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avery

Rethinking Durham's Pickle

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As it turns out, the architect's name is Durwood Pickle, which I suppose is the origin of the 'pickle' nomenclature. It doesn't hurt that the actual structure is somewhat pickle-esque.

from Emporis

I guess more tall-ish buildings in the area will make yet another somewhat dense congolomeration of multi-story buildings in Durham (along with downtown and the "west end"/Duke Medical Center).

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In addition to the tech bust, which crushed the entire Triangle property market, there was South Square Mall. "It was a big monolithic dinosaur," said Barry Bowling, a CB Richard Ellis broker who is marketing a vacant restaurant building near University Tower. "It was old. It was nasty."

Was the mall really in that bad of shape?

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Was the mall really in that bad of shape?

The mall wasn't bad as all unless you compared it Southpoint. Which still puts many malls in NC to shame.

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South Square's physical structure wasn't that bad, but the mix of shops had gone down hill, with most of the bigger names fleeing for Southpoint. The mix of shoppers was almost all teenagers looking for a place to hang out, not actually buy things.

Northgate's rennovations in the early-mid 90s brought Hechts and Old Navy, which was more handwriting on the wall that South Square was done for. There was no need for Southpoint and South Square, so South Square shut itself down, and reinvented itself with the Sams Club and Super Target. I heard that Super Target was number 1 among all Targets in the country during the last tax free back to school holiday. Those numbers have dropped since due to the Southpoint store opening.

There is no obvious way to get to University Tower from business 15/501. There is too much clutter on that side of the road with what used to be Joe's Crab shack, Best Buy, etc. If there was a unified look and feel, the area could be an alternative to the congested sprawl north of the 15/501 - I-40 intersection.

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Wouldn't it be nice if instead of worrying about how to make this area accessible, they could just pick up the pickle and plant it downtown somewhere?

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I love the view of downtown Durham when you are approaching it from the Durham Freeway (even though the freeway has a bit of a dark history but that's another story). I think that University Tower would have looked great near the Durham Centre, b/c as is the Durham Centre appears to be the only truly large modern building in downtown to the casual passerby...although I do love all of the great hstorical buildings downtown has been able to maintain which I predict will look awesome in a few years once downtown becomes a place to be again....

University Tower really would look so much better with several midrises around it, although I think the building itself is actually quite pretty, it's location just should have been better....

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South Square's physical structure wasn't that bad, but the mix of shops had gone down hill, with most of the bigger names fleeing for Southpoint. The mix of shoppers was almost all teenagers looking for a place to hang out, not actually buy things.

Northgate's rennovations in the early-mid 90s brought Hechts and Old Navy, which was more handwriting on the wall that South Square was done for. There was no need for Southpoint and South Square, so South Square shut itself down, and reinvented itself with the Sams Club and Super Target. I heard that Super Target was number 1 among all Targets in the country during the last tax free back to school holiday. Those numbers have dropped since due to the Southpoint store opening.

There is no obvious way to get to University Tower from business 15/501. There is too much clutter on that side of the road with what used to be Joe's Crab shack, Best Buy, etc. If there was a unified look and feel, the area could be an alternative to the congested sprawl north of the 15/501 - I-40 intersection.

It would have been interesting if the developer of the new South Square would have renovated the existing mall instead of demolishing all the existing infrastructure that was there (parking deck, anchor stores for big boxes, etx, etc). Seemed like it was an oppourtunity lost. I work near South Square and frequent the shops often and wondered what if.....and it turns out that there was a charette for the redevelopment.

If UT gets developed it would be good if there was a connection made to the "New South Square" via a pedestrian bridge in the future.

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I love the view of downtown Durham when you are approaching it from the Durham Freeway (even though the freeway has a bit of a dark history but that's another story). I think that University Tower would have looked great near the Durham Centre, b/c as is the Durham Centre appears to be the only truly large modern building in downtown to the casual passerby...although I do love all of the great hstorical buildings downtown has been able to maintain which I predict will look awesome in a few years once downtown becomes a place to be again....

University Tower really would look so much better with several midrises around it, although I think the building itself is actually quite pretty, it's location just should have been better....

I agree...it is a nice landmark in the landscape. Interesting about the Durham Center, it is a nice feature downtown, but it sits on top of a nice plinth....that parking deck to support it.

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The South Square redevelopment could have been so much more, seems almost a waste to have simply put a Power Center there....but oh well too late to think about such things now.

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I agree...it is a nice landmark in the landscape. Interesting about the Durham Center, it is a nice feature downtown, but it sits on top of a nice plinth....that parking deck to support it.

Tell me about it. I can see the tower (and the hideous parking deck) from my desk. Here's a fun fact: The 1999 Durham Master Plan calls for retail to be planted along the front of that deck. Doesn't look like any progress was made in the last seven years (or, come to think of it, on the construction of "The Renaissance" tower that's supposed to be right next to Durham Centre. The building looks nice from far away (I like to point it out to guests because you can see it from my living room window) but I'd rather see it torn down (or converted) in favor of a mixed-use mid-rise sans 2,000 parking spaces underneath.

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Quick side note, for anyone who happens to have Google Earth they still show South Square Mall, I suppose they haven't updated in a while.

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Yeah, all their stuff is old. The church I live across the street from is just a pile of dirt on there.

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I think another of the old South Square's problems was that it had no room to expand. It locked itself in with parking decks, and the street grid around it didn't help any either. There was a lot of unutilized space between the mall and 15/501, but I don't know how much of that the mall owned. This did not seem to be a problem for University Mall, however.

I jogged there a couple of times from Ninth St./NCSSM a couple of times while in high school (I was bored, and probably crazy) and it seemed ok for what it was, but a little dated. That being said, they did give up too easily.

The whole area seemed to be preparing for a future that never came to them, for one reason or another. Maybe it needed better connectivity to downtown, or was too far from I-40 for everyone else?

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The owners of South Square invested little to nothing into the mall unlike Northgate. As a Dur'mite, I will say that South Square was always ugly. It was concrete building surrounded by parking decks with no architectural details. The food court was also pretty boring to hang out in...

I think the "New" South Square was always meant to be a 10- or 15-year (if not less) plan. Actually, the whole area from University Dr. to Pickett Rd. could use some reconfiguration/reprogramming. This area is still one of Durham's best kept secrets...

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