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Yes, the redevelopmet of this piece of property is a brilliant idea, but not as it's been designed. Just one traffic entrance, and that on a one-way street?! Bad idea. The residents of Franklin Street oppose an entrance on their street because of the traffic, but they're still going to get the traffic of residents and patrons crossing from Blount to Person, and I suspect that many of those drivers will be speeding across in irritation at having to drive all the way around the block, and then trying to catch a green light at Person.

People familiar with the area should be able to envision the potentially more disastrous and dangerous scenario of folks coming south on Wake Forest, avoiding the round-the block nuisance by turning left onto Sasser (no stoplight), right onto Bloodworth, and right onto Franklin, then buzzing through the parking lot on the corner, straight across Person, into the plaza's driveway. Anyone who's experienced the mess on Sasser at Bloodworth and Wake Forest during a Salvation Army soccer game or church service will understand the inevitability of auto accidents and pedestrian injuries. The last thing this spot needs is more traffic! A traffic light on the other hand, that's something to support.

A second entrance to the project, on either Blount or Franklin, is absolutely necessary for the safety of drivers and pedestrians in the area, for the convenience of its residents and guests, and for the feasability of the retail businesses. I don't think anyone wants it to become a new set of empty storefronts. Remember there already exists an entrance on Franklin.

I can't wait to see this site revitalized, but hope that more thought goes into it.

I receive email updates on this process and there appear to be quite alot of people in favor of this project. I assume, but am not sure some live on Franklin. The argument, by residents, to keep an entrance off Franklin was to create a pedestrian oriented development that engages the Franklin frontage in a truly urban way. I think your Sasser/Bloodworth/WF route is a poor attempt to argue for another entrance, only the most local of residents would even be aware of this way in, and many who are, like myself, simply think its more of a pain in the rear to navigate all those side streets. Activities at the Y are no comparision to the traffic draw this development will achieve, as a soccer game is a big rush of cars in and then out usually by people who do not live close by. Sure, the restaurants/cafes etc in this development will have car traffic, but I don't envision too many pissed off people going to dinner and threatening the lives of people on Franklin any more than commuters (now going to work...lots of angry people in that bunch) coming south on WF road already do or the sketchy crowd coming into murdermart did. The entire idea behind building more pedestrian oriented, urban designed developments is to ultimately reduce teh need to drive so much, which, in your own words, seems to be your main concern. Honestly your arguments remind me of the people living at High House and Davis in Cary

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Update from the Moredecai CAC chair:

To all those who expressed support for the Franklin Street Plaza and interest in improving the Person/Blount/Wake Forest traffic environment, there is progress -- albeit slow.

Although plans for the plaza may still be in flux, the developers confirm that "We have received an asbestos abatement and demolition quote for all structures on the site and it is our intention to raze all the buildings." Regarding traffic and street improvement plans, Philip Bernard, on behalf of the Mordecai CAC Traffic Committee, has been in dialog with city transportation department, though it is becoming clear that city thinking, without a push from its citizens, may be too conservative for real progress.

The next step could be to petition city council for some positive change. A draft petition -- based on the suggestions put forward by all of you -- is on the web site, TriangleLocations.com. Ideally it would be good to have a neighborhood meeting to review this. However, I am away until the end of this month and I suspect it's vacation time for many others. So let me have any comments regarding the petition or its wording in the meantime, and I'll try to incorporate them.

Meanwhile the Patterson's house party this weekend for Russ Stephenson, the councilor who has been so supportive of our proposals, is an opportunity to get together -- to quote the announcement -- "with neighbors at the historic home of Terri and Tyler Patterson at 503 East Jones Street, August 18, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM." This could be an occasion for those in town to exchange ideas.

Richard Graham-Yooll

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Any update on this? The boarded up former crack-manor apartments fronting N. Blount have to qualify as the current worse eyesore in all of downtown...I have to drive by this everyday on wake forest road and blount heading downtown. Why has the demolition not happened in the intervening six months since the last post on this thread?

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Hi all, I've been reading the boards for a while, but first time posting.

As a resident of the mordecai CAC area, here's the latest update I got from our most recent meeting. The boarded up apartments as well as the white vacant shopping center share the same owner. It seems as if the owner is just sitting on the property waiting for someone to buy it, unwilling to do anything with it. Our CAC is working to try and get the buildings condemned by the city of Raleigh for something such as a mold or asbestos hazard, so they would be required to be torn down. Apparently the city's codes and laws regarding such teardowns are pretty poor (especially in regards to commercial property), and not much headway has been made.

Anyway, this is just what i picked up from the Feb. CAC meeting...

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I haven't been involved in the CAC that long, so i'm not totally sure, but i do think the project is a goner for now, and that's why our CAC is working to at least just get the buildings torn down.

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Given today's news story in the N&O about slowing or cancelled condo projects downtown, I think it is fair to assume this project is dead until the current recession (or psychological recession, or whatever you want to call it) is over. Who is the developer? Local company or another out of town greenhorn trying to cash in on our local boom who got skinned?

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Given today's news story in the N&O about slowing or cancelled condo projects downtown, I think it is fair to assume this project is dead until the current recession (or psychological recession, or whatever you want to call it) is over. Who is the developer? Local company or another out of town greenhorn trying to cash in on our local boom who got skinned?

IIRC it was Hobby Properties. I am on the CAC email list that originated by trying to negotiate thru the city approval process and I recall the chair mentioning that the developer was overwhelmed with the time and effort needed to get it through (since 2005, I think) and basically had enough. I think there is responsibility on both sides. I recall Mitch Silver saying there are 20 different ways to design that site, but obviously there are some city codes that do not reflect current conditions or the desires of the neighborhood. It is just these sorts of issues that make the Comp Plan all the more important to get right. If we get it right, the plan should create very clear expectations of what should be built where, how it should look, and the code should follow the blueprint by clearly defining the how to implement the plan.

I recall that the members of the Mordecai CAC petitioned the council on Feb 5 to have the city address the transportation/land use planning issues in the vacinity of Person/Blount/Delway to make it more ped friendly and amenable to redevelopment.

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I think this is a little different than the condo thing. These are a different type of property. The article specifically was talking about midrise condos. A house house where you step out to dirt is a different experience. Maybe there's hope!

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IIRC it was Hobby Properties. I am on the CAC email list that originated by trying to negotiate thru the city approval process and I recall the chair mentioning that the developer was overwhelmed with the time and effort needed to get it through (since 2005, I think) and basically had enough. I think there is responsibility on both sides.

Hobby Properties isn't a "developer" in the strict sense of the word. They own a bunch of lower end properties around town. They're basically just a real estate investment company. They buy stuff, lease it, hope to sell it for a profit later. The development team wasn't particularly well prepared. They didn't do the legwork necessary on the front end, and then claimed that they were getting railroaded by the city when planning staff started asking pretty basic questions about the proposal. The CAC bought into the rhetoric. The neighborhood was pretty anxious to see the project go forward, and was willing to go to bat for the developers to help push the project through site plan approval.

Despite the developer's inexperience, the project did get approved, and in less time than it takes to fast-track a similar project in Chapel Hill. The city has actually been pretty supportive of the project. Unfortunately, the developer doesn't have the resources to get it out of the ground.

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sounds like a classic slum lord trying to cash into the perceived real estate boom. Why wouldn't the developer go ahead and demolish the duplexes and the awful white retail building if they are planning on selling? don't buildings that look like that actually drag DOWN the price of property?

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Only, you describe the situation exactly. Furthermore, Hobby Properties got the nearby neighborhoods to go to bat for them on the grounds that Hobby was "revitalizing a blighted eyesore." Well, the only reason it was a blighted eyesore is that Hobby kicked out all the tenants, cut down all the trees, and let the buildings rot. The duplexes are actually interesting and unusual International Style buildings. The shopping center was not high-end, but was not "blighted" before Hobby bought it. Now I suppose they'll hold onto it until the Blount St. project is done and the value increases. What a shame.

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Now I suppose they'll hold onto it until the Blount St. project is done and the value increases. What a shame.

Exactly. There's really no reason not to sit on it, either. Hobby might get shorted in the long run (all investments being a gamble, after all), but the likelihood is that their property will be worth a lot more money once the LNR stuff starts coming out of the ground.

Tearing those buildings down and hauling off the debris might make the site marginally more attractive, but that stuff costs money, and it would likely upset whatever financial strategy that Hobby is currently employing on the property. They could be depreciating the buildings, etc, in which case the owner is better off financially to leave them standing.

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The buildings are definitely ugly with a capital 'U', but why in the heck cut down those beautiful old oaks??? They don't get that big in a week or a decade, even. Makes me mad.

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It seems like they're not even trying to rent out any part of Person Street Plaza. That made sense when they were looking at the new development, but now that is not an option, rent it out. Unless getting the building up to code would be more than they'd recoup in a year or two's worth of rent. The convienence store seemed to not notice Halifax Court was replaced by Capitol Park and the success of Seaboard Station on the other side of Peace College. The "Super 10" across Person also seemes to be stuck in a late 80s time warp, trapped by the high land value, not enough cash to develop, and a reluctance to partner with anyone due to greed and/or delusions of gradeur.

I was somewhat supportive of the new development, even though they were only "fixing" the eyesore they created. That area deserves a lot better. The development near Oakwood Park has a different problem.. a 3/4 finished building with no certificate of occupancy.

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Hobby Properties have begun renovating the old shopping center at the corner of Franklin St. and Person St. Plans for demolition and redevelopment have been abandoned. But at least there will be some businesses here. They are going to renovate the four buildings around the corner facing Blount St. into nice duplexes, which is what they were built as.

Meanwhile, five blocks north at the corner of Wake Forest Rd. and Chestnut St., the owners of the empty Blue Dolphin Motel are planning to renovate it into ten office suites of various sizes, from 196 square feet to 1164 square feet. Construction should begin this fall, and finish next summer.

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Hate to see that no redevelopment will take place, but renovation is certainly better than letting so much space near downtown sit empty for so long. If they can re-do that shopping center nicely (I'm thinking similar to that one at the corner of Peace and Capital with the Jersey Mike's), then it'd be an improvement.

As for the "nice duplexes", I'm surprised about that one...that will be a MAJOR restoration work there! But if they can do it---great---always for more residential options.

Office suites in the Blue Dolphin should be interesting. (Although part of me wishes it was just renovated back into a retro-style boutique motel. I think that would be interesting, IMO.)

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Well, so much for those brick townhomes being renovated....they were being torn down this evening. It looks like they were stripped of usable stuff first over the last few weeks.

Also a note on the nearby area...I noticed for the first time that Harp Street used to pass south through what is now the Peace College campus. Between Harp and Blount were several houses...one brick one still standing, two relocated that I know of and I think two demolished, maybe more. It made me think that in the earlier discussions about Peace wanting to close Franklin Street, I don't remember this closing of Harp ever being mentioned by City Council members or residents of the area, though I could be wrong.

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^

Yeah they stripped out the townhouses and donated the good stuff left. Will be interesting to see how this part of town shapes up.

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Any news on things going on in the area around Franklin Street? I know there is talks of putting a "City Garden" at the corner of Franklin and Blount St. As far as I've heard the Franklin Plaza project is "On Hold". And, the corner with the Super 10, I've always wondered if anything was going to happen with that.

(Can't wait to hit up PieBird when it opens.)

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Latest on the North Person area. This topic is due for updating.

PieBird of course has been open a while and is probably the most popular spot in the neighborhood next to Krispy Kreme. A salon just recentlyo opened next to it too, and some of the other store fronts are trying to fill up. We still need something good in the old Rosie's Plate spot. (I think it'd be perfect for a burrito shop myself...Chubby's anyone? LOL)

As many know the old Super 10 is becoming the latest version of Rapid Fitness. I kinda like the idea of more than one gym (O2 Seaboard, currently) being downtown, though this seems awfully close together. But competition is good regardless.

Ok now to Person/Franklin Plaza. City Farm project is still in the works. But today I saw this article in New Raleigh and my jaw hit the ground: http://www.newraleigh.com/article/market-restaurant-and-escazu-moving/

Market and Escazu may be moving there. Also, a bakery called Yellow Dog. All I can say is if this info is correct and it happens, this would be heaven. (I live nearby.) Crossing my fingers.

Also if anyone's interested, since much of this area is technically outside of the Downtown Alliance boundaries (which seems weird to me), the businesses have started their own minature version called the Person Street Partnership: http://www.mordecaicac.org/partnerships

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North Person Street has the best chance of being an authentic mixed use, pedestrian scale, downtown neighborhood. With Mordecai and Oakwood as bookend neighborhoods, all it ever lacked was cache. If the cadre of businesses mentioned above (which included a grocery as part of Market), plus the bike shop and coffee shop mentioned in the New Raleigh article all pop in in the area, you will have an area that rivals any other in the city for livability.

Edited by Jones133

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