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jlblaes

Caswell Square

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I came across the map shown in the link below and noticed the Caswell Square highlighted. Caswell square is one of the original parks/squares in Raleigh but it was lost to house some state offices (I think ?). The map still shows some buidlings on it but it would be great but likely improactiable for it to return as a park.

Downtown Raleigh Alliance Map

JB

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I had heard that the plan was to retain one of the more architecturally interesting buildings, and demolish the rest to return Caswell Square to green space. I could be wrong, but I think some of the state agencies in those buildings will be relocated into space in the Blount Street redevelopment project(? I know someone will tell me if this is way off base)

I think it makes perfect sense, and would serve as a great anchor for mixed-use infill adjacent to the TTA station.

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I had heard that the plan was to retain one of the more architecturally interesting buildings, and demolish the rest to return Caswell Square to green space.  I could be wrong, but I think some of the state agencies in those buildings will be relocated into space in the Blount Street redevelopment project(?  I know someone will tell me if this is way off base) 

I think it makes perfect sense, and would serve as a great anchor for mixed-use infill adjacent to the TTA station.

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I'm just curious, where did you hear this?

The only building(s) on the block I'd consider architecturally significant are the ones that front Jones St./are on the southern half of the block (I may be forgetting that there's something of merit on the north end, though). I want to say that I heard that at one time, they were a small college-they kind of look the part.

That being said, it is a shame, once again, that Raleigh's original 18th Century layout was piddled with by putting buildings on what was originally one of the five (including Jackson Square, home of your state capitol) open squares in the city. For those who don't know, the current location of the governer's mansion was the other one that's been lost to building. I am not a big fan of messing with history that old, even though the buildings that occupy the two lost squares are old and venerable in of themselves.

If they are planning on demolishing any/all buildings on that block, I really hope that the public supports restoring it to the open square it was meant to be over two-hundred plus years ago, even though it might not be the greatest place for a park as things stand now. There are plenty of other vacant lots on which to plan mixed-use development in the vicinity.

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^^I honestly can't recall where I heard this, but seems like I remember reading it someplace-- the state's master plan for its properties in that area, maybe? Perhaps I'm getting old and made it up. At any rate, the Jones St. building you're talking about is the only one I can think of that'd be worth keeping.

Clarification: I meant that Caswell Square should be converted back to open space so that the adjacent blocks could be redeveloped for mixed use with a nice park to look out on. Would be very nice. :)

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^^I honestly can't recall where I heard this, but seems like I remember reading it someplace-- the state's master plan for its properties in that area, maybe?  Perhaps I'm getting old and made it up.  At any rate, the Jones St. building you're talking about is the only one I can think of that'd be worth keeping.

Clarification:  I meant that Caswell Square should be converted back to open space so that the adjacent blocks could be redeveloped for mixed use with a nice park to look out on.  Would be very nice. :)

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This is discussed in the area where Blount Street redevelopment info is located. What I read is that only the Dorm will be kept, although this map shows the two buildings along McDowell still standing too. They house the most State workers by far. The Romanesque style Dorm (the southwest corner) and the Broom and Mattress factory (big grey building on the Dawson Street side) are what is left of the original School for the Deaf and Blind, both built in 1898

I have long advocated extending the street grid north all the way to Peace Street. Caswell Square would be a very nice park space in the middle of that expanded street grid. Instead of demolishing it though, I thought the Broom and Mattress Factory would make nice historic condos. If the Melrose Knitting Mill (accross the street, the red brick mill building) were converted to condos too, then along with Park Deveraux and The Dawson, you would have quite a condo row up Dawson Street.

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This is discussed in the area where Blount Street redevelopment info is located. What I read is that only the Dorm will be kept, although this map shows the two buildings along McDowell still standing too. They house the most State workers by far. The Romanesque style Dorm (the southwest corner) and the Broom and Mattress factory (big grey building on the Dawson Street side) are what is left of the original School for the Deaf and Blind, both built in 1898

I have long advocated extending the street grid north all the way to Peace Street.  Caswell Square would be a very nice park space in the middle of that expanded street grid. Instead of demolishing it though, I thought the Broom and Mattress Factory would make nice historic condos. If the Melrose Knitting Mill (accross the street, the red brick mill building) were converted to condos too, then along with Park Deveraux and The Dawson, you would have quite a condo row up Dawson Street.

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Nice post, and you're right, there are several brick buildings in the area there that seem to present great renovation (not demolition) opportunities. I gotta figure that would help to link the museum district w/Glenwood, hopefully making the area more ped-friendly. The problem is that especially in that vicinity, Dawson St. is more like an expressway than city street-people are fresh off Capital and looking to maintain speed just up from that twisty section where Dawson and McDowell converge. Regardless, the opportunity is there.

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An extended street grid to Peace would be terrific!

A Condo Row in that area would make total sense, especially after the TTA station is operating. I hadn't thought about the reuse of those other older buildings as lofts, but now that I think about it, that would be neat.

Of course, I still think one could take better advantage of the rail by putting Caswell back into open space and building higher density condos fronting it. Can't you just see it? A few shops around the square with mid-rise housing above? Maybe some office or an office service center mixed in for the live-work folks. That woud be a hoppin' little neighborhood right there at the entrance to "downtown proper," wouldn't it?

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An extended street grid to Peace would be terrific!
Particularly the treatment at Peace and Halifax where the split to Wilmington and Salisbury around the Halifax Mall happens is a terrible design. Such a waste of space. Harrington should be extended to Peace, too.

I'm not so sure about rebuilding the grid at Capital Blvd and Peace St. The grade separation is valuable since both are high-volume roads. The railroad makes restoring the grid difficult, anyway. Instead, just rebuild the horrible Peace/Capital "interchange" as a diamond with two stoplights on Peace. That place is a horrible mess and an accident magnet as it is.

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Or better yet, rebuild Peace/Capital as an inverted SPUI interchange (like they have at Durham Freeway at Duke Hospital. Just 1 signal!!

That section of strip businesses on the East side of Capital Blvd between the RR overpass and Peace St is about as blighty as blight can get. I'd hard to imagine how that piece of land can ever serve anyone well.

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Or better yet, rebuild Peace/Capital as an inverted SPUI interchange (like they have at Durham Freeway at Duke Hospital. Just 1 signal!!
No. SPUIs are not the magical end-all solution to freeway interchanges... they come at a price. That price is a loss of safety for pedestrians because there are so many "free" movements. Ever tried walking across a SPUI? It's a scary experience, particularly if traffic is heavy. They also require oddly shaped bridges, which makes them more expensive than a diamond. A simple diamond conversion at Peace and Capital would allow them to keep the same bridge, and it has two, signalized intersections which are very easy for pedestrians to cross.

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No. SPUIs are not the magical end-all solution to freeway interchanges... they come at a price. That price is a loss of safety for pedestrians because there are so many "free" movements. Ever tried walking across a SPUI? It's a scary experience, particularly if traffic is heavy. They also require oddly shaped bridges, which makes them more expensive than a diamond. A simple diamond conversion at Peace and Capital would allow them to keep the same bridge, and it has two, signalized intersections which are very easy for pedestrians to cross.

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I still go with grid. Just take off the bridge, leave Peace at its current grade, and shave off Capital down to Peace's level. The current ramps up to Capital are approximately where Capital will split and continue on southward. Train bridge stays where it is. The previously mentioned strip of blight gets taken down and also the billboard yard and the pawn shop may have to go, but impact on business would be minimal. My idea is to get the State to pick up the tab in exchange for them getting several lots for future (or immediate) expansion. A signature building (unlike the Archdale building) could sit right at the split welcoming all to the Capital City.

I like Harrington rejoining Peace (it used to) and the map that someone posted from the DTRA website shows Wilmington and Salisbury being reconnected to Peace properly. As a result of extending the grid, you also get Johnson St intersecting Capital, North Street extended (recreated really), the Cotton Mill gets pedestrian access to downtown, and State Gov't is connected to Glenwood South by something other than the TTA pedestrian bridge.

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