The future of Caswell Square

About a year and a half ago, there was news of the potential sale of the block formerly known as Caswell Square (one of Raleigh’s five original parks, of which only Union, Nash, and Moore are left) to a private developer.

Here’s an excellent analysis of the situation in one of @dtraleigh’s blog posts:

This N&O article featured an investment group that wanted to preserve the buildings as medical offices:

The latest on the issue was that the Council of State (before Cooper became governor) put the plan to sell the property on hold for further study.

Personally, I agree with the preservation groups that this square should be returned to parkland, especially given the increasing amount of development in that sector of downtown. It’s a block away from several apartment buildings.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Should it be sold, redeveloped, or preserved?


I agree that the square should be returned to some sort of public use, but probably not in the form of Nash and Moore. I’d like to see the more interesting buildings remain on the property as community resources in support of programs while restoring the rest of the site to parkland.


Sell it to the highest bidder, increase density in downtown, and let it generate some tax revenue for the city.

Where is Caswell Square, I’m not familiar with where it is Located.

Caswell Square pairs with the Governors Mansion, as the NW of the five original squares. (Across from Natute Science Center). Square is full of state office buildings. It should be returned to the original Christmas designed purpose. Many of the buildings are in bad repair.


It’s an interesting location for sure. I’m not convinced there’s a clear use for the area but I’m sure with a little consolidation, all the offices here can be moved elsewhere. If the state does work to move their downtown workforce, these buildings could easily be emptied. (I think)

What to do with it? Who knows but until someone convinces me, I’ll stay in the camp that wants it to be a park again. I’d say keep the historic NC School for the Blind and Deaf building as a new museum (museum district anyone?) and demolish the rest. Turn the new park into a signature destination as a way to spur new economic development around it.

Once the state sells it, they can never leverage it again so the way I see it, use 1 block to incentivize revitalization on multiple blocks.


Given its location and proximity to the state museums… it could be a cool place for the school kids to have lunch while visiting the museums and government buildings. But PLEASE keep the beautiful building at the corner of Dawson and Jones. It is the only one worth keeping in my opinion.


If state government were ever to fill in the surface lot across McDowell or redevelop that entire block with an office tower, that would increase demand for a park. I could imagine a spot for food trucks to park during lunch hours like Farragut Square in DC.

Remember, there’s also talk of redeveloping the local government buildings across Dawson St.

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Off topic, but saw yesterday demo permits were approved for the small building (~30’x~45’ footprint) on this square at midblock on the west side .


Sorry, which building is this? I love watching a good demolition lol

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this one…


Gotcha. Thank you!! :grin:

For what it’s worth, the City has labelled the Caswell Square block as “Public Parks & Open Space” on their future land use map, the same designation as Nash, Moore, and Union Squares. I wouldn’t give up hope just yet on the rebirth of Caswell Square sometime in the future.


Not off-topic at all. :wink:


I like the idea of keeping the School, and just get rid of everything else. When you look at maps of DT, you see little Caswell up in the corner buried under all those old offices. The state should really think about making Caswell shine and take her back to her original intention. Would be nice for visitors staying in the old Days Inn once it is renovated.


Tear all the buildings down and build a fountain show like the Billagio in Vegas. Maybe have some small restaurants with a view.


And here’s the story. Demolition but no plans afterwards.

Not sure how I feel about losing these buidlings just yet.

Great quote at the end.

DiGiulio said he remains interested in developing a medical office complex in downtown Raleigh, but “I’d be hesitant to work with the state again. It was a waste of everyone’s time.”


Digging in to the blog archives, I believe we are talking about these three buildings.


These are all eyesores and I’m glad to see them go. I assume someone will be happy to build on the land.

Reading that article is so depressing.

“I’d like to buy these useless old buildings and do something productive with them.”

”No, every old vacant building is historic, leave them up!"

“Okay, I’ll do something productive AND keep the old buildings.”

”JK you can’t have the land. We’re just going to tear the old buildings down and leave empty space. Maybe after a 5 year review of all the property downtown we will sell it to another person instead."

I voted for Cooper and am happy to have Bad Idea Rubber Stamp McCrory out of there, but his Project Phoenix initiative was one of the better ideas state government has had in recent years.