Just in case you missed it (ICYMI), we're passing along this information that GRCVB shared with the media in recent weeks. The City of Raleigh has released a Request For Interest (RFI) about a new convention hotel on two pieces of real estate primed for development in downtown Raleigh.

City of Raleigh Issues RFI for 500+ Room Convention Hotel
Located adjacent to the Raleigh Convention Center, RFI also seeks office/mixed-use tower

The City of Raleigh has released a Request For Interest (RFI) for an upper-upscale, full-service convention hotel and a separate office/mixed-use building on two, City-owned, prime, vacant lots in the heart of downtown Raleigh, N.C. The goal of the RFI is to seek interested developers for the hotel and office/mixed-use sites. The City of Raleigh contracted with Jones Lang LaSalle IP, Inc. (JLL) to complete the RFI as the first step in the process to ultimately seek a partner to develop the Fayetteville St. sites.

Located at the end of Fayetteville St. in the heart of downtown Raleigh, the sites are located across from the Raleigh Convention Center and Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Each site is just over one acre when taking into account the mapped right-of-way.

“This is a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a convention hotel and separate office/mixed-use tower on two prime vacant lots in downtown Raleigh,” said Raleigh city manager Jim Greene. “Innovation, quality design and construction and sustainability are important values to the City for this transformational project.”

Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin added: “I want to emphasize we’re looking for great design. People are coming from all over the world, so let’s make it all it can be.” The Raleigh Convention Center houses a 150,000-sq.-ft. exhibit hall, 32,600-sq.-ft. ballroom and 20 meeting rooms. The timing of the RFI also coincides nicely with the major interior updates planned for the center in 2020-2021.

“We are delighted to soon be able to offer an additional 500+ rooms to Raleigh’s hotel package,” said Kerry Painter, CVE, CMP, CEM, director/general manager of the Raleigh Convention Center. “Located within two blocks of the 500,000-square-foot Raleigh Convention Center—these rooms will change the face of Raleigh’s convention possibilities and bring a new look to our city and an engaging, vibrant experience for our clients and their attendees.”

The need for a 400-plus-room, full-service convention hotel was validated by two recent studies completed. The first was done by HVS Convention Sports and Entertainment Consulting in 2015 and the most recent by JLL in 2018. JLL’s recommendation, a 500-plus-room hotel property, was part of the comprehensive, strategic tourism master plan developed for all of Wake County, whose implementation is referred to as Destination 2028.

“The Destination 2028 plan validated the need for this project, and our research shows 80% of planners prefer upscale or upper-midscale, full-service hotels adjacent to or within walking distance of a convention center,” said Dennis Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh). “We applaud the foresight and vision shown by the City of Raleigh in issuing this RFI and are fully supportive of the efforts to secure this much-needed demand driver for our meeting and convention market as well as transform the visitor experience in downtown Raleigh.”

Following submission of proposals from development teams, JLL and staff will review the proposals and recommend to Raleigh City Council the next steps, which are expected to include a more specific Request for Proposals (RFP) process from the selected developer finalist. The submission and review process is expected to take until late spring/early summer 2020 to complete.

The RFI, as well as more information on the two sites including aerial video, is available at www.raleighnc.gov/hotelcc. Responses are due by 5pm ET on March 27, 2020, and are to be submitted to Tony Peterman, JLL's executive vice president, electronically at tony.peterman@am.jll.com.

Any questions from potential respondents should also be directed to Peterman, and respondents are encouraged not to communicate directly or indirectly with Raleigh City Council Members or other City employees regarding the RFI or submittals from the time the RFI was released until the Raleigh City Council approves next steps in the process. (Violation of this provision by the respondent or respondent’s agent may lead to disqualification from consideration.)

Image by JLL, Co-Star and Google Maps