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Hillsborough Street revitalization an upgrade for some, a headache for others

Posted January 1, 2014

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— Nearly 21,000 vehicles travel on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh each day, and big changes are underway to revitalize the road which serves as a gateway to downtown.

Next week, the city council will hold a public hearing to rezone a .75-acre property on Hillsborough Street. A developer wants to use the old Raleigh Nehi Bottling Company for residential and commercial use.

Meanwhile, Sadlack’s Heroes – a Raleigh landmark since the 1970s – closed Wednesday, along with other small businesses at Hillsborough and Enterprise streets, to make way for a university-built hotel.

Then there’s the recently approved transportation bond, which sets aside $6 million to make way for extra bike lanes, better lighting, more medians and public art. The project will stretch from Gardner to Shepard streets and include single-lane roundabouts at Dixie Trail, Brooks Avenue and Rosemary and Shepard streets.

Those road improvement could start in the next year or so and should wrap up in 2017.

Raleigh resident Jeffrey Kapala says he believes steps can be taken to increase the value of one of the city’s most well-known streets.

“It’s an up-and-coming, dynamic part of Raleigh,” Kapala said. "I really want to see it be developed a lot and be more urbanized."

Developer John Kane agrees and has already broken ground on the Stanhope Center. The fences and construction equipment are expected make way for student apartments and retail space in 2015.

At East Village Grill and Bar, like other nearby businesses, they worry about how progress will affect profits. Employee Tom Gates remembers when Hillsborough Street underwent another major face lift about five years ago.

“Hillsborough Street got very clogged up and, at times, it was closed down altogether. It made it quite a hassle,” he said. "It definitely worries us. Anytime anything goes on on Hillsborough Street, we’re concerned about it."

That hassle pays off, according to supporters, who say occupancy rates on Hillsborough Street are up.

“That's the price you pay. You definitely go through a rough period, but the outcome is going to be a lot better,” Kapala said.

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  • Mon Account Jan 3, 2014

    ""Shameful when the university wants to build a commercial endeavour where locally owned businesses have been for decades."

    Umm...the University owned the land. Perhaps you should have bought it from them?"
    -UpChuck

    What does that have to do with their being a catalyst for closing local businesses and diverting money out of the city?

    "The University is not building the hotel - a private company is. I suppose the University decided a hotel better fits the mission of their property than a couple of bars and a head shop."
    -Inside The Beltline

    One of the main reasons people went to that area to spend money was because of unique bars and restaurants and other locally owned shops. Replacing it with a 125-room *premium* hotel for university and Raleigh visitors seems unnecessary considering what's already available there. This hotel is going to include street-level retail shops (probably chains that funnel money out of the local economy) and a "signature" restaurant (chain or local?)

  • ThomasL Jan 2, 2014

    Great,now a better place for the local bums and thieves to rob someone on there way out.Yea NCSU is a pillar of a university with the likes that live around it and I should know I worked there and saw all the car! All the time from grates being stole to copper wire and trucking it down the railroad tracks...

  • Inside The Beltline Jan 2, 2014

    "Shameful when the university wants to build a commercial endeavour where locally owned businesses have been " - MonAccount

    How dare the University want a responsible business to be built on their property. Perhaps you think that a head shop and bar better suits the mission of NC State's resources?

  • Inside The Beltline Jan 2, 2014

    "Shameful when the university wants to build a commercial endeavour where locally owned businesses have been for decades."

    The University is not building the hotel - a private company is. I suppose the University decided a hotel better fits the mission of their property than a couple of bars and a head shop.

  • Dr Sanchez Jan 2, 2014

    This further guarantees that NCSU will not see a penny of alum money from me. - Mike H

    It's sad you refuse to see an institution you claim to not become a premiere institution. Nonetheless, the alumni response has been over the top, and NCSU is embarking on a 3 Billion campaign with the blessings of the majority of their alums.

  • Bill of Rights Jan 2, 2014

    This further guarantees that NCSU will not see a penny of alum money from me.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 2, 2014

    Bring back Studio 1 and those great late night movies we all loved so much. :)

  • Titus Pullo Jan 2, 2014

    ThomasL: I'm with you man. Nuevo New Jersey is not to my liking either. Paradise lost and replaced by Pandemonium and all the things that came with it.

  • UpChuck Jan 2, 2014

    "Shameful when the university wants to build a commercial endeavour where locally owned businesses have been for decades."

    Umm...the University owned the land. Perhaps you should have bought it from them?

  • CherryDarling Jan 2, 2014

    I'm sure these are some of the same geniuses that thought the roundabouts were a good idea... I am not a "complainer" --- but having to drive through and around so much construction on a never ending basis is ridiculous. It's not just major streets and freeways. It feels like every third turn I make is going to lead me into a construction zone.

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