Local News

Two Raleigh Development Centers Vie For 'Midtown' Title

Posted April 26, 2006

— Uptown, midtown, and downtown -- all suitable names to describe areas around town. But two places in Raleigh are vying for the same title.

The Soleil Center and North Hills both think being known as "Midtown" would be cool, and both areas are just a couple of miles from each other.

"This is the new Midtown of Raleigh now," said Soleil Center developer Dicky Walia.

But North Hills is also marketing itself as "Midtown."

"I think it's a good description of what we are trying to create," said North Hills developer John Kane.

Two Midtowns in Raleigh? How can that be? An expert in urban architecture says this area could actually have more.

"I can envision others," said the dean of North Carolina State's College of Design, Marvin Malecha.

Malecha said one Midtown in Raleigh just doesn't work. . "What he have in Raleigh is a different sort of thing. We are spreading in 360 degrees, we are not spreading in just a simple line," he said.

Malecha said historically, Midtown's purpose was that of a common meeting ground between downtown and the suburbs. He says in Raleigh, marketing more than history is at play.

Both developers have their midtown spin.

"We have a landmark building on a major corridor, and we have now taken Raleigh to what we always said, to the next generation," said Walia. "Now, this is the creation of Midtown and all this developing is going to go from here on."

"I think we are a district that really has a place to live, work, and play," said Kane. "It has a sense of place to it. It's a place where people may go for a lot of different reasons."

Malecha said they are both right.

"Both are valid strategies, both are speaking to different scales," said Malecha.

Many agree ultimately it will be up to customers and consumers to decide if the name sticks anywhere around here.

"Automatically, I think of New York City," said shopper Jennifer Norris.


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