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Everything posted by ncwebguy

  1. Does anyone know what is going on at the Cargill site south of town? From the Wilmington Street bridge, it looks like most of the site is being torn down. I know they stopped processing at the site a few years ago, but I do not know if they are just leveling the site, as was done with the Trailways site nearby. I have not seen anything on the news sites, but maybe they did something a while ago and they are just now tearing it all down? I wanted to get pictures, and might still since the snow has me stuck at home, but not sure if I want to try to walk over.
  2. Does anyone know the retail configuration of Skyhouse? It could possibly support a two story grocery like in North Hills, but I do not know if the plans would allow for a grocery, or if the plans call for something on the south side of the parking deck. Part of me thinks Glenwood South is "too close" to Cameron Village, though there are a lot of new beds built or under construction near the Clark/Peace corridor from Oberlin to Glenwood. The Urban Outfitters in Savannah, Charleston, and Providence, RI (only drove by) suggest putting a downtown location in Boylan Pearce. The building between Crank Arm and the chocolate factory is being renovated, but there are no 'coming soon' signs yet. Or they could go into the old vacuum shop across Davie. Signs in the Moore Square side of the old Greenshields building suggest an events/pop up space, but there already is a similar venture in Cobblestone Hall in the back half of that building. With Zydeco out of the space, and if the Stand Up Paddling store moved elsewhere, could Urban Outfitters squeeze in there? I do not know if all that can be reconfigured into one continuous space. If they go the Charlotte/South Park or Southpoint new build route, they could go into SkyHouse, Charter Square, or other new construction like The L. With H&M in Crabtree and Triangle Town Center, does a downtown location (rumored years ago) seem more or less likely? The Subway on Salisubry has now moved across the street into the Wells Fargo building. It almost backs up into Café Carolina. A restaurant or bar looks like it is opening in its old space, which has added a roll-up front door. And work continues on the new AC space on the SW West Hargett/Salisbury corner, still a few months away.
  3. I met the person behind the project that was going to create "artist lofts" at the Stone Warehouse if he qualified for tax credits. That fell apart, and the city does not seem to be doing anything. There was going to be an RFP for the northeast corner of Martin and Haywood, but I have see no signs of life there, either. The East/Hargett/Bloodworth/Martin lot will be "The Lincoln" - higher end apartments two blocks due east of Moore Square. They took core samples in December but have not done anything there since. The city bought the Salvation Army's land on the east side of Moore Square, and moved food handouts to a building behind the Salvation Army. I have not seen how the new location is being used, since the givers and receivers seem to be fewer during the colder months. There have been a few renovations on the 700 and 800 blocks of Martin, but that area has seemed to quiet down. Yet another meeting for the New Bern corridor produced nothing of value. The refurbished Chavis Park Carousel and its new housing is nice, but nothing else is going on around there. The MLK Kroger has now been closed for over a year and nothing is stepping up to fill the space. There may be unofficial farmer markets in its parking lot, but that is it. A grocer is more likely to want to be in/closer to downtown with Skyhouse under construction. It could easily convert to a Wal-Mart grocery, but they probably would have moved in by now if they had plans on doing so. The Next Big Thing just east of downtown might be the southeast New Bern / Swain block. Vintage Church swapped it for the Longview Center on Moore Square, which makes sense for all parties involved. What happens to that land now that it is in Gordon Smith's hands is anyone's guess, but it will likely not be the homeless shelter proposed years and years ago that Oakwood fought, or a new church, since they will be going into the existing building. Though I am not holding my breath there, either. With everything else going on downtown, the east has not changed much at all.
  4. When I walked by the last weekend of the ice skating rink on Saturay, I noticed The Malher (sp?) gallery is gone from City Plaza, but a poster talking about a smoothie/"health food" store inside. Not much work looks like it has happened yet, though. The new coffee shop in the Hue, close to Legends, was pretty busy. They have a neat garage/roll up door that gives the otherwise boring building a nice, open feel. Also in Hue, the mens boutique around the corner seems to have changed hands/owners but is still open somehow. And something looks like it is going in to the former hair salon between the coffee shop and Legends.
  5. RTP wants this to be their version of Reston Town Center, with other towers nearby. That would help redevelop the Nortel and chunks of the IBM/Forest Services land north of that area/north of 40. There are two things the RTP folks are completely ignoring, which will slow the progress of their ambitions. 1. Bad connections to 40 and mass transit. The old Nortel land would have been good -- visibility from 40, and between two exits (Miami and Davis). After Davis, the next exit on 40 to this area is NC 55, miles away. NC 54/ NC 147 is not going to happen due to the proximity of I-40/ NC 147, similar to Alexander/40. Reston Town Center is on a bus corridor into DC and will be close to a stop on the light rail line to Dulles, which will be online in the next year or so. RTP West? Not so much. Triangle Transit used to have their transfer station on that property years ago (damn I've been a way a while!) but that is gone. The rail line parallels Miami a half mile or so east of there. They could have a people mover or something, but walking from west of Davis/54 to Miami/54 twice a day would likely be too much to take. 2. Retail follows rooftops, not cubicles. The area is not well served in the immediate area -- I work in Perimiter Park and can only walk to the occasional food truck rally. But there are few houses here due to RTP, the airport, etc. The nearby housing is well served already by Southpoint to the west, Brier Creek to the north, and Park West/Preston/Southern Davis Drive to the east and south. Reston Town Center is surrounded by miles of wealthy suburban housing and apartments in every direction. A lot of Reston supports DC -- RTP does not have that going for it. Perimeter Park still has some land near 540. And there is a good chunk of land south of NetApp that for another couple of "campuses" if a company wants to go that route. It is doable, but a lot of things need to fall into place. It would have had a better chance at success if they had this vision 10 years ago, but the land owners were stuck in the 50s mindset until recently. I fear this will end up like the old EPA building at 54 and Alexander - an empty lot waiting for "the right" tenant while the world moves on around it.
  6. The *amount* of space H&M has is close (but not quite) to that of Forever XXI's. Though the different orientations -- Forever XXI is on the main axis and H&M is in half the old Hecht's space -- may make it seem off. Plus H&M seems somewhat clausterphobic in the way they segmented their space. The two stores are not adjacent, which probably works for both of them. Not much else going on last time I was there, other than Martin and Osa is gone, but I think that is due to giving up on the concept, not just that particular store/location. Losing Crate and Barrel is bad, but expected. This area deserves a space like the Charlotte/South Park store, and with the work they're doing near the movie theater at Southpoint, that is what is in store there. There is no space that makes sense for them in downtown Raleigh or Durham. The old Storehouse space in North Hills would be good, but there is limited parking over there already. And North Hills East was not built for a Crate and Barrel either.
  7. My wife and I ate there the first weekend it was open. Nothing fancy, but decent, and a bit overpriced for what you get. The waitress said it was owned by the family that used to own Two Guys on Hillsborough, but it was a bit more upscale than Two Guys was. There are two places in West -- Mirage, a sushi/lounge in a small door on the Harrington hillside, and "Still Life", a bar/lounge/club at the West/North corner. Something is going into the old Dunkin Donuts in 222 Glenwood, but not sure what. Kings should finally be re-opening soonish in/above the former Martin Street Pizza space. I want to walk around more downtown, but it is toooooooo hot, even at night, lately. Ugh.
  8. I made my first pass the Sunday after RWO and the Krispy Kreme was open even then (around 6 pm) and there were a few people wandering as well. The lack of "hot donuts now" will reduce business from the locals, but donut and coffee runs for meetings in the Fayetville Street corridor are now a lot easier. It is late in the year to be offering ice cream and shakes, but that will be a good option next spring. The blue tile in the middle of the "wall" threw me off, but it should be a good compliment to Starbucks, etc.. With more covered, outside seating, it could be an NC version of Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans (half joking, half not). The gallery is neat and offers something different from Father and Sons, Stitch, the City Market stores, the Wilmington Street clothing stores, etc. I don't blame them for not being open during RWO since the high level of foot traffic could have led to several items breaking. Jimmy Johns is far enough away from the two Subways, and (hopefully) serves a different market than Shish-kabob (does anyone know if it is affiliated with any existing restaurants?) and Sam and Wally's. The soon to be ice skating rink is small, but bigger than North Hill's "rink" and they made a go of it. The color-changing LEDs that hide the utilitiy areas make art out of otherwise wasted space. It would have been interesting to see what Plensa would have done with this "canvas" -- an open (and occasionaly closable) F Street "open vista" down the middle, the "borrowed" art spaces in the planters, and the rest of the plaza.
  9. We went to Crabtree last weekend, and the work is well underway for H&M. They have all the space from Harrods (sp?) in center court to Try Sports. If/when Try Sports moves across the hall, H&M's space will be close to that of Forever XXI, which may be where Sue Stock is getting confused.... Didn't noitice much else going on, though we only walked from center court to Crate & Barrel on the first floor.
  10. While walking by yesterday, I noticed the fence around the plaza has been reduced to the "street" itself on the west/BB&T side, though the BoA to Marriot connection has yet to be restored. The upfit of the two pavilions on the west side have started. They both look to have kitchen/backroom space, so they will probably be the Krispy Kreme and Jimmy Johns. The one closest to the Sheraton has faux wood paneling like other Krispy Kreme stores, but the one closest to the Marriott had dark blue tile, which is different than the usual red/white/black of Jimmy John's and the green and white of KK. Was the fourth pavilion spoken for yet? I would like Snoopy's to be there, but am not sure The other two pavilions did not seem to be too far along, but I didn't get as close. It wouldn't be much to set up the art gallery or other retail. It sounded like the "gallery" will be closer to a gift shop (like the corner store in Marbles) than a traditional gallery with paintings, sculptures, etc. The Mahler Gallery a few blocks north on Fayetville Street will showcase larger items. I hope these kiosks do better than the old Kinko's in front of the county courthouse, though they are bigger and better oriented to their surroundings. The one year "art" piecs look to be more geared to fun than capital A Art, though one piece seems too high to be played with. Artificial turf has been installed on top of the Wilmington street entrance of the parking deck. There is a deli/cafe in the Fayetville St. side of Progress Energy One, and Ship on Site has moved into the Sheraton's lobby. The Sheraton's restaurant now has its lunch buffet (Monday - Friday) posted on the F Street side -- Italian, Mexican, Seafood, and two other days I forget.
  11. Rapid Fitness is going into the old Capitol Fitness/Peak space on West Street. Not sure when they are opening, but there was a sign at the Pit a week or so ago. I was a member at Capitol Fitness from day one, and ChiefJoJo's post perfectly surmised the gym's ups and downs under various ownership/management. I don't know if it is a big enough space to attract a well run chain that could bring good managment with the economies of scale, and don't know enough about Rapid Fitness to give them a try yet or not. The Golds at North Hills is nice (from what I can tell from outside), but too far to be practical for me personally. There is a DD/Baskin-Robbins near Jimmy Johns. I could see them moving to Avent Ferry Shopping Center, or maybe the closed Dairy Queen on Western, but I don't know of any other "NC State" area they would fit in. I hope this doesn't sour them on downtown. I could see them doing well in City Plaza, and there are announcements for two more tenants there sometime this week.
  12. Yesterday, I saw/passed a truck on I-40 that was moving pieces of the light towers. I tried to get a picture, but it was hard to drive and get my phone out at the same time. They had a lot of metal oak leaves on them, like the bollards in front of the Marriott. The BB&T building/Two Hannover has an entrance near Pavillion #2, but that is the "atrium" connecting that building to the Sheraton so the entrance could have been moved. Or maybe not due to fire codes and the conference rooms near there. There is (was) steps/ramp from the main plaza to the raised entrance to the building, though it could have been shifted like near #3. From the article posted earlier: So at least three will be spoken for and (hopefully) open for business in October. Any guesses for the new tenants and/or potential for the last pavillion? Would Starbucks leave their space in the Marriott? I would like to see an ice cream shop, and Goodberries is opening in Cameron Village, so why not F Street? Their locations have only have outside seating, which would be hard to squeeze into 1,000 square feet. I could see Ben & Jerry's or Baskin Robbins/Dunkin Donuts going in to the "ice cream location". Kilwins would be nice, but I don't know if they could squeeze one into that small of a space. As for the other one, the NC Symphony store is no longer in North Hills, but I don't know if that is due to them not wanting a store any more, or not able to afford the rent there. The Hurricanes could open one of their "Eye" stores there, but I think they are happy with keeping their merchandise store at the RBC. I don't think Raleigh is ready for a souvenir store, but the pavilions would be a good place for one. An art gallery could fit into that space, but it might be too small and not easy to display much. A bank could put in an ATM and mini-branch, though I don't know how secure the pavillions will be and/or how BoA and BB&T would feel about that.
  13. The completed north half of the deck below Site One looks to be open for the last couple of weeks. I haven't gone in but there is signs/lighting indicating it is open. I don't know if it connects with the other half under the hotel, but I would think that it does. The left/west lane of Wilmington goes "into" the deck and then is "out" traffic only, which should help with congetion. But getting over quickly enough to go Davie to Blount might be tricky, though those parkers should probably use the Lenoir exit and take that to Salisbury or Blount.
  14. This could be extended even further... Spaces like the Chick-Fil-A in the Sir Walter, Mecca, and the downtown soda shop have done quite well, while retail spaces in relatively newer buildings -- Wachovia (the space west of Cafe Carolina), BoA's Wilmington Street frontage, Sam and Wally's/Global Toast in BB&T/Two Hannover, etc. -- have struggled. It is easier to make retail space office till the downtown market matures (Downtown Raleigh Alliance in the parking deck near Sitti, the architects on Martin near City Market) vs. having an unfriendly blank wall (Progress Energy I, Capital Bank on Wilmington). And the Busy Bee is a good addition to downtown -- a "wider" Raleigh/Morning times with medium sized group meetup space above the kitchen, a late night breakfast food menu in addition to the usual fare, and a few beers that even the Flying Saucer doesn't keep on tap.
  15. I got more and more angry when I read the "news article" yesterday in the print edition. I commented on it there, but wanted to copy it here in case I get "moderated away" there. Outsiders continue to use the neighborhood as a pawn in their political chess match. Martin-Haywood was/is a subset of Thompson/Hunter. M-H was/is eight blocks on either side of Haywood from Hargett to Lenoir. Thompson/Hunter is a larger area defined and expanded in the 70s and 80s. (start long rant/response to the article) 1. Why are the owners of the abandoned church not held responsible for keeping it clean? If a church won't clean up, why should anyone else? 2. It has not "become the epicenter of the city's guns, gangs and drugs." over the last year or the last five years. In fact, crime was *worse* before 2004. The official numbers might not reflect that because there have to be arrests made to count the crimes, which would require police in the area. The Fetzer/Coble era *destroyed* the neighborhood, redirecting police to patrol North Raleigh instead of the problem areas. "Community leaders" demanded more District 2-4 Police in College Park, Bragg Street, and anywhere BUT Martin Street even though residents said year after year that was the worst area. And why exactly are the police telling citizens where to walk? Are the police ceding control of the area to the criminals? 3. "Residents of the area... worry about the consequences... fear that the drive to push out the gangs... may fuel gentrification and force them out of the neighborhood." CITATION NEEDED! Not a single resident was quoted in the story to support this "fact". In fact, the opposite is true -- Ms. Smith wouldn't have her porch screen broken into and Ms. Jordan could walk her daughter to a public park. 4. The city *was* spending money in the neighborhood to stabilize the neighborhood to increase home *ownership*. The city's Community Development department has been working tirelessly for years to acquire/fix up/and sell properties only to low/moderate income families, at a price point of less than half the $300,000 house on Hargett. How did that *not* make the story? That construction CREATED JOBS AND TRAINING Mr. Wadkins seeks, even though there wasn't a specific line in the budget. His fight against the city's proceeding with its plans will *not* create jobs. In addition, there are more than the two mentioned housing projects in the area. The city owns several houses in the neighborhood it rents to low income families, including one to the family of two of the five youths in Ms. Smith's robbery and the homicide on Camden Street. And Section 8 vouchers for many of the 70% of the community that rents. And Eastwood Court on Swain Street. And Carlton Place a few blocks to the west. And Chavis Heights a few blocks to the south. *That* is the affordable housing already present in the area Mayor Meeker mentioned. 5. David Meeker did not just "flip" houses in the neighborhood. He *lived* there for years. He worked hard to restore houses left for dead by "the community" Linda Simmons-Henry looks at with rose-colored glasses. The Meekers have more of "that pride of place" for Thomson-Hunter than the slumlords they bought properties from. History was lost by concentrating low income housing in the area. And who brought people in who don't have a pride of place in the 60s-90s? The city didn't buy the properties, so it was the sons and daughters of the "community" who didn't keep up their properties and and rented it to people who didn't care about the history of the area. My neighbors and I have lived there eight years. The 600 block of Martin was built five years ago, and others nearby have lived in the area for 10 years or longer. Is that "new"? The N&O has done several articles on the area over the years already. 6. How are new residents wanting a diverse neighborhood going to result in shameless editorializing like "residents who endured its dangers may not be around to enjoy its renewal." Most, if not all, of the law-abiding residents of the neighborhood want a safe place where everyone feels welcome. Unfortunately it seems the N&O and "community leaders" want to maintain the status quo to concentrate crime in an area they left for dead years ago.
  16. I liked Fayetville Street Tavern because it was more "come as you are" than any other place open after 5 downtown, including Raleigh Times and Rockford. They had a limited but decent variety (pub food plus a few pasta selections) on the menu at decent prices. They had poker chips and cards, and the TVs weren't overwhelming a la Woody's. The plywood was down at Busy Bee's a couple of weeks ago, but it had a "shell rennovation to be completed in October" sign just before that. Going from that to open was pretty quick! A few months ago, I caught someone coming out of the "under contract" storefronts on Hargett between Sitti and Landmark Tavern and they said it was only being used for storage for a while. They had too many inquiries so they put up the "leased" sign even though there wasn't a tenant yet. The retail spaces in RBC Plaza and the Edison parking deck seem to be empty still, but if other spaces are being filled up, maybe it will just be a matter of time for them. The difference between directly profiting from power with little to no work done vs. enahncing revitalization through investment and sweat equity is huge, but can be missed with someone blinded by an agenda to push. A developer-controlled Planning Commission is "not a conspiracy" but anything invested downtown is? Wow. The lack of investment in downtown for decades cost the city millions of dollars in lost tax revenue, to say nothing of the costs associated with the hypersprawl egged on by a decaying core.
  17. Did anyone go to the Hillsborough Street Renaissance Festival? It was cold and raining, but Hillsborough Street was blocked off just west of Sadlack's (forced WB traffic to Enterprise) even though it looked like only a few empty tents were still standing. Luckily the St. Patrick's Day festivities were postponed to this weekend, and should get better turnout due to better weather. Clark was a *mess* as an east/west alternate. I hope that was partially due to the weather, confusion, and people leaving. If it is a sign of things to come during the Hillsborough Street rennovations, it is going to be a long year and change for the neighborhood. Campbell is keeping its first floor for offices, library, lecture hall, etc. So nearby storefronts on Hillsborough, Morgan, in Hue, etc. could house supply stores, coffee shops, etc. It looks like rennovations are in full swing, but it will be pushing it to get them finished and everything moved in there in five months for a fall 09 opening. Having a diner/coffeehouse compliment to Second Empire proper and the tavern is cool, and should be a good alternative to the DD/Bruggers pair nearby on Glenwood. Outside of that, there isn't much breakfast going on till you get to IHOP on Hillsborough, Biscuit Station on Edenton, or the McDonalds (Peace and Wilmington near Shaw).
  18. This might be preemtive measure to keep non-goverment all day parkers from parking there and taking the circulator to their job elsewhere downtown. Free parking is slowly migrating east, as people now park on Hargett near the Woodpile block and next to City Cemetary, though the walk to the daytime circulato-R is longer than the Seaboard area. Is there any signs of life at the former Capitol City Grocery? It is probably too big of a space for one restaurant, but it could be a high end pool hall, like Jillians was when it first opened. Though opening something like that in this economy, away from the major nightlife areas -- Glenwood, Warehouse/Depot, and F Street/City Market -- isn't likely.
  19. The city has sunk a lot more than $15 million in roads, etc around several projects -- Brier Creek, Triangle Town Center, North Hills, etc. I don't know if the mayor at that time went to all those, but there have been more than a few ribbon cuttings, etc. over the years. The city isn't spending *any* money on the building, the kitchen equipment, etc. It is getting an immediate return on its City Plaza investment by getting the Simpson Company to build the pavilions, Progress Energy's rennovations on its streetscape (the walls are down, and it looks pretty good), etc. -- investment that otherwise wouldn't happen. Why is it that when the same thing happens in the burbs -- Wal-Mart wouldn't build unless the city built a road to its door -- the same people who complain about this happening downtown selectively point to the suburbs as "success stories"? It is funny that people complain about downtown not being "successful" enough to support a Starbucks, chains, etc. and then when the chains come, then it should be a non-event. In other downtown retail updates, the Remedy Diner has a menu posted on its door -- mostly sanwiches, several vegetarian options, a daily "special" M-F. There was still paper up on the other windows, but probably not for much longer. In City Market, the Native American store is empty, with a sign saying they are moving around the corner to Martin Street next to Subway. And there is a "fashion and wellness store" going in next to Vic's Italian Cafe.
  20. When gas gets above $3/gallon and/or the weather is nice enough for my .5 mile walk each way to a bus stop at both ends of my commute, I take Triangle Transit. But since I don't ride a CAT bus, (sarcasam) I obviously don't support transit, and a train should never be built here (/sarcasam). Improving bus service and building a backbone train line is not an either/or proposition, and does not have to happen before a rail line is planned, let alone funded. Also, funding doesn't only have to come from a sales tax. I still think a "TIF/district property tax" on land that directly benefits from the rail line could be enough, combined with a half cent sales tax to do bus AND rail. Using Charlotte as an option because I went there a few weeks ago and have family in the area, its train "doesn't go to the airport" yet it serves several purposes -- park and ride commutes from south/southeast of town, walk and ride commutes from neighborhoods near the stations, outbound transportation for center city residents, and special event commuting for Panthers, Bobcats, concerts, etc. The same could happen in the Triangle, but never will if we base future projections on how things were 5-10 years ago. Why should we be taxed at the federal level and then told to expect less of it back every year? All those medium sized cities would be a lot smaller if everyone else wasn't helping them, yet we should never expect anything while we continue to subsidize the road network with gas, property, vehicle sales, and other taxes. This is *urban* planet, is it not? Since most of the land has already been acquired, I don't think light rail will cost $100M/mile. And there will be "cheaper" miles between the cities -- Raleigh to Cary, Cary to RTP and RTP to Durham. Especially with the cost of raw materials coming down due to the slowing global economy, etc. From an economic stimulus point of view, a 10% fed investment in a rail system will create a lot more jobs than building and shipping more buses to the area, and the "permanance" of rail makes building/redveloping dense, urban nodes a lot easier to sell to existing land owners. It won't be "every station, right away" but provides a blueprint for managed growth for decades.
  21. The N&O's initial and today's followup stories on Vin's closing seem odd. Computer problems? Really? How were they handling credit card orders at the wine store the weeks before? How were they running an online retail store without reliable computers? Was it that much better than Seaboard's Wine store or the one in Wake Forest? As for Vin, I am not an expert but I think it would be easier to sell it *before* you shut it down, not after. Now it seems like damaged goods. Glenwood is becoming more of a "party" area, not that there is anything wrong with that. Though the higher end restaurants are starting to migrate out to make room for the likes of Natty Greens and Carolina Ale House, though 42nd Street Oyster Bar and Sullivans will probably stay put in the short term. F Street (Posta, The Mint, Fins) and/or Davie near the Depot (Humble Pie, The Pit, and Jibarra) will benefit, with Poole's in between. The vaccum shop near The Pit could have outside dining with pretty good views of the skyline if you can look past the Firestone store. Jibarra is now open for dinner and was pretty busy when I drove by on Monday, as was the Pit.
  22. Gorman would be a good/no brainer stop today. Or maybe that road that crosses the rails near Playmakers which might be closed once the corridor is used for mass transit. This stop would service Merideth College students and NC State students living in apartments on the west end of campus *and* in the buildings that eventually replace ES King village. A Whitaker Mill stop could act as a bus transfer to send rail riders out to Crabtree and/or park and ride for Five Points residents, similar to Highwoods tying service to North Hills and Six Forks. To say nothing of redeveloping the industrial land that has been underutilized for decades. New Hope Church would drop riders close to Wal-Mart and a potential tie in to East Raleigh. As for moving the LRT line closer to the F Street core, it will be intersesting to see how many people utilize the circulator coming on line next month. If that proves to attract ridership, moving from the rail to the circulator which would drop people off in front of the Convention Center and on Glenwood South, and one short block from Fayetville Street, might allow the light rail to stay in the existing rail corridor. Why should one of the fastest growing regions in the coutry wait ten more years for a rail line because of the sins of the past -- a subpar bus system that has stagnated ridership and the complete ignorance of the city's comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan is being updated to incorporate bus and rail mass transit. Ridership on other area bus systems -- Triangle Transit, Wolfline, Duke's buses, and C-Tran -- should be factored in for "Triangle" ridership.
  23. I wanted to get pictures of it coming down, but they got pretty far pretty quickly. And with the sun going down earlyish, I haven't had a good chance to get some good shots. But it will look neat to have the windows exposed again. When Empire bought that property, it was just a matter of when something like this would happen. And if there is "dead" space on the second floor, the cost of rennovations will easily be recouped in rent. It will be a good compliment to the Hargett block around the corner between Wilmington and Blount. The new signs for Landmark Tavern and the salon are a nice touch on Hargett as well. This work is similar to the exerior rennovations on the former McCrory's on Fayetville Street. Looking at that space now (just north of Port City Java), it is hard to imagine why anyone thought putting the metal up was a good idea other than cheap maintenance. The rennovation next to Slim's across Wilmington Street is well underway, and the plywood there is (hopefully) hiding a nice new facade. There already has been significant work done on its rooftop bar/patio close to the Moore Square parking deck. Taz isn't going to win any design awards, but it always seems to be busy and gives the area an around the clock presence.
  24. The deck below City Plaza is open during the demolition of the old plaza in front of the old convention center, and I doubt that will change during the (low rise) construction. The deck directly below the Rennisance Hotel in North Hills hasn't opened even after the hotel itself opened. But the adjacent deck was open before and durning hotel construction, which did create the awkward JC Penny bottleneck for traffic trying to get from beneath the area west of JCP out toward the Lassiter Mill signal closest to 440. That did not seem to be a safety issue.
  25. Jibarra is now open for lunch (M-F 11:30-2:30) and Sunday Brunch (11 - 2:30). From their website, it looks like they will open for dinner once they get their liquor permits. Also it sounds like they are excited about the new digs: Another good dining option near the Convention Center, and will hopefully compliment Humble Pie and The Pit. We took out of town guests to The Pit over the holidays and they liked it a lot. They got rid of the highbrow/lowbrow side selection and kept the best of both worlds.
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