Pic of the Week

Raleigh's first parklet at Salisbury and Hargett Street.

Raleigh’s first parklet at Salisbury and Hargett Street opened last week during the city’s Wide Open Bluegrass, an event that was part of the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass. They opened it up with live music and now the parklet is open for use.

Also, check out this fun video of the team behind the parklet putting it together. Congratulations to all of them and thank you for bringing something unique to downtown Raleigh!

Demolition Taking Place, Making Room For The Gramercy Apartments

Boylan Avenue, future home of The Gramercy Apartments

A project that has been a long time in the planning stages, since 2011, may soon start construction. The site for The Gramercy apartments along North Street is being cleared for the future apartment building. This involves demolition of the church at the corner of Boylan and North as well as the office building at the corner of Glenwood and North Street.

If the site plan hasn’t changed since we talked about it in 2011, the building will have 209 units and ground-floor retail all along Glenwood and some of North Street.

The resident wave just keeps crashing.

Boylan Avenue, future home of The Gramercy Apartments

Boylan Avenue, future home of The Gramercy Apartments

2014 Downtown Plan Presentation Video

Here is some good video for the upcoming weekend. It’s the 2014 Downtown Plan Presentation on the latest available draft. You can get the presentation here (pdf) and follow along.

Blog posts on some of the finer details to come. If the video doesn’t work for you, see it directly here. (I recommend this as the Granicus player is tough to work with)

Pic of the Week

Corner of Person and Lenoir Streets, construction of The Ten starts.

Construction of the The Ten has started at the corner of Person and Lenoir Streets.

Color Codes Coming to Downtown Parking Decks

Parking is one of those services where having no complaints are a good thing and no real praise happens. I’m not sure enough people rave about how great a parking experience at a place is. So in hopes of less complaints, the city is color coding the downtown decks.

How will they do this? By placing colored signs at the entrances of course. The tweet above shows the signs that will go out. Our parking administrator sums it up:

“We hope the new signs make it easier for Downtown visitors to find their way back to their vehicles,” said Gordon Dash, City of Raleigh parking administrator. “Some visitors have experienced an hour or longer delay before they could find their vehicle, because they didn’t remember the name of the parking deck in which they parked. Color-coding also will make it easier for City of Raleigh Police and the Downtown Raleigh Ambassadors provided by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance to help visitors find their vehicles.”

It seems we’ve done such a good job at making the decks hidden with facades that look like buildings that enough people are forgetting where they park.

You could look at this two ways. It’s simply a “problem we want to have” or parking management needs to be rethought.

Pic of the Week

The Lincoln construction site September 2014

The Lincoln apartments, planning to open in Summer 2015.

Pic of the Week

Peace Street Townes September 2014

Construction of Peace Street Townes continues. A sign at the site claims, as of last weekend, that only 4 units remain of the 18 unit site.

Groundbreaking For Raleigh Union Station March 21, 2015

Public Meeting for Raleigh Union Station, September 2014

I’m at the Raleigh Union Station meeting and wanted to get this out. The mayor announced a groundbreaking for March 21, 2015.

More to add later.

The meeting tonight was more open house than new information. The groundbreaking announcement was the biggest piece of news and the March 21 date is not an accident. March 21, 2015 is the 175th anniversary of the first train to arrive in Raleigh.

In addition to the already posted renderings, a fantastic model of the Union Station site was on display.

Public Meeting for Raleigh Union Station, September 2014

They estimate about two years for construction so look forward to the new station opening sometime in 2017.

[UPDATE: 9-11-14]
For posterity I’m copying the city’s press release on the topic that came out after this event.

On March 21, 1840, the people of Raleigh were witnesses to history. On that Saturday in the spring, a train rumbled into Raleigh for the first time. Over the next century, the era of the locomotive would dominate transportation in the modern world. Eventually, cars and planes would supplant the locomotive. But few inventions shaped the physical destiny on nations like the train.

On March 21, 2015, the people of Raleigh will once again have the opportunity to witness history. On that Saturday, officials will break ground on the first phase of Raleigh’s Union Station, a joint initiative of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division and the City of Raleigh. The estimated cost of the first phase of the project is $73 million. Current funding for the project totals $66.25 million through a series of federal grants, and state and local matches. The City’s contribution to the construction is $5.75 million. The first phase will include the renovation of the Dillon Supply Company Warehouse at 510 West Martin Street into a passenger rail facility.

Once completed (estimated date of 2017), the station will transform the transportation infrastructure of Raleigh. Not only will the station serve Amtrak passengers, the station will add new retail and commercial office space to its warehouse district location. The station will feature three levels of restaurants, shops and offices, and offer visitors a rooftop view of the Downtown Raleigh skyline.

Throughout the design process, architects from Clearscapes sought public feedback on the aesthetics and amenities. The firm strove to honor the City’s railroad heritage while looking at how other cities have reused warehouses. Planners envision a vibrant, active and economically viable space that benefits rail passengers and creates a new Downtown destination. Upon full-build-out, Raleigh Union Station will serve as a transportation hub for local and regional commuter and passenger rail, buses, taxis, bicyclists and pedestrians.

On September 9, the final public information session at the Contemporary Art Museum gave people a last chance to look at the designs and scope of the project and ask questions of the designers.

“Creating great public spaces, both interior and exterior, are significant goals for this project,” said Steve Schuster, the designer of the project for Clearscapes, PA. “That is very much in line with having this facility be authentic, memorable, and unique. We were very pleased when the national Amtrak architect spent the day with us reviewing the project and remarked at the end of the day that the Raleigh Union Station is, in his view, the most exciting rail station project happening in the nation.”

In 2012, Raleigh’s Amtrak Station served 164,000 passengers, making it one of the busiest Amtrak stations in the southeast. But the location and size of the current train station cannot accommodate the expected increases in ridership. Additionally, the current station only has 1,800 square feet of passenger waiting space and only 54 parking spaces.

“This design solves a lot of longstanding problems associated with this large railroad junction, and does so in a way that creates new opportunities,” said City of Raleigh Planning Director Ken Bowers. “The design respects and builds on what’s special about the warehouse district. The reuse of existing industrial building will result in a unique and dramatic space. The echoes of the area’s rail and industrial heritage are reflected throughout the design. The new plaza creates a signature open space at the terminus of Martin Street that will serve as a focal point for a growing arts and innovation district, and connect pedestrians into the Downtown core. The result will be a gathering place that will be a magnet for not just travelers but also area residents, workers and visitors.”

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