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Business district proposed for Hillsborough Street

Talk about cleanliness, safety and economic development drove discussion at a public meeting of an advisory committee looking to revitalize Hillsborough Street.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A local committee backed creating a Business Improvement District along Hillsborough Street, discussed a proposed condo development and stressed cleanliness and safety at a public meeting on Thursday evening.

"The BID will be a consensus, an advocacy group for everyone on the street," said developer Craig Ralph, who said the district could stretch from St. Mary's Street near downtown to Meredith College near the Interstate 440 Beltline.

Speaking at a meeting of the city's Hillsborough Citizens Avisory Committee, Ralph said a BID could help revitalize the Hillsborough Street area and guide business owners to programs like Raleigh's façade-rehabilitation grant program.

The program is designed to create a partnership with property owners to improve the outside appearance of older buildings by matching up to $10,000 for the cost of exterior renovations. About 30 businesses downtown have tapped the grant program, but no merchants along Hillsborough Street have taken advantage of it.

"Downtown Raleigh has more concentrated owners," Ralph said to explain the disparity. "You have developers down there that own three or four office buildings. On Hillsborough, you have different buildings, different business owners."

Tim Jannick, who owns Crema, an ice cream shop on Fayetteville Street downtown, said a city grant helped him redo the outside of his shop after he opened it two years ago.

"It was pretty easy," Jannick said. "(The grant) doubles the amount of money that you can put into things like awnings. We could have done the entire front if we wanted to."

"It's helped stimulate a lot of investment on the façades of buildings. It's stimulated about $1 million of investment," said Carter Pettibone, a planner in Raleigh's Planning Department.

One resident spoke against the proposed BID, saying he was concerned about its impact on property taxes.

The committee also heard from a developer who wants to build a condominium development at Oberlin Road and Clark Avenue. The developer could not answer some code and zoning questions posed by residents, Ralph said.

The committee will consider recommendations made at the meeting and hold a second public hearing on the condo project at the Cameron Village Library on July 8.

The public can also give input about the Hillsborough BID when the City Council discusses the proposal in July. The proposal will then likely be referred to council committies for review.

Ralph said the advisory committee's goal was to get the BID project started by early 2009.



Dan Bowens, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Matthew Burns, Web Editor

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