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DurhamDivaInRaleigh

NC 54/55 Area in Southern Durham

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I was born and raised in Durham my entire life. I grew up near the area that is now Streets at Southpoint for most of my younger life (from age 13-18 I lived off of Hope Valley Road). We did our grocery shopping at the time at the Winn-Dixie over at the intersection of Hwy. 54 & 55, where the Big Lots is now.

Here's my question: why did that area never explode? Given its proximity to RTP, one would think that THAT area would have been developed with new houses, stores, etc. As it stands now, that area is kind of dead. In fact, the school board wanted to sell the land that the old Lowe's Grove elementary sits on, because they say there is no need for a school in that area.

It seems like it was sort of "hot" in the eighties--a lot of things got built--but then it kind of fizzled out.

Any ideas or comments?

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I work in RTP. I frequently go to the area you mention, 54/55. That entire area needs to be bulldozed and rebuilt. Given the proximity to RTP, I (too) don't understand why it still is like it is.

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Something i've noticed about the 54/55 intersection is that the entire northwest corner is taken up by a large power substation, not something that's likely to move any time soon.

The area could have potential - but the quality of construction and the overall layout of the current shopping centers goes a long way towards nullifying that potential.

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Yeah, it does look pretty raggedy. But like I said, in the late seventies/early to mid eighties, it was kind of hot. Parkwood sprang up, and there are some new-ish office buildings that were built--perhaps in anticipation of expected growth?

It is kind of strange to me--Streets of Southpoint is a stone's throw up the street, and there are new luxury homes sprouting up over on Herndon Rd. (behind the Gas House, if you know where that is). You could walk to RTP. I am surprised a builder hasn't pounced on that area and put up some new houses--as well as retail.

I would love it if they would tear down the old Winn-Dixie and the area across the street and do a new thing.

Sometimes I sit and wish I had a bunch of money to do my own projects and stuff. ;)

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It was the 70's big box layout that never took hold. In retrospect, if they attempted to design something similar to Brier Creek, it would have been much more appealing.

Funny thing is, my first job in the RTP was in 1985 as intern with IBM, and remarkably, it pretty much looks the same. I've always felt that area ruined any chance of developing quality retail and restaurants that fringed the park.

Don't ge me wrong, there are some decent restaurants and stores in the area, just not what you would equate with RTP.

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But the area where Streets at Southpoint is now was raggedy, too, before a lot of the growth took place. As I said, I grew up over there--when I was there, I lived on a dirt road with well water and a septic tank. I couldn't even ride my bike because my street wasn't paved. I even saw somebody ride a horse down my street in the mid-eighties. If you had told me 15-20 years ago that there would be a Nordstroms and a huge mall there, I would have laughed in your face. So if that area near Southpoint can be targeted for growth and turned around, I don't know why the area I'm referring to hasn't been snapped up yet.

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55/54 was just built out to early (late 70's, early 80's I guess). There aren't any large tracts of land available. They would have to do a great deal of demolishing before building, and that

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I don't know that I would use New Hope Commons as a "standard."

I agree that the 55/54 area needs to be razed. All of the retail is really quite trashy. Meridian Business Park is the best thing there. Traffic seems to always be heavy.

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Maybe they should just plant some trees there. Evidently there hasn't been much demand for another Winn-Dixie in that spot.

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I never thought I'd say this: I wish America were more like Slovenia.

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Yep, 55/54 looks a little worn out. But in the shopping center with Big Lots, you can go to a Brazilian restaurant, and not one but two authentic Carribean restaurants, which is more than one can say for No Hope Commons, which is just chain retail- it's stuff that's everywhere else.

When we are wishing that shopping centers look more like New Hope Commons, seriously, we might as well declare that mediocrity is perfectly fine.

I think something North Hills-"like" would be better. I could see residential introduced into an area that already has hotels, offices and retail. I don't know if you could ever make NC55 walkable (like Six Forks) but maybe NC54. The area would have to be dense due to its proximity to the watershed area that feeds into Jordan Lake but that could create some recreational opportunities. A developer would also have recoup all the acquisition and demolition expenses.

I really don't see that happening until there is no vacant land available on NC55 and South Alston for developers to cherry pick from. It's a shame that an area could be developed so piecemeal without regard to how it relates and/or connects to surrounding properties. I think the new UDO (zoning ordinance) does a better job of preventing problem areas such as 54/55.

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I never thought I'd say this: I wish America were more like Slovenia.

Ha! I've been thinking that for years. If you ever get a chance, you should go there. If you think Ljubljana is attractive, Bled takes your breath away.

Lake Bled, Bled Castle, and Mt Triglav

I've climbed the hill up to the castle, which has pieces of it dating to 1000-1200 AD.

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There is a Captain D's in that area. That alone can support that area.

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What about a non-Duke controlled hospital or medical center in the old Lowes Grove or 54/55 area? There will be tremendous growth in Eastern and Southeast Durham over the next 10 years to support the need for another hospital. Plus you should be able to decide if you want an unsupervised Medical student performing surgery on you or a seasoned doctor. :)

Its a central site with easy access to I-40 and Durham Freeway...

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