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Nindec

DT Durham's proposed Human Services Building

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I just read about Durham's plan for a new consolidated Human Services Building downtown. Are any of you familiar with this project? It sounds absolutely horrible. Here's the article.

I thought we were past the days of razing entire downtown city blocks for parking lots. If memory serves me, there are only a few buildings on this block, all one story and run down, with one holding a very gritty adult video store(?). But still, these are downtown buildings with some history that have a decent relationship with the sidewalk. These buildings could one day contribute a lot to the neighborhood (and even in their current form contribute more than a surface parking lot). Add some infill, and they could keep the area from feeling 'too new', and provide some less expensive retail space for tenants that couldn't afford brand new prices.

And plus, the rendering for the Human Services Building seems hulking and suburban. I'm sure these services are very needed, but we could surely provide them without sacrificing the long term viability of the neighborhood. East Durham deserves better than this.

Here's a map of the area. If anyone happens to have some pictures of the buildings we're talking about, I'd be very interested.

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How many people who are going to Human Services for help own a vehicle??? The parking lot is mostly for people who work there, and to get rid of the existing tenants -- the "book/video store" and storefront churches. Could the existing building stock be rennovated to provide as much (or more) space than a shiny new office park building would provide?

This proposal, combined with the Hope VI project, is little more than an invisible "do not cross" line between East and West downtown. The sea of parking bounded by Ramseur/Durham Freeway, Dillard, Liberty, and Roxboro, and the empty space on the east side of Roxboro from Liberty to Mallard and beyond.

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How many people who are going to Human Services for help own a vehicle??? The parking lot is mostly for people who work there, and to get rid of the existing tenants -- the "book/video store" and storefront churches. Could the existing building stock be rennovated to provide as much (or more) space than a shiny new office park building would provide?

This proposal, combined with the Hope VI project, is little more than an invisible "do not cross" line between East and West downtown. The sea of parking bounded by Ramseur/Durham Freeway, Dillard, Liberty, and Roxboro, and the empty space on the east side of Roxboro from Liberty to Mallard and beyond.

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^^ I am not an opponent of redevelopment per se, but, um... blech! That building is hideous! No street level activitiy, no human scale. It will look old and saggy and sad within 5 years, and will contribute nothing to downtown Durham. What a shame that the County is taking such an active role in the destruction of the streetscape, and so very sad that it's participating in yet another lost opportunity to knit together a vibrant urban fabric for that community. Blech, and Booooooo Durham County. Shame on you.

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The buildings that are slated to be torn down are decrepit. They are beyond repair and would not make a decent use beyond the questionable adult video/book store, storefront churches and drug-/crime-magnet convenience store. The parking lot along with the other lots on the eastern side of downtown are only place-holders until a developer comes along with a plan for redevelopment along with a deck.

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The buildings in the 500 block of East Main are not beyond repair - as someone who has walked around them taking pictures of them, I can attest to the fact that they appear in rather good shape. Granted, they are cosmetically run-down (boarded, peeling paint, etc.), but that's hardly a reason for a teardown. I'd say they're in a lot better shape than American Tobacco was.

Based on conversations with the county engineer, I don't think there is going to be a public-partnership - they believe they need every inch of the space for parking. They've also gone to a great deal of trouble to hammer out design details for the parking lot/fencing/landscaping. I suppose more machiavellian things occur, but I doubt it.

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The buildings in the 500 block of East Main are not beyond repair - as someone who has walked around them taking pictures of them, I can attest to the fact that they appear in rather good shape. Granted, they are cosmetically run-down (boarded, peeling paint, etc.), but that's hardly a reason for a teardown. I'd say they're in a lot better shape than American Tobacco was.

Based on conversations with the county engineer, I don't think there is going to be a public-partnership - they believe they need every inch of the space for parking. They've also gone to a great deal of trouble to hammer out design details for the parking lot/fencing/landscaping. I suppose more machiavellian things occur, but I doubt it.

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Yeah. I'm not against tearing down a lot of what's in the eastern end of downtown, including that convenience store near 305 South. Yikes.

I don't think a big-box style building belongs in the area though. They need to figure out how to integrate it into the urban fabric and lose the suburban mentality when it comes to parking. Make the employees park in a garage around the corner. I'm tired of every building having its own lot for its employees. What kind of city does that? Like that disgusting Durham Centre tower with its gigantic empty parking deck and the lot it operates on Foster St.

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