Raleigh, N.C. — Local business leaders plan an angry response to a legislative attempt to void Raleigh's lease of the former Dorothea Dix site.
Under the terms of a 99-year lease signed in December by Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane and former Gov. Beverly Perdue, the city would pay $500,000 a year – plus annual escalators – for the 325-acre site of a former mental hospital, allowing officials to convert into it into a major urban park.
The Senate is expected to debate next week a bill that calls for the lease to be renegotiated at a fair-market price, with the proceeds designated for mental health programs. Also, the state Department of Health and Human Services would be allowed to maintain its offices on part of the site.
Business leaders plan to voice their outrage over the bill at a Monday meeting of the Wake County Legislative Delegation. Officials of Red Hat Inc., Highwoods Properties Inc. and other major area employers are expected to speak during the 4 p.m. meeting at the Legislative Office Building.