WakeUP and Explore: 2017 City Livability Tour is on April 29

Whiskey Kitchen on Martin Street

Whiskey Kitchen on Martin Street, an example of adaptive reuse

On Saturday, April 29, WakeUP Wake County is hosting their 3rd annual livability tour with stops all over the southern parts of downtown Raleigh. The “go at your own pace” tour will have stops at a lot of the projects we talk about here on the blog including Union Station, The Dillon, Hargett Place, and Charter Square among others. The tour also highlights some reuse examples in retail and food as well as affordable housing.

You can get your tickets early for a discount and all proceeds go towards supporting the work of WakeUP Wake County, “a non-profit that leads public engagement on issues important to our quality of life: transportation, affordable housing, land use, water quality and education.”

WakeUP and Explore: 2017 City Livability Tour

Date/Time: Sat., Apr. 29 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Map pick up starts @ 12:30pm)
Pick up pin, map, and swag at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 East South Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

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    None right now. Must be a new project.


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  1. That far away still? Well as long as it actually gets out of the ground im happy. Really pulling for that 315ft range that was mentioned. Last i heard was rumor of it being scaled down slightly to 290ft.

  2. I believe that I read somewhere that it was going to be about 282ft…?
    I’ll search for the article…

  3. Interesting story from Wral concerning a boon in retail downtown. So now with apartments and retail what we need now are more employers downtown. Maybe some non-tech jobs? I read an article in the TBJ about large amounts of offices being rented out of these big office buildings at NH. While I do enjoy NH (I go to the movies there) I still prefer the feel/vibe of downtown Raleigh…just my two cents! :-)

  4. I’d say that retail downtown is still has a ways to go before its anything like other cities. It’s perhaps at 10-20% of what it should be for the geographic size of our downtown and population. It seems like for a decade now I’ve been reading about how we finally got the retail we need! Interestingly in 1990-ish when downtown was supposedly dead, there was still a Hudson Belk, McCrory’s Five and Dime, full sized Briggs, Radio Shack, Hallmark and tons of less pricey lunch counters and the several clothing places on Wilmington St. Just because it all closed at 5 downtown was considered dead…well that was just because nobody lived in downtown proper. High end restaurants and drinking spots are much more plentiful and of course, open after five, but retail in a general sense is really maybe just a smidge better than 1990. Sure Art of Style, Deco, Raleigh Denim, Devolve, Jypsy Jule, Port of Raleigh, Holly Aiken, Raleigh Provisions, DGX, Retro Modern Furnishings etc. are all great, but media needs to acknowledge that really what we are seeing is a change in the type of retail driven mostly by the Class A retail lease rate and perception that downtown is now a place upper middle class white people now feel safe in.

  5. There are two main problems with retail downtown. It isn’t densely clustered. There’s a few stores here or there, but nothing like that shopping district that most other cities have. Also, the stores are nearly all tiny boutiques with little selection, high prices, and few customers. Maybe I’m a bit of an introvert, but I hate walking into a store and getting a bunch of attention. (I know how to look at things on my own, I’ll come find you if I need something.) But honestly, I would never go downtown just to buy something, and even if I was walking around with time to kill, I don’t know why I’d go buy a $500 bowtie or $100 unique knick-knack. The bigger problem is that literally no one that comes from out of town is going to know to heads to a specific area to go shopping. I wish they could just make Wilmington St two-ways, and fill all those boarded up storefronts with retail.

  6. IMO, DT needs one or more urban retail developments strategically placed to activate their nearby corridors of independent shops. First and foremost, this sort of development requires a grocer (as promised in the Smokey Hollow) project, but it cannot stand alone. There’s a reason why grocers anchor strip centers; they are the magnet. In addition to the grocers, DT needs to pursue some destination shopping options to draw people to the area.

  7. Mark,
    Those are all great points. I think it’s also important to remember that basically all department stores (like Belk) are going out of business, even in authentic shopping districts like 5th Avenue. For the most part, specialty stores with “100 unique knick-knacks” (love that description, Jeff), and convenience stores are going to be the main option. I would love to see one of those “urban Targets” move in to downtown proper, though.
    I think we all agree that we’d like retail to be more clustered, but what would be the alternative to tiny boutiques? If you could bring a selection of stores to Wilmington st, for instance, what would they be? I’d be curious to know how many of them are contracting right now. I’d personally love a downtown SuitSupply, and a huge used book store.

  8. When I talk about destination shopping, I am not particularly talking about a department store. Interestingly, when asked about the threat to Macy’s, its CEO identifies TJMaxx and Marshall’s as the real threat, not amazon or online retailing. I see this threat unfolding in South Beach (where I split my time with DT Raleigh). A new Marshall’s has opened right next door to Macy’s around the corner from the famous Lincoln Rd pedestrian shopping mall/district and a new Ross is under construction on the “road” part of Lincoln Rd. While most gasped in horror that this was happening to Lincoln Rd. the two stores are opening in highly designed buildings that are a far cry from the crappy strip mall construction that we all know as their typical context.
    When I think about destination shopping today, other than grocers, I think of these types of apparel retailers in addition to the urban Target model, Apple, Ikea, Crate&Barrel, etc. as anchors that the city should pursue. I also think that the city should aggressively pursue an urban multiscreen cinema so that shopping can be get dinner which can beget a movie then beget a bar/lounge/club for an all day & night experience.

  9. A huge used bookstore downtown would be incredible. Something like Jackson Street Booksellers in the Old Market section of downtown Omaha. I could spend days there.

  10. The Boxyard website had me intrigued until I want to Google streetview. Mwah, mwah…..
    Raleigh should do better! I do like the idea of smaller retail spaces though. Too many development carve out space in chunks too big for small businesses to financially absorb.

  11. Used bookstore taking up downtown Raleigh real estate? Not quite sure about that… but.. I do like the concept that Bhavana has rolled out with the brewery, dim sum, flower shop and book store.

    As far as retail.. I’ve said this numerous times.. but if we are looking for a dense retail/restaurant district.. Glenwood South is ideal. Numerous restaurants are already in place.. if the south west side were to be developed between plates and snoopys with large retail.. it would be a great destination. Also have said this numerous times.. but a dream of mine is if Glenwood towers were to relocate.. that could be taken down and a huge retail, restaurant, business and residential building could be built there.. with a large anchor store (apple, crate and barrel, etc).

  12. John – With regard to the Boxyard, I’m thinking more in concept not so much in scale…

  13. Even something as simple as Book Bank in Alexandria VA could/should work in Raleigh…Alexandria’s rent are surely much higher..it sits right between a Subway and a Vape shop both of which we support well enough in our downtown. Jeff makes the point, that I regularly do as well, that we lack a shopping district. Raleigh boosters try to defend our decentralized retail, but everybody I know who visits from out of town wonders where our hyped retail district is…I tell them to be ready to research and walk a lot. I can point out places all over that have them….here is just a fast view of Cincinnati, which I visited this weekend, is packing stuff in it’s long abandoned Over the Rhine district. Raleigh lacking this sort of stretch, is going to be a long term hinderance. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Vine+St,+Cincinnati,+OH/@39.1112467,-84.5155015,3a,75y,197.71h,81.27t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1siWu1Bs0uBQIadEFlxTu9nw!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DiWu1Bs0uBQIadEFlxTu9nw%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D67.088646%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x8841b30e7a70f91b:0xebbf5338fad6f278!8m2!3d39.1593866!4d-84.5047929!6m1!1e1

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