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Trading In Lawn Mower for High-Rise Views

What factors do people consider when deciding whether or not to move to an urban setting? Maybe they are tired of spending hours cleaning and maintaining a yard, or having to always get in a car to drive to a restaurant or visit a museum. Whatever the reason, people continue to be drawn to downtown living and its variety of amenities right outside their door.

There’s a phrase that real estate agents use to describe condo living: Lock it and leave it. Condo owners can just lock the door and go. And when they return, it will be exactly the way they left it. That is not always the case for single-family homeowners. When they return from being away for a while, the grass will be taller, there may be storm debris in the yard that needs to be cleaned up, and the list goes on and on.

As condo owners at downtown Raleigh’s tallest building, RBC Plaza, Bill and Cristi Heffelfinger know the benefits of downtown living.
“My wife and I were, mostly, raised in the country. We lived in several nice neighborhoods, but never really felt a sense of community until we moved to downtown Raleigh. We've lived downtown for a little more than four years, and are amazed at the sense of community that exists. We always see people we know and take time chat.”
The ability to walk to an array of entertainment venues continues to draw people to live downtown. Raleigh features a wonderful performing arts center, several great art galleries, unique eating establishments, and a vibrant schedule of street and park events that draw a diverse crowd. “There is truly something for everybody. If you're bored, you're not trying hard enough,” said Bill Heffelfinger.

Pool at RBC Plaza
It is not just about what is outside your door, but what your condo building has to offer in the way of amenities inside the building. Have you ever wanted a pool, but didn’t want the maintenance headache that goes along with having one? At RBC Plaza residents can sit pool side and have a cookout several stories above the City. Condo living can also provide a place for you to stay in shape, watch your favorite flick or host your buddies for a card game.

If you are considering a move to downtown Raleigh, here are some helpful tips from the Heffelfingers:

  • Embrace the downsizing. Purge, purge, purge. Condo living is right-sized for life, so it forces you to reconsider what's really important to you. The rest of it is just extra baggage.
  • Attend City sponsored events when you can.
  • Shop local. Make every effort to support your local businesses. You'd be surprised what you can find downtown or within a short (and very nice) walk. 
No matter what peaks your interest, visit downtown and get a tour of an RBC Plaza condo to see what all the buzz is about.
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Student winners of the RBC Plaza Retail Design Competition Announced

Meredith College interior design students Danielle Sundt and Lauren Hays were all smiles when they learned they were the winners of the RBC Plaza Retail Design Competition. Announced on April 29 during a special ceremony, the winning student team was awarded $500 for their creative design.

Winners of the RBC Plaza Retail Design Competition

The competition kicked off on March 18, 2011, by challenging 14 students to design a vacant, 2,200-square-foot retail space in downtown Raleigh’s tallest building, RBC Plaza. After conducting a survey of the office customers and condo residents in the building, the students were given the task of creating an affordable boutique that catered to both men and women.

Inspired by Raleigh’s reputation as the “City of Oaks”, Danielle and Lauren named their boutique Akorn. Their design was the only one to feature a mezzanine level and it incorporated a real oak tree in the center of the first floor.

The public was invited to vote for their winning design on Thursday, April 28, in the retail space at RBC Plaza. The winning team was selected based on public opinion as well as input from a five-person judging panel consisting of real estate and design experts.

“Working with an existing space and the many challenges it presents has been an incredible design experience for the students,” said Dr. Martha Burpitt, professor of human environmental sciences and Interior Design program coordinator, Meredith College. “Researching who the target market will be, the location and merchandise offered were the basis for the overriding concept, store name and store design. The students had a great experience with this design challenge.”

Students Concepting and Taking Measurements

I am amazed by the talent of these students. You could clearly see the amount of time and research that went into developing their concept, and I appreciate that most of the teams embraced the technology available to them. Talking with several of the students during the award ceremony, they appreciated having a real-life space to design instead of a concept presented to them in the classroom setting, which is often the case. It was a great learning experience for the students and certainly a highlight for their resume as most of them will be graduating this weekend and seeking employment.