Municipography, Union Station and Downtown Property Loans

Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center of the city.

The first Raleigh City Council meeting of 2012 was held yesterday. The proposed Union Station was discussed and the agenda describes it just as well as I can. From the January 3, 2012 agenda packet:


1. NCDOT Concept for Raleigh Rail Station

At their December 12, 2011 meeting, the Passenger Rail Task Force discussed proposed improvements to the Dillon Viaduct Building by NCDOT to convert the facility to a passenger rail station. The new station would replace the existing train station on West Cabarrus Street and would accommodate existing Amtrak service, proposed future high-speed rail service, and the proposed future Triangle Transit commuter rail service. The passenger rail station would be the first phase of a larger Union Station multimodal facility that would also provide service to local bus, regional bus, and light rail services. City staff will continue to work on conceptual designs for future phases of the Union Station multimodal facility.

After reviewing draft concept plans presented by the NCDOT Rail Division, the Task Force voted unanimously to recommend endorsing the proposed Viaduct Building rail station retrofit concept. A complete copy of their evaluation is included in the agenda packet. $3 million has been appropriated for City participation in the cost of this facility
as part of the 2011 Transportation Bond and will be available in FY13 in the draft Capital Improvement Program.

Recommendation: Endorse the findings of the Passenger Rail Task Force to retrofit the
Dillon Viaduct Building for use as the rail station of Union Station.

The council voted unanimously to endorse this site and the plans recommended by the Passenger Rail Task Force. Watch the video below for more discussion about it during the meeting.

A great pdf document that goes over the concept of turning the Dillon Viaduct building into a train station is “NCDOT Viaduct Building Assessment”, taken from the Passenger Rail Task Force webpage on the city’s website. You can download it here. In this document, you can see the phased approach to adding new platforms for Amtrak, commuter rail, and high-speed rail to the Boylan Wye as well as other additions to accommodate the station.

Downtown Loan Program

The Downtown Loan Program was created for properties along Fayetteville Street, typically older structures, to be brought up to proper code for owners and potential tenants. This was an effort to help bring businesses to the Fayetteville Street area after it’s renovation a few years ago. The loan program is now being expanded to more streets in downtown Raleigh. From the City of Raleigh’s press release, the streets include:

The program will include portions of Dawson Street, Glenwood Avenue, Hargett Street, Martin Street, Davie Street, Fayetteville Street, Blount Street, Person Street and designated at primary retail Street in the Comprehensive Plan. Designated secondary retail streets include portions of Harrington Street, West Street, McDowell Street, Dawson Street, Salisbury Street, Wilmington Street, West Morgan Street, Hillsborough Street and Peace Street.

And finally more about the program:

The program is designed to create an incentive to new and/or expanding Downtown businesses and commercial property owners seeking to improve properties. To be eligible for the loan program commercial property owners and business owners must demonstrate management ability and experience. Qualified applicants must show they are unable to secure financing from financial institutions for the amount being requested from this program. To date the program has made three loans to area businesses. One of the loans has been fully repaid. Currently $200,000 is available.

The expansion was approved by the council during the consent agenda.

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  1. Since the city is cutting corners again to save a buck on downtown development, as a taxpayer, this area needs to bring in a Class A developer (NOONE from the Triangle) to Urbanize this Dillion area. This area needs to be very high and very dense. This should be an area for transportation connections (bus, light rail, bicycle, amtrak, etc), retail, office space (tower), plaza for people waiting for connections, restaurants/bars/fast food court (alot of variety) and it needs to be open 24/7.
    NO surface parking, only a parking deck with convenient access to ticketing area.
    put some money into this project and do it right Raleigh (city council members should not be making decisions for this development – too many of them have NO vision, especially Crowder, Odom and that Boner guy)

  2. While I actually really like the North Hills transit idea, and I live equidistant from North Hill and DT, I don’t think a Disney-esque parking lot monorail has exactly the same complexity and issues as light rail, high speed rail, commuter rail, and passenger/freight trains all being accommodated at a single station in Raleigh. I also am extremely frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm, money, vision, and progress with all the rail options. This area should have all of those things. There are a million people all clogging up the highways and local roads with no recourse. This stuff should all be completed in 5 years, and they’re talking about “maybe” in 20.

  3. Americans are very anti mass transit. More than in any country I’ve seen. I’ll believe it’s happening when I can actually ride a train somewhere.

    But if this actually does happen, and one day we can hop on a train and head up North for the weekend quickly and cheaply, that would be awesome. People would be falling all over themselves to live and work near it.

  4. Joe, you’re in luck! There’s an amtrak leaving this Friday, 10:25 am to DC! Only $65! And you are there that afternoon just in time for happy hour!

    To save you from falling all over yourself… there’s a very nice house for sale at 521 W Lenoir Street! Listed at $285k, but you could probably get it for cheaper since its been on the market for awhile! 3 bed, 3.5 bath!

    I’ll let you find your own job near there since I don’t know your skills, but Red Hat will be only 0.6 miles away (about a 10-15 minute walk) and I heard they will be hiring!

    The future is amazing!

  5. Best response ever, Mike #2.

    I’m eager to see the detailed remodeling plans for the decrepit, little Dillion Supply building.

  6. Jeff, I agree with U! The Light Rail topic has been talked about for years and in planning for years. The problem is, we have too many idiots planning this system who have no idea what they are doing. 2020 for what, breaking ground? This has been one embarrassing process (anyone who says it is not needed or ridership will be minimal, has no clue what they are talking about). Example of stupidity: toll road for a belt line, are you kidding. Toll I-40 and I-95, NOT a belt line or expressway.

    NCDOT: there’s a group of clueless planners and thieves who are probably taking tax payer money under the table(we all know how it works, the contractor awarded the project pays DOT under the table, during the project and at the end when they true up the total project costs and upscopes).

    Lack of Vision is top if the list. Do not want to hear about the economy: This project will change the landscape of “The Triangle”, put all the money needed into doing this right (NO TRAINS, ONLY LIGHT RAIL ABOVE Ground). Why would you use trains and keep everything at ground level (do not need to hear it’s a money issue or the infrastructure is already in place – it is the wrong infrastructure, in the wrong places).
    Elevate the system and create less congestion. This group needs to stop talking and START DOING (what a disfunctional group planning this system – break ground yesterday before people and companies leave this area due to lack of transportation option).


    Thanks, Leo, for posting the URL of the PDF document from the NCDOT Rail Division about the phases for developing the Dillon parcel into the beginnings of a real and wonderful transportation hub in downtown Raleigh.

    The information is complex and I won’t claim to understand it all clearly, but one thing is crystal clear: this projected $59M expenditure would be the best money ever spent by the people of Raleigh.

    One downer: I can’t believe it when I hear these comments about 5 years or 20 years or whatever. How about NOW as in NOW! I know where you can rent floodlights, and I’ll bet the DOT does, too! Let’s see, if we work all through the weekend…

  8. By the time all this is said and done with the propsal of Union Station it would be the year 2060…So much for our City/State officials doing a damn thing to make this a reality. the tiny amtrak station is just too small for travelers to take..If you think the Citizen of Raleigh will put up such slow progress…keep thinking that…Wow. Im so ashamed at our elected people at work….For themselves.

  9. Mark,

    Agree. Our city council, NCDOT, Triangle Transit and county commissioners are a Pathetic decision making group. One Example: Betty Ward, enough, bring in new blood. Her and these members have NO vision. Get them out of office and bring in people who will build yesterday. City Council: Odom, Crowder, Boner and Stephenson, the 4 stooges
    They have NO vision for OUR city. It’s been decades in planning for too many things in downtown and nothing happens.
    Are they planning NOW for a RBC Center downtown? NO Get some balls and say the hell with Durham Bulls baseball. Build a new Mudcats stadium downtown (pay a minor league fee to build a stadium in downtown Raleigh)

  10. I love it when clueless hipsters with no investment in either city, hold Durham up as some shining example of a great city because they have food trucks and low rent. Wow.

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