Jump to content

Dorothea Dix Property


Recommended Posts

Thanks for the rec'g guys :thumbsup:

I do understand about Capitol Broadcasting and the MLB rules about minor league teams. But I think with the proper "mo", we could see the Carolina Bulls play in Dix Field before we knew it!

Now a football staduim for Shaw and St. Aug's would be great! However we've seen how the City Coucil loved that idea. I mean seriously, how do you vote down that project? Sigh.

I think a sports venue would do wonders for the "Park" area and keep it 'Green' as well.

Edited by yankeeblue
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Replies 544
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Updated plans for Dorothea Dix Park have been revealed: http://amp.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/article219492075.html?__twitter_impression=

Drove through Dorothea Dix property today.  Lot of potential here for sure. 

Posted Images

Big news: Gov Easley has proposed a new $173M DHHS office on Dix land to be built near Lake Wheeler Road.

Well, this obviously isn't final as it must be negotiated with the House (we'll see how new Speaker Joe Hackney deals with this) prior to approval, but that's alot of money, and it's a pretty clear sign that the state isn't just going to give up the land. It's also a signal that the talk about the property has gone on too long. I believe Easley is saying "it's time for action" with his plan.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Big news: Gov Easley has proposed a new $173M DHHS office on Dix land to be built near Lake Wheeler Road.

Well, this obviously isn't final as it muct be negotiated with the House (we'll see how new Speaker Joe Hackney deals with this) prior to approval, but that's alot of money, and it's a pretty clear sign that the state isn't just going to give up the land. It's also a signal that the talk about the property has gone on too long. I believe Easley is saying "it's time for action" with his plan.

With all the effort and momentum we have going into downtown's redevelopment, what sense does it make to move thousands of state employees out to Dix? Maybe it's a cost issue, but with all the undeveloped surface lots downtown, can't the state develop one of those and help support our downtown's urban fabric?

Link to post
Share on other sites

With all the effort and momentum we have going into downtown's redevelopment, what sense does it make to move thousands of state employees out to Dix? Maybe it's a cost issue, but with all the undeveloped surface lots downtown, can't the state develop one of those and help support our downtown's urban fabric?

Because it's cheaper at dix. They can pave the Big Field for parking and throw up a suburban campus for less than it would cost to build a tower or complex downtown. The sticking point has to be parking. Parking is expensive downtown, and the state will almost certainly make the assumption that 100% DHHS employees have to drive to work and park within 100 yards of the building.

Nix that assumption, though, and things might change. If they could build something downtown with little or no parking, and run a shuttle service (or get CAT to run a shuttle for them! -at least until we get fixed guideway transit working) then perhaps downtown could work? I know a plan like that has about a snowball's chance in hell of happening, but we can hope. I wonder if $173 million could build enough downtown office space to accomodate 3500 workers.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the deal as to why parking is such a big issue. It's not as cut and dry as people are making it sound. Parking is a HUGE benefit for state employees. State employees on average make considerably less than they would in a comparable job in the private sector. For DHHS employees, this would likely mean RTP.

The main reasons most of these employees choose to work for the state and not private industry are threefold a.) they sincerely love what they do (ideal of public service) b.) relative job security compared to private industry c.) a standard 8-5 (in most cases) workweek. If you start chipping away at their lower pay by requiring them to pay out-of-pocket for parking (up to 100 per month for a dt deck/lot) or they have to lengthen their workday considerably to make allowances for public transit (keep in mind, a number of folks work in the suburbs where transit isn't so convenient) then employees choose to go to higher-paying private industry jobs where they don't have to pay to park or start their commute an hour early to catch a bus.

I would LOVE it if DHHS built a new HQ on the corner of Morgan and Wilmington or Morgan/Blount. It would make sense from a development aspect and from the view that would "encourage" more PT usage. But, for many employees at DHHS and other agencies (whose spaces would be taken to build that HQ) it would be enough to cause them to quit their state jobs. That may sound extreme, but consider this: the state is already having a hard time attracting qualified workers to positions DT because of a 14-18 month wait list for a parking space in a lot that is most likely several blocks away.

If there was a way to wrap a new state agency building around a deck that could provide parking for about 50-60 percent of a building's workforce that would be a great solution. You get a nice "tall" building DT, plus you provide spaces for workers. Don't forget that the state has pretty good programs for encouraging use of transit, it's just that transit doesn't reach the places that a majority of state workers live.

Just my 2 cents.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did a bit of searching and found this page which talks about the 1995 master plan.

It involves massive development on Garner Road, Blue Ridge Road, and Dix. Maps:

Downtown:

NC_State_Gov_DowntownMP44.jpg

Blue Ridge:

BlueRidge_long_range_MP48.jpg

Dix. notice the huge building at the South end. That's probably the DHHS building in question:

Dorothea_Dix_long_range_MP40.jpg

Garner Road:

Garner_long_range_MP50.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the deal as to why parking is such a big issue. It's not as cut and dry as people are making it sound. Parking is a HUGE benefit for state employees.

I'm talking about a centralized park-and-ride and a shuttle system. Run the shuttle buses every 5 or 10 minutes, to a satellite lot. (Fairgrounds? Carter-Finley? Farmer's Market? Who knows. The state owns plenty of land around here)

Sure state employees have a 10 minute bus ride on either side of their work day to get back to their cars, but this paradigm is used at NCSU and UNC-CH - and I don't hear too many people crying "social injustice." I'd hate to see the state cut-and-run from downtown and develop their entire swath of land between Blue Ridge and Edwards Mill into an office park, or completely ruin Dix's potential by plunking down suburban buldings willy-nilly.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's centralized from several areas, i.e. Fairgrounds, Johnston Co., Wake Forest, Apex, etc. Then that would be great. However, you're not going to get a person from Kenly to drive to the fairgrounds to ride back downtown just as you wouldn't get a person from Zebulon to do that. It's not a matter of social injustice, it's just a fact. I'd love to see several centralized park and rides with more frequent express busses to and from downtown.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand folks would like to see State Gov't Down town; i also understand that some would like to see some Urban development at Dix. What does it matter if the urban development at Dix is Gov't or private? As long as it is urban, and I have not heard anyone say its not, then it should not matter.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Will the city have to approve the state's development of the Dix property? They could use this as a bargaining chip to transfer a sizable chunk of the Dix property to a park trust. I have no problem with the state being the "developer" of land along Lake Wheeler Road and land adjacent to the soccer fields/Basement Hill area. The DHHS parking could be used on the weekends for the park. But it would have to be urban, vertical, green (which the govenor is pushing for) development that preserves the Grove, the big field, and a decent swath of land connecting the two. If development was concentrated on Lake Wheeler, the Caraleigh/Fuller Heights land would increase in value. If the offices were kept to 4-5 stories, condos could still rise across the street with views of the park and/or downtown.

To reduce parking requirements, the train tracks through the Dix land could be utilized as a connector to the west downtown TTA/multimodal station. State employees can already ride CAT and TTA buses for *free*. I don't know how good of a job state government does to show how they could have free parking and avoid downtown congestion if they spent a few minutes on a bus as part of their commute. A transit stop dropping them off at the front door would be only a few minutes longer than walking across acres of parking.

Parking and riding from the Farmer's market area would not be too hard. The 440/Lake Wheeler exit would have to be upgraded, but it would be convenient from points west, south, east, and outside the beltline.

Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI, here's a link to the master plan and State Govt Complex thread.

The parking issue could be solved with CAT and park and rides (I believe we discussed the issue a little bit in the Green Square topic), but carynative makes a good point. State employees have some decent perks... free transit, and cheap parking, but the parking is going away fast, and relatively few ride transit. (Not to mention CAT does not provide the kind of convenient service of say CHT in Chapel Hill or CATS in Charlotte) The mentality of most is they want to have their car close by and they want cheap parking, if not free. I think there plenty of employees would have a big issue with having to park and ride daily, which could make the retention problem (it is a problem now) even worse. Obviously, it's going to play a big role in how the complex develops.

Will the city have to approve the state's development of the Dix property?

Yep, although I don't think it would be wise to "deal" with big brother in that way. The state abides by local ordinances out of courtesy/partnership, but can pull out a trump card if it sees difficult times ahead (mentioned in the Carolina North debate).

The best way to deal with this DHHS issue IMO is through the budget process in the House. Everything MUST be negotiated, and the Wake delegation could fight Easley on this with Hackney's help (if they could get it), as Hackney now drives the ship on that side.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Will the city have to approve the state's development of the Dix property?

While the Dix property is inside the city limits, it does not fall under Raleigh's jurisdiction. The state has the power to do whatever it feels like with the property regardless of what the city thinks/wants. The state, however, has a history of consulting with city and county govts. to find a solution that is benefitial to all parties involved.

It reminds me of a case where I lived while in college where the USPS bought a closed Service Merchandise and was going to gut it and turn it into post office. The city had a fit over it, mainly because they were going to loose tax revenue from the building and they tried everything in their power to stop it. Needless to say, the USPS just played its trump card, basically telling the city council that they were putting their post office there whether the city council liked it or not. With that, the post office was built and opened.

I wouldn't worry much about there being any fighting amongst the city, county and state over what to do with the land. To my knowledge, the Raleigh, Wake County and the state have a great working relationship and the state also has a vested interest in Raleigh, being the state capital.

Edited by Gard
Link to post
Share on other sites

While the Dix property is inside the city limits, it does not fall under Raleigh's jurisdiction. The state has the power to do whatever it feels like with the property regardless of what the city thinks/wants.

Technically true, but the state does follow local ordinances and zoning in 99% of cases--see Blount St (which was rezoned under Raleigh's normal development policies and BTW is still owned by the state of NC).

Link to post
Share on other sites

The N&O provides an article with some VERY INTERESTING (& perhaps, telling) comments.

Easley's plan would put the department's 3,460 employees in a pair of five-story office buildings totaling 771,200 square feet off Lake Wheeler Road, next to The Healing Place of Wake County. The buildings would also require an accompanying parking deck.

Dan Gerlach, Easley's budget and economic adviser, estimated that about half the cost of the office complex would be offset by federal appropriations and the elimination of lease payments on some of the department's current space.

"We think it's the best strategy to consolidate all those DHHS people into one place on property we already own," Gerlach said. "It gets us out of a lot of rental payments. It keeps people from having to drive around place to place, from different division to different division."

The General Assembly has yet to take up the governor's proposed budget. The DHHS project would have to win approval from both the state House and Senate, which previously passed a bill specifically to prevent Easley from selling the Dix campus for development.

The initial reaction to the governor's proposal from some members of Wake County's legislative delegation was decidedly cold.

Sen. Janet Cowell, a Wake Democrat, bristled that the governor would put forward his own proposal without consulting the legislators who have been working on a plan for Dix for months.

"This certainly hit me by surprise," Cowell said. "I think the timing is unfortunate. It discourages citizen involvement in this whole process. We've been trying to work with citizens and say that when we solicit their input that input is going to influence the final decision -- that this is an open process, transparent."

Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight said Dix should be turned into a park -- becoming for the fast-growing state capital what Central Park is to New York City.

"Raleigh will grow all around that, and there will be a city from here to Charlotte," said Basnight, a powerful Dare County Democrat. "There will be no break but for the public lands we acquire today. ... So if you take 25 acres away, I don't see the value in that. I think you could put that building somewhere else."

Greg Poole Jr., a retired contractor who heads the pro-park group Dix Visionaries, agreed.

"I think downtown is where it needs to be," Poole said of the DHHS complex. "That's where the offices are, that's where the restaurants are, that's where the city is growing."

Poole expressed concern that the existing Dix buildings occupied by DHHS employees would be rented out if the new complex is built, further diluting the vision for a grand urban park.

"We've been trying to have as big a park up there as possible, and this plan is not consistent with that idea," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. "Any major new office building ought to be in the center part of the city."

Cowell said the millions of dollars Easley wants for new DHHS office buildings would be better spent on those most affected by the state hospital's pending closure.

"I'd like to see the dollars put into direct services for the mentally ill and their families," she said. "I realize we have building needs, but I don't think it [Easley's proposal] is the economically best choice or most efficient use. I hope that we'll put more money into mental health."

#1. DAMN GOOD NEWS that Basnight (most powerful man in the state IMO) is for the Dix Park, and he's right about his comments about one big city from Ral to Clt. I can't recall him ever going on record on that before. I have to think the momentum is really building on this for the park, and Easley just might have a big fight on his hands in the house/senate.

#2. So the state have the need for almost 800k sf of office space and you have Basnight, Meeker, Poole, and probably the entire Wake delegation saying it should go elsewhere--maybe downtown??!!

What if you took that BIG empty lot where they are planning the visitors center... build a bunch of underground parking under the whole block (for the bldg, museum, etc), put the visitors center on the first floor, and built the whole damn building--all 800sf (771 + 28k) sf of it--right there. Yes, it will be expensive, but RBC's bldg is 710k sf or thereabouts for $100M... Site One is ~$125-150M for ~800k sf incl huge underground garage... In his budget, Easley shows the DHHS structure for $173M *and* a visitors center for $28M??!!

So there you have $200M for two structures... think of it:

A. I'm 99% certain the state could build a kick-ass new "green" building for less than $200M in that spot (or additionally on part of the adjacent lot), a spot in which it already owns the land BTW.

B. Save potentially millions of dollars by combining the two projects (economies of scale at work--shared parking, design, etc.)

C. The state could satisfy both projects and all the Dix park folks as well in one swoop.

D. State could partner with a developer on the building for some retail and condos (make it truly mixed-use, maybe mixed income for nearby state workers?), thereby getting some more cash and splitting up development costs.

E. The state could partner with the City of Raleigh to sell Dix to a formed park foundation (set up by city with some city AND private funds--forget ULI) and use the cash to help repay the state for cost of new DHHS structure.

BTW, in case you thought: OK, Chief, what about the Capitol and the nearby Gov's Mansion? What about preserving the views and historical context? Good question. First of all, the Capitol is already in the shadow of the Wachovia Center. Second, if you have the entire block (minus that house in hte SE corner) that's 3.83 acres of land to work with (I looked it up ;) ), which is even more than the PE III block... so for comparison sake, assume that you take RBC's footprint (0.83 acres) and layout (approx the same sf as needed for DHHS) and bury the parking for my hypothetical DHHS bldg--or most of it--and assume RBC built on the entire footprint straight up (ala eliminate residential setback from 23rd flr up)... then you have about 32 stories and probably 800k sf on 0.83 acres vs X stories and 800k sf on 3.83 acres for DHHS... so with some quick math, X = 7 stories for DHHS. OK, sure, maybe you wouldn't want a massive box there... so go ahead and put some terraces and step it back to the mid-block area and make it 10-12 stories with the exterior at 5-6 stories. Whatever... my point is that if we got creative, it could work.

There would be inumerable other benefits to doing a project of this magnitude DT that many of us urban folks already know, but even if you look at JUST the numbers, how could something like this NOT WORK if all the players got together on this?

Link to post
Share on other sites

What if you took that BIG empty lot where they are planning the visitors center... build a bunch of underground parking under the whole block (for the bldg, museum, etc), put the visitors center on the first floor, and built the whole damn building--all 800sf (771 + 28k) sf of it--right there. Yes, it will be expensive, but RBC's bldg is 710k sf or thereabouts for $100M... Site One is ~$125-150M for ~800k sf incl huge underground garage... In his budget, Easley shows the DHHS structure for $173M *and* a visitors center for $28M??!!

I LOVE this idea. That would be a MUCH more effective use of land around downtown vs just building a stand-alone visitor's center, which IMO is a waste of prime property in a stand-alone fashion. I wonder if this has even been considered as an option...

I think we should bring this up to our city and state representatives.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good thinking Chief. Easley seems to be decidedly anti-downtown. The State is taking the first steps towards densifying itself despite Easley....Selling off the Blount St land, building the parking deck for Green Square hopefully...the next step is to design urban buildings, not these suburban office park designs placed downtown...this final step, as you have given us a great potential example, seems to be a difficult leap.....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheif's idea was an expanded version of what I had posted a few hours earlier in the Visitor's Center thread LOL. Consolidating everything on the Edenton/Wilmington/Jones/Blount block leaves the Edenton/Blount/Jones/Person block south of the Govenor's mansion availble for other use down the road.

As for Easley and downtown, what gives??? He spent a lot of money to fix the mold problem in the govenor's mansion, yet he only uses it to throw parties, not an actual residence.

The combined money in the budget for the state/capitol visitor's center and money for DHHS office consolidation would be enough for this project. I could see the city chipping in a little to help with the parking deck, since it will be useful after hours for other street level retail and the north blount project.

As for Dix park support, there are *no* signs on Lake Wheeler from Saunders to 440 and beyond. None. Why? Becasue those are the "to be displaced" lower class folks the Dix 306ers in Boylan Heights wouldn't mind moving to the other side of 440.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

In fairness the Dix property is State land which means someone who lives in Wilmington or somewhere else in NC should have the same amount of input regarding the use of the land as Wake County residents. People forget that the state owns this land, not Raleigh or Wake. As a resident of the Triangle I am glad that I have input into the use state land, whether that is at the beach, the mountaints or in my home county.

Edited by orulz
Remove quote from offensive post
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.