The site of today's Capital Bank Plaza had been home to many commercial businesses including the Law Building (pictured below, right) during the Reconstruction. In 1910, City Hall (pictured below, left) was erected at 333 Fayetteville Street and designed in the Beaux Arts style by architect, P. Thornton Marye. It was a multi-purpose building that served as a forum, municipal offices, and even an auditorium (pictured below, center). The auditorium was destroyed by fire in 1930, and was replaced just a couple of blocks south by Memorial Auditorium in 1932 which still stands today. When new city government complexes were being built, City Hall was eventually demolished in 1960.
Until 1961, the Raleigh office of Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) operated out of the Professional Building in downtown. That year, BB&T purchased the site of the old City Hall, which was destroyed by fire, from the Hudson-Belk Company for approximately $250,000. The bank had a one million dollar plan to erect a new building on the historic 58 by 210 foot lot.
By 1963, BB&T and 333 Fayetteville Street Associates entered into a partnership to jointly develop the building for multi-tenant use with the bank being the anchor tenant. The associates consisted of real estate entrepreneurs Albert G. McCarthy Jr., Albert G. McCarthy III, and Warren G. Carsons. Emery Roth & Sons, a New York City-based architectural firm, was hired to design the new BB&T building in association with local architects including G. Milton Small who designed the lobby. Inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building, the BB&T building was designed to feature dark glass and black marble with sleek steel structure and open floor plans.
The massive project was completed in 1965 and the new BB&T Building was officially Raleigh’s tallest skyscraper at 15 stories high. Topped with the iconic BB&T sign, the building became a landmark for people coming in from Highways 401 and 70 throughout the mid-century. As Raleigh’s symbol of progress, the bank and associates threw a grand holiday celebration for the city in 1967. A 50-foot Christmas tree was air-dropped on top of the building and lit by Governor Dan Moore.
BB&T moved out of the building in 1995 to its new home just south at Two Hannover Square. The former Branch Banking & Trust Building is a designated Historic Raleigh Landmark.
Capital Bank Plaza
Throughout its history, Capital Bank Plaza, as it is known today, has been a cornerstone to Raleigh’s Modernist architecture movement and the culture of downtown. Triangle developers, Don Carter and Bobby Lewis purchased the building in 2004. Upon purchasing the property, Carter and Lewis made renovations to nearly all of the building interior, upgrades to the HVAC system, and improvements to the elevators. The building has been restored to its glory days of its beginnings and today is one of the premiere Class A office buildings in downtown Raleigh.