Goodnight Raleigh - a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night

The Occidental Life Insurance Building

Unlike many of Raleigh’s mid-twentieth century modernist structures, the Occidental Life Insurance Building has escaped the wrecker’s ball. Erected as the corporate headquarters of the Occidental Life Insurance Comapany of North Carolina in 1956, this iconic Internationalist style building was designed by renowned Raleigh architect Leif Valand (with Kemp, Bunch and Jackson of Jacksonville, Florida).

Vacated by Occidental in the late 1990s, the building faced demolition by its new owner.  Happily, it was rescued and restored in 2006 by its current owner and occupant, Coldwell Banker Commercial TradeMark Properties.

Home Office Building
Occidental Life Insurance Company of North Carolina
Raleigh, N.C.
One of the nation’s finest insurance buildings, located in suburban Cameron Village, Raleigh.

The Occidental Building was a premier suburban office building in its day. As a result of restoration, the gleaming limestone exterior and lavish interior finishes consisting of mahogany paneling, terrazzo flooring and travertine granite walls have all been returned to their former beauty.

Now known formally as the Coldwell Banker Building, the Occidental Life Insurance Building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

This architectural rendering, dating from 1953, shows Valand’s original design for the Occidental Life Insurance Building. As can be seen in the 1960 postcard, the fifth floor and sixth floor penthouse were not built, and the reception wing, originally intended to be faced with native North Carolina stone, was finished in brick instead. Nonetheless, in its restored state, in the 21st century the Occidental Life Insurance Building is truly a shining beacon on the hill at Wade Ave. and Daniels St.

Discuss Raleigh

  • Recent Comments:

    • matt: Great job Ian!
    • Bruce: Thanks, Ian. Don’t stop with this property — there are many more needing attnetion.
    • Cliff Ayscue: I had a great uncle names W E Jones that worked at Trailways in Raleigh for many years. I think from...
    • Jim: Great news for a great house!
    • Kimberly Andersen: Magnificent!!! Thank you for the fascinating history of this house. I am so happy the house will...
    • Gene: Thank you for this amazing write up! So freaking cool!
    • Matthew Brown: Wonderful wonderful article, Ian!! And fabulous old photographs!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
    • LJG: Robin Trower had some of the best guitar face I’ve ever seen. Was at the stage for one of his shows in...