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Downtown Raleigh Districts
No district in Downtown Raleigh does hip and trendy like the Glenwood South District. Progressive restaurant concepts line the venerable Glenwood Avenue and create the place to see and be seen on warm evenings in Downtown Raleigh. What was once a quiet row of warehouses and art supply stores has transformed over the past five years into a thriving restaurant and retail environment. The district’s nightlife will soon welcome a significant residential boom, as more than 900 new condos and apartments will help to sustain the district’s vitality for the coming years.
To elevate its strong community, Glenwood South Neighborhood Collaborative has been established to bring residents and merchants together to strengthen their community and to develop models for communication and collaboration around issues affecting their neighborhood.
The Capital District is the power center of North Carolina featuring-the State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, and 3.5 million square feet of government office space. The District is also home to the NC History Museum and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, rated as one of the top ten science museums in the nation and was ranked number one most visited attraction of North Carolina this past year.
Characterized by its red brick warehouses, the Warehouse District has transformed into an intriguing mix of restaurants, specialty shops, and antique stores, attracting entertainment seekers. Home of the Contemporary Art Museum and the legendary Pit BBQ Restaurant, the district will continue to add new colors to its attraction palette in the coming years. The Union Station project, breaking ground in March 2015, will bring a multi-modal transit center to life in this historic district, connecting commuters and tourists.
Known for its world-class theater venues, skyscrapers full of Class A office space, an outdoor amphitheater, Fayetteville Street bustles with business and commerce during the day and pulses with youthful energy at night. At the heart of Fayetteville Street, City Plaza is downtown’s premier location for outdoor events and festivals throughout the year. With a growing array of distinctive restaurants, bars, and boutiques, this cosmopolitan district has been named “Great Main Street” of downtown. New developments, Charter Square, the L Building, and 227, will add a total of 650,000 sq ft of mixed-use space to the district.
Listed on the National of Historic Places, Moore Square Park offers a nice getaway for downtown employees looking for a relaxing space in Raleigh’s central business district. Along with the Wells Fargo IMAX Theatre, Marbles Kids Museum attracts over 600,000 visitors making this district a popular family destination. The historic City Market offers an eclectic collection of independent retail stores and great restaurants surrounded by charming cobblestone streets. This district also has art galleries that are anchored by Raleigh’s Artspace – a 30,000 square foot historic building that has 25 dedicated studios for artists. The Moore Square Transit Center creates a big-city feel in this area that comes with the hustle-and-bustle of over 15,000 daily commuters. Most recently, Moore Square has attracted strong restaurant operators who are positioning the district as a dining destination. There are over 500 apartments slated during the next two to three years, adding a big-city feel to the district.
Downtown Raleigh Neighborhoods
In 1907, the heirs of William Montfort Boylan sold his mansion and its surrounding one hundred and eighty acres to the Greater Raleigh Land Company marking the birth to one of Raleigh’s first 20th century suburban neighborhoods, Boylan Heights. The neighborhood is loosely bounded by W. Morgan St. to the north, Florence St. and DuPont Circle the east, Dorothea Dr. to the south and CSX railway to the west. Houses throughout the neighborhood represent a number of architectural designs including Colonial Box, Queen Anne/Colonial hybrids and one-story wood frame bungalows.
Pedestrian in mind, the scale of Boylan Heights, originally established by the sidewalks, streets, trees and service alleys, is still maintained and the wide, curving sweep of Boylan Avenue from Montfort Hall presents an avenue of trees and receding house facades. This sort of grand entry focuses the neighborhood in a way that is found specific to Boylan Heights. Its maturity and simplicity, and its housing stock reflect the original owners and their ambitions-to have a place of quiet and security in the city.
One-hundred and ten acres of the Cameron family estate was divided and improved in two phases between 1910 and 1927 marking the beginning of what now is called Historic Cameron Park. Roughly bounded by St. Mary’s St. to the east, Hillsborough St, to the south, Oberlin Rd. to the west, Peace St. to the north and wedged between Boylan Heights and Glenwood-Brooklyn, Cameron Park completes the western border of downtown.
Cameron Park has an architectural fabric that derives from an underlying consistency from the persistence of the same house types found in the preceding neighborhoods of Glenwood-Brooklyn (1905) and Boylan Heights (1907). This is reflected largely in the predominately large colonial, classical revival and neo-Georgian homes with some picturesque bungalows. Other influences include Mission style and Tudor-Revival.
The incorporation of the Glenwood Land Company in May 1905 marks the beginning of Glenwood-Brooklyn Historic neighborhood. The Glenwood-Brooklyn area was the first of several neighborhood developments that launched Raleigh’s western and northern expansion during the early twentieth century. Although conceived between 1905 and 1907, the basis of architectural significance has been extended through 1951. The neighborhood occupies approximately 80 acres of land and is roughly bounded by Fletcher Park to the north, St. Mary’s St. to the west, N&S Railways to the east and W. Peace St. to the south.
When development commenced in 1907, vernacular and Victorian genre known as the Queen Anne style, dominated the domestic architecture of the region along with the few working-class house types known as the shotgun. Craftsmen and Colonial Revival style houses also are found throughout the neighborhood laying the architectural foundation for the shortly followed developments of Cameron Park and Boylan Heights.
Located just northeast of downtown, Mordecai Place Historic District is loosely bounded by CSX Railway to the west and north, Old Wake Forest Rd. to the east, N. Blount St. to the south and Oakwood Historic District to the southeast. The name Mordecai Place commemorates the location of the early-twentieth-century residential development of the former estate of the Mordecai family whose late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century house still stands within the southern portion of the neighborhood. The district also includes the birthplace of America’s seventeenth president, Andrew Johnson.
Mordecai Place Historic District includes approximately fifteen blocks of mostly single-family houses constructed between 1916 and 1947. The district displays a broad range of architectural designs such as I-houses, bungalows, Cape Cods, Spanish Mission and various period revivals. Contributing work to the neighborhood includes notable architects such as Rose and Linthicam, William Nichols and James S. Salter.
Oakwood, a twenty-block area representing the only intact nineteenth century neighborhood remaining in Raleigh, is composed predominately of Victorian houses built between the Civil War and 1914 and was originally part of Moses Mordecai’s estate purchased in 1819. Oakwood also shares its name and eastern border with historic Oakwood Cemetery which is the resting place of notables such as NC governors Aycock, Swain, Holden and Worth. Other boundaries loosely border N. Boundary St./Watauga St. to the north, Linden St. to the east, E. Jones St. to the south and N. Person St. to the west.
Architectural significance within the neighborhood has been classified as Classical Revival, Second Empire, Bungalow/Craftsmen and Queen Anne. Although most of the homes in Oakwood reflect individual tastes and differences in architecture, there are many common features. The architectural styles were modified for a southern climate. More than ninety percent of the homes in the region, for example, have at least one porch.
East Raleigh-South Park
The East Raleigh-South Park Historic District occupies approximately 30 blocks and is loosely bordered by E. Hargett St. on the north; Bragg St., Branch St. and E. Lenoir St. on the south; Camden St., S. Swain St. and S. East St. on the east; and S. Blount St. and S. Wilmington St. on the west. Most of the houses were built from 1900-1940 with approximately twenty percent dating back to the nineteenth century.
The East Raleigh portion of the district is composed of portions of the historic neighborhoods of Smith-Haywood and St. Petersburg which developed just after the Civil War. Two of the most distinctive types of houses are the Shotgun and the Triple-A, which together compose one-third of the district. Front gable and side-gabled house can be found throughout the neighborhood as well, specifically the South Park region.
Most porches in the neighborhood serve as a forum for the artistic expression of the people who live there. Some of these expressions include brackets, spindle friezes, detailed balustrades and turned or jigsaw-cut millwork which, in turn, have been termed by some scholars as Folk Victorian design.
The Triangle’s residential communities include popular, mixed-use neighborhoods designed to incorporate a variety of single-family homes, townhomes, shops, restaurants and recreational amenities. Notable among them are Brier Creek, Amberly, Twin Lakes, Bedford at Falls River, and Wakefield Plantation.
Golf course communities offer some of the best courses in the state, such as Brier Creek in northwest Raleigh.
The Town of Cary, near Raleigh, features Amberly, with its distinctive neighborhoods, and Twin Lakes, with its homes inspired by America’s favorite homemaker, Martha Stewart.
Bedford at Falls River in north Raleigh is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, and was named one of America’s top 100 communities for retirees by Where to Retire magazine.
Nearby Wakefield Plantation provides a welcoming community in an ideal location. The planner is Wakefield Development Company, part of L.M. Sandler & Sons, Inc., which has been creating neighborhoods for more than 20 years.
Cindy and Scott Gardner, Wakefield residents for five years, have found an all-inclusive community.
“The schools here are just outstanding,” Mrs. Gardner said. The highly-regarded school system in Wake County has convinced many parents that Wakefield is the prime location for their families. Wake County claims the 3rd best public school system in the country.
“We have a YMCA right down the street offering great activities for kids and adults in the summer,” she said. There are also great exercise facilities, a pool, and additional opportunities for socializing.
Those who join as members of the club will have access to one of the Triangle’s top rated golfing destinations, the Tournament Players Club at Wakefield Plantation. It’s a par 71, 18-hole championship golf course, designed by three-time United States Open Champion, Hale Irwin.
The Gardners have also found a source of entertainment for their school-age children — the Factory at Wake Forest. It features a skate park, ice rink, batting cages, a baseball field and go-karts. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy downtown’s fantastic shopping at Triangle Town Center and North Hills.
Just outside of Raleigh, Cary residents can easily commute to and from the city, or enjoy what their own “little town” has to offer.
In the northwestern corner of Wake County, the Town of Cary offers another desired lifestyle to those who work and play in and around Raleigh. Though the town has grown significantly in recent years, residents are still proud of the small-town atmosphere they continue to uphold.
Construction of the Amberly community began in Cary in 2004 and quickly started to transform it into one of the most desired neighborhoods (with 5,000 homesites) in the Triangle, thanks to the principals of the firm, David Guy and Thomas Scott, who have more than 40 years of experience in real estate and specialize in uniquely located communities throughout the U.S.
“We had to be in Amberly, and we had to be first,” said Gail Connally, whose husband, Mark, set up a reclining lawn chair in a tent and spent the night on the property, intending to be the first to purchase a home site at a KB Homes’ event the following day. “We bought the first one sold in the section,” said Mrs. Connally, referring to Arlington Park, a neighborhood within Amberly.
The Connallys had been following Cary’s growth, and watched as the community began to take root. Originally from Georgia, they lived in the Triangle area for several years before relocating to the Northeast. The family quickly began to miss the things they grew to love around Raleigh. “The children weren’t happy and they missed the schools in the South,” Mrs. Connally said. The family also missed the college football, weekend barbecues and general Southern charm of North Carolina.
Another desirable neighborhood in Raleigh right now is in the new North Hills area. Due to recent revitalization efforts, North Hills and its 80,000 square foot mixed-use shopping center have become a magnet for business, fashionistas and dining connoisseurs alike.
Shoppers looking for the season’s hottest runway fashions enjoy high-end, one-on-one shopping experiences from North Hills. Retailers, such as the upscale boutique Vermillion to the ritzy Luxe Apothecary, and even home décor shops and luxurious spas bring a contemporary, Madison Avenue feel to the area.
For a comfortable steakhouse atmosphere and highly flavorful wines, JK’s offers delicious selections in an intimate setting. Restaurant Savannah, features a fresh take on Lowcountry cuisine in a cozy, yet upscale environment.
Nearby, and also close to NC State University, Cameron Village provides additional shopping, dining and living experiences, similar to that of North Hills.
- Cameron Village
- Oberlin Village
- Glenwood South
- Northgate Park
- American Tobacco Campus
North Raleigh (east of Creedmoor Rd is Millbrook, West of Creedmoor rd is Leesville)