Weekend Inspiration with Gil Penalosa and Dix Park

Click here to see the video if you cannot see it above.

I enjoyed this talk given by Gil Penalosa during his visit to our area. He shows us the transformative power of parks in a city and while the topic is geared for Dix Park, the concepts really can apply all over the city.

My sentiment right now is Raleigh has plenty of vision but is lacking on action. Hopefully, you’ll find a little inspiration in the video just as I did.

Weekend Reel: Downtown Plan

Email readers: This blog post has embedded video. Read the post on the blog to see them.

Downtown Plan on YouTube

In the quick video above, Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver introduces the ongoing Downtown Plan and why the city is undertaking this effort.

In the next video, we have the presentation given by Mr. Silver and the design firm, Sasaki Associates, at the Downtown Plan Kick-Off meeting that took place back in February of this year.

Raleigh Downtown Plan Kick-Off on YouTube

Make sure to keep an eye out for the next public meeting on April 2.

Downtown Plan – City of Raleigh

Video: Bikeshare in Raleigh

Bike Share in Raleigh via City of Raleigh on YouTube

Here’s another video from the ongoing Raleigh Urban Design Center’s education forums. This one focuses on bicycle sharing programs with guest speakers from Washington DC and Charlotte.

The video gives you a ton of statistics and experiences from other systems around the country so I highly recommend watching it.

I go back and forth about a bike share program for Raleigh. Are we there yet or are we just thinking about it because it’s the hot new, must-have urban amenity?

I’ll save deeper thoughts for a future post but enjoy the video.

Weekend Reel: Economics of Downtown Development

I recommend email readers click through to the website to see the embedded video.

Here’s a great video that’s required watching for the connoisseur within. Raleigh’s Chief Planning and Development Officer, Mitchell Silver, gives a presentation about the return on investing in downtowns versus the suburbs.

I was at this presentation and thought it very informative. Enjoy!

Trophy and Crank Arm Bring New Breweries To Downtown Raleigh

Trophy Brewing Company Growler

The craft beer choices within the bars, shops, and restaurants in Downtown Raleigh are some of the most varied and plentiful compared to the rest of the city. Downtown has several bars that only serve craft and there are many occasions where patrons ordering Bud or Miller are trying something new. Coming soon are two new offerings for downtowners to sip on.

Trophy Brewing Company, a new project by those behind the Busy Bee Cafe, will be serving seasonal beers in the former Burger Hut location on Morgan Street. Set to open in February, the small brewery stays true to its homebrew roots.

I stopped by Trophy recently and talked to David Lockwood and Chris Powers about the new place. With a glass of “Batch #1” in my hand, they took me through the tasting room and the brewery room. Brewer Les Stewart was there, wading through a web of wet hoses as he explained their brewing process. “Stainless steel is a beautiful thing,” he said while wrapping up for the day. This guy is genuinely excited about taking on the challenge of running this small brewery.

Size is not something Trophy is concerned about right now, the place is already full of equipment. With that, you’ll most likely only catch Trophy’s beers on Morgan Street. Since experimentation is so key to the guys behind the new brewery, expect new tastes every season by Trophy or through collaborations with others.

Unique to Trophy is also the option of a 32 ounce growler, pictured above. The thought is that smaller amounts will serve drinkers better than the typical 64 ounce sizes since growlers are essentially an open beer bottle so freshness takes a hit.

Trophy Brewing Company

The new bar will cater to the occasional beer drinker as well. A full bar and some wine will also be available. At first, the new place will be open from 5pm to midnight, Sunday to Thursday and closing at 2am on Friday and Saturday nights.

Later this year, expect the entire space to be opened up for more guests as well as some outdoor seating and a kitchen. Food items will include pizza and sandwiches as well as expanded lunch hours.

Pedal Powered Brewery?

Downtown’s Warehouse District is now getting into the brewing process. Crank Arm Brewing Company will open this spring in the former White Collar Crime location on West Davie Street.

The brewery is an extension of the rickshaw company, Crank Arm Rickshaw, which operates all over downtown Raleigh. So now, the guys at Crank Arm will be moving not only people but beer in their rickshaws. From a recent press release,

Beer is delivered via rickshaw or waste veggie-oil powered truck in order to minimize the company’s impact on the planet.

Crank Arm Brewery
Crank Arm’s Future home as seen in December 2012.

In addition to brewing, there will also be tasting on Davie Street as the space will include a bar.

The brewery will open with two staple brews; the Rickshaw Rye, a Rye India Pale Ale, and the White Wall Wit. Four other seasonals will be rotated to give drinkers something new to look forward to throughout the year.

Up until their opening, Crank Arm is giving away rewards for anyone that helps them through their kickstarter campaign. Watch the video below and back them.

If you’d like to try some Crank Arm beer, head down to Raleigh Times tomorrow for their event celebrating the kickstarter.

Beer Tasting / Crank Arm Brewing Kickstarter Launch

Date/Time: Fri., Jan. 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Raleigh Times
14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC
Raleigh, NC 27601

Cheers to all the beer fans out there! I know I’m looking forward to the new spots.

Municipography, Downtown Retail

Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center of the city.

Downtown Raleigh Retail

At the Raleigh City Council meeting last week, David Diaz and Paul Reimel from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) gave a report on retail within downtown Raleigh in 2012. We’ve talked about how the retail scene has become more and more noticeable and this data from the DRA supports that.

Below is the video showing their report.

Some highlights from it are:

  • Recognized the positive reaction of the retail community to rehabilitated storefronts and that there is still a need to work on more buildings in downtown.
  • In 2011, there were 83 retail space vacancies, accounting for 10% of inventory. In 2012, 27 of those 83 are now occupied.
  • 2012 also had 38 retail openings, a 28% increase from openings in 2011.
  • With the downtown load program, 3 loans were given for $150,000 total.
  • The loan program had 25 inquiries in 2012, the highest yearly amount yet.
  • Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week continues to grow and be more popular with each year.

Downtown Remote Operations Facility

The Downtown Remote Operations Facility isn’t directly tied to downtown. This new building, planned along Westinghouse Boulevard near Capital Boulevard and I-440, will instead be the new home for city maintenance trucks. The result is that the city can then vacate the current lot along Peace Street, the site of the old Devereux Meadow baseball park between West Street and Capital Boulevard.

The council approved moving forward with the project. Details below from the agenda.

On September 6, 2011, City Council authorized the City Manager to enter into a contract with Williard Ferm Architects to provide planning and design services, through 50% construction documents, for Phase 1 of the proposed Downtown Remote Operations Facility to be located on the city-owned site east of I-440 between Capital Boulevard and Raleigh Boulevard on the former Westinghouse property.

In addition, a Request for Qualifications to provide Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) services was advertised on October 23, 2012. Eight responses were received and three firms selected for interviews. Interviews were conducted on December 12, 2012, resulting in the recommendation of Brasfield and Gorrie general contractors to provide CMAR services. Brasfield and Gorrie has submitted a proposal of $375,000 to provide the required pre-construction level services.

A status report of the design development effort is being presented to provide an update on the project and to discuss City administration recommended actions to maintain progress related to design and construction.

Recommendation: (1) Authorize proceeding with the proposed Downtown Remote Operations Facility, to include the proposed facility program, site design alternatives, project schedule, and estimated costs. (2) Authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a Contract Amendment with Williard Ferm Architects to complete construction documents and provide for construction phase services. (3) Authorize the City Manager to execute a contract with Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors, in the amount of $375,000, to provide pre-construction services sufficient to develop a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for Phase 1 construction of the proposed Downtown Remote Operations Facility. (4) Authorize the following budget transfer from previously approved and completed remote operations facilities to fund additional design and pre-construction services, commissioning services, environmental management, and permitting requirements.

Transfer From:
508-2210-790010-975-CIP00-99150000 $1,200,000
Wilder’s Grove Remote Operations Center

Transfer To:
508-2210-790010-975-CIP00-93960000 $1,200,000
Downtown Remote Operations Center