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Officials Ask For Input On Ways To Improve Downtown Raleigh

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Depending on who you ask, downtown Raleigh is either a ghost town or it is a place with great potential. Either way, the city wants to change your perceptions of the area, and they want your help.

"For lease" signs are about as plentiful as pedestrians on the Fayetteville Street Mall. City officials are looking into ways to change that.

Danielle Fraser is doing her part to perk up downtown. Her company just opened a coffee shop on the Fayetteville Street Mall.

"We've had such a tremendous response from the community around here," she said.

However, the shop still has to close at 5 p.m. since the heart of downtown literally shuts down around that time as well. City leaders say that will change when more residential projects are built.

"Without private investment leading the way and building in-town living, the downtown area will remain stagnant," City Councilman Kiernan Shanahan said.

New private investment includes the old Belk building on the mall being developed into office space and 32 condominiums. Farther down the street, the Progress Energy building groundbreaking will be in late October. The project will bring 72 condominiums and more than 400,000 feet of office space to the area.

Officials also want to open up some 1-way streets to 2-way traffic to the dismay of Shanahan.

"I think they're an impediment to people wanting to come downtown," Shanahan said.

The city voted to open up three blocks to traffic at Fayetteville Street Mall in hopes of getting more people to come through, but it has not signed off on the expected $8 million the project would cost.


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