Moore Square is a such a vital part of the downtown Raleigh fabric. I love the space here as it truly feels like a space for all and you can see people from all different walks of life. The square organically caters to residents who want some open space, visitors who want to linger around the city, and events, planned or unplanned, in the various sections around this park-like square.Continue reading →
Talks of development proposals for the properties to the east of Moore Square have been in the works for years. It wasn’t until 2021 that things really started to pick up. In addition, city-owned lots to the south of Moore Square are included in this future development deal.
The city has been acquiring property in this area to kick start a mixed-use development that would supply multiple things including additional affordable housing and more retail spaces, all as a means to infuse pedestrian activity in nearby Moore Square and City Market.
At a November 2022 city council meeting, city staff presented an overview of development proposals for the city-owned properties to the east and south of Moore Square. You can watch the presentation above or on YouTube directly here.
If you look at the slide above, it shows the map with the affected properties. Moore Square East is being called the collection of parcels on the block to the east of Moore Square. Note, that this does not include the entire block but definitely most of them. Moore Square South would predominantly be the parking lots on the eastern side of City Market along Person Street.
Moore Square East is mostly a barren wasteland of parking. The land is a mix of gravel and grass so there’s little asphalt to tear up here. There’s really not much else to say. My unscientific observations as someone who walks, bikes, and drives by this site multiple times a week is that even as parking, it’s underused. Development here is more than ready to go.
The buildings on this block, closer to or facing Moore Square, as of today, include:
- 313 East Martin – Two-story building, about 4600 square feet, used as office
- 227 South Person – Former Killo Pest Control building, empty for at least 6 years and counting. (see this 2016 post)
- 215 South Person – Former Salvation Army building, empty since the new facility opened on Capital Boulevard
- 306 East Hargett – 100-year-old home that seems to change bar names/concept every year
- 314 East Hargett – Raleigh Rescue Mission, open and active
The Raleigh Rescue Mission is kind of the key impact here. While the city doesn’t own that site and any development would not have a direct impact, it’s clear that increasing the urban density would have “neighborly impacts”, for lack of a better term.
Jumping over to Moore Square South, we can see lots of surface parking. The lot is also owned by the city and is a primary lot for City Market visitors who drive into downtown.
Closer to Moore Square, the city also owns a former Esso gas station from around 1915. The building has also been used as a dry cleaners in the 1970s and more recently as a horse barn for the Raleigh Police Department. Currently, it is empty and the city wants to encourage an adaptive reuse of the space.
And finally, the city also owns a historic house along East Martin. The Norwood House from the 1870s is currently being used by the parks department as the Moore Square Visitor Center.
So that’s what we’re working with today. Throughout the summer, city staff reviewed nine proposals for either Moore Square South, Moore Square East, or both. Skipping to the good stuff, city staff recommended proposals from Loden Properties and at the same meeting, council voted and approved for city staff to start negotiations with this developer. Final approval will come back to council next year.
I’ll include the slides for the Loden proposal below but the highlights include:
- 160-190 affordable housing units
- 400 market rate units
- 135-room hotel
- Grocery store
- New building for the Raleigh Rescue Mission
On the positive side, this proposal is the only one that includes a hotel, the only one that mentions a grocery store, and the only one that mentions the Raleigh Rescue Mission. While some of the other proposals offer more housing units, the Loden proposal seems to have the best mix of uses. It’s also good to see all this proposed under current zoning.
On the down side, Loden and city staff mention that additional property is required in order to deliver all that’s presented. As mentioned earlier, the city doesn’t own all the land to the east of Moore Square so it’s possible that these developments may take longer to come to fruition as Loden would need to try and acquire more nearby property.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, practically anything that builds on top of surface parking is good in my book. There is still one more round of review, possibly in 2023 so this topic isn’t over yet. However, there’s a lot to be excited about here as it shows the big potential of these mostly empty sites.
Moore Square is now open!
The downtown square on the east side of downtown Raleigh has finally reopened after years of planning and construction. The square went through multiple iterations of various plans with a wide stakeholder group but we’re finally here.
The former square design consisted of many paths and pockets to hang out where the new design has fewer but wider paths for strolling. Seating is plentiful along low walls and there’s no reason not to lay out on the grass.
On the edges, you’ll notice short barrier walls that encourage visitors to use the paths as a way to protect the roots of the old oak trees. There are lots of newly planted shrubs that will look great after a few years when they’ve matured a bit.
In addition to a community table and child play area, the plaza has a splash pad and outdoor seating. With the kiosk nearby, this will be the square’s hub of activity. Square Burger has set up shop in the kiosk and is serving burgers, fries, and shakes.
I expect the square to be quite busy when the fresh Fall weather hits downtown.
Moore Square is getting close to wrapping up its makeover as the city has announced a string of events to celebrate the reopening of the downtown square. The grand opening party is on August 3rd but there will be events the night before as part of First Friday.
Date/Time: Sat., Aug. 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Moore Square Park
226 East Martin Street
The full schedule is here. With live music, a playground for kids, and a movie, the events should test out the square’s ability to play host.
In addition to the square, the house at 226 East Martin will be the Moore Square Visitor’s center. The center will sell local merch in addition to “a history exhibit detailing the historic significance of the Square and surrounding district to the city of Raleigh.”
During the March 5, 2019 City Council meeting, an update to Moore Square was given and I’ve put the video here for sharing. It’s actually a good watch if you’re interested in what’s going on.
We should plan for a July or August opening based on the presentation given.
As the weather cools down and the leaves start to fall, Moore Square becomes a little clearer to see between the trees and the fencing. I thought it would be a good time to take a walk around the square as we wait for it to reopen sometime early in the new year.
Three major things jump out at as you look around the square. There’s a huge lawn in the middle, the sidewalks are being greatly improved, and the cafe/restroom structure is starting to take shape.
The grass has been put down for the big lawn and the walking paths around it are being put together. The lawn has a slight slope to it which makes it great for laying around or possibly sitting for a small show if a stage is set up at the bottom. This may make the square feel much bigger than it was before.
The sidewalks have been completely overhauled. The corners of the square are spacious with bulb-out sidewalks The angled-parking that used to be along Martin Street is now gone and the sidewalk is being poured over this, making this end of the square feel much larger. Bulb-outs also exist for some of the crosswalks which makes crossing the street much easier.
The cafe and restrooms are coming together and the faux-stone siding is starting to be installed. The architecture around this should be high-quality and already it looks great. From a distance, it looks like a gathering place that should draw people into the park.
It’s exciting to see the square come together and the timing seems good to have it open before Spring 2019. Fingers crossed!
The renovation of Moore Square is very much underway with a lot of small shrubs and short trees being removed. The holidays were a distraction but I noticed the difference recently and just had to grab a photo.
In the winter, with the leaves off the old oak trees, you can really see right through the square which makes it feel a lot bigger than it really is.
Fencing is going up around Moore Square making it officially closed for the renovation. Art should be placed along the fencing soon as a way to keep the area looking lively.