Raleigh Report

Raleigh picks One World Trade Center architect for future downtown campus

Raleigh’s City Hall on West Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh. Raleigh is partnering with Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to design a new civic campus for its city offices, the company announced Monday. The company, known as SOM, is an award-winning firm that has designed buildings around the world, including One World Trade Center.
Raleigh’s City Hall on West Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh. Raleigh is partnering with Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to design a new civic campus for its city offices, the company announced Monday. The company, known as SOM, is an award-winning firm that has designed buildings around the world, including One World Trade Center. 2014 News & Observer file photo

The same firm that designed the new One World Trade Center in New York is slated to help the City of Raleigh build a new downtown campus.

Raleigh is partnering with Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to design a new civic campus for its city offices, the company announced Monday. The company, known as SOM, dates back to the 1930s and has designed landmark buildings around the world.

SOM announced the partnership in a press release, saying its work will be “transformational.” City representatives haven’t responded to requests for comment.

“We are thrilled to be working with the City of Raleigh to shape a powerful vision for a new City Hall and urban neighborhood at the heart of this flourishing capital city,” said Kristopher Takacs, Director of SOM’s Washington, D.C., office. “This project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to imagine a thriving urban redevelopment anchored by a 21st-century government hub that represents the values of Raleigh.”

The move comes after Raleigh City Council members in May tentatively approved a plan to sell some of its downtown properties and consolidate its offices onto a municipal campus on Hargett Street, where City Hall currently stands. Similar government projects listed on SOM’s website include a courthouse in San Diego, a Chicago public library and Denver’s Union Station.

City Hall is about 34 years old and isn’t big enough to house all of Raleigh’s government offices. Raleigh spends about $500,000 a year to lease additional office space in five other buildings, including One Exchange Plaza on Fayetteville Street.

City staff reported last year that building a campus on Hargett would cost an estimated $93 million, compared to $129 million on land on the south side of downtown or $133 million on property near Moore Square.

Raleigh selected SOM from an undisclosed field of candidates who presented initial proposals in September, according to the company announcement.

“The firm will lead the overall project and will oversee the creation of an urban design vision and implementation road map for the new campus, which is projected to be completed within the next five to seven years,” SOM said.

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht

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