Local News

Raleigh boosters outline plans for downtown

Posted February 25, 2010 11:29 a.m. EST
Updated February 25, 2010 5:53 p.m. EST

— Downtown boosters are trying to cement the reputation of Raleigh's new City Plaza as a public gathering spot.

Moving a weekly farmers market from Moore Square to City Plaza this summer was one of the 2010 goals the Downtown Raleigh Alliance laid out Thursday.

The $15 million City Plaza, which officials have called Raleigh's "public living room," opened on Fayetteville Street in October, featuring sculptures by local artists, retail pavilions, motion-sensing fountains and 50-foot light towers.

In addition to City Plaza, the booster group plans to support a new outdoor amphitheater the city is constructing at McDowell and Davie streets, as well as Raleigh's proposal to redesign Moore Square.

Downtown Raleigh Alliance President and Chief Executive David Diaz said the organization is working to attract another corporate headquarters, another hotel and an upscale apartment complex to the central business district.

Several condominium projects opened downtown in the last year. When the economy soured, real estate became hard to sell, but Diaz said developers are hoping for a turnaround this year.

"On average, we were selling 150 to 170 condos a year downtown," he said. "In 2009, which was a disastrous year for the economy, we sold over 100 – 110. The condo sales have dipped, but they didn't dip as far as I thought they would. So, I wouldn't be surprised if we get close to that 130- to 150-a-year (level) in terms of condo sales."