Wake County Commissioners gave a downtown developer a final time extension for a mixed-used project on county-owned property.
Construction of the L-Building will not begin this month, as originally agreed upon, but developers Concord-Empire say they are confident they will be able to begin construction in September.
Nearly five years after signing the deal with the county, the project is moving forward with ground floor retail space, office space on the second floor and 83 rental apartments around the county parking deck near the downtown amphitheater.
Balfour Beatty Construction is a partner in the project, but has also signed on to lease the office space.
Raleigh developer and restaurateur Greg Hatem said the rental option will fill the need for residential development. Citrix, he said, will be only three blocks away and some of those 340 new employees will need a place to live.
“This is the last time we want to be up here for an extension,” he said.
With the financing lined up, he said he feels confident the construction will begin as scheduled in September.
The project has been in the works since 2007. Concord-Empire planned on building condominiums with ground-floor retail space that would wrap around the parking garage on McDowell and Davie streets, but financing was hard to find during the recession.
Concord-Empire moved onto retail and office space, but had similar problems.
The company has already invested about $2 million on the project and the county has $575,000 in good-faith deposits.
The site plan for the project has already been submitted and is working its way through the approval process.
Bluegrass Festival Organizers Request More Money
Organizers of a large bluegrass festival are asking local governments for more money as the event grows beyond what they had planned.
The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) asked Wake County Commissioners and Raleigh City Councilors this week for $159,000 in Business Development Funds for the Bluegrass Music Association Convention and Bluegrass Festival in late September.
The festival includes a three-day “Bluegrass Fan Fest” featuring more than 60 acts, plus a business conference and an awards show. The event takes place Sept. 23 to 29.
County Commissioners approved the funding at their meeting on Monday.
The GRCVB can grant up to $100,000 in Business Development Funds, but higher amounts need Council and Commission approval.
During initial planning stages, Laurie Okun, representing the Convention Center, said that only $100,000 was allocated for the week-long event. Of that, $75,000 will be used for rental of the Convention Center and $25,000 will be used for the festival.
As planning continued, Okun said, “It became more and more apparent that this was going to be a festival of major caliber.”
Okun likened it to the NHL All-Star game in 2011. The week-long event included the All-Star game, a skills competition, a trade show and other events for fans.
The bluegrass festival, which is being touted as the week’s signature event, will host 25 to 30 free shows throughout downtown Raleigh.
The additional $59,000 would cover costs for that festival.
GRCVB vice president Loren Gold said the total ask of $159,000 is equal to what they think the event will generate in hotel and food and beverage taxes. According to the News & Observer, the 2011 festival in Nashville drew more than 16,000 people. The festival will be held in Raleigh for at least three years.
The organizing committee intends to raise $66,000 to cover costs for the festival, but Gold said the $59,000 will be money in hand. If the money is raised, the $59,000 goes back into the fund.
The GRCVB should hear a decision from the City Council Tuesday.
UPDATE: The Council approved the issue Tuesday.