Local News

Downtown Raleigh Businesses Hope To Put Stop On 'Progress'

Posted June 26, 2002 9:44 a.m. EDT

— Progress Energy plans to build 400,000 square feet of condos, offices and retail space in downtown Raleigh, but some property owners say they are being bullied into selling so their neighbor can grow.

Men at Work, a car detailing shop in downtown Raleigh, has provided jobs and a fresh start for hundreds of parolees over the last 14 years, but now its own future is in jeopardy. Progress Energy wants to build condos and offices right on top of it.

"I'm not happy with that at all. I worked too hard to maintain the building and make sure it looks good," owner Michael Phillips said.

Progress Energy's plan for the city block at Cabarrus and Blount Streets is to replace the red and yellow Men at Work building and the gray warehouse next to it. However, Progress Energy does not own either building.

"We are in negotiation with property owners from both parcels. We are looking at developing and hoping to come to an agreement, so we can develop the blocks as a whole," said Garrick Francis of Progress Energy.

Raleigh native John Mettrey is negotiating to sell his warehouse, but Progress Energy's plans have been in the works for more than a year, and he just found out about it.

"We would not hold up Progress if they came to us and attempted to negotiate in good faith, which they have not done until yesterday," he said.

The city of Raleigh could also get involved by condemning the property and allowing them to be developed. City Manager Russell Allen said that is a last resort.

"If the project needs to move forward and they couldn't reach an agreement, then ultimately, the City Council could decide on condemnation," Allen said.

The planning commission approved Progress Energy's plans Tuesday. The City Council could vote on the issue next week.