by William Needham Finley IV™

Development Beat: Beer Garden, Makers Mart, Food Trucks, and more coming to Capital

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Week of October 2, 2017

Beer Garden, Makers Mart, Food Trucks, and more coming to Gateway Plaza

Fate of Hillsborough Street tractor sign to be decided by Council

Forest Ridge Park Opens

Updates on the Dix Park Flower Cottage

Zaxby’s Returns to Hillsborough Street

Beer Garden, Makers Mart, Food Trucks, and more coming to Gateway Plaza

The stretch of road once known as “Downtown Boulevard” (and what WNFIV likes to call “Capital Boulevard of Broken Dreams”) leading into downtown Raleigh is getting a major overhaul. The City of Raleigh has spent the last few years transforming the “most traveled gateway” into downtown into a “showcase for multimodal transportation and green infrastructure.” Those are fancy words for “rebuilding bridges, sewers, and putting in a park.” But the City can’t do all this transforming on their own.

In June of 2016, plans were announced to transform the Gateway Plaza shopping center on Capital Boulevard into a destination spot for new restaurants and retailers. The 6.8 acre property, which is owned by Loden Properties and managed and leased by York Properties, is located inside the beltline, next to the North Carolina Food Bank and across the street from The Green Chair Project (an ITB approved non-profit).

Last week, the project’s design firm, Gensler, released a set of new renderings showing off plans for a Beer Garden, space for a Food Truck Rodeo, a Makers Mart, a stage area, and more. Combined with the redevelopment of Capital Boulevard, the reopening of the nearby greenway, and the opening of a new City park, we imagine this stretch of Capital Boulevard could soon become the City’s newest destination spot. Gateway is scheduled to get underway later this year and should be substantially complete by summer of 2018.

Originally built in 1968, the Gateway Plaza shopping center lost one of its biggest tenants in 2015, when the Wake Tech Adult Education Center moved out.


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Save the Tractor Sign

More than two and a half years after Landmark Properties filed a rezoning case for the old North Carolina Equipment Company building at 3101 Hillsborough Street, City Council may finally approve the street’s newest five-story, 233-unit student housing complex. This would be the one billionth student housing complex to be added to Hillsborough Street in the last five years.

A public hearing this evening will determine the fate of a new rezoning case filed back in June. Landmark’s initial rezoning case was rejected last year by Council. Unlike the previous rezoning case, this version won the approval of the local Citizens Advisory Council (18-5 in favor) during a June 2017 meeting.

The new version includes a condition requiring the preservation of the iconic tractor sign currently perched atop the two-story, 81-year-old brick building. “The tractor sign will be placed on the Hillsborough Street frontage and lighted.”

Note: The News & Observer has referred to the sign as both a tractor and a bulldozer, showing how out of touch they are with the working class. Those who say the sign is a bulldozer point to the fact that the sign has continuous track/tank tread wheels. Those who say it’s a tractor point to the lack of a blade in the front of the vehicle. Either way, we’d like to see the sign kept intact to serve as a reminder that Hillsborough Street was once something other than a SimCity riddled with roundabouts.

Fun fact: the sign was the inspiration for Rey’s speeder from The Force Awakens.

Forest Ridge Park

The City of Raleigh celebrated National Public Lands Day on Saturday with the opening of the new Forest Ridge Park near Falls Lake. The 587 acre park offers a variety of outdoor recreational programs, including Mountain Biking, Multi-Use and hiking trails, picnic shelters, and a playground featuring a zip line.

The land itself is actually owned by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and is managed by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The 2003 Parks and Recreation bond funded Phase I of this project’s development.

Dix Park Flower Cottage Renovations

In our first edition of the Development Beat, we reported on the plans for Dorothea Dix Park’s first tenant: the non-profit Dix Park Conservancy.

The Conservancy signed an agreement to occupy the early-20th century Flower Cottage at 2105 Umstead Drive for the staggering cost of $1/year. Last week, nearly $200,000 worth of renovation permits were issued in order to upgrade the space. Renovations will include a new deck, and alterations to both the interior and exterior of the 107-year-old cottage.

Built in 1910, the 1,200 square foot cottage was initially used as a residence but currently sits unused. The Conservancy will be responsible for all renovations and improvements and will also have access to the adjacent 2.75 acres of open space, which can be used for public and/or private events.

Zaxby’s Returns to Hillsborough Street

Although The Technician reported in August that construction was wrapping up on the newly remodeled Zaxby’s on Hillsborough Street, it appears permits for the job were not actually issued until last week. The restaurant unexpectedly shut its doors in March; a new owner was brought in and the renovated restaurant is set to open sometime later this fall.

 

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