Project Specific - Buildings and Site  Q&A

Raleigh Convention Hotel and Downtown Development Project

B1. To what degree will the value of innovation, quality design and construction be weighted in the City’s evaluation vs. the financial aspects of the proposal.  For example, if reduced land prices could result in more iconic architecture, innovation, and sustainability, would those longer term impacts on Raleigh’s economic development, brand, and skyline be viewed more favorably, or will the immediate  economics of the developer proposals carry more importance in your evaluation and selection?  

The financial proposal, the quality of the project, and the overall design are all critical issues for the City.  None has more weight necessarily when compared with any other.  The City intends to compare each of these elements collectively across the various responses received as part of the RFP process. 

B2. Will the hotel have a direct connection to the convention center? 

While the site is located diagonally across the corner from the convention center, a direct connection to the convention center is both possible and desired.  Note that the available incentive money can be used flexibly, including for parking and infrastructure, as well as to build a direct connection to the convention center, among other potential uses. 

B3. Is the City thinking 500 rooms, or is that the minimum? 

The 500 guestrooms is the established minimum for the hotel project.  However, the City is looking to development teams to determine the optimal room count that meets their collective vision. 

B4. What is the targeted meeting space square footage for the proposed hotel?  

Although modern convention hotels typically have 100 square feet of net function space per guestroom or more, the City is looking to the development community to recommend what their vision is for the project.  If  you believe site acreage is a limiting factor with respect to the amount of rooms and/or meeting space that you propose and/or desire, please discuss this issue in your submittal along with creative options to address your meeting room square footage needs in conjunction with the City’s goal of 500+ rooms. 

B5. Could the two towers be connected to each other on the top/higher floors over Fayetteville Street?   

Yes, with City Council approval.  As a development team, if this is important and part of your vision, indicate this and describe the connection and benefits in your submittal. 

B6. Is there an existing room block agreement in the market?   

Yes, there is currently one room block agreement, and it was executed with the Marriott as part of its development agreements with the City. 

B7. What will be the room block agreement for the proposed hotel?   

Given that public incentives are available for this project, a to-be-negotiated room block agreement will be a requirement. The room block agreement is intended to enable both City and Developer to achieve their goals, and is anticipated to be consistent with other P3 convention hotel room block agreements executed in other convention markets. 

B8. Will the Fayetteville expansion / “right of way” be a road with cars, or will it be a pedestrian mall?  

City Council has designated Fayetteville Street as future right-of-way on the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Street Plan, which will require any proposed development to accommodate the opening of the street through the site(s).  If it is desired to establish the corridor as a pedestrian path, plaza, or something different, it is up to the submitter to elaborate on what it is that is desired and why. The final determination will be made by City Council, but creativity in open space design is encouraged.  

B9. Are there requirements for the use of union labor/MWBE?   

There are no requirements for the use of union labor/MWBE.   However, the City of Raleigh maintains strong goals to encourage and ensure MWBE participation in City construction projects and service contracts. The City has adopted a goal of 15% participation by small, disadvantaged minority and women-owned businesses.  Additionally, the City of Raleigh prohibits discrimination by its contract partners in any manner on the bases of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, handicap or sexual orientation and will pursue an affirmative policy of fostering, promoting and conducting business with women and minority-owned business enterprises. 

B10. Is the site located in an opportunity zone?   

Yes. The entire site is located in an Opportunity Zone. 

B11. Was there a test fit for the site?   

No, however the renderings used for the presentation did contemplate a hotel with banquet space below.  

B12. Have there been any prior studies completed?  

Yes, several and they are all available in project resources

B13. Is there any opposition from local hotels related to the project?   

The local hospitality industry is supportive of the convention center hotel project with the expectation that the hotel will be high quality, full-service and help the convention center and downtown hotel business to grow and continue to be successful. 

B14. Is the site fully comprised of City-owned land?   

Yes, it is entirely in City ownership.  

B15. What is the City’s ideal or preferred height for each building? 

The zoning will allow for up to 40 stories.  Although the City has expressed a desire for the project tower or towers to be  of substantial height to be key elements in the City’s future skyline, no minimum number of stories has been determined by the City.  

B16. Is there a minimum square footage required for the Office/Mixed-use tower? 

No.  However, office space  in downtown Raleigh is in high demand and the prominence of this site makes it prime to become a headquarters site for a Fortune 500 company. 

B17. Will the City consider residential components in the Office/Mixed-use tower? 

Yes.  The City is open to considering residential units for sale, for rent, or both as part of that project.  Additionally, the City has expressed its flexibility with the towers, and is open to considering the possibility of including residential in the hotel tower and/or hotel guestrooms in the office/mixed-use tower. 

B18. Does City support exist for workforce housing? 

Yes.  While the City is cognizant of the growing need for workforce housing within the community, no minimum requirements have been made for this project.  However, to the extent a developer deems a workforce housing component to be a complement to its vision, development teams are encouraged to consider its inclusion.  City Council has placed a priority of developing more affordable housing in Raleigh. 

B19. What is the City’s intention related to land conveyance? Lease vs. Fee-Simple vs. Short-term lease with an option?   

It is up to the submitter to propose the mechanism that is best for the development.  The City is open to a long-term ground lease, a short-term ground lease with option to purchase, or a fee simple purchase of the site.  

B20. Is ground-level retail space required for zoning purposes?   

Yes. The zoning is designed to create a very active and vibrant street front. 

B21. Numerous sustainable certifications exist, including LEED, Energy Star, BREAM, WELL, Green Globe, the Living Building Challenge, Zero Energy, and Parksmart.  Has the City determined which one or ones should be considered?     

Any certification that guides and informs the sustainability and performance of the project should be considered as appropriate and applicable.  While the City has not set sustainability requirements for this project, City Council supports and encourages public realm projects that incorporate sustainability in the site planning, technology, materials, energy sources and design.  New construction by the City and existing buildings owned by the City abide by LEED building policy adopted by Council in 2008.   

B22. The City has announced its intentions to construct a large office building for its own use.  Has the City considered committing some of its space needs to the proposed project?   

No.  City Council has approved the location and awarded the design contact for the new civic tower at the current site of Raleigh’s Municipal Building located at 222 West Hargett Street (about 4 blocks away from the convention center.)   

B23. Has any geotechnical/environmental testing been done on the sites to ascertain soil conditions?   

No.  It will be up to the developer to conduct any testing to rely upon and support their intended design. 

B24. Does the City expect both pads to be developed immediately and simultaneously, or, once selected, would the developer have discretion for the timing of the development for each pad? 

Ideally, both towers would be  designed and built simultaneously and benefit from economies on foundations, subsurface parking construction, infrastructure to serve both sites, etc .  The City expects the development of the convention hotel tower to be developed “immediately” after the customary design and pre-development work are complete.  Although it is the desire of the City to have the second tower (if proposed) also be completed in a timely manner, the City recognizes the timing differences that can exist between hotel and office projects.  However, if proposed, a developer would be held accountable for meeting milestone targets as determined in the RFP phase.

B25. Will the City prescribe the ratios of mixed uses, i.e., office, residential, retail, etc.?

No.  The City looks to the development and investment community to recommend the product mix it believes is optimal for the project. 

B26. Who provided the conceptual massing and renderings that are included in the project materials and video? 

The City’s in-house architectural and design team generated those renderings, and they were produced merely to provide context to the City’s desire for a transformational and iconic hotel and office/mixed-use towers.  The City Council has prioritized quality, iconic design for this project. 

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