"There is a lot of excitement, some urgency to getting it done," he said.
The price tag for the three-block work on Fayetteville Street Mall is about $10 million. Even though Allen and many businesses in the area support the plan, some residents remain skeptical.
"I think it's absolutely beautiful. I think it's a state treasure," said one resident.
"This is where we have lunch every day," another resident said.
There is a hitch in paving over Fayetteville Street Mall. While the city council has approved the idea, it has not approved any money to pay for it and council members nixed Allen's idea of issuing bonds to foot the bill recently failed.
With new projects on the horizon like the Progress Energy building and condominiums in the old Belk building, Allen said the best is yet to come.
"This is an economic development project. It's not just an aesthetic project," he said.
The city says there will be 11 new building projects opening up in the downtown area in the next three years. Officials say those new projects mean more property tax revenue for the city and county.
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