The groundbreaking of city plaza will be very soon and there are signs of work happening just beyond the planters that dead end Fayetteville Street’s 400 block.
Construction fencing around the area
Temporary pedestrian walkways are being put in place
The plaza will finally finish off Fayetteville Street and car traffic will freely flow from Morgan to Lenoir. The plans on the city’s website do not show any parking on this block and that will help create a lively area with pedestrians. I’m hoping that the street is also flush with the sidewalks as that will also make the area feel like it is more for foot traffic.
I find it interesting that plans for street concerts are still being considered for city plaza. Is this really needed after it is completed? I propose that concerts on Fayetteville St. be moved up one more block to what is referred to as Sites 2 and 3; the parking lots between Lenoir and South St. in front of the Performing Arts Center. Are the couple hundred spaces here really needed when, upon completion, the 1500+ spaces underneath the Marriott and Charter Square will be available soon? Do not forget the convention center parking deck and Progress Energy parking deck too.
This past weekend, there was a small section of sidewalk that was not blocked by the white and orange barriers on Fayetteville St. I’m not sure if that means that the sidewalk is officially open but no one stopped me from walking over and roaming around the 500 block of the street. We all know that this block is only half done as the parking deck across from the Marriott Hotel is under construction, which will then be followed by Charter Square but that is still at least a year away. Here is what to expect in the near future.
Obviously with the parking deck construction, this block is pretty one sided and is dominated by the new Marriot Hotel. There are three elements to the sidewalk; two food shops and the hotel lobby roundabout. The smaller space is occupied by a Starbucks and by the looks of it, it is pretty much ready to go. The much larger space is going to be a restaurant, named Posta, which runs almost the complete length of the hotel. Pedestrians have one access directly into Starbucks or another to the lobby and into Posta. Car access to the roundabout is by Fayetteville St. only. It appears that there is a very wide pedestrian access to Salisbury, and the convention center, between the hotel and BB&T.
Wide pedestrian walkway to the convention center. It also looks like it will be very well lit.
Lots of outdoor seating on this block
Below is the much talked about sidewalk parking deck entrance. This sits across the street from the hotel, on the corner of Lenoir and Fayetteville St. The entrance is covered and provides one elevator and one staircase to the parking below ground. For added convenience, there is also a parking pay station inside.
The streetlights are ready so as soon as Lenoir St. is converted to two-way mode, the hotel will be fully up and running. I’m still curious to know if traffic will flow through the future City Plaza while it is under construction. My instinct says ‘no’ and we will have to wait until Sept. 2009 until Fayetteville St. is drivable from one end to the other.
The Marriott hotel’s website says that it will be opening in July. This is approximately one month before the convention center is set to open during Raleigh Wide Open III. I think it is safe to assume that Fayetteville St. will be finished if they plan to open next month. Cars will need access to the round lobby driveway on the newer section of Fayetteville St. The parking deck underneath will also need to be finished and access to it is on Lenoir St. so construction there will have to be completed. This works out well because the hotel will have some time to get things up and running before the first convention even starts.
I am very much interested to see what will end up in the “coffee shop” and “restaurant” space on Fayetteville St. according to this floor plan.
The circle driveway
Wide Fayetteville St. sidewalks will look the same
Anxiously waiting for Salisbury St. to open up
The space next to the WTVD studio on Fayetteville St. has now been taken over by Sono, downtown’s newest sushi restaurant. The owner and I shared a couple common interests; we both are not into sushi and are excited about being downtown. The food seems to speak for itself however. I was out last Friday with a group of Campbell law students and they all gave the sushi two thumbs up. Make sure to check out their website if sushi is on your mind this weekend.