Local News

Downtown Developers Eye Raleigh-Owned Parking Lot

Posted December 27, 2005 8:37 a.m. EST

— No question about it -- a newly renovated Fayetteville Street is the centerpiece of Raleigh's downtown renaissance -- the city's new main street. But one question remains unanswered: Where should the street end?

"The council will have to make that decision," said Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen.

It is a decision that could actually extend Fayetteville Street. The current plan extends it to Lenoir Street, through what used to be the Raleigh Convention Center.

One proposal under consideration would make the road more of a main attraction by stretching it through a city-owned parking lot to South Street in front of the Progress Energy Center.

"It develops the linear path from Memorial Auditorium to the State Capitol and truly goes from the street east and west in front of the Capitol to the street east and west in front of Memorial Auditorium," Allen said.

Once an underground parking deck is built, the parking lot will no longer be needed, making it a prime piece of real estate that gets more valuable by the day.

Instead of a longer Fayetteville Street, the parking lot could become a public plaza with high-traffic development on both sides.

"I think building density down here is the most important thing we can do," said Downtown Raleigh Alliance President Nancy Hormann. "It's an activity center -- and (it would be) continuing that activity center with great ground floor activity as well as more dense buildings."

City leaders say they want to get the new convention center built and get Fayetteville Street open before deciding on the best use of the property -- meaning a final decision could be more than two years away.