Local News

$15 million City Plaza opens in Raleigh

Posted October 23, 2009

— The $15 million City Plaza – featuring sculptures by local artists, retail pavilions, motion-sensing fountains and 50-foot light towers – opened on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh Friday afternoon, just in time for the city's Raleigh Wide Open celebration.

City officials say the plaza is meant to serve as a "public living room" for concerts and events. It will also have free WIFI service.

Raleigh Mayor Meeker on City Plaza Raleigh Mayor Meeker on City Plaza

The Collector's Gallery, Shishkabob and Krispy Kreme all opened inside the plaza Friday. Jimmy John's, the first business to commit to the plaza, will open at a later date.

Doug Grissom, assistant director of the Raleigh Convention Center, said having the plaza nearby will help when booking future conventions.

“You can bring a customer out here and look from end to end and it sells itself,” Grissom said.

Director of Convention Sales Laurie Okun said the plaza is already helping.

“I think we won a conference over Atlanta, Ga., because we can have this space as their reception space,” Okun said.

Nick Coppedge and his family live about a block away from the new Plaza.

“It’s just going to give us one more thing to do in downtown Raleigh,” Coppedge said. “It’s awesome.”

City Plaza rendering Raleigh readies for 'Wide Open' celebration

The plaza opening coincides with the city's fourth annual Raleigh Wide Open, a daylong street festival celebrating downtown.

The event kicks off with a parade at 10 a.m., concludes at 10:45 p.m. with a fireworks show and includes 20 bands, about 100 food and art vendors, beer and wine tents, street performers and fireworks.

The city's first Raleigh Wide Open in 2006 coincided with the reopening of Fayetteville Street to vehicle traffic. The historic street had served as a pedestrian mall for 30 years prior.

An estimated 35,000 people attended that event, which culminated the 16-month, $9.3 million project

Fayetteville Street's reopening marked the beginning of a number of changes in the area as part of the city's downtown revitalization efforts.


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  • working for deadbeats Oct 23, 2009

    Get ready for an invasion of homeless people to the public living room and don't be shocked if it takes on the nic-name of public bathroom.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Oct 23, 2009

    I was in Manhattan a couple of weeks ago. You could put all of Charlotte in about two blocks of NYC. Whats your point about how big Charlotte is? It still doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do in downtown Raleigh, and it still doesn't mean it isn't improving.

  • Jeremiah Oct 23, 2009

    "Just sad. I mean - nevermind. I got my hopes up and now I'm coming down hard. Shishkabobs. I mean, is this Lithuania or central North Carolina??"

    let me get this straight. your upset that there's a shishkabob place?

    and people are upset because raleigh isn't a populated at charlotte, atlanta, ny?

  • lma1973 Oct 23, 2009

    I was in uptown Charlotte last weekend and Raleigh doesnt compare. Not even close. Zilch. Nada. Now Charlotte is a city...looks the part, feels the part and is the part. Raleigh is trying but its still such a small town really. Charlotte has more skyscrapers under construction than does Raleigh have completed....and has more going up all the time.

  • NCPACKER Oct 23, 2009

    Well to make downtown Raleigh come more alive they need to move the RBC Center from that cowfield to downtown. Imagine at the bars,clubs, hotels and etc that would come into downtown if that was there. THis TOWN has it all backwards.

  • Buddy1 Oct 23, 2009

    Not enough parking on the weekends? Where? Surely you don't mean downtown. There is plenty of parking in DTR on the weekends...and during the week as well. In fact there are nearly 5,500 spots available! Need a map? Here ya' go.


  • Mr. Middle of the Road Oct 23, 2009

    Go whine somewhere else NCPacker. Boring people are always bored. Intersting people can always find something fun to do. Go back to Roanoke.

  • lennyvolk Oct 23, 2009

    None of the businesses are open on Friday like the article mentioned. Krispie Kreme looked to be the only one ready to open and they have a sign on their door that says Noon on Saturday.

  • dewnit4fun Oct 23, 2009


  • nosuchmiracles Oct 23, 2009

    Whoever said Richmond (assuming you're talking about VA) has a larger population than Raleigh - you're many years behind. Richmond Va is significantly smaller population wise - dont believe me, look at a current census. Whoever says parking is bad - you obviously know nothing as Raleigh has TOO MANY parking spaces/parking decks.

    This helps this city move forward. We need that. Oh yeah -0 and someone asking about shish kabobs - where are we located? Hopefully in an area thats diverse enough so we actually have options.