of downtown residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, that’s more than the general population in Raleigh).

More numbers to brag about when someone asks you about Raleigh

447: the acres of parks near downtown Raleigh. Raleigh’s acreage of green space within two miles of downtown is higher than cities including Charlotte, Nashville and Philadelphia.

50+: Art galleries and institutions, entertainment venues and performance groups based in downtown. 

1,007,188: The number of people who visited the NC Museum of Natural Sciences + Nature Research Center in 2018. Five other top attractions included: Marbles Kids Museum, the NC Museum of History, the Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and Artspace. 

3: The number of downtown grocery stores coming to downtown (there are currently none). Weaver Street Market will open soon in the Warehouse District, Publix will open in 2020 and Saxapahaw General Store is planned for Transfer Co. 

158: The number of restaurants downtown. Downtown chefs have received 16 James Beard nominations since 2010. 

93% of stores in downtown Raleigh are locally owned.

MORE DOWNTOWN NEWS: Downtown Raleigh is getting a weekend farmers market.

MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS: Why you should know Fenton, a future destination center in eastern Cary

Author: raleighconvergence

Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen is the editor of Raleigh Convergence.

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