I got to thinking recently about the undeveloped and/or underdeveloped lots in Downtown, and how they could be better used. There are still many surface parking lots that act as “gaps” in the streetscape, and I think we can all agree that those should be filled. But the reason for starting this topic is to hear your opinions on which underdeveloped lots are the most important; that is, on which lots would new development or renovation have the greatest positive effect on the streetscape, or is the most urgent “gap” to fill. What are your thoughts on this?
The block East of Moore Square has been #1 on my list for a while now.
Some of the worst waste of space parking lots are the ones, which I believe are the state employee lots, at the north end of downtown. It hinders the city’s growth to have so much prime land eaten up by the state as it is and to have these lots just sitting there is ridiculous, wasteful, and a detriment to the populace at large.
I agree. So hoping when Moore Square reopens that this is finally dealt with.
For years I’ve been talking about the places between places as the key to a complete downtown experience. At this time, some of these “places” are seeing development. Peace/Smoky Hollow, and OneGlenwood/Element Hotel are two examples. Additional announced/proposed projects like 300 and 400 Hillsborough will do more of the same.
IMO, Peace Street, east of the eastern railroad bridge, hungers for streetscape activation. I’d also like to see more street experience in the four blocks bounded by Salisbury, Martin, Dawson, and Cabarrus. This would better link The Warehouse District to The Fayetteville Street District.
The block south of Nash Square feels like a wasteland. While the street fronting Nash Square is OK, farther south is a no-mans-land. I am really hoping some of these proposed hotels will soon replace the surface parking and auto service businesses in this block.
Agreed. This is the same 4 blocks that I outlined in my reply!
The Edison site is a pretty stupid surface parking lot
I definitely agree with you – infill projects along key corridors that connect places should be highly prioritized for city development. Hillsborough St. is starting to see more of this, but there are still other sites that could be focused on to complete the transformation. Connecting the Warehouse District to Fayetteville St. and also to Glenwood South is probably the most essential step that could be bridged.
Aside from all the lots already mentioned in this thread, there’s one place I’d like to call more attention to: Fayetteville St. It’s already a great place with a fairly continuous streetscape along both sides, and with the FNB Tower under construction one of the last weak spots in the street is being filled. But there are also those two empty parking lots at the southern end of the street in front of DECPA, which the City owns and has earmarked for a major corporate expansion. Until those lots are filled Fayetteville St. and the DECPA will never truly be connected, and the area will always lack the vitality it should have.
There’s one more underdeveloped site along Fayetteville St. that I’d like to see put to better use: The southeast corner of the intersection with Davie St. It’s currently home to an unglamourous one-story cinderblock storefront and a gated parking lot. They’re both owned by Duke Energy. I know Duke Energy in all likelihood won’t be expanding in Downtown Raleigh (just this morning they announced a new 39-story tower in Charlotte) but I would love to see them subdivide their property and sell off the underused parcels to a developer who will actually build something interesting and more productive there.
Duke Energy (well before then) did attempt to sell that property and a 10 story building with a Wake County public library was being planned… but then the economy tanked. So I assume that Duke would be interested in doing something with that property.
These two lots are key, and I hope that they are fully activated at the ground level with restaurants, shops, etc. that will complement the performing arts center. I’d even hope for a pair of mixed use buildings with 20 floors each of office space with hotel and residential bringing them up to 40 floors each. Ultimately, I hope that these buildings would be built over underground parking instead of having several floors of parking over the retail level.
In the meantime, I’m hoping that bringing new residents to the street (FNB) will create more buzz to the southern end.
Here’s another gap: Caswell Square. In my fantasy, Caswell Square, and some key buildings on it, would become a community park/resource center that would act like an outdoor and indoor park. If the city could get that former square returned to it from the state, parks and recreation departments for the city and county could be located on the upper floors of the buildings while the lower floors could support park programs.
I would totally keep the three buildings that face Jones and that one old white painted brick building that faces Dawson. The rest I would demolish and return to parkland . This would make all of the adjacent blocks immediately more desirable for redevelopment.
Other than the obvious ones, the two for me are:
NE corner of Edenton and Wilmington: that enormous State employee lot. Having a full city block dedicated to surface parking adjacent to the Capitol is pretty awful. I know that’s earmarked for a museum expansion, so hopefully the legislature turns over enough to get that going soon.
NW corner of Wilmington and Hargett: This is a very small lot adjacent to the Mechanics and Farmers Bank. Hargett is closed a lot for special events and it would be nice to get this corner filled in with something…maybe even just a 3-story building with ground floor retail. I don’t know why, but it always sticks out like a sore thumb to me.
2 Sites at end of Fayetteville Street
Peace Street between Salisbury and Railroad
(with Smokey Hollow on the other side of Capital Blvd, this section is the least walkable along Peace corridor)
I wouldn’t be surprised if one day Duke builds on that parking lot. The Raleigh office is still growing pretty quick and there’s been a lot of problems with employees finding parking since Duke doesn’t own a garage. I could see them building a big garage with office on top.
Raleigh east of Person St.
This block at Wilmington & Edenton has been empty for decades. Parking is nice, but what a waste of space, right between the Capitol and Executive Mansion. At the very least it would make a good park/bus drop off point for school groups until they build. Ideally, at least in my mind, its a park for all the statues on Union Square that are over a century old. Leave the presidents & Washington, and of course the hideous Korea/Vietnam memorial, but the rest go to an honorable retirement and we open up room for some new monuments. We want to continue to add to our history, and waste our time trying to erase our past. Two I’d like to see are for those who dies in the middle east these last 30 years, and one recognizing the African-American contribution to the state, its history and its success.
Is this the same block where the original Meredith College was located? IMO this was a horrible loss for the historical architecture of Raleigh. I am sure there were reasons it was torn down, but we just don’t/can’t build structures like this anymore.
Looks like it may have been a hotel at one point too. Interesting
I believe this was one block to the east, between Blount & Pearson.
This is something that is historic and should have been saved. I wanted to point out that I don’t want all buildings torn down.