Downtown Raleigh 2010 Wishlist

We did this last year so why not do it again. After reviewing the wishlist for 2009, some commented about things they would like to see in 2010. I have added the best and a few more to the list below.


A downtown bookstore has been mentioned on this blog and in many conversations I have. One of the larger stores like Barnes & Nobles or Borders could easily fill the retail spaces on Fayetteville Street. Right now, they would have to be located here because the high foot traffic justifies it. A partnership between them and the Raleigh City Museum or another museum would be a good idea. With their many resources, they could pull in lots of North Carolina based literature and photography related items that I think would be a big draw to its store and downtown.

A small, used bookstore located in the warehouse district or close to Moore Square would be good too. While thinking about this one I had an idea. Ten or so people need to get together and gather a couple thousand used books and start a bookstore with no building. In the beginning, it could start on First Fridays, setting up in spaces that would allow them. (and appreciate the added traffic and exposure) The upstairs lounge at Morning Times, the empty warehouse spaces along Martin Street, or a tent in Moore Square are all cool places to open up the bookstore one night at a time. If it is successful, the incentive for it to open more often is there with it maybe moving into its own space after the support has been proven. Think about it.

Raleigh Wide Open 5 on Hillsborough Street

Its not Downtown Raleigh Wide Open. With no big projects planned to be complete in downtown this year, I think that Raleigh Wide Open 5 should move to Hillsborough Street. They are projected to finish the construction in September but last I read, they are ahead of schedule. What better way to flood the streets, and stores, with people who need to see the street completed and come back to support the struggling businesses. NC State should open up the entire campus to handle the parking.

Bus Shelters

I once made a list of suggestions, that are a little on the cheaper side, in order to help people try transit. The idea was to make things more convenient and to improve the experience. Doing it the right way with trains and more buses is too costly and will take 185 years so we’ll have to take baby steps. Bus shelters for major stops in downtown would go a long way. This is for CAT and the R-Line. Waiting for a bus in July at 1:00pm is not fun especially when there is no place to sit. The bus shelters along a dead and buildingless Centennial Parkway should be moved to downtown. OK, I don’t mean to be drastic but Cameron Village has built bus shelters and the downtown stops deserve them too.

More jobs

One way for the area to recover from this bad economy is to create more jobs. That is obvious but in 2010, if the jobs come back to the triangle, there is a big opportunity for them to come to downtown. More jobs mean more leased office space and the more people in downtown can only help bring a variety of things.

Specialized retail

Its easy to say that we need/want more shops in downtown. What is not easy is to make this actually happen. Possibly the biggest wish on the list is for more unique shops to open in downtown. More boutique clothing stores or a shoe store would be great. Stitch has proven that this recipe can be successful so I’m hoping someone else takes a crack at it.

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    None right now. Must be a new project.


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  1. I am still holding out for some sort of tram or underground public transportation that will allow getting to downtown from other parts of Raleigh much easier.

  2. I had been thinking for a while that a book store like barnes and noble/borders would be great to replace the spot held by the Kimbrells furniture store on Fayetteville/Salisbury St.
    It has two store fronts, room for a small cafe inside, and just seems perfect for this kind shop.

    I’d also like to add to this list that a small grocery store or deli, place to buy perishables would be a welcome addition for downtown residents. It’s not like I mind all too much to head to Cameron village, but walking to a place to get tonight’s protein and vegetables would be much nicer.

    Another personal wish/rant of mine is for the Hue building to take the route of 712 tucker, and provide a nice rental apartment building instead of condos. Although I’m sure eventually all of the condos in the Hue will be sell, It just seems like it’s not going to happen any time soon, while 712 seems like it’s been a success so far. Some of these nice things like a book store or grocery won’t happen until there are more residents. Also, paint the Hue all one color (or just get rid of the blue). I get that that would go against the name, but just leave it colorful on the inside. Sorry for the long post.

  3. I still have to say that I agree with some others who have suggested getting the condo prices down a little to make them more competitive with home prices in Raleigh, and get a grocery store in downtown. We keep getting stuck on this idea that a grocery store has to be a mega store, but when I’ve visited London, Paris, and even Boston, I saw small grocery stores in the middle of the city that were maybe 5000 sq. ft. that sold the basic essentials, and maybe some pre-packaged sandwiches or lunch items for the day workers. Sure, there were also more full scale grocery stores in areas with more concentrated residential property, but until we get more people living downtown I think a small focused grocery seller could satisfy the basic needs of the people in the downtown district.

    One of the main draws of living in a downtown is not having to rely on a car for transportation. Until we can meet our basic needs for food and clothing downtown it will be a hard sell to get people to move into the core.

  4. Ashe: your last comments are why I want to leave Raleigh. I cannot live here without a car. The bus system is terrible.

    Heres hoping to get to a “real” city in 2010.

  5. Maybe when you get to a “real” city, you can find a local website to get on and complain about it. You’ll be corny no matter where you live.

  6. My wish list for 2010 is small. I have more, but given the economic climate I would settle for the following:

    * Corporate relocations – At least two need to be announced, even if they are completed in 2011.
    * Groundbreakings – The Edison, new Justice Center, NC SECU Building and Charter Square.
    * Announcements – One Glenwood (in its recent, glorious incarnation).
    * Good urban development initiatives taken by developers.
    * RFP’s for Sites 2, 3 and 4, as well as 301 Hillsborough.

    One more wish: A better year for everyone!!! 2009 has been a very crappy time for most people and I hope that 2010 will mark a new beginning, especially for those who have suffered the most.

  7. CF thanks. You’re hella mature I see. Im sorry I don’t want to own a car and would much rather use public transportation that can actually get you somewhere on time and on schedule and be better for the environment.

  8. gd…what sort of maturity level does it take to get on a raleigh city discussion website to make comments about moving to a new city complete with backhanded Raleigh jabs?

  9. I didn’t realize as a citizen of Raleigh I couldn’t say something negative. Damn! Sorry I mentioned the lack of public transportation made me want to leave this city.

  10. 1. Real progress on a rail system, preferably one that doesn’t ignore the Glenwood corridor.

    2. A good Indian food joint somewhere that isn’t Cary

    3. I wish that the animosity between ITB and OTB people would end, or at least tone down a bit. ITB citizens think anything OTB is a waste of money, ugly sprawl, and not even really part of Raleigh. OTB’ers get angry when any money is spent downtown, even on worthwhile projects. Raleigh is one city, and we should all treat it as such. There’s no reason a Brier Creek resident should have to be at odds with someone that lives in the Hudson. There’s too much ugly elitism on both sides, and it should end.

  11. I would definitely go downtown more if there was a fun bookstore with comfortable places to read. Add in some type of reliable transportation so I wouldn’t have to find a parking spot and I’d be there at least once a week.

  12. Hey Anon,

    Try “A Taste of India” across from the Wachovia building. Friendly owner. Great buffet (only $5 on Mondays).

    It’s a solid choice for Indian food. Needs some consumer love.

    PS – What downtown REALLY needs? A minor-league baseball stadium. Move the Mudcats downtown from that forsaken cow pasture. I realize this won’t happen because of the “Jim Goodmon Rule” enacted two decades ago so that no minor league teams can be within 31 miles of each other … how convenient that DBAP is exactly 31 miles from Zebulon.

    Take ’em to court, repeal it, and move ’em. Could public support/pressure actually make a difference here? The RBC Center stinks where it’s located … so says visitors to NCAA tourney games from Indiana, for crying out loud!

    Downtown Raleigh won’t ever be a true destination for anything other than food/drinks until ENTERTAINMENT is brought downtown. Entertainment that actually drives job creation, tourism and revenue.

  13. The problem with “A Taste of India” is that its only open for lunch so if you don’t work downtown, you can’t help support it.

    We need an indian restaurant thats open for dinner downtown.

  14. I don’t quite get Scotty’s comment about entertainment downtown. Maybe not sports, but we got a good amount. Progress Energy Center brings TONS of entertainment (though I do worry they’ll lose a few shows to DPAC). The new convention center will probably bring some over the years and the upcoming amphitheater will definitely help add more. Then add smaller venues like Lincoln Theatre, the Raleigh Ensemble players on Fay Street, Burning Coal, etc. The IMAX. All the outdoor concerts we see year-round. And of course nightclubs with live music, etc. Art galleries, museums. I mean…add that all up, and that’s a good amount of entertainment right there.

  15. I agree with RaleighRob. Downtown Raleigh has a good amount of events and entertainment venues. Sure, we expected to see some of the momentum DT Raleigh had gained in the recent years to continue, but until we get more downtown residents we cannot raise our expectations any higher, IMO. Times are tough for all cities and I am sure we are doing good, relatively speaking.

  16. Hey Rob,

    Good points all. I’m talking about venues that draw thousands, not a few hundred here or there. We need consistent movement of people from the suburbs to downtown for something other than food or drink, because that only happens in mass on the weekends.

    Memorial Aud is one example. They’ve certainly had to step up their game with DPAC … and have done so drawing a few more concerts and non-Broadway entertainment options. But DPAC is exploding it over in Durham. Their lineup is more in line with a mid-to-large city’s offering.

    The new outdoor Amp is a move in the right direction, though it will cannibilize Koko Booth. All the festivals, art events, beer events, etc., are also strong ideas. But they’re fleeting. A ballfield downtown would bring 5,000+ for 50 or so nights a summer.

  17. I agree ScottyM, we do need some type of sports venue in or near downtown. People fail to realize the potential the it has. I can more than guarantee that businesses will thrive off of it. The whole point is to bring business to downtown and it will help. I amphitheater is a start, but not enough for what the city needs.

    I would also love to see a grocery store and movie theater in the center city. All of which a sports venue can desperately help.

  18. I know I am really late to the game with my wish list but here it goes…
    1.) An urban mixed use project to the East of Glenwood
    South to include rental housing, some condos, small retail spaces for local independent businesses along with some mid sized “national” anchors like Apple and Urban Outfitters. Included in the project would be a multilevel cinema and a Lucky Strike bowling alley.
    2.) Something, anything to happen to the empty Dillon warehouses in the district. Something really needs to happen there. It’s becoming an eyesore.
    3.) Serious plans to move the nursing home tower on Glenwood and replace it with mixed use and more rental housing.
    4.) A parking garage right off of Capital and near Harrington St. so that visitors to Glenwood South can arrive and park and then venture on foot instead of cruising Glenwood to find parking.
    5.) Serious plans to redevelop the old Devereaux Meadows field inclusive of a mini river walk experience.
    6.) Mid rise housing on West St. to the North of Peace St. (up that little hill). This is one of the best DT views in the city!
    7.) More casual dining variety in DT including a place that serves good, reasonable entree salads. At this point, I’d even take some sort of make-your-own salad bar.
    8.) Less parking on Glenwood South and wider sidewalks for more outdoor activity.
    9.) More small neighborhood parks in underutilized land surrounded by high density housing.
    okay…that’s enough for now.

  19. John, I would like you to run for mayor.

    Good thoughts, if 1/3 of those things get done in the next 5-7 years I will be ecstatic.

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