The Downtown Raleigh Alliance

What’s missing from these focus areas is any strategy to put retail within walking distance to where people actually live downtown. While I would love to see Fayetteville mimic a high street (as they say in the UK) with destination retailers like we used to have (Hudson Belk anyone?), we need more downtown neighborhood retail that residents can walk to for everyday things. The Publix and Weaver St. Markets are a step in that direction, but we need more daily need places, and that’s where places like 24 hour Walgreens and CVS are excellent urban neighborhood support. Urban neighborhoods also thrive when they have little bodega’s with short-order take out food options. For me, this is what’s missing from the Glenwood Pharmacy+Market.

I am encouraged by how many people I see walking to and from Publix in Smoky Hollow, despite the mistake that was made to place their front door on Peace St. rather than at the corner of Johnson & West. I’m sure that the same can be said for Weaver St., but it’s not in my neighborhood so I can’t accurately give an assessment. These are proof that people will walk when given the opportunity, and when it’s less hassle than getting in ones car.
The density of housing necessary to support urban retail is happening in key downtown locations, and the focus should be on nurturing those areas to bring even more residents and retail into them.

Back to Fayetteville St. In my perfect world it should be a destination retail street for businesses that would only be found once in the all of downtown. I already mentioned the old Hudson Belk location (pipe dream), but that’s the sort of thing that I imagine being successful there. An urban movie theater location is another thing that I’d put on our high street (anyone remember The Ambassador?). If there wasn’t already one on Hillsborough St. across from State, I could also imagine an urban format Target there. An Apple Store would be another destination that I’d love to see there, but downtown would need tens of thousands more residents before that is ever likely to happen. While I love that Deco remains downtown, it’s the sort of place that I’d rather see on Fayetteville instead of a parallel street to the west. Having a Raleigh branded gift shop on Raleigh’s high street just makes sense to me.

In summary, prioritize neighborhood shopping and services needs in urban neighborhoods, and put destination shopping on Fayetteville and maybe other major district connecting streets.

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If the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and the Raleigh Convention Center can pool their money they could build something like the Reading Terminal Market in Philly. Not only is it next door to the Philly convention center but it’s so good of a place that it’s popular with locals and tourists even when there’s no conventions.

What is the RCC doing? Spending hundreds of millions of dollars in CC expansion plans? Why not budget $100 million work with a developer to build a mix use food hall/market like the one in Philly?

This would really help out the convention center has one of the major complaints about RCC is the lack of food and places to hang out near the convention center.

Given that the Marbles Museum IMAX is aging they can even work with a developer to build a new movie theater with a top of the line dual laser IMAX but instead at Marbles maybe nearer to the convention center. When one of the video game conventions was happening in Raleigh, there was a popular movie also out so heaps of people from the convention would uber to the Alamo Drafthouse to watch it since there’s no movie theaters in downtown that where showing it.

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If MSFH expanded into the adjacent church and built out the eastern side of the block with a modern (maybe glass?) expansion, it would be easy to imagine it becoming more like Reading Terminal in function.

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The downtown Philly population is roughly 20x downtown Raleigh’s, not to mention the historical, organic growth of institutions like Reading Market. Not that I wouldn’t love that here, it just seems like a completely different situation. I don’t think we could just pop something like that up overnight here. We have 2 food halls, and building on those like John says would be the most pragmatic thing. I can’t imagine the customer base here needed for the immense amount of just fresh fish and meat that Reading Market has.

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In 10 years when something like this can be built, Raleigh and downtown Raleigh will be much more mature place with tens of thousands of more people.

It’s basically the Nexus project (RIP) worth of activity added to downtown.

Reading Market/Terminal has an interesting history

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Just for fun, and because I know your dry humor, I thought that I’d share what one of my friends nicknamed Reading Terminal after living in Philly for post doctoral specialization at Penn. He nicknamed it “Deep Fried Amish Disappointment”. While I think that’s an unfair name, it did make me laugh.

As for expansion of MSFH, and in addition to what I already mentioned about expansion, imagine if it also connected through a back door to Weaver St.

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The next Downtown Rundown is on Tuesday, Oct 17. RSVP here.

Interested in hearing downtown news and developments? Have questions or concerns? Want to share your ideas? Take part in DRA’s Downtown Rundown, held 3-4 times per year, where community members come together to hear updates from DRA, City and RPD, ask questions and share ideas. Downtown Rundowns are free and open to the public.

Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) is inviting you to a Downtown Rundown Community Meeting on October 17th at 4:00pm at Marbles Kids Museum. Come for updates on safety initiatives in downtown, white flag shelter plans for the winter, and additional updates on downtown events and programs.

Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson and Pastor Vance Haywood will be among the speakers, providing the latest information on safety and shelters in downtown. This is an opportunity to interact with key leaders in the Downtown Raleigh Community and to learn about both what is being done to improve downtown safety and what preparations for the care for unsheltered individuals are under way as cold weather hits later this year.

Tuesday, October 17 at 4:00 PM
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett Street / Zanzibar Room
Please RSVP at this link to attend. Space is limited, and your RSVP allows event organizers to ensure adequate accommodations for event attendees

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How long do these usually last? I doubt that I could get there right at 4PM.

I missed that they want to expand the boundaries of the MSD. It’ll be discussed at the March 5 council meeting:

https://go.boarddocs.com/nc/raleigh/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=D2DQ2R673702

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Looks to me like the proposal more closely mimics the downtown boundary, though they are still not exactly the same.

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They should expand it to downtown south.

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The DRA (Downtown Raleigh Alliance) has had the same boundries since it’s inception in 1996. As you all know there has been considerable growth downtown since then, and as density expands beyond the initial footprint of the DRA, the DRA should, in my opinion, expand as well.

The following web page explains the effort to expand the boundaries of the DRA and subsequently, expanding the services and benefits that come with the DRA’s programs. If you live in this expansion area, please consider educating yourself on the program and supporting it’s expansion. Yes, it comes with a tax to fund the programs, but I believe this nominal increase is well worth the benefits.

Support can come in the form of emailing your district and at-large City Council representatives as well as participation in public hearings.

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While I don’t live in the expanded district, Person Street is my primary walkable shopping district and it feels like a no-brainer to include it in the DRA. Does this mean I wouldn’t get the extra tax but those shops would?

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The tax would only apply to residence/business inside the boundry.

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I’m already in the boundary and I don’t even notice that I’m extra taxed. That said, I do need to refresh what benefits I’m getting from those extra dollars. I think that it pays for trash cans, ambassadors, (maybe) RLine, etc.

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I didn’t know where else to post this but City Council voted to approve an ordinance adopting the extended boundary for the Downtown Municipal Service District, effective July 1st.

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This is great news! I sent several emails supporting this. Very happy they voted to approve it!!

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Oh, looks like another vote is needed. Not sure I understand that.

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Looks like the first vote happened May 21 and the second vote was June 4th. It was on the consent agenda and will be effective July 1. I am glad it had the support to get approval.

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