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Fayetteville Street Redevelopment Already Showing Signs Of Success

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The owners of Sweetreats have an appetite for something new.

They are closing their Cary shop and moving to a storefront on Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh.

"It's the center of the city," said Sweetreats owner Tim Jannik. "You look right, there's the Capitol, and look left, there's the concert hall, and it's four blocks of a lot of businesses and people,"

As the city of Raleigh prepares for the July 29 reopening of Fayetteville Street, downtown leaders say there are already signs of success.

Since the groundbreaking for the new street in March 2005, about 52,000 square feet of available retail space has been leased, according to the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. And there are currently only eight street-level retail spaces remaining.

"We can't wait to get down there," Jannik said.

Television film from 1976 shows the way Fayetteville Street used to be with traffic moving along the street. Pictures show parades and crowds. The street was then turned into a mall.

As the trend is now reversed, downtown advocates say the new $9.4 million Fayetteville Street will never be the shopping hub it once was, but it will be a new business and entertainment center. The prestige is what the city hopes to preserve.

"This is where everything happened," said Nancy Hormann, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. "This is when the governor was elected, the inaugural parade was down Fayetteville Street. We want to return back to that and have Fayetteville Street be the ceremonial corridor for the city,"

A huge party will mark the opening of Fayetteville Street to traffic. The theme of the big celebration: "Raleigh Wide Open." The festivities on July 29 will include a ribbon-cutting, parade, bands, street performers, food from downtown restaurants and a big fireworks show.

Organizers say the celebration does not mean the street is complete, but that the event is just the beginning of things to come.


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