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Condemnation off for downtown plaza site

Posted July 15, 2008

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— City officials on Tuesday reached a tentative agreement with the owners of a downtown site being eyed for a proposed plaza.

The City Council voted last month to begin condemnation proceedings on the property, but that process would halt if the City Council gives final approval to the agreement with The Simpson Organization.

The Simpson Organization, a group of Atlanta investors that owns the Bank of America building and adjacent land at the south end of Fayetteville Street, had been unable to reach an agreement with the city on an easement that would allow the property to be transformed into City Plaza.

Officials envision the City Plaza project, which would include glass retail pavilions, light towers and water fountains, as Raleigh's "public living room," offering a gathering place for local residents and a space for public concerts and other events.

City officials determined condemning the land and seizing it through eminent domain would allow them to begin construction by August and avoid further delays, which could mean higher construction costs.

The plaza was supposed to open in September, along with the neighboring convention center and Marriott hotel, but the lengthy easement negotiations pushed the opening date back a year to September 2009.

The delays also added more than $2.5 million to the total project – originally estimated around $21 million.

16 Comments

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  • bppack Jul 16, 2008

    The City already had an easement for a plaza. They were merely trying to change the design, which required revising the easement. No property would have been taken - the parking deck under the plaza would have still belonged to the current owner. The new plaza will be great for downtown Raleigh and will help grow the tax base.

  • Bob Sidel Jul 16, 2008

    whats with the glass mural of rocky balboa in the picture? shouldnt it be clay aiken?

  • davidgnews Jul 15, 2008

    "The delays also added more than $2.5 million to the total project – originally estimated around $21 million."

    Why should Russell Allen or any of the others care? It will probably be $40 million before it's finished, and if it isn't, they'll find a way to do it.

    The city's strong arm / extortion tactics are reprehensible at best.

  • Raleigh Jul 15, 2008

    delays will cost over 2.5 million dollars? that is $2,500,000.00

    oh my stars!!!! if we wait and save more money it should cost less.

  • housemanagercary Jul 15, 2008

    I still can't believe they were going to condemn it and get away with it.

  • SubwayScoundrel Jul 15, 2008

    Iam not for codemnation but sometimes you have to put the a forceful thumb to the forehead of those who refuse to cooperate. This is a good project for downtown, good for Raleigh. For those complaining about layoffs and loans, I have to ask what world do you live in? Yes, times are tougher than boom times but the ball must keep on rolling. The city is still growing and the world keeps on turning.

    Good project and good for Raleigh.......even if the naysayers who have nothing positive to say about anything don't agree.

  • WHEEL Jul 15, 2008

    Russel Allen is the one that wants it condemmed. He doesn't have guts enought to negociate with anyone face to face. He would not even talk to the garbage collectors for heavens sake.

  • WRALSUCKS Jul 15, 2008

    "Why not put a few projects on hold until the economy picks up"

    Not the style of government. Their self aggrandizement projects are FUNDED by your tax dollar.

    >I think condemnation by any group should be illegal.

    I think YOU should be on the City Council.

  • atc2 Jul 15, 2008

    Will this living room still have a kitchen (retail)? Or will they be removed?

  • sprice7 Jul 15, 2008

    Well said phrostbite.

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