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RaleighRob

Ninth Street changes to come?

31 posts in this topic

Don't think there are any recent threads about Ninth Street specifically, and I saw this article today: http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/556088.html

So I thought I'd bring it up.

Looks like some want to zone the area to allow ten story buildings, townhouses and other stuff, but others want to keep it smaller-scale and "funky". Regardless, rents are rising up and down the strip as vacancies decrease.

Comments?

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I am ambivalent on 9th St. Yes, its cool and funky but if no one is on the street who cares. This is a good opportunity to link the 9th St./Broad St. area with everything going on further down Main St.

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I bet the plan will turn out pretty good.....it mentioned keeping areas of 1-2 story buildings....tens stories is not huge for the other parts......sounds ok to me.

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I'm glad the area included is so big. I've always wondered about that vast field between Main and Hillsborough, so I'm glad to see it's developable. That kind of infill, plus increased densities toward Broad Street could be a big lift to the commercial district along Broad Street north of Markham (Broad Street Cafe, Green Room, etc.) I think that area could be really cool. This plan also connects the two Durham areas with the tallest buildings (hospitals and downtown). It could be the "midtown area" of Durham.

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It could be the "midtown area" of Durham.

Interesting...never thought about that.

Does sound promising. But I also hope that all that makes Ninth special stays that way. I remember as a student at NCSU hearing other students say how much they wished Hillsborough Street was bigger and better and more like Franklin Street, I was the oddball by saying I'd rather it be more like Ninth! :shades:

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It could be the "midtown area" of Durham.

s/could be/is/

9th street is a great little area, with a lot of potential to get even better. I'm eager to learn more about this form-based zoning plan. From what I've seen, this is the way of the future for land use planning.

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s/could be/is/

9th street is a great little area, with a lot of potential to get even better. I'm eager to learn more about this form-based zoning plan. From what I've seen, this is the way of the future for land use planning.

The full draft plan is posted on the Durham web site at http://www.durhamnc.gov/departments/planni...inth_street.pdf.

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I would have to say a 10 story building on Ninth St itself right in the commercial center of the street would take a bit of getting used to but I could see one in the general area given the Wachovia Tower located in the field adjacent to the street

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Speaking of the wachovia tower.

For years, every time I've gone by there, and every time I look at a map, I've wondered why West Main curves to the left once you cross west of ninth street. If Main continued straight through across Ninth, it would chew up the off-street parking along there and bring Erwin Mill and the Erwin Square office tower right up to the street. Erwin Square and its retail seems rather standoffish from the street with its little parking lot in front. Of course that was the way things were done in the 80s when Erwin Square was built. I don't know the history, but I wouldn't be surprised if the developer had actually wanted to front Main Street but the city forced them to have a setback and a parking lot out front.

Now, it's the 21st century, and the rest of the ninth street district has proven that you don't really need off street parking right in front of retail space to be successful. Put in some parallel parking both sides of Main, put in a stoplight where the circle at the entrance is now so people can cross from the eastbound side, and let store customers use the parking deck. Magically, West Main is now five times as pedestrian friendly.

Wonder how much all this would cost?

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^ I like that idea. It's just like my vision of Washington Street along the 3rd base line at the old DAP cutting through the parking lot at City Place (which I like to call "Suburb Place" given the set-back-edness and off-street parking) bringing its "storefronts" to the street and connecting Washington to Ligget Street, all the way to Fernway. Perhaps with some traffic diverted in that direction, it could be argued that Morris Street need not be so wide at its intersection with Corporation Street.

Anyway, back to Ninth Street.

The Erwin Square area seems so sterile, especially when you look to the east at 9th. Quite a contrast. More life on those sidewalks could change that. Bringing it up to the street would make perfect sense, and it would retrofit the current structure to "fit in" with the proposed structures that appear to be built sans off-street parking.

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I know originally plans were to have built 2 or 3 more towers the size of the Wachovia Tower in that field but I guess plans fizzled and then I believe height restrictions were placed in non downtown areas to prevent another University Tower from popping up in the suburbs. I'd love to see the original plans for Erwin Square back before the plans fizzled.

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Speaking of the wachovia tower.

For years, every time I've gone by there, and every time I look at a map, I've wondered why West Main curves to the left once you cross west of ninth street. If Main continued straight through across Ninth, it would chew up the off-street parking along there and bring Erwin Mill and the Erwin Square office tower right up to the street. Erwin Square and its retail seems rather standoffish from the street with its little parking lot in front. Of course that was the way things were done in the 80s when Erwin Square was built. I don't know the history, but I wouldn't be surprised if the developer had actually wanted to front Main Street but the city forced them to have a setback and a parking lot out front.

Now, it's the 21st century, and the rest of the ninth street district has proven that you don't really need off street parking right in front of retail space to be successful. Put in some parallel parking both sides of Main, put in a stoplight where the circle at the entrance is now so people can cross from the eastbound side, and let store customers use the parking deck. Magically, West Main is now five times as pedestrian friendly.

Wonder how much all this would cost?

I think the retailers dictate the the small lots in front. The Pavilion at Lakeview is shaping up in a similar fashion but I'll take this compromise for now over the suburban deep parking lots. The worst is the lots and buildings sunk down in the ground to be more "visually appealing". That only works for ugly, cookie cutter buildings (such as South Square "redevelopment").

Ninth Street might end up dying because of the people who love it so much. Rents are steadily increasing because of demand and landlord privilege. So the businesses that people want to save from competition from new development might not survive after all. A well-developed neighborhood plan as well as good business plans should keep the rents reasonable, add more customers and maintain the indigineous (sp?) businesses in the area.

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I think the retailers dictate the the small lots in front. The Pavilion at Lakeview is shaping up in a similar fashion but I'll take this compromise for now over the suburban deep parking lots. The worst is the lots and buildings sunk down in the ground to be more "visually appealing". That only works for ugly, cookie cutter buildings (such as South Square "redevelopment").

Ninth Street might end up dying because of the people who love it so much. Rents are steadily increasing because of demand and landlord privilege. So the businesses that people want to save from competition from new development might not survive after all. A well-developed neighborhood plan as well as good business plans should keep the rents reasonable, add more customers and maintain the indigineous (sp?) businesses in the area.

Well... I would argue that rents are increasing because scumlord slumlords like Bill Fields overbill for 9th Street real estate. Look how frequently some of the businesses and restaurants there habe turned over, while The Regulator (which bought its own building in the early 90s, IIRC) has held out. I actually think adding more shopping/retail space will help to lower the rents for locals to stay there.

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GOod story. Either you rezone the area so growth can be shaped and controlled or the developers will decide what happens. Why not focus the dense development on the west side of Ninths St and the south side of Main St and the tracks (near Erwin) where the TTA stop will be? West of 9th is that huge parking lot and south of the tracks near 147 is pretty much a green area--totally open to new urban development.

BTW, what is the historic old brick warehouse behind the parking lot from Ninth St? Been over to Ninth St several time, couldn't figure it out.

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BTW, what is the historic old brick warehouse behind the parking lot from Ninth St? Been over to Ninth St several time, couldn't figure it out.

Condos/apartments. Erwin Mills I believe is the name.

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The warehouses behind Ninth St were the Erwin Cotton Mills up until I believe it was 1986. Once the mills closed I believe alot of the service oriented stores on Ninth Street closed (drycleaners, hardware stores, florists, etc) and a few years later the quirky stores that we know today opened. My grandpa used to take me to a barber shop on the strip which closed by the late '80's. I remember it looking like something out of the -50's inside. I think it was gutted and turned into an expensive toy store a few years later.

Here's a link to a brief history of the mills courtesy of the Old West Durham association:

http://www.owdna.org/mill.htm

Also be sure to check out this link as well showing the evolution of Ninth St, at least up until 1987. Amazing to see Ninth Street in the last two 1987 pics and compare it to today:

http://www.owdna.org/History/history1a.htm

Edited by NCMike1981

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Been a quiet subject here...but looks like some movement is starting again.

Here's an update (via BCR's blog) about the Ninth Street plan: http://www.bullcityrising.com/2008/08/ninth-st-plan-h.html

too many people trying to steer this thing. how hard is it to get a hilton approved. this is a much needed asset for that area and someone keeps raising concerns over it. this area has mega potential(north hills). the little surrounding neighborhoods obviously don't get the fact that their shacks would go up in value with an overhaul of the area. if this keeps getting held up, it will turn out like another decrepit hillsborough street that the old residents controlled into the the joke it is today.

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too many people trying to steer this thing. how hard is it to get a hilton approved. this is a much needed asset for that area and someone keeps raising concerns over it. this area has mega potential(north hills). the little surrounding neighborhoods obviously don't get the fact that their shacks would go up in value with an overhaul of the area. if this keeps getting held up, it will turn out like another decrepit hillsborough street that the old residents controlled into the the joke it is today.

LOL...... Funny and True

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The converse of this that never gets realized because realtors have drilled in us the need to increase our property values to keep their economy strong is that some people don't want to move and therefore benefit little from increased property values...sure neighborhoods with rising property values tend not to decay and see increases in crime, but there are stable neighborhoods aplenty, and people are quite happy with the status quo and have no reason to pay double their property taxes to maintain their sufficient status quo. I can see west Durham being exactly that.

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Not sure about the dates earlier in this thread, but by the fall of 89 when I started at NCSSM, Ninth Street already had "funky" stores that seemed like they had been there -- 9th Street Bakery (currently Elmo's), Poindexter Records, Books Do Furnish A Room, The Regulator (I think), Bull City Pizza (mmm, bull whips), Brugger's, Steve's Ice Cream (which closed a few years later), and the 24-hour laundrymat. Edit: McDonald's drug store was still going strong, even with the closure of the nearby mill. Not sure if Sam's Quick Stop counted too or not. Back when the Freeway ended at 9th/Erwin.

I understand that the neighborhood doesn't want Erwin Square II plopped in on the west side of 9th Street. I also undrestand the property owner's desire to put in a parking deck, but I don't think train commuters will park there and then walk to the station if closer options are available. The deck will only be for 9th Street's customers. There should be enough room to hide stacked parking behind storefront retail and a couple of stories of apartments/condos. If the George's Garage was incorporated into the ground floor of a building/parking deck as well, there could be a very urban, pedestrian friendly experience that wouldn't have to be overwhelming. It would be nice if Duke redevloped their large nearby parking lot on Hillsborough Road and maybe some around their buildings on Broad.

They wouldn't have to go that high to get a decent return on their investment. Unfortunately, they want to maximize profits by maximizing building height, at the expense of the environment that has been built on 9th Street. They did give away their parking, but that was a choice they made. They could have made their spaces metered and not much would have changed. Parking on the parallel street to the west is a *lot* safer now than it was 10+ years ago.

Sandford's group had a seat at the table during the charettes. Whether or not they filled their seat is up to them, but that does *not* give them the right to throw a wrench in the procedings in the 11th hour because the area plan didn't turn out to their liking. If the city caves in, people who played by the rules and gave input through the public process may feel disinfranchised with the process. I hope that doesn't happen, as it will be harder to solicit input for other projects later on, though that may be what the developers are hoping to acheive.

Edited by ncwebguy

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Not sure about the dates earlier in this thread, but by the fall of 89 when I started at NCSSM,

o/t but i went to ncssm too! go uni's!

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Here's what Ninth Street looks like (Flickr photos)

503505264_bda614812d_o.jpg

1095526485_d3cd753603_o.jpg

15811378_a90e44bbd1_b.jpg

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15811375_5cb8886de4_b.jpg

Station Nine : Downtown Durham Apartments

Urban loft-style living and forward-thinking sensibility, luxury apartments situated in the heart of Durham's Ninth Street District

http://www.stationnine.com

15811376_4268e3fa30_b.jpg

136708489_95bbd9256a_b.jpg

IMG_0886.jpg

NinthStreet2.jpg

Edited by Atlside

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Taking out the issue of process here (and I know I am engaging in drive-by planning here) it seems to me that limiting buildings along the west side of 9th St frontage to 35-45 ft is overreactive to the concerns of the community that the funkiness will be gone with new development. I know they are using form-based codes here, so why not just keep the height limit on the east side at 35 ft and bring the west side up to 75 ft or something more appropriate for higher transit oriented density? If they focus on ground floor retail and quality architectural details with specified form, the product will be an asset to the community.

If they want to protect and preserve the east side from redevelopment, it seems to me there are better tools to use than to restrict the west side, which is mostly made up of surface parking (the places where we ought to encourage development) and is ripe for TOD near the station area (near stations for two future rail lines). Besides, when transit comes through Durham, property values will rise and the area will gentrify regardless, so to some degree the resistance to density is counterproductive.

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