2019 - Actual, Bigger, and Better Downtown


Major sports teams aren’t really necessary, like Charleston, Austin, Louisville, Asheville, etc. all have strong identities. And lots of major league sports teams in cities like Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Portland, or Sacramento aren’t really critical to the city’s identity. It’s definitely possible to create a cultural identity without big time pro sports.

And honestly, the Triangle will always be defined by college sports, particularly basketball as long as UNC and Duke are perennial powerhouses and NC State maintains its rabid, underdog fanbase (I mean that as a compliment). No metro (nor state even) in the country is defined by college basketball except the Triangle and NC and I’ve always been kind of proud of that. (Having grown up in NC back when watching the ACC tournament took precedence over classes, even for the teachers, no one will ever convince me that another sport will replace college BB).

That being said, I’d love for NC State to play somewhere that’s walkable to downtown. I’d love for Raleigh to host the ACC tournament.

And even though nobody is surprised by this by now, I’d love for Raleigh to keep building the “Smithsonian of the South” brand. I’m a huge nerd and love the actual Smithsonian and would love to see Raleigh add more museums that play to our cultural and technological history.


@Steve I love this…:heart_eyes::star_struck:


Speaking of the culture and arts brand, we’ve got a good start with our current museums and arts organizations, particularly the NCMA. I saw an article about how Florence Italy is one of the world’s biggest cultural centers and yet is a relatively small city. It’s definitely something we could aspire to but it requires city leaders to think big and bold not mediocre or just “good enough”.


Steve , You may be aware of this . If it hasn’t change , on the 2nd floor of the history museum , The NC Sports Hall Of Fame has a exhibit with videos of the last few minutes of NCSU , UNC , Duke National Championship Wins !


The NCMA is a :rose: but with thorns in my mind. So, how does DTR utilize this as a draw? :thinking:Would prefer them in DTR…but it will never move to DTR unlike the PNC arena which can…so where does that leave us?
Maybe some sort of yet unknown transit system to better connect the two…I dream big! :sunglasses:


I most certainly am! The NC Sports HOF is one of my favorite parts of the museum. Like the rest of the exhibits though, it could use more space!


Actual culture is what we need to support and encourage. That is what will ultimately bring in the jobs and development. What that entails, I’m not sure.

Personally, I would like to support a much larger and weekly night market in Downtown Raleigh somewhere–encourage craft vendors, musicians, artists, and food vendors participate by limiting costs and barriers and building a support system in partnership with the city of Raleigh. Maybe build a large commissary kitchen by the farmer’s market and hold the night market at Dix Park.

Food vendors can sign up, buy fresh produce and products at the farmer’s market, do most of the cooking in the commissary kitchen or at their stalls, and sell at night market.

Something like that would be a big draw to the city and development will be spurred from that.


I think culture building requires subsidies. One thing Raleigh is missing is a ton of underutilized run down warehouses, which many cities have to indirectly kickstart arts districts. We grew affluent too quickly and the core is full of money as DTR becomes more desirable. Lease rates for housing and artsy/cultural retail (galleries, music venues, home-grown business etc.) will drive people to less expensive areas or to larger markets where artsy and cultural folk can earn more.

The only problem for us is that I don’t think intentionally subsidizing “culture” works unless it is super authentic. “Bolting-on” an initiative or one small areas of affordable gallery/maker/etc space isn’t going to give the shot in the arm that we need to truly grow a culture from the ground up with critical mass to begin drawing people from other markets here to further their craft/art.

We have a family friendly, high-earning culture which attracts more of the same…


Spot on Evan. Check out this article of successful subsidizing Artist studios and creative incubators in Amsterdam:

I see this to small degree here e.g. Goodnight’s warehouse project on Hoke street, Golden Belt campus in Durham. We need more of that as close to downtown as possible… creative cluster around Cargill, include some at Kane’s new project accross rail tracks from union station, around Whitaker Mill / Atlantic would have plenty of space but it might be too far from downtown

In the words of a recent visitors I had here: Raleigh is cooler than Charlotte. Durham is cooler than Raleigh and Asheville is cooler than Durham :slight_smile:


Interesting that hierarchy of coolness, which I agree with, corresponds with city size and high-earning industry.


This is an important point. Arts and Culture are typically not high margin activities and they can thrive in areas with low rents, but definitely need subsidies in high rent areas. We’ve already seen performance venues like ManBitesDog in Durham get pushed out by high rents and we’re going to keep seeing more of the same, and forget about new music venues or theraters getting started in DTR. As I see it, the city can either help performance venues stay open somehow or they can help them relocate out of DT once the rents get too high.


Relocating our venues and galleries out of DT is not an option IMO. We either figure out how to keep them thriving and add more, or we surrender to the regression of returning to a drab downtown experience, one where the high-earners hold a monopoly on posh restaurants and boutique retail and the cultured go elsewhere. I would love to see the city provide a grant to Lincoln Theater for a facelift and interior update. I would love to see the city provide some sort of development fee exemptions for gallery/venue/theater space in new developments in the core of DT, similar to affordable housing. I would love for Dix park to build an arts district. Anyone have an update on the Tin Roof venue announced for Clark Art back in April?


I think it’s important to remember that the third option is “they just close and we lose them forever”. I don’t necessarily think a one size fits all policy is the best option. Depending on circumstances, some companies or troupes might actually benefit from moving out of the DT core (by getting their own space, or expanding, or whatever). Others, like Lincoln Theater, simply can’t relocate. My point was that the city should help galleries, venues and theater companies stay open, and help others get started, but I don’t think we should live under the assumption that all venues and galleries should be downtown. I guess what I mean is I’d prefer 10 galleries spread throughout the city instead of only 5 galleries downtown. I want to total number of cultural assets to increase even if it means some locate to more suburban locations.

Now, that being said, I’m not at all saying we should abandon the downtown cultural scene completely, that would be absurd. When it makes sense for the venue or the company, I’d like the city to help them stay or open downtown.


I think that ArtSpace and VAE are working hard to keep artists working downtown.


5 posts were split to a new topic: Old Greyhound Lot - South Park - 1201 S. Blount St


I was reading a article from WTVD11 news site about JPMorgan chase looking to add branches in Chapel Hill and in Raleigh. if that is true, Chase will need a new headquaters, so wouldn’t it be awesome if they Bought the N&O site and build a Tower there. It may happen…maybe not. but it would be kind of Cool if they did.


Here’s an idea for a bigger, better, downtown: create a more professional way to drop the acorn other than a giant ugly crane. It will definitely cost some dough, but it would be a nice opportunity for the acorn drop to be sponsored by a corporation.


Funny, I was thinking the same thing as I watched both the Crystal Ball in NY and our Acorn. My guess is that we first need a permanent place to place it? Kind of like how Sir Walter kept moving until he got his perm spot in from of the Civic Center…:thinking:


I was thinking about some sort of tripod permanent “sculpture” that could be placed in City Plaza that has attachments at the top to lift and drop the acorn on NYE. The “tripod” could have a programmable light show integrated into it that could present different light shows for different holidays, including a descending pattern that could follow the acorn as it drops. During Christmas, the tripod shape could even evoke a modern Christmas tree.


Awesome ideas! :star_struck:
Now, go upon the mountain top and shout…lol :grin:
Or somehow, just let the city know…:grinning: