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Banners to cover unfinished Raleigh parking deck

Posted July 4, 2011
Updated July 5, 2011

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— Crews will soon begin installing banners around a McDowell Street parking deck to cover up what some have called an eyesore in downtown Raleigh.

The nine-story deck at 216 W. Cabarrus St. opened in early 2009, and the developer, Empire Properties, planned to wrap the deck with an L-shaped building with street-level retail and several floors of offices.

The slow economy put plans for the building on hold indefinitely, and Wake County, which owns the property agreed to Empire's idea to hang banners on the parking deck to cover the gray concrete walls that now face McDowell and Davie streets.

Eyesore Raleigh parking deck Banners to cover unfinished Raleigh parking deck

Empire picked up the $200,000 cost for creating and installing the banners.

Three North Carolina State University students designed a 15-banner mural called "The Fantastic Sky Race," incorporating local landmarks into the artwork.

Dawn Simpson, who works at Mort's Trophies, across Davie Street from the parking deck, said Tuesday that she doesn't like looking at the structure's concrete walls every day. Customers always ask about it, she said, and she's happy the walls will soon be covered up.

"From what I understand, they're still planning to build, but I think it's a good stopgap, so we at least have something pretty to look at," Simpson said.

Some downtown workers panned the idea of the banners, however.

"Raleigh is a beautiful place at night, but that mural with fishes? I don't like it at all," said Eddrenia Wilson, who referred to the unadorned parking deck "an ugly duckling."

Crews are expected to have all 15 banners up within two weeks, officials said, but the artwork won't be officially unveiled until the First Friday events downtown on Aug. 5.

Wake County libraries plans to hold a series of programs based on the scenes in the mural.

25 Comments

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  • OpinionatedMama Jul 6, 2011

    Why not put up some REAL art and open it for grafitti artists?!

  • dmccall Jul 6, 2011

    "The deck is owned by the County, who voluntarily scaled back from the full development plans when the economy soured. You know, to save us, the taxpayers, money at a time when money was getting really tight."

    This is NOT TRUE. The county did their part. The problem is that Greg Hatem couldn't pull together the tenants for the office building that is supposed to wrap this structure. Yes, this was due to a sour economy, but it has NOTHING to do with the county scaling anything back or trying to save taxpayers any money. The county has progressed with their terrible building up the street; a building which is bad for the pedestrian experience and is boring architecture.

  • dmccall Jul 6, 2011

    What ?some? have called an "eyesore"?

  • cwmllc1952 Jul 6, 2011

    If you don't cover the entire surface it's going to look like a (small) band aid a a (LARGE) sore !!!!
    I guess my eyes see the broad picture.
    $200,000 would buy a lot of paint !!

  • mmtlash Jul 5, 2011

    "Do the banners comply with the sign regulations for the City of Fines and Fees?"

    I imagine these would not be allowed in Cary...

    as a side note this sort of reminds me of the banners the Museum of Art has placed on the side of the Crabtree Belk....I'm sure they will look good once they are up..

  • ericatpeace Jul 5, 2011

    The developer is eating the cost, which is substantial. There is no cost to taxpayers.
    The installation of pieces this large requires signifincant hardware to ensure the banners are safely fastened to the building, hurricane season is on the way after all.

  • GravyPig Jul 5, 2011

    It would be nice if they could include a higher resolution picture if the banners with the article. I'll probably not make it to downtown to check this out but I would like to see the detail in the artwork. How about it WRAL? Can we get a better pic?

  • ncmickey Jul 5, 2011

    People pay to park there, right? The County makes money from this deck. They should dress it up. Its good for the over-all appearance of downtown.
    Adding the retail storefronts in the future is great. It will look so much better than just a parking deck.

  • corey3rd Jul 5, 2011

    why not a tribute to Art Pope since he bought this town's leaders?

  • lec0257 Jul 5, 2011

    Do the banners comply with the sign regulations for the City of Fines and Fees?

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