Local News

Sandwich shop will be first tenant of Raleigh's City Plaza

Posted January 29, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches will be the first tenant for Raleigh's City Plaza, now under construction at the south end of Fayetteville Street.

City officials made the announcement Thursday morning in downtown with the restaurant handing out more than 1,800 sandwiches to those in the area.

Jimmy John's Raleigh's City Plaza has first tenant

"This is the kind of environment we like to see on the City Plaza – lots of people, nice weather, people out and about," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "It really is about being the center focus for downtown."

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.

Dan Mall, a Jimmy John's representative said the company intends to help bring people to the area after business hours. It will be one of six businesses inside the plaza.

"Downtown Raleigh is a fantastic opportunity. It's only getting better," Mall said. "There's so much business and so much opportunity for nighttime events."

Construction began on the $14.8 million City Plaza in October, nearly three years after city officials first floated the idea.

Controversies dogged and delayed the project –a disagreement over public art and, then, a land dispute.

The city commissioned renowned artist Jaume Plensa to design art elements for the plaza, but critics said the 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 and seize the land, but hammered out an agreement at the last minute.

The disputes kept the plaza from opening in October 2008 when the new downtown convention center and Marriott hotel debuted.

Construction on the plaza should be completed in time to allow it to open in October of this year.


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  • ncwebguy Jan 30, 2009

    There is a McDonalds downtown, two blocks from the plaza. With free parking and a drive through.

    No money has been spent outside of downtown? Really? Did the beltline fairy build (and constantly repair) 440 and 540 for free? All the main roads -- Capitol, Six Forks, Wake Forest/FoN, Strickland, Millbrook, Glenwood, Creedmoor, etc. -- those were free too? Gas taxes didn't pay for them 100%, it came from the taxes paid by people in and close to downtown for decades from the 60s to the turn of the century who got *nothing* in return. They did it because they knew the outskirts couldn't pay for themselves, but it would lift the whole city. Now they are selfish, spoiled brats who want to keep everything to themselves while living off the taxes generated by the businesses and their employees downtown.

    It is sad they, for the most part, will never grow up. At least their kids, as they make their way through college, realize the potential of downtowns in Raleigh, Durham, and CH.

  • ncwebguy Jan 30, 2009

    If you don't want to go downtown, fine. But don't lie about your reasons to "justify" your whining.

    - "gubmint subsidizing Jimmy Johns" - Lie. The pavilions are being built by the owners of One and Two Hannover (Bank of America and BB&T buildings).

    - "no free parking" - Lie. Plenty of free parking half a block away off Wilmington. Free parking being built right now at the south end of the plaza.

    - "unsafe free parking" - Lie. I have lived east of Moore Square for years and my car has *never* been broken into.

    - "barbecue near 440 with free parking will succeed" - Lie. Two places on Capital meeting those requirements have failed recently, Hideaway BBQ and Don Murray's. Heck, even Applebee's, with all its free parking and "affordable" food failed on Capitol.

    - too many sandwich shops for workers. Lie. RBC and Poynter Spruill workers need to eat.

    - Nothing in the Durham Loop - Lie. Rue Clair amd Blue Corn are there, and Irish place that replaced Jo and Joe's.

  • Buddy1 Jan 30, 2009

    I give up. Parking downtown is expensive and sparse. Suburbanites stay away.

    **Sarcasm Alert**

  • mrcritic Jan 29, 2009

    I sure hope they put a McDonalds.. maybe even a taco bell/kfc. Those are sure to get people down there.

  • lemonchar Jan 29, 2009

    It'd be a lot easier to hang out in the "living room" if parking weren't an issue. This is a good reason to get behind public transportation and reduced rates at meters and decks--for these businesses to succeed (and most of them ARE affordable and not so yuppie), people have to be able to reach them!

  • Buddy1 Jan 29, 2009

    Marco, you are a regular and you don't know the restaurants I mentioned? You are a regular what, exactly? Face it, you are wrong. There are fine restaurants inside the downtown loop in Durham. There is free and ample parking in downtown Raleigh. You really need to get out more.

  • MarcoPolo Jan 29, 2009

    Buddy- think that's a $3 minimum. If it's free, tell me.

    Dude- I haven't heard of some of those restaurants (they must be emptier than the ones I frequent) and I'm a regular. Duke campus is a another story- the smart locals know where the money is....Duke students who can't cook and are focussed on school and strippers.

    Stefany-there would be no Durham without Duke. I know it hurts but as you gaze upon that giant cigarette flashlight, ponder! (Smile and try to think of an industry besides the gov't offices and huge prison building that's invested in durham and not just downtown durham.....also- leave the park out of this that's successful because of the 1950-1980's and cause it's 10+ miles outside of downtown; it's also losing right now because of local gov't public policy)

  • MarcoPolo Jan 29, 2009

    Stefany- yep, part of the working class people/lunch time crowd unfortunately.

    Nosuchmiracles, don't get huffy when people aren't happy about spending money on gov't subsidized businesses and parking endeavors for gov't revenues. Parking issues are a huge concerned. If you've ever had your car towed or been ticketed after having a $12 dollar sandwich meal after walking a minimum of 3-4 blocks, you'd voice it too.

    Boring Applebees with free parking where you don't have to walk a mile back and forth sounds pretty hot, plus you save drive time and gas money. A Cooper's beltline location would be smoking. I count on spending $18-22 per lunch downtown for the same meal that I could get outside of downtown for $8-12 dollars (including tip and indirect costs, plus the time issues are in the back of my mind) for a sitdown meal as you described.

    If you live down there (sounds like it)- share. Where do you park? Share some secrets.

  • ckparris2002 Jan 29, 2009

    I have to say that I have lived in the Raleigh area and eaten at several restuarants in the downtown area. My husband will not eat at any of the chains so we tend towards small family owned and ethnic places. One of the things I enjoy about downtown is the connection with the city and meeting new folks. We ate outside of Yancy's a few years ago and ended up walking around an finding a chocolate shop a few Valentine's nights ago. I like the downtown feel and I am glad that they are rejuvinating it. I can find expensive and inexpensive places depending on our mood and budget! I lived in Durham awhile and I loved the restuarants near the old tobacco district. We should be happy to have so many additional choices beyond chain food! One place not in downtown I would suggest is Dalat near NC State it is great! We know the owner wonderful lady!

  • Buddy1 Jan 29, 2009

    Marco you must be kidding. There is really no other explanation for your intransigence on this when confronted with the facts.