Future of old Raleigh police headquarters still in limbo
Posted July 10
Raleigh, N.C. — Four years after the Raleigh Police Department relocated its headquarters from downtown to an old insurance building approximately 7 miles away, the former shell of the Capital City's police force still sits vacant while city leaders wait for recommendations on what to do with the property.
Police moved to its current location at 6716 Six Forks Road from 110 S. McDowell St. in 2010 as part of a plan to replace the building with a $205 million state-of-the-art public safety center that would house the police department and all the city's other emergency services.
But the project plan was abandoned because some considered it too costly and controversial. With the exception of about five to 10 police training exercises each year, the building sits unused.
"Two consultants are working right now, helping us with economic valuation of our downtown holdings to make trade-offs about whether this one’s better to sale or to develop for our own purposes," said Assistant City Manager Dan Howe.
Consultants are also looking at the city's future space needs for downtown employees, which currently work out of at least three buildings in the downtown area.
The City Council should receive a report in the fall, Howe says, and could then begin developing a plan about what to do with the building.
"If that building were in better shape than it is, we'd be in it right now," he said, noting that the number of city employees is growing.
But it's unfit for business. Among the many problems, Howe says, are asbestos and an unusable heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system that would have to be replaced at a seven-figure price tag.
"The building was in rough shape to start off with," he said. "Even when the police were there, it was not the best building to occupy, and it's gotten worse. We're probably talking millions of dollars to get it back to an inhabitable condition."
Mayor Nancy McFarlane says she would like to see the property put to good use but points out that the building's footprint is small, making it challenging for any development on its own.
"I think we need to think about that particular spot in the context of the whole block," she said. "How does the block fit in with the future of the city?"
Whatever the plans for the space, it won't come soon enough for Raleigh residents like Casey Teel.
"I've often wondered what that building is, but I have no idea," Teel said. "It doesn't make any sense to leave something dormant like that."