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ChiefJoJo

Raleigh African-American Cultural Center

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A modeled rendering of the block with other projects:

2775893960098570895S600x600Q85.jpg

You can see a rough outline of what might be Empire's future project next to the AACC and Lincoln Theatre.

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I'm glad that this project is coming to this area, I think it will be a great cultural addition; however, I'd like to see a little more height along the Wilmington Street side of this project.

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On May 1st, the city is holding a hearing to discuss a proposed location for the AACC.

It says the Pope House would be moved to the complex, or somewhere near Shaw, if the center is approved. This would free up the lot between site 1 and the Lincoln Theater for development, preserve the Pope House and have a focus point for the cultural center project.

Here is a map of the area with the current Pope House location and proposed block for the cultural center.

I think this would be a win-win situation for the arts/entertainment district and could include Shaw instead of exclude it.

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OK, isn't that Site 2? I didn't realize that was ever in play as far as a location for the AACC. I guess the idea is that the block where the Pope House sits now is much better (larger, for one) for development if the house is moved, whereas site 2 isn't quite as ideal. Any idea where this came from? Everything I'd heard before led me to believe it was going to be on the block to the east of Site 1.

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I don't remember the numbering of sites 2 and 3 (west and east sides of the continued F Street), but the proposed complex will be on the SW corner of the block south of site 1.

Everything I had heard pointed to the block the Pope house and Lincoln Theater are on, and I have no idea where this proposal/change came from. But the Cabarrus/Wilmington/Lenoir block could sustain a larger project than the site 2/3 blocks. I hope Lincoln Theater doesn't meet the same fate as Kings, though someone with Lincoln Theater in their name owns that building. Maybe the city could give them a long term lease in the ground floor retail space in the "convention center deck" on the NE Wilmington/Cabarrus intersection. I think the city will upfit that space for retail when Site 1 is close to opening *if* there is market demand for more retail space.

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2751481880098570895S600x600Q85.jpg

You can see where Site #2 is from the plans--the eastern site.

The city and/or the AACC group must have been unsuccessful in trying to negotiate with property owners on the "old" site near the Pope House and someone decided that it was better to place it on city property... which leaves Site 2 nearby. That simplifies things tremendously for the AACC.

The only question I have is whether the city gets anything out of this deal financially. One of the main reasons to tear down the old civic center was to extend F St, but also to redevelop the remaining sites, and as we've seen, they are plenty valuable... worth $ millions per acre. Frankly, I had hoped that block would be reserved for private development. Maybe I'm greedy, but I hope that somehow the AACC structure could be combined with some complimentary use (condos?) on the Site 2 block in a unified design.

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I'd like to see it straddling South Street. A jazz museum/club/restaurant district anchored on the McDonalds land (maybe the Baptist office could move?) and a theater/performance hall/Pope House on Shaw's campus, with some of the grass (yet another plaza?) behind it. This would "save" Site 2 for a higher density project in the 5-7 story range that would start the "stepping down" toward Memorial Auditorium.

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Site 2 is larger than it appear from that birds eye view....not sure the exact number but it should be close to 2 acres with an entire 'normal block' in Raleigh being 4 acres, including the Pope block. A main component of historic designation is context.....the Pope house would likely lose its place on any historic list it is on, and hence tax credits associated with rehabilitation of it, if it is moved. Lincoln Theater also has historic status potential as one of 2 or three black-only theaters during segregation. It dates to the 1930's. I hope Lincoln stays right where it is...it has alwasy seemed more profitable than Kings. The cultural center will either need to survive on an endowment or make money. Either case makes me think it would have to be incorporated into a building with other uses, like the Greenfires Black Wall Street musuem in Durham will be when its finished.

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Site 2 is larger than it appear from that birds eye view....not sure the exact number but it should be close to 2 acres with an entire 'normal block' in Raleigh being 4 acres, including the Pope block. A main component of historic designation is context.....the Pope house would likely lose its place on any historic list it is on, and hence tax credits associated with rehabilitation of it, if it is moved. Lincoln Theater also has historic status potential as one of 2 or three black-only theaters during segregation. It dates to the 1930's. I hope Lincoln stays right where it is...it has alwasy seemed more profitable than Kings. The cultural center will either need to survive on an endowment or make money. Either case makes me think it would have to be incorporated into a building with other uses, like the Greenfires Black Wall Street musuem in Durham will be when its finished.

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According to the city's website, Site 2 is 210ft x 200ft, which gives 0.96 or about 1 acre. I think you forgot that F St bisects the normal E-W block pattern in half, leaving 210 ft wide "half blocks."

Anyway, good point about moving the Pope House. I think in the past, Hatem has been involved (has some connection to the potential future development next to Lincoln Theatre *and* maybe on the Pope board?), so they should be aware of this little factoid.

If the house did stay in place, it would look oddly out of place with site 1 across the street and future development surrounding as seen in the massing rendering I posted above. (You can see the small house between the rather large orange blocks on either side.) Of course, some might argue, once it's moved, we've lost it forever.

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Hatem is not listed on the Pope house museum website's staff and board.

The history of the house page is an interesting read for the history of that part of downtown. The 500 block of Wilmington street was the northern tip of the African-American Shaw/South Park community. A lot of the larger houses were bought and destroyed (not moved) to make room for the old convention center and the parking lots east of it. The destruction of that area is why a lot of African-Americans in the community to not trust the city.

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There will be a public meeting on May 1 to discuss turning the Pope House property into the Raleigh African American Cultural Center.

Article

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The Pope House is on the agenda for the council tomorrow. They will discuss whether to move it to site 2 or Shaw's campus.

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Not sure where this should go.. but I think Shaw's got something planned for the grass field across from the McDonalds. Was there early this morning and there was a "rendering" and sign about a new science center. Anyone else go by there to get a closer look? I'd love to see something other than a single use classroom facility. That's a PRIME downtown lot.

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FYI, the proposed purchase and potential move of the Pope House and whether the AACC can move to Site 2 is up for discussion today by the City Council:

8. Pope House/African-American Cultural Center

During the June 19 Council meeting, Mayor Meeker pointed out he understands the Pope House is about to be acquired by a non-profit organization. He asked that an item be placed on this agenda to look at the need or how to proceed with phase 2 of the Freelon report and whether the African-American Cultural Center can be placed on site 2.

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FYI, the proposed purchase and potential move of the Pope House and whether the AACC can move to Site 2 is up for discussion today by the City Council:

8. Pope House/African-American Cultural Center

During the June 19 Council meeting, Mayor Meeker pointed out he understands the Pope House is about to be acquired by a non-profit organization. He asked that an item be placed on this agenda to look at the need or how to proceed with phase 2 of the Freelon report and whether the African-American Cultural Center can be placed on site 2.

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From the city council agenda for Tuesday 10/2:

African-American Complex - Pope House

During the September 5, 2007, Council meeting, Mayor Meeker reported he understands that the private fundraising for phase 2 of the feasibility study relating to the African-American Complex has almost reached its goal. He suggested that the item be placed on this agenda to receive a report. It was explained during the July 24, 2007, Council meeting Mayor Meeker reported he understood the Pope House had been acquired by a non-profit corporation and the City had agreed to pay for one-half of a feasibility study relating to an African-American Complex. It was agreed to place it on a subsequent agenda with the statement that the City is willing to fund its one-half of the $65,000 cost to look at site 2 and that the Pope House would remain in its current location.

I was walking back from the PE Ctr recently, and walked right by the Pope House. As much as it will end up sticking out like a sore thumb with the future Site 1 towers across Wilmington St and a future project abutting it just to the north, I'd like to see the house stay where it is and keep the historic integrity of the house intact. I recall there are some old historic churches in lower Manhattan that are dwarfed by the larger towers near the WTC, so I don't think that it's necessarily that issues of scale are a major issue in lil ole Raleigh.

I spoke to folks at the UDC not long ago, and there's an idea floating around to hold a design competition related to the future development of sites 2 & 3. I think adding in the AACC component could be really interesting, and would raise the level of design in the city. I could see something similar to the partnership at CAM... the city would hold a competition for designers of the sites, and then the RFP would go out for developers to implement that design--or something like that. I believe the plan for Fayetteville St in that area is to stop at Lenoir St and have site 2&3 design dictate whether it's extended to South or remains terminated at Lenior.

FYI, the sites are in front of the PE Ctr & Litchin Plaza with site 2 to the east and 3 to the west--each being about an acre in size.

Not sure where this should go.. but I think Shaw's got something planned for the grass field across from the McDonalds. Was there early this morning and there was a "rendering" and sign about a new science center. Anyone else go by there to get a closer look? I'd love to see something other than a single use classroom facility. That's a PRIME downtown lot.

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