Raleigh city planners say the I-540 Capital Boulevard interchange, with the Triangle Town Center Mall next to it, is the start of something big.
"It'll take a while to get there, but over time, it'll evolve just as the downtown area has," says city planner Martin Stankus.
By 2075, planners say the Outer Loop at Capital Boulevard will be a housing, retail and business hub the size of downtown Raleigh. The city's plan calls for a compact, mixed-use development pattern that will have a downtown-like atmosphere.
"People can walk around and shop and live and not have to get on the freeways as much and get their daily errands run in this one location," he says.
Triangle Town Center Mall is the centerpiece. The master plan has loop roads and pedestrian-friendly streets linking home, business and shopping.
Developers eyeing property in the area, like the soon-to-be-demolished Plantation Inn site, will have to comply with the urban center plan, but it will not change everything.
"There will always be suburban neighborhoods, and those are good and fine. That's why there are a lot of them in Raleigh. What we need are more options in how we live and the places that we live," Stankus says.
The big changes start when I-540 opens at Capital Boulevard in the summer of 2002. The mall is expected to open soon after.
The next Outer Loop section scheduled to open is the five-mile segment from Creedmoor Road to Falls of Neuse Road. The DOT says the section should open in early May.
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