Hillsborough Street revitalization an upgrade for some, a headache for others
Posted January 1, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.