ericurbanite

Dorothea Dix Property

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I am interested in seeing what master plan comes up for the dorthea dix campus. Theres some people out there that just want it to be a park and thats it, and of course you have developers drooling at a chance to develop this area. I dont think it should be one big park, i mean theres pullen park right down the road. Maybe a mix of a park and development of some sort, i dont know. But the campus definatly has great views of Raleigh and they should be incorporated into the development.

I am interested in hearing some ideas of people out there of what should be done with Dorthea Dix.

Heres a picture that a website(Friends of dix park) has of retaining the park and what development would occur outside of it. I just dont buy it that this park is going to create development around it, only new york city maybe, but they had to have a park. Raleigh has plenty of open spaces.

This picture is projecting in year 2050. Of course i think they are biased towards having the park.

FuturePark.jpg

And now the picture without a park.

FutureNoPark.jpg

Im really not sure of what id like to see maybe if i heard some great ideas i could lean in that direction. What does everbody else think??

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Hotels & resturants should go up in that area. If the city would not have been so hasty, then this spot would have been a prime spot for what is now the Entertainment and Sports arena. How cool would that have been to have the Arena on that hill overlooking the city. :lol:

Then they could have built several hotels and resturants. And incorporated some NC State doors in the mix, since western blvd. is right there.

But since none of that happened I would suggest hotels and resturants, to try to accomodate the new convention center better.

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your right that would have been a perfect spot for the new arena, it would link centennial campus to downtown raleigh, and commuters from 40 to trickle in downtown.

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Wow you're right, that would've been a great place for the arena, and it would've spawned a good number entertainment venues, restaurants, and hotels.

And what do you know--there's an existing rail corridor through there too! Would've been a perfect link to the DT transit center.

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This was in today's Winston Salem Journal:

Plans for Dix land in Raleigh remain uncertain

Building new hospital, deciding use for old campus take extra time

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

RALEIGH

Building a replacement for Dorothea Dix Hospital and figuring out what to do with the old campus in downtown Raleigh when it shuts down are taking longer than expected.

Two construction companies that bid on building the new state psychiatric hospital in Butner say that the work will cost more than the $110 million the state has to spend. That will push back work on the project a month or more, until at least April.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is negotiating with the lower bidder, R.N. Rouse & Co. of Goldsboro, to see if the company can reduce its offer of $113.6 million, said Terry Hatcher, the department's director of property and construction. Construction is expected to take a little more than two years.

The Raleigh City Council was expected to decide yesterday whether to spend an additional $30,000 so a Charlotte land-planning firm can start on a redevelopment plan for the 315-acre Dix campus.

The city and the state agreed last year to spend $100,000 each to look into possible uses for the Dix campus. The land is considered prime real estate by some and envisioned as a public park by others.

The state, which owns the campus, chose LandDesign of Charlotte to complete the plan by April 1. City officials want the Dix plan to dovetail with the city's efforts to plan development throughout southwest Raleigh, said Planning Director George Chapman.

The city spent several weeks working with LandDesign to expand the scope of the study, which accounts for the additional $30,000 cost.

The company probably won't hold the first public meeting to talk about Dix until next month and will probably put off the completed plan until summer.

Dix and another state psychiatric hospital, John Umstead Hospital in Butner, are scheduled to close in 2007, when the new, 430-bed hospital is complete.

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so what does everybody think should go there though. I think probably mixed use again i dunno its alot of land. They should of put the arena there but oh well, i say condos, hotels, restauarnts, clubs, bars with some kind of park mixed into it

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Definitely mixed use, life size, with a strong slant towards green and natural. I believe a small space should be reserved for a "park" but nothing too crazy--perhaps something more like a "square" like in downtown.

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Definitely mixed use, life size, with a strong slant towards green and natural. I believe a small space should be reserved for a "park" but nothing too crazy--perhaps something more like a "square" like in downtown.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't think that would be enough. This would be an excellent opportunity for a sort of "central park" - a place for everyone in the urban core of raleigh to go and throw a frisbee or spread out a blanket and have a picnic. Preserving the entire campus for a park is, of course, absurd - at least 70 or 80% of it should be developed. But I would hate to see the rolling, grassy hillside dotted with 200+ year-old oak trees get torn up and filled in with luxury condos. A good chunk of the best land with the best view in Dix needs to be preserved as a park for everyone in the neighborhood and city to enjoy. This opportunity will only come once; after the land has been sold to developers it's never coming back.

As for the rest of the campus, I'd love to see a mixed use "village center" somewhere near the railroad tracks. Maybe between Biggs and Umstead Rd? Restaurants, hotels, stores, apartments and condos on a medium scale (6 stories or so?) could go there. There are a lot of existing buildings on the Dix campus near there, some of which would would do quite well as apartment conversions. The remaining area could be an attractive, urban, single-family home neighborhood like Boylan Heights. Snout-houses, McMansions, and garage-style townhomes need not apply.

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I agree about the natural beauty being perfect for a park, but it would suck to take more life away from Pullen Park as well as the green space just north of that on campus. If too much land is used for a park, we might as well call that part of Raleigh "The Park District".

A comprimise would be to develop a good portion of the land (perhaps 70-80% as you suggest, or more), but it keep it as green as possible, making efforts to preserve the natural geography as much as possible. Lots of concrete and baby trees shouldn't consume ALL of it. :D

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Yeah, preserving the rolling hillsides and every tree possible is extremely important. Any developer would probably have to develop the land to a higher caliber than we see out in the suburbs in order to realize any profits.

The central prison and boylan heights stand between Dix and downtown, so no matter how the land is developed it will never be a part of downtown. However, given its proximity to the CBD and NCSU, it has the potential to be a real draw. Hopefully the city will get it right.

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After reading ideas I tried to find some pictures of what we could expect to see going based off these ideas.

I can imagine a pedestrian friendly environment with bike trails maybe even extend the trail from lake johnson and have it go through centennial campus. fancy sidewalks, brick paved intersections, commuter rail going through with a stop. And off the stop you have a chance to walk down the sidewalks to retail, restaurants, and nightlife. Also there should be a landmark for dorthea dix. I could see using oak trees in a courtyard of a building possibly.

gtc_modelview6.jpg

Use of expanded sidewalks, nice non-black tar intersection haha.

thortonparkcentral.jpg

Condo featuring urban friendly environment

0402_Topore_sowater.jpg

Maybe after seeing this im definatly probably more inclined to a low rise instead of high rise but still using the park with condo maybe hotel.

3-final.jpg

bike trail extended to lake johnson with light commuter rail

NW_01_01_2003_pom_YWCA2.jpg

using the old trees as part of the landscape.

res_retail.jpg

Retail.

bldg_townsquare_large.jpg

More retail, but notice the use of park with it.

zr_bnpationight_0249.jpg

Nightlife, thatd be pretty cool a barnes and noble i dunno that can be found in the suburbs though. but bars, and restaurants make this area 24 hours.

I also think its going to be crucial to link centennial campus through dorthea dix, through downtown to the convention center. western blvd cant be the only one, there needs to be a road from centennial through dorthea dix and so on.

Obviously these are pictures elsewhere but it kind of sheds some light of what im talking about.

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Wow those are some great ideas. Let us hope that the development follows some of those rather green and cozy models. I too prefer the more life-size low rise renderings, though a few shorty high-rises might be acceptible if their architecture is cool enough. Naturally, I'd want to see anything taller put in downtown.

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Damn, guess that's today, isn't it? I had wanted to go, but I forgot about it until now ... and it's already underway.

Hope there's an article about it in tomorrow's N&O. Anyone from this forum who went, please indulge us with a report!

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Real quick rpt...

Large crowd--I'd say 200+ or so. Most spoke of wanting to preserve the land for natural uses (park, botanical garden, etc.) and preserving the history of the Dix heritage--and BTW, I agree! I can't recall a single person speaking in favor of selling the land for development. Lots mentioned connectivity to DT, greenway trails, farmers market, etc, and walkability as being important.

This may turn into a very hot issue, with the state perhaps wanting to make some money on this deal and the local community being absolutely against that plan.

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We discussed some ideas for the Dix property a while back in this thread

I don't like the 100% park idea one bit--it is a waste and just catalyses more sprawl into the outskirts of Raleigh. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a great way to generate money. Sure dedicate some of the space as a park, but use the rest as a vehicle to bring more people into the heart of Raleigh.

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I don't like the 100% park idea one bit--it is a waste and just catalyses more sprawl into the outskirts of Raleigh. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a great way to generate money. Sure dedicate some of the space as a park, but use the rest as a vehicle to bring more people into the heart of Raleigh.

I also don't agree with the 100% park idea. However, with the old (80-100 years plus) oak stand already on the campus, coupled with topography that flatters the skyline, and with a lengthy potentially restorable reach of Rock Branch skirting the side of campus, I think that a sizeable park merits some discussion. There should be other development there as well, but I think the Boylan Heights NIMBY's (bless their hearts) are being a bit quixotic by clamouring for essentially no new development there.

[edit: link to 4/20 N&O story]

Edited by capitalapts

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I don't see how you can make it a 100% park either with all of the buildings down there. Partial park with trails and a mixed use professional office park with residential. Conservationists get ready to cringe, but a Highwoods-like park would be awesome. Highwoods did a good job of nestling buildings in the trees, etc - it's a beautiful professional center.

It's way too prime for a 100% park and I don't think that the tax base in Boylan Heights is enough to have any pull - but anything's possible I guess.

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I disagree. I think minimal development should take place there. This comment sums it up for me:

"This is already in public hands," Hesselein said. "There are plenty of crappy parking lots downtown that would serve the city's needs for retail and development."

Much of DT Raleigh is available for dense commercial/residential redevelopment RIGHT NOW--why disrupt this oasis amidst the city? It really is a treasure.

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Indeed this will end up being a hot issue. I can't wait for the drama to unfold! :D

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I disagree.  I think minimal development should take place there.  This comment sums it up for me:

"This is already in public hands," Hesselein said. "There are plenty of crappy parking lots downtown that would serve the city's needs for retail and development."

Much of DT Raleigh is available for dense commercial/residential redevelopment RIGHT NOW--why disrupt this oasis amidst the city?  It really is a treasure.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree that there are plenty of spots available for towers/retail downtown. But Dix Hill isn't an oasis or gem of natural delight right now - much of it is sprawled and scattered with a mix of newer and historic buildings. However, It does present a beautiful view of Raleigh. If it were turned into a nature preserve/park then there would be much to tear down. I think that most of this forum focuses on Downtown's urban development, and a professional or research park at Dix would have a trickle down effect just as will the condos going up right now. Raleigh's already reknown for it's parks.

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Okay I pondered a bit. :)

The argument for park space by capitalapts and ChiefJoJo is compelling. The prospect of restoring an urban stream is intriguing. There is also a fair amount of available space in downtown for high density development suitable for a downtown.

However I maintain that some responsible development needs to occur here. No skyscrapers, no ocean of concrete or asphault, no super big box crap. I'm picturing something classy and secluded--medium density and pedestrian scale. blueize74's suggestion of something Highwoods-ish is interesting. Maybe not a suburban office park as such, but attractive lower profile buildings with a minimal amount of tree removal and grading.

My reasoning for this is that Raleigh is already bursting with park space (Pullen is across the street too!), and I would bet serious money that some of the folks who are arguing for exclusive park space never visit the city's many parks today and would probably never use the Dix space anyway :P

Also we need to increase the number of options around the urban core of Raleigh. There will always be the high density CBD-style growth downtown as well as some north end projects like West St, Glenwood, Blount St, etc... But, how about some novel transitional development--more of a bridge between the old established suburbs and the urban core?

The Dix property is perfect for this--no old people or poor people have to be pushed out of their homes and it certainly has a hell of a lot more trees than downtown. It's a great location for something different. I think there is an audience out there that desires an urban lifestyle--with all the conveniences and the proximity to the cultural center, but with the green beauty of a surburban or exurban area... I sure as hell would move there in a hot minute. How many other cities boast such developments? This land is the perfect slate to do it up right.

But sure, keep a good portion of it as strictly park space--perhaps the portion that faces the downtown skyline, the aformentioned creek, or the part with the most varied terrain. I believe now that more strictly park space should be preserved than I originally thought.

There is boat load of land there, and the possible configurations are seemingly endless.

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Okay I pondered a bit. :)

The argument for park space by capitalapts and ChiefJoJo is compelling. The prospect of restoring an urban stream is intriguing. There is also a fair amount of available space in downtown for high density development suitable for a downtown.

However I maintain that some responsible development needs to occur here. No skyscrapers, no ocean of concrete or asphault, no super big box crap. I'm picturing something classy and secluded--medium density and pedestrian scale. blueize74's suggestion of something Highwoods-ish is interesting. Maybe not a suburban office park as such, but attractive lower profile buildings with a minimal amount of tree removal and grading.

My reasoning for this is that Raleigh is already bursting with park space (Pullen is across the street too!), and I would bet serious money that some of the folks who are arguing for exclusive park space never visit the city's many parks today and would probably never use the Dix space anyway :P

Also we need to increase the number of options around the urban core of Raleigh. There will always be the high density CBD-style growth downtown as well as some north end projects like West St, Glenwood, Blount St, etc... But, how about some novel transitional development--more of a bridge between the old established suburbs and the urban core?

The Dix property is perfect for this--no old people or poor people have to be pushed out of their homes and it certainly has a hell of a lot more trees than downtown. It's a great location for something different. I think there is an audience out there that desires an urban lifestyle--with all the conveniences and the proximity to the cultural center, but with the green beauty of a surburban or exurban area... I sure as hell would move there in a hot minute. How many other cities boast such developments? This land is the perfect slate to do it up right.

But sure, keep a good portion of it as strictly park space--perhaps the portion that faces the downtown skyline, the aformentioned creek, or the part with the most varied terrain. I believe now that more strictly park space should be preserved than I originally thought.

There is boat load of land there, and the possible configurations are seemingly endless.

You make good points, Norff. Pullen Park is just down the way, but judging from how full the parking lot seems to be every weekend, I think it's fair to say that there is a pretty high demand for parkland 'round these parts.

Raleigh's 'greenness' is one of the things that makes it pleasantly unique. Realization of the importance/esthetic offerings of parks/open space trace back all the way to the city's initial layout, in which four squares were planned. Two remain-Moore and Nash. The other two have been lost to the governer's mansion and gov't buildings (what I think may have been a school for the blind or deaf at one time).

I didn't mean to sound like I advocate closing the door on development on Dix at all. I do think that, due to several unique, fantastic natural assets (specifically, the old oaks and sloped vistas of downtown, plus a potential good stream restoration), a large park area within the campus deserves strong consideration. I also think that smart, pedestrian-friendly development that could serve to 'connect' centennial campus with downtown is in order.

I also agree with ChiefJoJo-not allowing high-density development at Dix probably helps to make it more likely that existing brownfield areas downtown will be redevloped, as they should be.

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My ideas for D. Dix development

Zoo. Ok I know this one isn't going to happen. The state of North Carolina isn't in a strong enough financial position to open another Zoo and probably wouldn't do a second one anyway. Also I don't think the Boylan heights crowd would be interested. Put all that aside though. Imagine a Zoo within walking distance of downtown Raleigh, with a possible trolley running to it. Think about the conventioners that might walk/ride down to the Raleigh Zoo from the Convention center. You can still have "open space" in the zoo and you can have a minor botanical garden. Keep in mind that this land is only approximately 4-5 "blocks" (the grid breaks down) away from the new convention center.

Other option (Safer)

Create a thoroughfare across the land directly connecting Centennial campus and the CBD, Develop mixed use along this thoroughfare and have a mini grid around it (basically the region between Lake Wheeler Rd and the railroad to the northwest. Create an "urban village" in this grid, but lots of housing because it sits next to Cent campus and downtown. The land that is west of the tracks and south of the cemetery should be reserved as an entertainment venue (baseball park, football stadium). This area has rail, freeway connections AND good proximity to DT/State's Campus (The RBC center should have been here) Finally the remaining area can be preserved as open land, and possibly a ped bridge over western boulevard and making it a pullen park annex.

Edited by romec

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