Local News

Wake Forest Town Hall May Get Some New Tenants

Posted February 14, 2006

— Like many downtowns across the Triangle, Wake Forest has taken a hit from big box retailers setting up shop just outside town. The push is on to beef up economic opportunities, and a town hall may play a role.

Wake Forest has a separation problem. Most of the town staff works in one building, along with trailers next to it. The planning department is a few blocks away and the police station is in yet another building.

"Police, planning and public works -- we're all separated, and because of the growth in town, we have to add staff. Now is the time to invest in a new facility," said planning director Chip Russell.

Officials are considering a town hall modeled after the original Wake Forest College buildings, but they are thinking about adding office, retail, even residential, space all under the same roof with town offices.

"Our approach is, if you're going to build the building, why not kill two or three birds with one stone," said Tom Iverson, of the downtown revitalization project.

Town leaders have a renaissance plan to address the future of downtown, and many believe an unique town hall can be a centerpiece.

"The town is concerned about growth in the future and having room to grow if they need it? What better way to grow it is if they own the whole building and parts of it pay for itself with tenants," Iverson said.

The site for the new project may be what is currently used as an used car lot on the edge of downtown.

Wake Forest would pay for the new town hall mainly with bond money. Town leaders would own the building, but they have not worked out the details of the proposed public/private lease arrangement.

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