Not sure why I was thinking about this, but Charlotte has the Epicenter with lots of restaurants, bars, a movie theater, hotels, etc… I have always found DTR to be lacking that type of entertainment venue, and we all agree that we need more hotels in DRT. Why not build the Raleigh version of the Epicenter on the Enterprise lot? Directly across the street from the convention center and Red Hat, a block away from Nash Square and Fayetteville Street. It would give the out of town conventioneers/business people something to do at night, and fill in a hole in our downtown grid. Just a thought.
Well, that’s basically one of the visions for the NC Association of Educators and Raleigh Chamber of Commerce lots.
The Epicenter always been the butt of the joke of Charlotte lacking real culture and having a lot of corporate and NASCAR-life entertainment. I suppose we could use a building in DTR that offers a lot of different entertainment value but let’s not get Dale Jr’s Whiskey River here please.
My impression of Charlotte’s epicenter is that it’s the “easy” tourist place to gather. It’s heavily event-driven and doesn’t have much natural organic life of it’s own.
I do think Raleigh could use more tourists but I’d want them to be here for the organic downtown and city at-large that we have rather than to come because we have every major chain down Fayetteville St or something.
I’ll vote yes only we agree to invite a Rockola Cafe too…
Ya, the presence of the epicenter in prominent downtown area is part of what makes Raleigh better than Charlotte in my opinion haha. Charlottians must resort to areas like Plaza Midwood and Noda outside of the city center for creative businesses and eclectic entertainment. Now one thing I’d like to see more of in Raleigh is what they have going in Plaza Midwood: dense and diverse housing that abuts right up to shops, nightlife, restaurants, etc. It’s beginning to happen more and more in 5 points, oakwood/mordecai, west south st. etc. but I’d love to see the city council and CACs get more creative with allowing dense renovation/redevelopment in these neighborhoods. Of course NIMBYism is at play big time when you talk about subdividing a house into apartments or bringing shops into a community of historic properties…
While I am 100% onboard for the local/organic growth in DTR, I really feel that a mix of local/franchise would really bring more people downtown. I mentioned it on another thread as well. The two are not mutually exclusive, nor would I ever want to see Fayetteville Street look like walking around Crabtree Valley Mall, but a healthy mix is all I am suggesting. And as a business traveler to “foreign and strange lands” sometimes the local vibe is cool, but at the end of a long day, sometimes you just want something familiar. Just saying.
I can see a First Friday at Raleigh Epicenter…
To have or not to have… that is the question. Raleigh should never forget the tourist factor. Everything does not need to be organically driven. Likewise, everything doesn’t have to be franchised. They are not mutually exclusive. Yeah, Charlotte Epicenter is kinda hokey but tourists and out of towners like the familiarity.
This would literally be the WORST thing Raleigh could build downtown.
No people in this photo. Just saying.
I understand that conventions and business travelers help grow the city, but personally as a local resident, I don’t really care how comfortable the foreign business traveler does or does not feel with our local flavor. Keep the hokey theme-park-esque entertainment districts in Charlotte!
Maybe North Hills will have a convention center one day and business travelers can eat at Yardhouse and stay in the Renaissance…
Yeah, North Hills could serve that purpose. I mean Charlotte’s Cowfish has a second restaurant there already and its basically another mall.
Raleigh should never forget the tourist factor. […] tourists and out of towners like the familiarity.
I agree that Raleigh’s style as a city is to be more organic and to live off of its legacy (you wouldn’t imagine anything like the Dillon happening in Charlotte, right?), but @Marco may be onto something by thinking about tourists…
Ignoring the capital-E Epicenter, I’m kinda curious about lowercase-e epicenters of Raleigh… why is it that we don’t have much of a tourist draw out here, and what can we do to change that?
Tourists are overrated. If they need this sort of thing to be happy, let them go elsewhere. I’ll take the tourist looking for the things that are uniquely Raleigh. E.g., I’ve met people at the Pit, who flew in from New York, just to eat at the Pit because they read about it in a magazine. Hopscotch also brings in people from all over, not just day trip distance. More of this downtown. Flemings can stay at Crabtree (actual Epicenter tenant). Epicenter was Charlotte’s answer to a dead core at street level. Don’t get me wrong, I love lots about Charlotte (Noda and South end in particular) but the overstreet mall? really? I understand why Minneapolis has one (its super cold for months), but in Charlotte it was purely office people being afraid to interact with street people. Look at their poor Mellow Mushroom
Forlorn as can be. So you get Epicenters. Raleigh’s downtown is bustling from end to end most days of the week.
Our museums are a big tourist draw.
Great discussion, which I think will continue in Raleigh for some time. Raleigh gets the opportunity to learn from other cities, like Charlotte, that have a grown a bit faster. The Epicenter is a mall which in general I think is ultimately is in conflict with building a vibrant and sustainable urban environment. Strong anchors, smart connections, and people are ultimately what draw more people. Downtown Raleigh has a number of non-retail anchors but as more people move downtown or stay downtown in hotels, retail anchors will come as well.
Now We have people, !!!.. When I want to go Downtown, I want to be able to see a movie, go Out to dinner with friends, Play pool, see a band play at a local bar, or just people watch and hang out. North Hills…Crabtree…Triangle Towne Center…Just too suburban for me. something like this I would love see DTR… Doesn’t have to be a Epicenter of sorts, We have City Plaza which I think works out very well, with the many events Raleigh has over the Year. In fact…expand City Plaza towards the Duke Center of Performing arts to add something similar to the Photo here. Nothing grand but close.
Build one of these, but with a ton of small retail spaces for small local business.
I’ve always been impressed with cities like Tokyo where the majority of retail and restaurants are tiny. I would imagine that this translates to rents being cheaper, which allows for business owners to afford to take a risk in opening their shops. The variety of businesses is astounding, with niche retail around every corner. Tiny, 6 seat bars / restaurants too. I feel like a development like this could incorporate smaller spaces to encourage innovation and participation by local business. Why does every retail space have to be 3000 sq/ft?
Mav, everything you just listed that you want to do downtown…you can already do downtown. You don’t need an epicenter. And I don’t think anyone has outright said this, but as a mall-like concept, epicenter functions more like a suburban entity…which you just said you don’t like…so why do you then decide this needs to be downtown after giving two reasons why it should not?