10/12/09 293 W - + 14 - 7 Remaking Downtown Raleigh


The latest issue of the Independent Weekly has a fascinating feature on urban planner Dan Douglas and his vision for remaking downtown Raleigh. He believes a nonprofit development corporation is the answer, similar to the one that created the RTP. The corporation partners would be the city, county, state, Progress Energy, PSNC, the three railroads (CSX, Norfolk Southern, North Carolina Railroad), and Triangle Transit. Why those partners? Because they own 120 acres of vacant or underutilized land that runs right through the heart of the city. (What is underutilized, you ask? For example, there are 18 acres owned by the city on the west size of Capital Boulevard, where vehicles are parked. The old baseball stadium site.)

His idea is simple. The partners donate their land to the development corp, which then uses the land to leverage private and public development. Such as by holding an international competition to produce the best master plan possible for downtown development. With these ideas, based on research spent in European cities that have successfully revitalized similar areas, he believes 46,000 additional jobs and 8,500 housing units for 15,400 people could be located in that corridor's 369 acres. Total value of $7 billion, with tax value to the city and county of $73 million annually. At current rates.

What exactly would Douglas do, in downtown Raleigh? Well, he'd tear apart Capital Boulevard from Peace Street to Atlantic Avenue. In place of that "grungy highway," he'd install a "tree-lined boulevard with stoplights, sidewalks, and cross streets." The latter would connect to new frontage roads parallel to the railroad tracks. His other ideas including adding nine new public squares, six green streets, a new "grand central station" for the city, and a new downtown arena.

Read the article.







  
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