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City Has a Plaza in Mind for Fayetteville Street

Raleigh's Fayetteville Street could have a new look if the City Council agrees with a plaza design that emphasizes having business attractions in the area.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Fayetteville Street could have a new look by next summer.

A new concept design is on the table, four months after the city rejected a project by international artist Jaume Plensa.

The city now has developed a virtual view that demonstrates the vision for a plaza on Fayetteville Street.

“We have a large, flexible central space,” says Dan Douglas of the city's Urban Design Center. What will make the plaza attractive, he says, isn't what's in the center, but rather businesses around it that appeal to downtown visitors.

“We're working really hard with all the adjacent property owners to draw restaurants, cafes, newsstands—activities that will support everyday life in the downtown,” Douglas says.

Last October, the Raleigh City Counsel rejected Plensa’s proposed art project. The design featured a lot of lights, and it had a lot of critics who lamented its blocking the view down Fayetteville Street.

“This will be for events and parades down the middle,” Douglas says.

Douglas says the open concept is in keeping with the parameters the Raleigh City Council laid out last October. It would provide infrastructure that would lay the groundwork for future art projects, from temporary designs to hi-tech art displays.

“It's a place where it'll draw people,” Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker says. The council is prepared to spend the $10 million necessary to upgrade the plaza's infrastructure, he says.

Council members will get to see this concept design for the first time Tuesday. If they sign off on it, a formal plan could be in place by April.

The goal is to have the plaza done by June 2008.


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