Part One of the Fayetteville Street Economic Dev Strategy Is Out

The DRA has released the first part of their Economic Development Strategy for Fayetteville Street and the list of recommendations are quite numerous. We’ll still get even more recommendations later this year but this initial piece focuses on the central business district with Fayetteville at the center of it all.

Above is a video of a city council work session where the report’s highlights are presented to council and is a very good watch. Scott Page from Interface Studio, the consultant team on the project, gives us a very comprehensive overview of the plan so watching, or just listening, is highly recommended.

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Coloring Outside the Lines: Imagining Fayetteville Street’s Future

Above is a video recording (watch it directly on YouTube) of a virtual meeting hosted by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Interface Studio where they take attendees through some of the things coming out of the Downtown Raleigh Economic Development Strategy project currently in progress. We’ve mentioned this project earlier in the year and this video is worth watching as it focuses mainly on Fayetteville Street. The team shares ideas that may lead us to new ways to reinvigorate the street.

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Omni Hotel for Site 2 Announced

Video from city council starting with request to approve negotiations with Omni Hotels

It’s all going according to plan.

Straight out of the 2015 Downtown Plan, the southern end of Fayetteville Street, currently being used as surface parking and owned by the city, was to be kept for a major “catalytic” project. In 2015, it was envisioned that a major hotel to serve the convention center and a large corporate relocation would set up on the two sites. Fayetteville Street would then be extended down the middle.

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The City’s Latest Plan for Downtown Raleigh Hopes to Invigorate Fayetteville Street and More

Aerial photo of Fayetteville Street from 2019

[Quick note, most of the photos here were taken on a weekday morning. I was trying to beat the heat plus it’s been a busy summer for me. I mention this because I typically try and get photos with people in it as that is more interesting than the opposite but sometimes you can’t help when inspiration strikes, am I right?]

Announced back in July of this year, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) and the city have partnered with a few consultants to create a plan for Downtown as the last few years have seen unanticipated changes. The largest of those being the uptick in remote and hybrid work and how downtown businesses were reliant on a certain number of workers coming to the office and frequenting them for lunch and goods. It is also a great time for a new plan as the previous downtown plan was implemented in 2015 and plenty of policies and recommendations from that one have already been put in place.

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Pic of the Week

Have you seen the First Citizens Bank building recently on the corner of Martin and Fayetteville? The building was undergoing a renovation for the last year and they really opened that building up. Significantly more windows have been added and the ground-floor lobby has a nice contemporary refresh.

Buildings along Fayetteville Street have been getting modern refreshes lately. This is probably a result of landlords attempting to lure higher paying office tenants as rents are much higher compared to decades ago when they were first built. Constructed in the 1980s One City Plaza was given a new facade and lobby in 2015. The lobby in the Wells Fargo tower, from the early 1990s, was given a refresh in 2019 and 333 Fayetteville from the 1960s is being renovated right now.

Back to First Citizens, here is a photo pre-renovation.

Pic of the Week

City Plaza is getting some work done. All the planters have been emptied and currently the fountain is being taken apart. It will be removed entirely with new pavers put in place. The existing planters are undergoing maintenance and new plants will eventually be put in.

There does seem to be a change against fountains over at the city as the fountains in front of the convention center and performing arts center have been drained and filled with plants over the past year or two. I’m not sure if it’s a cost-driven move, green approach, something else or some combination.

Not that any of them were particularly amazing but I’ve always been a fan of water features in a city. Perhaps this will allow for more diverse uses in the future.

Pic of the Week

224 Fayetteville Street

This is a shot of 224 (left) and 222 (right) Fayetteville Street. 224 Fayetteville Street, or the Lewis-Woodard Building, has a fresh new front door. This is a huge contrast to the white marble, colder feeling version it had before. You can see the previous version in this April 2015 Google streetview.

A little background on the building from the Fayetteville Street Historic District registration form.

Lewis-Woodard Building
224 Fayetteville Street, ca. 1883, ca. 1925, 1957, 1985, Contributing Building

The three-story, Italianate style building has a brick exterior and extends the full depth of the block from Fayetteville Street to S. Salisbury Street. The facade has a remodeled storefront with original wall treatment surviving at the upper stories and at the cornice. The ground floor has a deeply recessed entry at the south end and a similarly recessed display window at the north end. Elsewhere, the ground-floor facade is covered with large tiles of white marble. The identical second and third stories are four bays wide with one-over-one, doublehung, segmental-arched wood sash windows. Decorative metal window hoods feature keystones and corbels. The elaborate bracketed pressed metal cornice has dentil molding and scrollwork with the same lionshead elements seen in the keystones on the Briggs Building. The three-bay-wide S. Salisbury Street elevation was also remodeled in 1985, when white marble panels were applied to the brick-clad building at the storefront, rising in vertical bands on either side of the center bay, and across the top of the third-story windows. Six-oversix double-hung wood-sash windows remain at the second and third stories; the first floor windows and centered
door were replaced in 1985.

The building appears as two separate structures on the 1884 Sanborn map: a three-story hardware store and office building fronting Fayetteville Street and a two-story tin shop and warehouse fronting S. Salisbury Street. Partners Julius Lewis and Nicholas West had purchased the parcel in two transactions in 1881. Lewis and West ran a hardware store located a few parcels north and across the street at 219 Fayetteville Street that had been in business since at least 1875, according to Raleigh City directories. The business remained at that location until 1883, when it moved to the 224 address, likely into a new building that Lewis and West had erected since their purchase. Lewis became the sole owner of the property in 1894; in 1906, he sold it to Moses Woodard, a local businessman. The building briefly housed the F. M. Kirby and Company Five and Dime before the F. W. Woolworth Company established a store in the building in 1913. Woolworth’s made alterations to the S. Salisbury Street elevation around 1925 and to the storefront on Fayetteville Street in 1957, merging it with the storefront of the Lumsden-Boone Building next door at 226 Fayetteville Street. Woolworth’s moved out of the building by 1972. In 1985, more changes were made to the building to house new owner Raleigh Federal Savings and Loan and other commercial tenants.

*Fayetteville Street Historic District registration form