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Downtown Raleigh Skyline To Face Major Renovations

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Three major projects could soon change the face of downtown Raleigh.

Plans are under way for Progress Energy's new headquarters in downtown Raleigh. The new facility will be 19 stories high, but Bill Cavanaugh, chief executive officer of Progress Energy, said there will be more.

"It will have 380,000 square feet of office space, 78 residential units, 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of retail and over 1,000 new parking spaces," he said.

Site work is already under way and construction starts next week. The city will build the parking deck and lease spaces to those who work downtown.

"It's a good deal for both sides -- a good deal for Progress Energy and a good deal for the citizens of Raleigh," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker.

The blueprint for a new convention center in Raleigh is also "building" steam. The group in charge of picking a site for the complex announced its choice on Monday.

The new convention center will be built between West Cabarrus Street and West Lenoir Street across from the site of the old facility. The steering committee voted on the new location Monday after nearly two hours of discussion.

Officials said the positives about the location for the new site outweigh the negatives.

"There will be no road closings," said Barbara Mulkey, of the Convention Center steering committee. "That is a major plus."

Officials say the design will also allow loading and unloading to be made underground. However, officials say the cost for excavating on the site will be expensive.

The proposed plan calls for 150,000 square feet of underground exhibit space, which is twice the amount that is available now, and the plan calls for 35,000 square feet of ballroom space.

The new plan also calls for the creation of a new hotel. Officials hope that will revitalize the Fayetteville Street Mall area.

The steering committee plans to continue meeting monthly and come up with a funding package. It plans to present its findings in April to the Raleigh City Council.

In addition to the Progress Energy building and a new convention center, talks began Monday about opening Fayetteville Street mall to traffic for the first time since the 1970s.


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