romec

Members+
  • Content Count

    171
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About romec

  • Rank
    Whistle-Stop
  1. romec

    Dorothea Dix Property

    I still can't help but laugh every time the central park comparison is made. In the hopes of never hearing that comparison made again, here are a few statistics. . . . Central Park: Established in 1853 Central Park History Manhattan's Population ~1850: 515,000 New York Census 1850 Manhattan's Population Density ~1850: 25,750 people per square mile (20 sq. miles of area) Raleigh's Estimated population ~2010: 400,000 (My number based on current ~360,000 + 10,000 a year Raleigh's area ~134 sq miles. Raleigh's Population Density: 2985 people per square mile (Wikipedia gives a current number of ~2400 based on current numbers. Manhattan's population density in 1850 is about 9 times more than Raleigh's will be in 2010. This is going to be a horrible approximation, but work with me here. Let's call 2 miles "walking distance." So a circle drawn 2 miles from a park is about 12 square miles. Raleigh would have about 36,000 people in walking distance of a Dix Park. Manhattan in 1850 would have had 309,000!. Manhattan in 2006 had 900,000 people in walking distance of the park. (This quick calulation doesn't account for a lot of things (Manhattan being a "skinny island", Raleigh's poor walkability, Proximity to downtown Raleigh) ,but the numbers still say that they are not even in the same ballpark. Also you have to realize that NYC's tourism is also a major drive in Central Park's success. Central Park works well because it is in one of the greatest cities in the world, with ~million people in walking distance and surrounded by a ton of other attractions. So can we please stop the "Central Park" comparisons? (Before you call me shortsighted about only looking at Raleigh in 2010, I would be willing to bet my own money that regardless of what type of population explosion we have that we are still not going to have a population density of 25,000 people per square mile in 2050) I am all for some of Dix park being left as park (some of it left in a pristine state, some of it landscaped, maybe playing fields, amphitheaters maybe a museum or 2) The other part needs to be developed. @YankeeBlue: I've always thought that a sporting venue (especially a baseball stadium) would make alot of sense in this area. I wouldn't want to see too much land paved over for surface parking (Maybe decks integrated into a potential facility's footprint) The location is perfect however, highway access, rail access and close proximity to downtown.
  2. romec

    Dorothea Dix Property

    I've read through everything and tried to keep an open mid, but I thought I'd weigh in with my opinions. Personally I'd like to see something similar to the ULI plan, but with an emphasis on connecting the "new park" to Pullen via land swap and a pedestrian bridge over Western (bonus points if the Pullen train goes over the bridge). Also every non- single family development there should have ground level retail. First thing I'd like to bring up is all of the Central Park references (I cringed when I looked at Pullen's website and noticed that they started calling themselves Raleigh's Central Park) Yes Central Park is a world class park, but that is because it is in one of the greatest cities in the world. Central Park works because of the city around it: I'm as much of a Raleigh booster as anyone else but Raleigh isn't and won't become NYC. There are more people on the island of Manhattan than in the entire Triangle Metro; if you took every person in Wake, Orange, Durham, Johnston etc etc and put them inside the beltline (440) and built an excellent mass transit system then we can begin to start talking about comparing the numbers of people with access to Dix park and Central Park. Now the natural response is to call me shortsighted and say that I have no idea what Raleigh will look like in 150 years. Raleigh is a sunbelt city and growing rapidly and has doubled in size over the past 25 years. The fact that it is a sunbelt city is exactly why it will never have the density of Manhattan island. Like other sunbelt cities Raleigh's growth has mainly come on the periphery. While our downtown core is growing, it is not going to just magically grow until it fills the inside of the beltline. Instead we'll continue to see other focus areas (North Hills, Crabtree etc) increase in density. Looking at Raleigh's geography and demographics we're not going to get to the point where a million plus people are in walking distance of Dix Park. Manhattan's population is tightly packed and centralized; a central park makes sense. Raleigh's population is spread over a much larger region, as are its parks. Next is the issue of connectivity. It seems to me that developing some of the park will do wonders for connecting it to the outside world. The type of development is important: I don't want to see a self contained urban village. Instead I hope to see an extension of downtown that connects to centennial campus. Obviously the people living on the developed Dix land will have great access to it. ULI is ensuring the success of the remaining park land by thousands of people on its doorstep. Additionally if the area can be designed as a true connection between Downtown and Centennial Campus you give those residents easy access to the park. I've already talked about the possibility of connecting the "new" park land to Pullen (I'll admit not as ambitious as connecting it to the wetlands and Lake Raleigh.) One thing I don't understand is how a walkable urban development would cut off access to the park instead of adding to it? ChiefJoJo is 100% right in calling this a Raleigh/ Wake County Issue. The State is just looking to be compensated for the land and doesn't really care too much about its fate. The city of Raleigh has the opportunity to buy the land, sell some of it to recover losses and continue to make tax revenue off of that valuable land forever. Moreover that revenue will be many times more than enough to help maintain/improve the other 200 acres kept as parkland and make it a true destination.
  3. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    I was only talking about the buildings visible in the Black and White South Saunders Photo. (Good call on the Lafayette though, I wasn't really thinking about it.)
  4. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    It's amazing to me that with all that massive density (the B&W photo), all of the visible buildings are along Fayetteville Street (except the Wake County Public Safety Building) Imagine how amazing it would look if a street perpendicular to Fayetteville Street had that kind of density as well.
  5. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    I believe that Reynolds is still just massing at this point. We still haven't seen the final rendering.
  6. romec

    Soleil Center I & II at Crabtree

    I'm kind of confused about what anyone is really arguing about anymore, but I just wanted to get my two cents in again :-). As Dana was saying, the demand for a hotel is defintely there. Anyone else remember that Raleigh was promised a hockey all-star game, but its been put off with lack of high end hotels being a major reason. What better place to put a luxury hotel than between the Airport, Downtown and our sports arena with a mall adjacent to it. Another big issue is whether or not this constitutes "smart growth". A lot of people are still against this project because it isn't downtown. Smart growth doesn't have to be downtown, infill is infill whether its on Fayetteville Street or on Glenwood Avenue. Crabtree is a focus area and the comprehensive plan calls for this area to have infill and to get denser. I agree that it isn't walkable by a long shot, but who is to say that a denser Crabtree area wouldn't eventually become walkable or even warrant a mass transit stop(rail)? As far as the criticism of the city in approving this, put yourself in their shoes. A developer is offering to build on an existing parcel and you don't have to build roads or pipes to the location. Furthermore the developer is putting high end condos going for $600 dollars a square foot on a small footprint. Do you know how much the city is gaining from a project like this? Look at the tax revenue vs building/maintaining infrastructure for this parcel. That number is going to be even better than projects downtown. The ~40 condos are really the only thing "new" on this site, and they aren't going to generate that many trips. If you want to gripe about Glenwood being congested, thats a fair argument, but Soleil wouldn't be the culprit. Soleil's traffic is really just throwing a bucket into the ocean. The underlying problem is that we need a stronger mass transit link to the Crabtree area. One last thing is the talk of how many millionaire's Raleigh has etc etc. That isn't really the city's concern. That is the developer's concern. They are betting hundreds of millions of dollars that they can turn a profit by building a building and selling space in it. The market will either back them up, or it won't. If the market doesn't back it up they either have to reconfigure the way they are selling space (this is the city's concern) or they lose their investment. Regardless of how many millionaire's are here, you still don't know how many millionaire's might want a place here, but there isn't a supply. As uptownliving was saying, nothing should be built on this plot. In fact Crabtree mall really shouldn't be there either. No development on this parcel is going to be walkable or have ground level retail/features. The only smarter use of this parcel would be to have nothing on it at all. The fact that there was something on it, and now a proposal to build something that is less susceptible to flood damage, fills a need AND generates tax revenue sounds like a win-win for the city.
  7. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    Damien: yeah, downtown Indy was one of the cities that I saw with an "overstreet" mall. I think the 2nd or 3rd floors of several building were connected via skybridge
  8. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    Well one of the major problems with a mall downtown is parking. Who is going to pay for parking at a mall downtown while there is abundant free parking at Crabtree/North Hills etc. That's not to say that a mall would never work; if a downtown reaches a critical mass (maybe 15-20K people), then maybe the residents in downtown would support the mall. I've seen a few malls in downtown areas with varying success. Charleston has a mini-mall, (a few chain stores, I don't even remember if there was an anchor) but I'm sure that mall is fueled primarily by tourism. I've also seen the concept of an "overstreet mall" in a couple of cities, but in my opinion they never really felt like a mall, more so just some fast food restaurants that people could get to during their lunch break. Personally though, I think that we wouldn't want a mall downtown: The main reason is that with a mall you typically have an enclosed area that shuts down at 9:00 pm. Without careful planning, you'd essentially shut down an area of downtown (granted 9:00 is later than 5:00pm, but still) If it's just the chain stores that you're looking for, they'll eventually pop-up when the population is there.
  9. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    Who is to say what a "monument" is? Not every old building is a gem; beauty and importance really is in the eye of the beholder. I wouldn't make a broad statement such as stopping development along Fayetteville once all the current proposals are up (I certainly hope that in 50 years if someone wants to raze the hudson and put in a larger building that they don't get stopped because its an "old building"), but I defintely hope that new projects start spilling on to Wilmington and Salisbury.
  10. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    It's amazing how the city starts gaining some momentum and still every third thread is hyper critical of what's going on Downtown Raleigh. Downtown is undergoing the largest building boom in its history right now. . . . Why do ***you*** think that we are still Mayberry? I can name 10 projects off the top of my head that will bring residents, jobs and commerce to the core of the city. Raleigh isn't perfect, and its zoning laws (especially downtown) need revision. But open your eyes to all the growth that IS going on right now, and be patient.
  11. romec

    Triangle in the national media

    Don't forget a couple of mentions on The Simpsons. Sideshow Bob made a reference about people flying to Raleigh-Durham and in another episode Homer perfromed at a venue called the "Raleigh-Durham Skoal Bowl". Don't wanna bring up too many Simpsons references, wouldn't want to upset our friends in Hitler City, North Carolina ;-)
  12. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    @Eastwestrob: tempting to go for the mirror shot again (Disclaimer: that shot was taken from a stopped vehicle, friends don't let friend drive and snap pictures.) @urbanvb: Nice pics (I think down Fayetteville Street counts as a skyline angle too ) @carynative: Yeah there is a nice view from Wake Forest Rd, and even better from the Duke Health Center (formerly Raleigh Community) parking deck. That angle is on my todo list along with a couple of places on Capital Blvd. @ChiefJoJo: I never really considered the glenwood south buildings in the skyline (just assumed they'd be too short to see from anywhere) They will add a lot to the Broughton angle and an aerial from that angle would be really impressive. Furthermore we realize what kind of views are being sold in some of these buildings. Its interesting to think of all the projects going up around the major sightlines to the core. Bloomsbury is basically the Hargett angle and West at North, Paramount, and 222 Glenwood all share bits of the Broughton angle. Highwoods already has several midrises near Capital and North Hills might potentially have some midrises. (Soleil at Crabtree will also have a view of downtown) As the core grows, taller buildings on the beltline might actually be able to profit from the "view" of downtown Raleigh.
  13. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    Cool shots MR2, its kind of cool to see that angle now and know the density just around the corner. As advertised, here are some angles I've taken over the years. Feel free to use my pics and try to add massing/mockups. I'll probably try it on a couple at the end of this week when I get some more time. In front of the new CC (the top half of this picture might look close to the view from the ballroom) Dix Hill Hargett Street (I apologize, couldn't find a wide angle of this in my pics. I was going to stitch a pano, but moved the camera too much) From South Wilmington South Saunders (only ssaunders pic that I could find) West Peace/Broughton angle From the 64 bypass @ Hodge road
  14. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    Typically most Raleigh skyline shots televised during games are the South Saunders angle. When I get back later tonight, I'll dig through some pics of mine and post what angles I can find. I don't have time to do any mockups, but maybe later this week.
  15. romec

    Downtown Raleigh's Future

    So South Saunders has long reigned as Raleigh's phonebook/money shot: its a nice angle that makes our linear skyline look compact and dense. The question is what angle will look the best with the addition of RBC, Reynolds, Site 1, the CC hotel and the Lafayette? Feel free to post pics of different angles with or without the additional buildings added. I'll probably try to make some mockups in a couple of days. Some of the major angles off the top of my head Capital Blvd Wake Forest rd Hargett Dix Hill West Peace 64 bypass