Local News

Downtown Fayetteville Getting Spruced Up

Posted July 30, 2007 7:19 p.m. EDT
Updated July 30, 2007 9:35 p.m. EDT

— At least one city leader seeking to revitalize Fayetteville's downtown will soon call that area home.

Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne plans to make his home at a penthouse in a mixed-use development under construction at 300 Hay St.

To succeed, the revitalization effort needs projects that not only attract people but also keep them downtown, said city officials.

With luxury condominiums, townhouses and penthouses, the $13 million Hay Street development will bring a much-needed residential base for downtown's economy, said city planners.

Menno Pennink, developer of the Hay Street project, said he plans to include an upscale restaurant and a martini bar at 300 Hay St.

Pennink said he expected to complete the development by the end of the year.

Business leaders said that downtown revitalization projects aim at tapping into the city's existing demographics.

"This is a young market. And we are influenced by Fort Bragg," said Marshall Isler, with the Cumberland County Business Council.

Docks at the Capitol, a huge family entertainment complex, is scheduled to open this fall inside the former Capitol building on Hay Street. The $6 million complex will feature high-tech games, upscale eateries, two bars and a bowling alley, as well as retail and office space.

The city government is also taking action to spruce up areas, such as Skibo Road and Bragg Boulevard, that are riddled with strip malls and empty lots, said George Breece, a longtime resident and community activist in Fayetteville.

"There are people working on enforcement and coding," said Breece.

Fayetteville planners are also considering a corridor study aimed at improving major thoroughfares leading into the city. That study could happen within the next year, said officials.

The 300 Hay St. project shows that downtown developments can succeed, said Pennink. More than half the residential units in his project are already sold, he said.

Breece urged residents to consider that more development done and dollars spent downtown helps improve the entire city.

"There's a renaissance taking place in the whole community, but the truth is, it starts in the inner city," said Breece.