A Walk Around Caswell Square

Graffiti on a building in Caswell square, December 2016

Some of the locals at Caswell Square, December 2016

Caswell Square has made the news recently as a piece of the state-owned land is being considered to be sold to a private developer. A few buildings on the square are planning to be renovated for medical offices. The North Carolina Council of State needs to approve the sale of these properties.

At first, it doesn’t sound like a big deal but if you aren’t familiar with Caswell Square then allow me to inform you.

Caswell Square is one of the original squares of the William Christmas plan. This plan laid out the street network for Raleigh and was to include five public squares, owned by the state.

You almost certainly have heard of Nash and Moore Square, operating as parks today, and also Union Square, where the historic North Carolina Capitol building sits. Lesser known Burke Square has the Governor’s Mansion, also called the Executive Mansion, and finally, Caswell Square.

Bounded by Lane and Jones Streets to the North and South, McDowell and Dawson to the East and West, Caswell Square, for over 100 years, has had state government buildings on it.

Interior of Caswell square, December 2016

Interior of Caswell square, December 2016

The entire block is now consumed by buildings and surface parking. Some of those buildings are even empty and boarded up. Still owned by the state, they sit waiting to be torn down or for renovation work to take place.

As part of the Governor’s plan, called Project Phoenix, to revitalize the state government complex in downtown Raleigh, a portion of Caswell Square, owned by the state since the birth of Raleigh in 1792, is up for sale for private use.

Plans for medical offices in now empty buildings are on the table as millions of dollars in renovations would take place in the old buildings on the square. The sale would generate $1.75 million to the state.

Preservationists have come forward and claimed that the state should not offload the historic piece of property as it dates back to the original plan of Raleigh, the Christmas plan.

Below, are the three empty buildings being discussed for sale. They are located primarily along Dawson Street, next to each other, starting from the corner of Dawson and Lane.

Empty building on Caswell square, December 2016

Empty building on Caswell square, December 2016

Empty building on Caswell square, December 2016

The Oral Hygiene Building.

For me, I’ve been a huge supporter of the ideas in Project Phoenix but this one makes me pause. Offices can go anywhere but public squares aren’t being planned anymore. I’m not sure I agree with those that want to sell of parts of Caswell Square.

First, let’s take a look at what it’s like around Caswell Square. Below is a Google Map I made. (If you can’t see it, click here)

The square is in green, in the center, with the eight blocks surrounding it loosely categorized. We can notice a few things:

  • To the east and south of the square, the properties today are largely dominated by state government properties, mainly offices and museums.
  • The museums are a relatively new addition compared to most of the other offices, having been there for decades.
  • To the west, you have the fringes of Glenwood South residential, a relatively new addition (The Metropolitan is under construction now)
  • A mix of commercial activity exists to the east and north of Caswell Square including law offices, the Days Inn hotel, Babylon restaurant, and other office space. I would consider this very small scale.
  • Edenton Street United Methodist Church has also owned land, been a presence nearby for quite some time.

The eastern edges of Glenwood South and the state museums are basically the new, the momentum, with the church and state government offices being the old, the legacy downtown. They are starting to mix and this brings us to Caswell Square, stuck in the middle.

We don’t know yet the impact of Glenwood South and how much it’s success could cause more development to the east. Hillsborough Street projects, with 301 Hillsborough being close by, could also impact uses at Caswell Square in the future. Work on Project Phoenix within the government complex could create new uses for Caswell Square.

You also have all the work taking place along Capital Boulevard and the square loop at Peace Street.

NC School for the Blind and Deaf

Caswell Square historical asset, the NC School for the Blind and Deaf. Read more about it on Goodnight, Raleigh.

In my opinion, the future is bright for downtown and taking this opportunity to sell off a historic piece of land for a cool $1.75 million isn’t the right way to go. In the 1950s and 1960s, when the state government complex was built, lots of land was acquired, some with eminent domain. I’d like to see some of that land sold back to private hands for reuse first before even thinking of carving up a major piece of Raleigh history.

I’m not sure I’ll see the day but I’d like to see the state government clean up and efficiently use the properties with no historical significance, the northern end of downtown, before they start discarding history.

NC State offices in the Caswell Building

NC State offices in the Caswell Building at the corner of McDowell and Jones Streets.

Instead of immediate gains, I’d like to see the state, partnering with Raleigh, to use Caswell Square as a way to boost nearby activity. It just so happens you have a top 5 visited attraction, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, in the state nearby to the square. With the Nature Research Center recently completed, maybe a park extension in Caswell Square could boost the museum’s profile and bring more tourism to the area.

Surface parking around NC State government buildings.

Surface parking around NC State government buildings.

To the east of Caswell Square sits a massive surface parking lot. Parking consolidation is easily a project that the state should undertake, freeing up new land for either more office buildings (mixed-use office buildings by the way) or to be sold for private use.

Ideas like these could have long-term benefits that if done well, could bring the state much more than $1.75 million.

The discussion to sell the land was on the agenda for the Council of State last week but a decision was delayed until a future meeting.

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  1. Good points Leo. There has been some good discussion about this proposal. I understand the history of the site and why people want to keep the block public-owned land.

    I would agree if all buildings on the site were empty/abandoned. But hundreds of people work on this block in office buildings and the block is never going to go back to being a park that it hasn’t been in close to two centuries.

    There are state owned lots, like you mentioned, that are nearly a full city block (several of these) that could be petitioned to be turned into public space of some kind and that would be a lot easier path than with this block.

    From my point of view, I don’t see how keeping these couple of buildings on the NW corner of the block sitting there abandoned for another decade or two will help the city. This corner of downtown needs revitalization and I think selling this part of the block to developers could help that.

    Any usage, even as office space, would be a much better use that it is currently, and having the abandoned buildings either refurbished or razed I think may boost surrounding properties for redevelopment such as the decrepit Days Inn or the Tire building at N Harrington at Lane.

    With Metropolitan being built to the west, and the Albemarle building renovations to the east, with new offices on the Caswell block maybe their will be enough life in this part of downtown for someone to finally reopen that Deli by the Days Inn (we could only hope and dream it would be Lunchbox).

  2. If the state is going to sell off these buildings for a paltry $1.75M after complaining about not getting enough money for the Dix land then it’s obvious to me that the state isn’t working for the people but rather their cronies in the business world. I mean, seriously, only $1.75M for three buildings in the center of the city? That’s insane.
    If the state is willing to let these properties go for 1.75M then they should be offered to the city of Raleigh for that price first since it’s on land that is important to the city’s history.
    At least then the city could either convert/restore these buildings into amenities for the citizens of Raleigh and give a nod to the intended use of public space as originally outlined by W. Christmas. In the future, maybe the city could acquire additional properties until it controls the entire block? If that were the case, the city could decide that they want to create some sort of public square of buildings within a park setting. They could bulldoze some of the less “important” ones while retaining the others as public amenities. This would obviously take years to accomplish but we should be thinking in long-game terms since this about our city, not a one time RE deal.
    The big conundrum for me is that this block has some VERY interesting buildings on it. I love the art deco detailing of a few of them and would hate to lose them. The original school for the blind is also a gem.
    In my ideal world, the city would keep the buildings along Jones St. and demolish most of the others and then buy the half circle lot that the DaysInn sits on and expand the park to the north side. I can also Imagine one of the smaller buildings housing an indoor playground for kids or, perhaps, a gutted building that creates an semi-enclosed indoor/outdoor space as a shelter of sorts. In this scenario, I don’t advocate for the closing of Lane between McDowell and Dawson, rather a more ceremonial crossing of the street as a traffic calmer.

  3. I absolutely agree with you that there are SO MANY gov’t owned surface parking lots and old, ugly gov’t buildings that should be sold off and developed first. The only reason I could see why the state would want to hold off on selling the big empty lots is because over time their value will increase SIGNIFICANTLY, and if they wait long enough while other open spots are being vacated by short, ugly suburban style apartment buildings, then by the time they sell these lots off, developers will have no choice but to build BIG and BOLD because there won’t be as many open spots left to waste time with. I think it’d be cool to open this square back up to the public, but I can also see some interesting things being done with those 3 buildings – perhaps if they can do something with the buildings that benefits the public (rather than renovate them for private use) – perhaps more museum space? LOCAL Artist studio space/gallery space? A library/learning center?

  4. City Web Page is showing under ” Current Development ” , Hilton Garden Inn , SR-102-16 @ 13 stories , 150 feet tall !

  5. Also keep in mind this is a very small portion of the block that would be sold. I think this is the area: http://i.imgur.com/9e1j6Ei.jpg

    Don’t expect much of the rest of the block to change any time soon; hundreds of people work there and there’s no incentive to move them any time soon. This sliver of land would not be worth trying to reclaim as a park. To get new private sector offices in there would be a big improvement for the block.

  6. @Dwight

    NOOOOOOOOOO. Dangit, that was one of the sites prime for a monster some day. Man that’s disappointing

  7. @Dwight & Daniel. While we often talk about sites being granted variances to go above the UDO use, the Davie/McDowell hotel site is underachieving by 7 stories and 100 feet. mwah, mwah…..

  8. We keep saying that there are plenty of sites for potential skyscrapers but those are slowly dwindling. There will never be a true skyscraper north of the capital building (IMO) so the open sites close to city center are our best shot. This particular site would be perfect for that. Hopefully they aren’t using too much of that block so that we can still put one there someday.

    Also read where Kane still has 7 more sites for buildings and acquired 34 acres along 440 all the way to Wake Forest Rd. Looking at the map, I figured he was all but out of room in North Hills with his latest project. He has the vision we need but I wish he did more downtown and cooled on North Hills for a bit. Seems as though we will continue to build 10-15 story buildings downtown and he will continue building 20-30 story buildings in NH. SMH

  9. @Daniel Couldn’t agree more. Raleigh development is becoming a little lopsided with NH vs. DT.

    So, I’m a little confused…is the new hotel going in at the NW corner of McDowell and Davie, or the SE corner? IMO, the SE corner is the best spot for a future skyscraper. That’s the Enterprise lot, no?

  10. Will / Daniel , This hotel project will go where Turnkey Tire & the high school sports trophy store shop is located .

  11. North Hills is definitely taking the office development wind out of downtown’s sails. They’ve already lured Bank of America from the center of downtown to NH, and I’m sure they’re working on other big tenants downtown to relocate to NH. If people were really upset about the lack of sizable development in downtown, they should first look to NH. It’s exactly what happened to Atlanta decades ago with Buckhead and then all of the perimeter development, creating unsustainable sprawl and basically killing downtown Atlanta for decades.

    Concerning Caswell Square, I believe that it should be the prerogative of those who appreciate the historic aspect and character of Raleigh to push for this to be turned back into a public park in some form. I agree that buildings like School for the Blind and Deaf should be preserved. There’s plenty of space in downtown for things like a dentist’s office, and the $1.75M price-point is almost criminal for those buildings and property being sold to private developers.

  12. Major League Soccer laid out its plan for expansion today. Raleigh is among 10 cities vying for a franchise. Malik needs to go to Mia Hamm and offer her a minor ownership in exchange for using her ‘brand’ IMO. This may sound a bit sexist, but you pull the ‘woman card’ and that woman just happens to be arguably the best female soccer player of all time, combined with the fact that Malik intends to add a professional women’s soccer team along with upgrading the Railhawks to NC FC as an MLS franchise, I would think that would make for a very compelling argument to Major League Soccer that Raleigh is the horsepower and dollars to advance soccer for everyone, which means more fans, regardless of gender.

  13. Wow-wee, 150M to join league (for now) plus 150M for stadium/land plus player/team costs … this is a serious investment to say the least!

    Jan 31st submittals are supposed to include stadium plans so I suppose we’ll be hearing more on those 3 potential sites soon enough.

    I personally can’t imagine this franchise working without the synergy of our vibrant downtown in close proximity. Keeping it at WakeMed … really???

    A recent SI article “MLS sets timetable for expansion to 28 teams, $150M fee for teams No. 25, 26” includes a gallery of potential future MLS stadiums. Nothing on Raleigh included but still worth a look. These designs are amazing. Would love to see something similar built in our downtown!

  14. Any ideas as to where the other two sites could be besides WakeMed SP? If he selects WMSP, you can kiss the MLS dream goodbye.

  15. What does it mean, “downtown is a little harder to coordinate all the various constituents that have to be on board.”?

  16. Daniel, that has been the plan for the site for a good year and a half. https://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/topic/117259-downtown-hilton-garden-inn/?page=1
    RE: Caswell Sq, I am a very staunch preservationist. Yet my stance is very tilted towards preserving the Broom and Mattress factory even if that means selling off the parcel. I am not even a fan of the William Christmas plan. It provided for no through streets, no alleys and really had nothing special about it. I tossed around the idea of making the northern half of the block the State Archives is on, a park. The Records Center is on that block and needs torn down as it is a windowless POS. Once that is gone you have 2/3 of block left with most of the Thomas D Hogg trees still standing so it’s very parklike right off the bat. Anyway there are other avenues to creating State owned, City maintained green spaces…

  17. Personally, I do not read constituents as being Carycentric. Rather, the ability to work proactively with the city, or private landowners, to make a deal possible for a downtown stadium. It will be tough finding 15 to 20 acres of available land downtown without willing sellers and a city that is dreaming as big as Malik and willing to cut him a deal on city land. In total, this guy is going to dump in 300 million and I would hope the city would bend over backwards to do its part. Even if it doesn’t happen, I’m sold this is a great thing for Raleigh and will gladly attend games outside downtown.

  18. Such a fuss and bickering over how tall a building should or shouldn’t be, and all the chatter city leaders do as far as what and where and how developers should build a building Downtown. How can one attract folks to a place if you do not spruce it up. Having said that, Raleigh should pull out all the stops to attract big business in downtown. Arts & Entertainment and College sports are not enough. As I’m reading the last comment form Marco, I agree 200% Never mind what Charlotte is doing, Focus on Raleigh. I for one would Love to attend a game in a stadium downtown rather than drive two hours to charlotte for a event. Raleigh has the PNC arena and Carter-Finley Stadium focus on that Area to include a few mid-rise offices or apartments. And Why not a NBA or MLB, whats wrong with that, not everybody in Raleigh is into college sports, not to say that there is anything wrong with it. Raleigh has a awesome NHL team (Carolina Huricanes ), we should be fighting like Hell to keep them here for 10 more years at least. City leaders should bend a little and let developers build a High rise of at least 30 or 35 stories tall. Ok, one thing to add then off my soapbox…If you want real growth you have to take risk otherwise you are stuck in the past forever and it seems that Raleigh is doing just that. Ok Im off my soapbox now. just a citizen having my say.

  19. I have enjoyed following this thread. When @Robert asked ‘What does it mean, “downtown is a little harder to coordinate all the various constituents that have to be on board.”?’, I had been pondering over that same phrase.

    @Unique12b added that it was probably code for a “Carycentric” backing, which I had also considered as a possibility.

    @Marco, on the other hand, suggests that there is no backstory here, that the phrase should be taken at face value. That is, it may be difficult to “work proactively with the city or private landowners…finding 15 or 20 acres of available land for a downtown stadium”.

    What? You’re telling me that Malik can command $300 million for league fees and stadium construction, but cannot assemble and purchase 20 acres on the south side of downtown? I find that hard to believe.

    It seems more plausible that one or more of his financial backers (whether Carycentric or not) have expressed a preference for a suburban location. And if that’s true, Malik could risk losing the franchise competition by selecting an OTB (suburban) stadium location. The MLS league has already stated that “our most successful franchises have urban stadium locations. That would be our preference”.

    So, if Malik is to win this franchise for Raleigh over “10 competitors”, he had better either a) come through with an urban location for the stadium, or b) have more leverage with the MLS than we currently know about. Otherwise, he’s not going to win this competition. IMHO, he and his backers need to huddle up and recognize that Cary WMSP is a minor league location, and they’re trying to get into the major leagues.

    @Maverick…”City leaders should bend a little and let developers build a High rise of at least 30 or 35 stories tall”. I have seen this concern expressed on this blog in the past. Is there a specific precedent for this concern? Has there actually been a case in which a credible developer has submitted a serious proposal for a 30+ story building, only to be officially rejected because of the height?

    I do agree that the city could be more proactive in sprucing of downtown. Yes, the city is much improved since 2000. But other cities are improving their looks at a much faster pace. The amphitheater was installed as a temporary experiment and has been hugely popular (though certainly not one of the more beautiful amphitheaters I have seen). But is that the only idea they can drum up? What about some big city sculptures, dynamic garden elements, and fountains (Fountain Square in Cincinnati, Buckingham Fountain in Chicago, the Water Gardens in Forth Worth TX, or the similar one in downtown Portland OR) instead of the drab surface parking lot in front of the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center? Could we just try that out for a couple years, and see how it goes over with the public? Same with Halifax Mall. When I first saw that grass field as a newbie in town, I thought surely the grass is temporary. Raleigh (or the state) will soon bring in bulldozers and we’ll see some exciting sculpture or fountains there. Nope. 25 years later, its still a grass field.

    Sorry my post is WAY too long. I’m out.

  20. The two brothers that own The Charlotte Motor Speedway will put a application in for a MLS Team . This is on Goggle on Dec. 17th .

  21. FWIW, the rezoning at 301, it was the neighbor’s (the dawson) that fought the 20 story height not the city as the city was the one rezoning its own land. Don’t blame the city as most of these developers could care less how high they build. It is about the rent they can collect and the return on their money. The higher you go the more the cost. They will argue over a 100 bucks. Enterprise car lot is planned for 10 story hotel, 3 buildings at N&O site. Exploris is 10 story at end of Kindley. Kane can go higher at NHE as the land was cheaper. Great comments on here.


    If you guys still want to talk about a stadium.. even when other things need to be addressed first.. like our infrastructure and actually bringing more tech and other business with taller more beautiful buildings… at least talk about BASEBALL or something better than SOCCER.

  23. Bob 148 , Believe me , I love baseball & I wish that more council members felt like You ! I have learned a lot from this site because many posts are really super with some Great Thoughts & Opinions ! There will probably be 12 high rise projects started in our downtown core with-in the next two years or less ! This is just Outstanding ! ” Merry Christmas To All Of You ” ! ” Thanks Leo For Your Site , It Is Outstanding ” !

  24. Wow! What great and diverse comments. I am keen to see Caswell Square kept public but open to a wide sense of what it can be. I hope everyone will keep their eye out for an opportunity to give input and perhaps serve on a working group on the future of the square. A variety of stakeholders is a key component of the effort -for example: people with disabilities and their advocates -http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article121046368.html

  25. Bob148.

    Most of the world would disagree with you. It’s the most watched sport in the world. It’s the most ‘global’ sport. Hockey could make a an argument but still isn’t as large as soccer.

    Baseball is like watching paint dry….in the winter.

    Seriously, I would love to have a baseball stadium, PNC arena, and a soccer stadium downtown. You can’t ignore the fact that soccer is growing as rapidly as it is, in the US. Just look at CASL. The millennials all grow up playing it and the fact is a 24,000 stadium downtown would be a HUGE catalyst for the City. PNC is coming downtown anytime soon. I’ve heard absolutely zilch on the prospect of the Mudcats coming downtown. The NBA & NFL are way off in the future prospects. Our best bet for a transformational sport downtown in the near future is Major League Soccer. You can not support it all you want but that does nothing for the advancement of downtown which is what everyone on this site does care about…

  26. @Uncle Jesse, I believe Mia Hamm is already part owner of the new LAFC. They’re set to join MLS next season.

    Also, I tend to agree with most folks on here: no downtown stadium (or near downtown), no MLS.

  27. I’m enjoying this discussion. In no particular order I like Heritage Park (can provide a connection between Dix and Downtown and spur redevelopment on the adjacent interchange), the Capital Blvd Corridor (provides great access to and stretches development north), or the Cargill Site (currently under utilized, stretches development south) as potential sites for a stadium.

  28. I’m not much of a soccer fan, but I think MLS is a good fit for Raleigh. It doesn’t require nearly the money as the NFL or MLB, and I think we could easily sell out a 20,000 seat stadium for 17 games a year. I’d definitely take in a game (match?) or two as an excuse to drink beer. I also REALLY like that this stadium is going to be privately-funded. I realize the city is going to have to provide roads (and hopefully transit) and some other support, but I’m not a fan of publically-funded stadiums, so kudos to the investors for pledging to go it alone. My two cents is that downtown is not a good location for a stadium. Somewhere downtown adjacent makes more sense. My preference would be on the southside, between downtown and Tryon Rd. Ideally it would be on the BRT line and encompass a whole new neighborhood. My one fear would be a stadium surrounded by surface parking.

  29. Is there any chance Steve Malik could buy the gateway property from Exploris for the stadium? That area is in our 10-year plan, after all.

    I’ve also heard a rumor that the stadium could be in the warehouse district. Does anyone know anything about that?


  30. Not to damper the speculation, but all the blogs and articles I’ve read have Raleigh one of the last/least likely places to actually win one of the expansion slots. I’m a lifetime player and moderately informed fan, and would absolutely love an MLS team to come here, but I’m not holding my breath on this. Much bigger cities are vying against our little town-like city. They list is Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, and Tampa/St. Petersburg. Only two get chosen to go to 25 and 26 teams (23 and 24 are Miami an LA. A 27th and 28th team will be added at an unspecified date, but the expansion fee will likely be even higher than the current 150M.

  31. @Paul
    That would be the best location for the stadium. It can easily fit 24K sitter, there is plenty of parking around, and new can be added, the road acces is better than to Charlotte BOA, and the railroad stop is at the site!
    MLS won’t go with Cary or other rural places like PNC arena. They require downtown, and NBA Hornets revival prove that statement.
    But looking at North Hills growth and new cubes around DT it’s highly unlikely.

  32. Tonight on The Great Christmas Light Show on ABC Channel 11 , The Bobby Moore Family from Raleigh won the $50,000 first place prize . They live @ Penny Rd. / Huntingwood Dr. On Dec. 5th , 5728 Fixit Shop Rd. Wake Forest , won the $50,000 prize .

  33. The Tennessee legislature is reportedly entertaining a bill to help Nashville fund its MLS stadium. @Mark is correct. Competition will be fierce.

    It remains to be seen whether Raleigh and state leaders will fully support a downtown stadium. I hope so. All the stops need to be pulled to make this a reality. Our direct competitors are already willing to do this apparently.

  34. I feel like we should keep the stadium discussion on this thread.

    So, two things. Malik has essentially said that downtown isn’t especially likely. I personally don’t see any piece of land that would work for a stadium in downtown proper. Sure, we could shove a stadium into a small piece of land, but I think the idea is to help redevelop a larger area, rather than just adding another entertainment option downtown.

    Also, Uncle Jesse, do you have data corroborating the claim that stadium construction spurs “millions or billions” of dollars in investment? I’m skeptical that in a city like Raleigh, which is already expecting to grow by another 50% over the next 20 years, that building a stadium would attract more development. The money and development were already coming, the stadium may serve to direct it to a certain location, but even then, that seems unlikely in our case. If we’re talking about a downtown, or downtown-adjacent area, I don’t see how a stadium would spur more investment than would already happen. Downtown and adjacent areas are going to grow rapidly irrespective of a stadium.

    And, honestly, all the studies I’ve ever seen have concluded that pubic stadiums are a bad investment for cities. It’s all academic in our case, because the ownership group have said they want to finance it primarily with private capital.

  35. Steve , The only areas that I can think of is the Cargill Site , Hammond Rd. area , S. Sanders St. area , possibility Capital Blvd. South where the warehouses are located . I do know that the planning dept. has asked city council for some advice on a possible stadium location for their future planning . When the baseball presentation was done in August with James Sauls, Economic Dir. & Jim Greene , Ass. City Mgr . , the presentation went 3 times longer than the scheduled meeting because they had many questions & they were impressed with the presentation as far as a down the road project !

  36. @Dwight, @Steve. Heritage Park (west of McDowell St. and south of West South St.) also came up in the discussion. See the “Pic of the Week” chain dated Dec. 7th to read several excellent postings on possible downtown stadium options.

  37. As much as I’d like to see a DT stadium occur, I just don’t see it. There isn’t enough time to manage all the moving parts of a core location vis-a-vis the short time frame provided. If DT had tons of vacant land or rundown ghost-town district, it could make sense but that simply does not exist right now in the core. I still think that the Dix property offers the team the best opportunity to be near the city center but God help them if the “every acre is sacred” crowd gets wind of that. Put up the hill from DT on Lake Wheeler near the Farmer’s Market.

  38. Why not the MLK area? There’s nothing there except rundown crap. Doesn’t seem that hard for that land to get bought up, some streets closed maybe, and a stadium to get built. I like baseball as much as the next person, but it’s old news. For trying to be a progressive, vibrant, forward-thinking city, MLS downtown seem obvious.

  39. If only the city had made a comprehensive 10-year plan that provided for a sports venue somewhere in the downtown core. Hmmmm. Seriously, I wish Malik could waive some bills in front of Exploris for that land @ Kindley–where the city basically suggested a stadium/arena could go. It displaces no homes, it’s completely underutilized in its current form, it’s connected to rail, and it’s IMMEDIATELY adjacent and walkable to DT.

    As far as out-of-town sites or even sites >5-10 blocks away from downtown, I think we should learn from the PNC mistake. 18 years in, and all the PNC arena can show for surrounding economic stimulus is Backyard Bistro. Again, this is just my opinion, but building away from the city core and hoping to somehow “stretch” the downtown development to a new part of town is not wise (thinking Cargill, Dix, Farmer’s Market, NH). Plus, I’m very anti-sprawl in general (looking at you, Atlanta). I really hope Raleigh doesn’t have 5 different “downtowns” in 50 years.

    As far as available land downtown, it can be done for the right price and local govt. cooperation. I visited Target Field (Minnesota Twins) this summer, and that thing is absolutely shoehorned into downtown Minneapolis. And it’s awesome! Their basketball arena and Prince’s 1st Ave. are right next door, there’s a light rail stop there, the whole place is just buzzing.

    Anyway, I’ll end the rant, but my $.02, building outside of DT would be a mistake. I’m all for Kindley, Heritage, Old Amtrak, Smokey Hollow, or those crumbling old parking decks beside the Archdale building.

  40. Will,

    I think the comparison between PNC arena and a site between 40 and DT is kind of misleading. There was almost nothing out there when they built that arena, and it’s miles from downtown. Cargill is just south of Western, and right on the proposed BRT line. There’s a huge number of differences between the two sites. Plus PNC was surrounded by parking lots, when it should have been decks and mixed use. A lot of good stadiums are outside the central business district (Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, the stadiums in Pittsburgh) and do just fine. As long as the development is done right, I think we can create a stadium-oriented neighborhood rather than a single development.

    But, really we just need to wait and see what the final site is.

  41. @Steve, where has Steve Malik said that the stadium won’t be downtown? In fact, when I called to order season tickets, the sales person said “with your membership, you’ll get priority when it comes to picking seats in the new stadium, which will be located somewhere near downtown”.

    Malik met with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce many months ago. This thing has been in the works behind the scenes for awhile. I’m just curious where it will go. I’ve heard gateway, warehouse district, Cargill site or Capital BLVD. It’ll be interesting, that’s for sure.

  42. @Paul, he seemed to allude to it in the interview (I think I read it in TBJ). Also, “near downtown” is not the same as “downtown”. But, we may be talking about semantics. Personally I think near downtown is the best option, especially if it’s on the new BRT line (which all four sites you mentioned would be). I’d personally like to see a stadium as part of a larger, stadium-oriented neighborhood. Personally, the Cargill site would be my preference, with a BRT stop out front, and a ring of sports bars and shops, along with offices.

  43. Is there anything we can do as a community, to show our support for a downtown facility? Anyone in particular at city council?

    Thanks in advance.

  44. No! No! No! The unused building should be destroyed and returned to greenspace. Return as much of this State owned property back to green as possible and keep it in NC Gov hands!

  45. How about renovate the historic buildings on this block. And then make a new greenspace park/plaza 1 block to the east to replace the existing surface parking lot. Win-win.

  46. I say leave the Caswell Square block intact and restore the buildings. The City should buy/condemn the Days Inn block and build a large fountain on that property to serve as a “Northern Gateway” into DTR. I am tired of the random “art” we have, then fight over how much it costs (ahem, light and time tower). A nice big fountain with landscaping would be a nice change and create more of an “entry” into DTR from the north. That property is a weird shape and a bit small for anything large scale. With all the new hotels coming to downtown, the Days Inn’s days are numbered…

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