Downtown Raleigh’s boldest condo project, The Hue, had a rough start after initially failing to sell any residential units. It entered the real estate market at the worst time in recent history, and a series of missteps by the original Los Angeles development group created a failed project in what should have been a receptive market.
After being sold and converted to rental units about six months ago, more and more residents are moving in and things are looking up. The missing component to the turnaround was ground-level retail, and that will soon change with the opening of Tribeca Cafe next month.
The Departure of a Downtown Raleigh Icon
Despite the promise of new residents moving in with the conversion to a rental property, longtime Raleigh stalwart White Rabbit Books closed its doors last November. It was especially painful as they had been in business for over 20 years in their previous location deeper in the Warehouse District. Because of this, many questioned the viability of retail storefronts in the Hue.
Despite a loyal clientele and long history in Raleigh, White Rabbit was a niche retail operation in a part of downtown that (for now) is light on foot traffic during daylight hours. Its departure shouldn’t represent the long term viability of retail in this area.
The New Tenant: Tribeca Cafe
There are several signs on the windows on the Hargett Street side indicating a new business will soon open: Tribeca Cafe. One of the guys working inside said that in addition to a cafe with food, it will also be a “bar bar.” The Facebook page for Tribeca Cafe lures future patrons in:
Organic Espresso, Drip Coffee, Teas, and an excellent menu of hand picked, breakfast combinations at The Tribeca Cafe and Lounge. […]
Let us tantalize your taste buds with one of our many choices from Gourmet Sandwiches, Soups, Exotic Salads, or even Delectable Sushi,
*SUSHI SPECIALS ON EVERY TUESDAY!!*
The cuisine special and menu is available from 12pm to 2AM!
The person preparing the inside said that they expect to be open by the end of next month.
Opening a cafe and lounge in the space looks like the logical first step in opening up street level retail. One only need look a block or so away and see the success of Liz Masnik at The Borough to see that this part of town has a thriving night life scene and can easily sustain more.
A Welcome Splash of Color
Aesthetically, I think the Hue is at or near the top of condo projects in Downtown Raleigh. The exterior colors, stepped walls, and ample glass make for a modern and attractive building. This type of high-density mixed-use property is what Raleigh needs more of. Something like this is what we should have got in Cameron Village, not the revivalist project designed by Cameron Park residents that we’re getting.
I’m wishing the owners of Tribeca Cafe success and hope it will usher in more retail frontage on the corner of Hargett and Dawson Streets.
Poised halfway between the Boylan Bridge Brewpub, the Warehouse District, and the core of Downtown Raleigh on Fayetteville Street, this area has nowhere to go but up.