2009 Downtown Wishlist

Now that the holidays are over, and you now have time to read the blog, we can discuss a couple of ideas for what downtown should have in 2009. What is possible to create within a year’s time that will add to the vibrancy of downtown, serving residents as well as visitors? Here is a short list to get the ideas flowing.

Grocery store

A lot of conversations I’ve had with people considering to move downtown are about the lack of a grocery store in the area. They hesitate to move because of the fact that they still need to get in their cars and drive somewhere. There are not that many residents yet in downtown so it will be a gamble for someone to open the first within the core downtown.

I do believe that if done properly, it can be successful. Most people that visit a suburban grocery store buy enough food for days, some weeks even. If downtown, this store needs to do the opposite and provide me with fresh food and other products for only a couple days. This leads to repeat visits from customers, a much more personal experience, and I really feel that downtown residents will support a locally owned store with local produce.

Music venue

Another music alternative to Lincoln Theatre and The Pour House would be great. It could possibly fill the void ever since King’s was demolished or maybe head in another direction. My guess would be a larger venue but I’m also not into the current market for it. Maybe the demand is not here in this area but I see tours all the time skip over Raleigh completely, at least the music that I’m paying attention too. If they even come to North Carolina, Charlotte usually grabs them and I’m tired of making the 2 hour drive out there and back in one night.

24 hour food

My dream would be some kind of diner that is always open, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner 24 hours a day. The food does not have to be gourmet at all, more like home-cooked at a reasonable price. Right away, I could see the nightlife crowd lining up until 4am to get some breakfast. It would be the most reliable spot to send people looking for a bite when they check into a hotel late, are up extra early for work, or anyone that doesn’t want to spend much at a restaurant.

By the slice pizza and delivery

If you have been reading RalCon for awhile now, you know my personal desire to see a good, hole-in-the-wall, pizza place. It would be nothing fancy at all except damn good pizza. An added bonus would be delivery in and around downtown. I could see a couple people running all over downtown taking pizza up to the condos or riding bikes out to Oakwood or Boylan Heights making deliveries.

At least one corporate re-location to downtown

The current economy may have a play here but office space is being built in downtown and we need companies to fill them. Charter Square is the obvious candidate and I’d like to hear of at least one announcement of a major company moving to downtown. A couple hundred more employees to the 9 to 5 scene may help the other suggestions above actually happen.

Online Raleigh scene

As a blogger and tech enthusiast, I’d like to see the current internet scene about the city pushed even more. I want more blogs to get started, more pictures to be uploaded, and just more internet chatter about this great city. Video blogging is still in its infancy and podcasting is pretty much silent. If you have any good links or know someone that is doing some interesting work online about Raleigh, post it or let me know about it.

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    None right now. Must be a new project.


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  1. I agree with this list, but DEFINITELY the pizza one! I was hoping Martin Street Pizza would be kind of like a I Love NY Pizza off of Hillsborough (don’t get me wrong, I still like Martin St. Pizza though).

    There is one spot that I think could be IDEAL to have a “hole in the wall” pizza place. It’s off of Hargett St. in between Fayetteville St. and Salisbury St. The spot is a TINY space available that is right next to what used to be the potential location of the downtown Wara Ji location.

  2. You mentioned that you would like Raleigh to have more of an online presence. While I don’t know of any internet blogging sites, there is a new innovative website that is video based. It is Triangle wide, but most of the videos are for businesses in Downtown Raleigh. The site is http://www.triangleblvd.tv.

  3. Leo, I think you hit it in the nail, and being a downtown resident you are more in tune with the true needs of downtown than most of us are. As you said, it will take a larger population base to bring more 24/7 amenities to our downtown, so let’s wait for another 5-6 years. I bet a lot on the Edison, with both its residential and retail space.

    As for the online scene, I am proud of ALL of you guys for keeping up. Y’all know how lousy my job is when it comes to updating. It is hard to maintain a website and while some blogging tools make it easier, the task of updating contents is still a tough one :(

  4. I know that their website is up with menu and hours: http://theremedydiner.com/

    When I saw that I thought maybe it had somehow slipped under the radar and opened, but when I walked down there last week the windows were still covered with the coming soon signs and it looked unchanged from a few months ago.

  5. I like triangleblvd.tv. The videos are well produced and show off some good spots. It does look like a commercial site though so it doesn’t feel creative or artistic, which would be cool to see also.

    The menu for Remedy looks pretty solid. I feel I can’t get a pint of Angry Angel outside of The Flying Saucer so that is a plus.

  6. I think you’re going to miss out on a lot because so much of the development going on is going to send retail rental space, especially at street level, through the roof. No hole in the wall pizza joint is going to be able to pay the rent. Things will have to get worse (high rent shops won’t stay occupied consistently) before they get better (rent in this market becomes more reasonable and attracts local entrepreneurs into opening something other than yet another overpriced restaurant).

  7. Oh about the online scene, my blog is not Raleigh specific, but I expect to start putting more of my street photography up there now that I’ve got a scanner that can handle medium format film negatives.

  8. I know I’m not going to like the answer….but, why should the Moore Square bus station go away?

  9. Diner would be awesome! Back up north there are plenty of 24 hour diners, serving greasy delicious food. It would be a dream come true to see a place like Nick Tahoe’s open up downtown.

  10. The Triangle could use a Knitting Factory but I honestly don’t think Raleigh can support a new music club.

  11. A couple of comments:

    24 HOUR DINING: The International House of Pancakes is there on Hillsborough Street. It’s not a “diner” per se, but they do have a lot of great breakfast items.

    RALEIGH VIDEO PRESENCE: An online TV station called RTP-TV started up in 2001 (beating Triangle Boulevard only by about 7 years) and ran about 700 shows on the Triangle businesses, food, events, politics, etc. including events on downtown such as the First Night Raleigh celebrations, Taste of Raleigh, St. Patricks Day, NC History Museum, etc. As one of the producers, I’d like to add that we still produce videos that appear through newspaper sites like the Raleigh Downtowner, but we’ve found that most people prefer text stories to video and advertisers definitely do. Getting people to advertise on the web is not easy. Good luck to Triangle Boulevard TV, but you’re not the first to try it and you probably should not keep claiming that in your material since it’s not true.

    MUSIC VENUE: They’re not a music venue per se, but the Irish pubs in Raleigh seem to have a lot of music almost every night. TirNaNog has a dedicated stage and Napper Tandy’s also has several outdoor concerts where they block off the street. It would be great to see something like Cat’s Cradle or the Cave like in Chapel Hill though.

    PIZZA: It would be awesome if I Love NY Pizza would put a location downtown near all the bars. I think they would make a mint selling their chicken barbecue pizza after 2am.

  12. I recently moved to Raleigh and in doing so found that a platform to discuss local issues and ask questions of local residents was somewhat difficult to find. When I was able to find some type of bulletin board or forum, it was only a section of a larger board such as city-data.com.

    So, I have created one specific to the Raleigh-Durham area. This discussion board is dedicated to the people who use it, so the structure and atmosphere of the site will be dictated by the public.

    Stop by to take a look if you would like and please let me know what you think.


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