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Construction to start on downtown Raleigh plaza

Posted October 9, 2008

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— Almost three years after city officials first floated the idea of a public plaza at the south end of Fayetteville Street, crews will break ground on City Plaza in 11 days.

Officials envision City Plaza, 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.

The $14.8 million project has been dogged by controversy, first in a disagreement over public art and later in a land dispute.

Spanish artist Jaume Plensa was commissioned to design art elements for the plaza, but some people said his display of flashing lights over Fayetteville Street would detract from the view from the State Capitol to the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

After Plensa withdrew from the project and new art elements were drawn up, negotiations on an easement bogged down between city officials and the Atlanta investors that own the plaza site. Officials threatened to condemn the land and seize it, but an agreement was hammered out at the last minute.

The disputes delayed work on the plaza, which was supposed to open last month at the same time as the new downtown convention center and Marriott hotel.

A groundbreaking ceremony for City Plaza is scheduled for noon on Oct. 20, and construction of the plaza is scheduled for completion  next October.

18 Comments

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  • SheriffTruman Oct 10, 2008

    disitricadvocate, let all the "Raleigh workers" get jobs at construction companies and they can reap the benefits of this project. Unfortunately most bankers are not qualified to do construction work and are unwilling also.

  • districtcadvocate Oct 9, 2008

    I just hope while thousands of Raleigh citizens are being layed off that we don't ride by this construction site and see a bunch of people that could possible be illegal aliens working.

    Enough is enough, we are lining in a financial nightmare. Our tax dollars need to be spent with Raleigh workers first, secondly Wake County workders, third State of North Carolina workers, fourth US workers and finally after we have exhausted all of those resources we can negotiate a guess worker program.

  • james27613 Oct 9, 2008

    How about moving that Art that the city spent a lot of money
    on about 15 years ago that sits on capital blvd just before
    the Peace St. off ramp ?

    You know, it looks like part of a railroad tower with
    look alike solar panels that do not do anything but
    reflect sunshine into drivers eyes.

    Our tax dollars are work.

  • Mitch Oct 9, 2008

    There should be a river running through the city. That is what funds ought to be expended on. Why not employ the homeless to do it? There you kill two birds with one stone. And just plant some nice shrubs and flower beds in that plaza area, get it all from those plant nurseries in Angier. I just saved the City $7 million. That was easy.

  • PaulRevere Oct 9, 2008

    Are they going to charge the panhandlers rent?

  • atc2 Oct 9, 2008

    Can we stop talking (or mentioning) Plensa, wow, enough (city council ruined that opportunity). This started out at $21M, was approved for $16M (where did the other $2M go, in city councils pockets)? Reduction in $7M, this will be NOTHING special other than a ugly grey paved area (I will bet anyone I am right).

    Put back the $7M and do this right (just like everything else (convention center and Marriott), this will be a bland, ugly project.

  • SubwayScoundrel Oct 9, 2008

    Great idea. They finally got it right. Build it. Where does the money come from? IT was planned and budgeted. Just like everyone else should do.

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Oct 9, 2008

    That'll be a great place to spot fresh talent for city and county government, especially the screamers and sleepers. It'll take some really deep pockets to get any of these building contracts, with all those standing in line you have to pass through on the way (if you get my drift).

  • nosuchmiracles Oct 9, 2008

    Glad to see this.

  • bama211 Oct 9, 2008

    Actually, this is EXACTLY what we need! I applaud Raleigh for stepping up on this and continuing to grow. Is it a gamble? Yep, especially right now. Will it pay off? Yep, no doubt in my mind. If you have the nerve, and money, to prepare your house in this economy, you will be sitting pretty when the winds of this storm finally pass, and it will pass.

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