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Revitalization Takes Hold in Downtown Durham

Posted November 2, 2007
Updated November 3, 2007

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— At Rue Cler in downtown Durham, the atmosphere is decidedly hip and urban. Many say it's part of a new and different Durham.

"I like this restaurant. I like the feel of it. It brings more culture to Durham," said Nkem Ejoh, a local college student.

The restaurant and bakery opened a year ago, and Rue Cler's manager, Cam Davis, says business is better than good.

"We're here for the long haul," Davis said. "There's new life in Durham, and we're excited to be a part of it all."

A half-dozen more downtown restaurants are expected to open in the next few months.

It's a sign the pace is picking up in the Bull City.

In the past year, investors poured $110 million into the city center. This year, add to that, more offices, shops and a recording studio.

"You add all that up, and that's $250 million to $260 million in private investment coming out of the ground with cranes," said Bill Kalkoff, executive director of Downtown Durham Inc.

There is an 89 percent occupancy rate in the downtown area. That compares favorably with Raleigh, which has about a 92 percent occupancy rate.

Along with the development, however, comes growing pains. In the next five years, the city will need an additional 1,000 parking spaces.

"At the end of the day, working with commercial or residential clients, they want to know 'Where am I going to park, and how much is it going to cost?'" Kalkoff said.

Parking plans need to come fast. In the next five years, the number of downtown condominiums will skyrocket to nearly 2,500 from the 600 now in place.

"There are still improvements to be made, but you can see the progress," student Kurrell Rice said. "That's the important part. You can see the progress."

And that's what downtown leaders say is the point.

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  • jon2four Nov 3, 2007

    clackymcsplatter- Things will be a lot better in Durham when all the haters move to Cary and Raliegh.

  • Tired Of Excuses Nov 2, 2007

    I'm glad to see it happen. I'd also like to see Mayor Bell voted out. One Durham improvement project at a time!

  • clackymcsplatter Nov 2, 2007

    well, you can spend money hand over fist on something,but you cant simply exchange the local citizens for better ones

  • lgboro Nov 2, 2007

    And it took a couple of Duke alumni to get the project - the very people that the local residents hate so and the local politicians don't support. Much more than Durham deserves!

  • yeahright2 Nov 2, 2007

    Cool, maybe they will rip down the projects to expand downtown with upscale buildings. I'll take $300K condos over run down projects.

  • Squirreling Dervish Nov 2, 2007

    Like downtown Raleigh, living will only be available to the very wealthy who can afford to pay 300,000$ for 800 ft Sq of condo.