We have all visited a planned community that looks—well—a little too planned. Master-planned developments have the benefit of a vision for growth, but they can lack the character of a community that has been built over time.
“We want to take the best of being master planned in terms of connectivity and ease of use but have different people’s solutions, so it doesn’t feel contrived or too staged,” said T.J. Barringer, Kane Realty’s managing director of development. “When everything is perfectly tied together, it can look too matching. That’s not how a natural urban setting feels.”
At North Hills, Kane Realty and their design firms have intentionally avoided the Disneyesque look that’s often a hallmark of mixed-use developments. Throughout the process of creating the Lassiter, the Main District, and the Park District, Kane Realty has partnered with a variety of architectural firms to create an authentic sense of place.
“We pay a lot of attention to the team working on each project to make sure that it fits their specialty—whether that is commercial or multifamily,” said Barringer. “While we value long-term relationships with design firms and repeat business, we don’t use the same firm over and over, because using just one firm for all of your apartments or all the offices tends to make the projects look more similar rather than creating the variety we are seeking.”
Dwell Design Studios created the Dartmouth apartments in the Park District and designed Vine, a residential building, which will be built in the next phase of the North Hills development along St. Albans Drive. Dwell Chief Operating Officer Ryan Miller said Kane Realty is committed to creating an urban setting that is well integrated but offers architectural variety.
“Kane has focused on the master plan and making all of the pieces connect, but Kane wants each of the projects to offer something a little bit different – different amenities and styles to create variety,” Miller said.
North Hills East, the expansion of the Park District on 33 acres along St. Albans Drive, will focus on connectivity to greenway trails, outdoor fitness offerings, and public art exhibitions within the context of an urban environment. The office towers, apartments, and retail space are designed to encourage walkability and engagement with the outdoors throughout the St. Albans expansion.
“We are trying to respond to the natural site constraints along St. Albans—there are a couple of creeks that run through the new property and a lot of grade change,” said Barringer. “We are trying to respond to that and include our trend of emphasizing fitness and the arts.”
The development along the east side of Six Forks features office towers and contemporary architectural design, while the Main District and Lassiter are more traditional with a European flair. Each district has a distinct personality and features, and they all connect to form the premier destination for business, living, and entertainment in Raleigh’s Midtown.