Despite lingering fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, construction is booming in downtown Raleigh.
There is roughly $3.3 billion worth of planned construction throughout downtown and nearly $1.5 billion in construction or with site preparation underway.
“The effect and impact of the COVID-19 crisis continues to demand a strong response from our community to help Downtown Raleigh, and the work is not done,” said Bill King, CEO and president of Downtown Raleigh Alliance.
“But time and again, this community has shown an ability to support and elevate its center city through bold action and investment,” he said. “The same energy that revitalized this downtown will position this place to quickly rebound again.”
The numbers were presented Wednesday afternoon during the alliance’s annual state of downtown event.
Find the full report at downtownraleigh.org/sod-2022
Downtown Raleigh has nearly 50,000 workers, but many no longer spend most of their work week there
The pandemic saw businesses and offices shut down. Now that office and government workers have seen they can do their jobs at home, it’s been harder to get them to come back.
“I’m hoping that more businesses will say to their employees, ‘we need you in here to work,’” said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin.
“’This is where you can be innovative. This is where you can be collaborative,” she said. “Now, it doesn’t have to be every day. But we’d like to see more office workers returning. It’s good for the companies; it’s good for the people.”
Nearly 20 companies have announced moves or expansions in downtown since 2021, making up about 1,500 new jobs.
There is still demand for office space, the alliance reports, with 1.7 million square feet under construction or planned.
And a net 35 new storefront businesses have opened since 2021.
More than 21,000 people live within a mile of downtown Raleigh, and that is expected to top 30,000 people in five years.
“One of the things we’ve learned from COVID Is that we’ve been too dependent on our employee base to enliven downtown,” Baldwin said. “And what we need is more residential growth. And we’re seeing that happening. So that’s good news.”
Construction or site preparation has started on more than 3,500 apartments and condominiums in the downtown area. And nearly 5,000 more housing units are planned or proposed.
That would more than double the nearly 8,000 units in downtown now.
Of those, just 279 of the future units are considered affordable housing, though the city is seeking proposals for affordable housing near Moore Square.
And while there is a greater demand for for-sale housing, virtually all will be rental units.
The average rent for a downtown apartment is $1,905, and the average size is 812 square feet.
This story was originally published August 31, 2022 2:53 PM.
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