Duke/Progress awful street level

Not sure if anything can be done but I find it interesting that this is one of the worst street experience buildings downtown…maybe next to the AT&T building. Just today, I had to witness some homeless lady trying to sit in the dumpy little cafe’s chairs and get into an argument with one of the staff people, ultimately requiring police involvement. The facade is Soviet-era style…at best

Duke energy has no problem spending $100 million of your money to build a gleaming tower in downtown charlotte but won’t invest a dime in Raleigh, it’s same home state. They sit on the empty lot even though they make real estate investments in charlotte. They actively recruit companies to come to charlotte but appear to provide a ‘half-ass’ support at best for companies being recruited to Raleigh. You can’t even publicly see what ‘deals’ they provide companies while we ratepayers pick up the tab of those ‘deals’.

This site seems very pro-grass roots engagement so I thought maybe someone knows how we can put pressure on a rate-payer owned monopoly who has a public responsibility to all ratepayers and the municipalities in which they are required to provide power.

Any ideas???

4 Likes

I feel that if the businesses trapped deep under the eaves of the awnings were permitted to extend their outdoor footprint out to the columns holding up the awnings, it might make for a better street experience. Like if the Mexican restaurant could emulate XOCO on Glenwood by putting out some real tables, lights and plants; it would really liven up the sidewalk a little bit.

4 Likes

Duke just spent millions renovating the top floor of their building for employees. Turned it into a gym, game room, cafe, walking track, conference rooms, etc. The Raleigh office is actually nicer than the current Charlotte office. Also, the Raleigh office has more employees in it now than it did when it was Progress Energy.

Unbiased, I actually like the design of the building. Sure, the ground floor could be better but it could also be a lot worse.

5 Likes

I really love those awnings when it’s raining and I don’t have my umbrella…

1 Like

The ONLY reason there are any employees still downtown is because the North Carolina utilities commission REQUIRED it. The former sleazeball Duke CEO who pulled that BS where they fired the Progress Energy CEO as soon as the ink was dry on the merger (because they had more board members which showed it was planned all along) even though they said all along publicly that Bill Johnson would be the CEO. It became public after the merger Dook had planned all along to lay off a ton of Progress Energy employees to justify the deal…but when that happened the State stepped in and reminded those aholes that they’re a “regulated monopoly”

Believe it or not, not too long ago it was much worse. They replaced bubble awnings with the current ones and took some ground floor offices to make it retail space shortly after Fayetteville St was reopened to traffic. They were trying to get on board with street level retail and actually brightened up the space under the awnings a lot. However like the Wake County Courthouse, I think what they really need to do is rip off the bottom few floors of sloping facade and square it up and make it more like traditional storefront. RBC/PNC did a good job with theirs and most of Progress II (later Red Hat) turned out well too (never liked the Buku setback but they survived until booted so it worked out I guess)

3 Likes

Agreed but that’s part of my point, Dook won’t do it because it’s Raleigh and they don’t give a damn.

1 Like

The building needs a lower floor renovation like the BofA building had a few years ago next door. That sloped facade is not really a sloped facade. It’s just those buttress things that slope, and I’m sure that they aren’t structural. Rip them off and do something different to visually anchor that building to the sidewalk. It’s just a big ole mess right now.

4 Likes

Just so damn happy when I flick the switch the lights come on, the stove works, the heat and AC work so I don’t have to live like a savage, going to have to pay someone for this service no matter how ya slice it.

1 Like

Wouldn’t you prefer to actually have a choice like every other purchase you make? Maybe some actual competition the rest of American capitalism actually provides?

2 Likes

Yes I would, but until then I’ll have to take what I can get.

1 Like

Electric grid is more of a natural Monopoly than failure of capitalism. It doesn’t make sense to have 2 grids providing choice of provider to every business and household. This is “barriers to entry 101”

5 Likes

Lots of states have energy choice where you can choose who “produces” the energy you consume. One set of lines, I think energy trading goes on at a company level, and you pay the company you chose. We had it back in PA as far back as 1999.
It’s doable, but would probably take a sea change here since Duke/Progress has so much sway in the state.

2 Likes

You mean the grid lines that were subsidized buy taxpayer to build in the first place?

1 Like

This is way off topic. Let’s keep the arguments for and against natural monopolies somewhere else. Unless you can argue for and against their contributions to sidewalk design.

7 Likes

Why not build out the first floor to pop out to the edge of the facade? That’s gotta had some extra square footage to the first floor retail space.

They are kind of doing this in the Financial District in NYC. There are tons of colonnades and open arcades with no retail, but now the city is allowing the property owners to fill in these spaces with retail and activations. Could be an interesting thing to see in Raleigh too.

2 Likes

Well if Duke won’t do anything we might want to envision I guess just close the the thread. Unless its just a bash Duke thread

I suppose that someone with the skillset and the time is welcome to envision what it could be like if renovated and then discuss the merits and its impact?

A whole thread and no photos? Anyway, to me, Fayetteville Street has a certain aesthetic but the “arcade” in front of Duke Energy kinds of clashes with it.

There are hidden spaces behind the posts and at night, the lighting is awful.

Simpler seems to better when you look at the awning outside the Sir Walter as well as the Hudson.

9 Likes

Agreed. Needless to say I’m not a fan of a publicly supported monopoly that can arbitrarily “create a profit” for itself by building an unnecessary plant…but I digress (again).

My original point was more relevant which is given they are a pseudo-company that is regulated, can we generate a grass roots effort to force (encourage) them to improve the streetscape beyond just spending $100 million on a downtown charlotte building while ignoring Raleigh? (While simultaneously cheering Elon Musk to create a residential power storage system so I can tell Dook to FO!!!)

Open for ideas!!

1 Like