Raleigh Convention Center - Expansion and Larger Events

And looking at their calendar - they do have some decent shows.

If you look at other larger multi-core metros in the USA, they have multiple performing arts centers that pull from the same pool of tier 1 shows. While at 2.3M today, how long before the Triangle is 3M? 3.5M? It’s not that far away in terms of planning for the future. IMO, Raleigh should plant a flag in the ground now to have fully overhauled Memorial’s theater experience (both for guests and performers) in ten years. If we sit on our hands and do nothing in deference to DPAC, then it will be Cary that decides to get in the game next.
How long has it been since the performing arts center was renovated/expanded? 20+ years ago? When that happened, didn’t the renovation include raising the roof in the stage area of Memorial or was that earlier? I don’t see why there couldn’t be a similar reimagining of the seating area that could pull forward and raise the mezzanine to match or exceed DPAC’s seating capacity and position the theater for the 2030’s and 2040’s.
With more development coming to the north and west of the complex itself, including the expanded convention center and new amphitheater, Raleigh could have quite the entertainment district with experiences that are worthy of the state’s capital city. …just my 2 cents.


Meanwhile, the city is quibbling over having money in the budget to landscape the mulched areas of Moore Square.


Personally, I’d rather have a high speed bullet train on par with Japanese Skinkansen to Durham with late night service so I can see shows at DPAC without having to drive. That way we don’t need to compete with our neighbors like this.

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So are you fine with only 1 city competing? When you put big brother and little brother in a boxing ring and big brother decides not to fight, little brother will eventually win if he keeps punching.

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I say - let Durham have this one and we can crush them with transportation infrastructure and fountains.

Durham has tons of good places to eat downtown, probably more than Raleigh.

It’s really the concentration of good stuff downtown in *proximity to DPAC.
Ironically, the scale of DTR works to its disadvantage with the different districts and the pockets separating them.


Durham’s downtown is a similar physical area to Raleigh’s actually. Raleigh is just denser with a much larger employment base in its dt. Walking from Hi-Wire to Brightleaf is an expedition few would undertake. There are districts with intimidating deadzones between.

I don’t think Durham’s food or drink options are any better. It just has a better collection of historic architecture so people are vibing on that I think.


One thing that frustrates me about this region is the unhealthy (IMO) rivalry between Durham and Raleigh (and Cary, CH etc). Why do do we always need to compete and try to one-up the other cities? Why not get together and coordinate on these strategic large investments in amenities and infrastructure? Let Durham have DPAC and Raleigh the convention center, MLB to Raleigh, and let Durham chase something else…etc. .

Make a great performing arts center for the region, instead of two mediocre ones, that each tax base will have to foot the bill for? Spend the saved funds on a good transit system to connect the cities and make it easy and convenient to travel between.

I know there are some long and deep rooted opinions on this, but as a not so new transplant to the area (12 years), I think this is really holding back the region as a whole. The whole cluster around Durham light rail, commuter rail, etc is a perfect example of this. We can’t get our act together as a region because of petty rivalries.


It’s not so much about competition, it’s about understanding this region and where it’s headed. The Triangle will grow to a size that will support more than one top tier performing arts center. And, why oh why do we draw the line in the sand now that Durham didn’t let Raleigh have the touring Broadway shows? We had the facilities and center first and nobody in Durham was saying “let Raleigh have Memorial Auditorium”. Today, nobody in Durham is saying “let Raleigh have the convention center business”.


You says it’s not about competition, but then a few sentences later you very much describe a competition.

And I’m not at all saying Durham is not using the same tactics. They are very much part of the problem, as, is Raleigh. My point was we need to work together more to do what’s best big picture for the region, vs. squabbling over everything and just fixating why one city is better, has more, etc then the other.

And it’s more then just the convention center and performing arts center.

Kansas City has the state line running more or less down through the middle of the city. There are several cases where Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, MO compete against each for company headquarters. I think the example was Applebees, which moved it’s HQ a few miles across state lines several times over the years because of tax incentives from the other city. Nothing Changed expect Applebees gets a tax break and the taxpayers foot the bill.


It’s an age old question : Whether humans have the capacity to understand / live / plan around ‘common good’…


Hi-Wire to Brightleaf is actually becoming quite a nice walk; this is basically the route I take to work every day. It helps that the two large surface lots are being infilled with 550 new housing units (under construction; will also contain a brewery, cafe, daycare, and more retail) along with several new businesses that are helping with street activity (Missy Lane’s jazz lounge and The Daily, which both function as cafes in the morning, Weldon Mill’s Distillery, a new shoe store, and a new record store). But yeah, I wouldn’t do it late at night.

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Competition between nearby cities is pretty much the norm everywhere. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Look at the recent Washington Capitols and Wizards moving to Northern Virginia. They just announced they’re staying in DC. It’s very common.

In the ‘70s and ‘80’s Raleigh dove head first into regionalism. There was a huge coordinated effort to develop a regional theater lead by Terry Sanford. While the discussions and planning were ongoing, Durham built the DPAC without bringing it to the group working on the plan. Hence, DPAC and no regional theater.

Raleigh and Durham used to have baseball teams. When Goodmon bought the Bulls and put them in downtown Durham he went to the Commission and passed a 30 mile rule so Raleigh couldn’t get a team. Hence the Mudcats in Zebulon.

I can mention many other examples but suffice it to say that Raleigh city leaders can’t wait around for other cities to coordinate efforts. They should just proceed with the best of plans. And reallistically the region will be populated enough to support multiple amenities anyway eventually.


The two Kansas Cities are in different states. That’s a completely different conversation and circumstances.

As for the competition, I am asking a valid question. If Raleigh is to say NOW that Durham only has the top tier facilities for touring Broadway shows, how come there wasn’t a narrative that said that Raleigh has the top tier touring Broadway shows when Raleigh had them? That doesn’t make sense.
Durham is NOT sitting by and letting Raleigh have anything that they can otherwise take from us with a little effort of their own.
Charlotte goes after Raleigh from one end, and Durham goes after Raleigh from the other, and we just sit by and watch it happen and be the cooperative one.


I’m fine with such a walk, even at night. For Raleighites it’s comparable to walking from Memorial Auditorium to Standard Beer. ~1.3 miles one way. Both walks involve crossing a rather dead area, although Durham’s will fill with residential in the coming years. Both walks also reward the traveler with a Two Roosters.:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: The point being that the scale of the two downtowns is comparable.

On the subject of convention centers… Durham is mulling getting a new one. The current one has 35,000 sq ft making it a huge outlier.

Charlotte - 850k
Raleigh - 500k
Greensboro (Koury) - 250k
Winston - 150k
Wilmington - 107k
Concord - 45k

I see no reason why the Triangle couldn’t support a 150-300k center for its 2nd largest city. The others scale surprisingly closely to their pop. I know this is bordering on off topic…

Raleigh’s CC expansion is aimed at competing with cities like Atlanda, Dallas, Orlando, Vegas. It would be a regional flagship that attracts huge tech expos that have a limiter number of stations.


Shucking and jiving is Raleigh’s problem.

I’m also not a fan of shucking, or really oysters in general. So I feel ya. Honestly let’s boycott St Roche and 42nd St Oyster Bar and see if it helps improve the city.

On the fence about jiving, though. I don’t really know what it is… Sounds like vibing, which I’m still trying to understand what the youth are describing. On the other hand, in Trading Places, Eddie Murphy gets called a jive turkey, and I do like turkey… So still figuring out my position on this one.

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KC is different, but similar enough to illustrate two close cities competing to the detriment of both.

I am not sure about narratives in the past. And I know this would take a bunch of planning and trust from local leaders on both sides. Not saying it will be easy, or even feasible in the current environment.

It’s just an observation I have about what’s holding this region back to bigger and better things.