Subway Scoundrel

Planning for a new downtown arena

87 posts in this topic

This is a case study and not to be taken as a proposal for a new arena. I also am posting this without going into funding or use of tax money or any of that. All this is here for is to ask the question: If a new arena were to be built today either downtown or another place, where would it be built ?

Items to think about.

Tailgating: Could tailgating still happen in your proposed location? They tailgate in Charlotte for Panther games. Somewhat of a tradition and unique aspect of going to a hockey game.

Parking: Would there be enough parking?

Mass transit: Would this location support mass transit and what kind?

Restaurants/hotels within close distance.

My first suggestion:

1-Across the bridge on Wilmington Street behind the Progress Energy Center

Two suggestions here.

The first is to take out the Dog Food plant and build the new arena right in the middle of the Wilmington Street and do a circle around the arena on both sides like they did in Charlotte. You have train tracks that run along the Dog food plant for possible mass transit and on the other side, you have a public housing location that is very big and has been there since the early 1970's that could be use for land to build. It would help that side of town and could be reached easier by surburbanites if maybe the state came in and put off ramps on I-40. Hammond Road could also be a feeder. Hotels and restaurants are downtown. That end of town would open up. The second place in this location would be to only take out the public housing and build it so Wilmington Street would not have a big circle in it. Same benefits but the Dog food plant is still there-maybe. The part of Wilmington near the funeral home could be redevloped.

2- On the land near the Red Roof Inn (I think McDowell). There is some land in there and you that street would be totally redeveloped and the entrance into DT would be much better than some of the items that are there now. Not sure how much is needed but with some possible decks, private land for private parking and maybe even a connection which would equal a connect over the creek there from the east to the property,, might offer some great development. Will be a haul from DT, but a lot could open and could run buses from DT and call it the Canes Shuttle. Just some ideas.

I have been thinking about posting this for a while as I have driven down there a lot to see locations for a new arena if built today but have not had time to post. But with all the talk about the RBC, I spent a little time to get on the board.

Edited by Subway Scoundrel

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IMO, A good location would be Devereaux Meadows, if the location is large enough. It has easy access to a major road (Capital Blvd) and is located near one of Raleigh's most vibrant downtown areas, Glenwood South. An arena there could also spur redevelopment around it.

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jojo and talked about this over beers this weekend, and I think I said near the Red Roof Inn too. Punch a cross street in between Wilmington and Saunders and line it with hotels and a few restaurants. a transit circulator can easily connect people to downtown. my other idea is to tear down a shopping center of your choosing on Capital Blvd and put it there....not really of course...

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Do y'all mean the Red Roof Inn at S Saunders and I-40?? I think that any location south of Western/MLK doesn't present any advantages over the RBC Center's location. There's no planned rail transit SE of the wye, and nobody is going to walk across Western, a giant moat to stuff in downtown proper.

The best location that offers access from all directions and is big enough is that area bordered by Capital Blvd/Peace/West/RR tracks. It is adjacent to a planned rail stop, has dozens of feeder streets. Tailgating could be done on feeder streets, but the City of Raleigh would probably put crazy No Parking signs all over the place.

Of course, as a disclaimer, the very thought of getting rid of the RBC Center in the next 20 years is totally fiscally irresponsible.

Edited by dmccall

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With cost not an issue and wanting to build it *today*, I'd put it on the block and a half bound by McDowell, Cabarrus, Dawson, and W South, closing off Lenior and possibly South. This would preserve the tractor trailer entrance under McDowell to the convention center. A trolley could run on the tracks from the multimodal station to the arena. Circulators could run through the CBD to pick up and drop off people parked in decks, or make them walk like they do for Panthers games at BoA Stadium. People would tailgate on the top of parking decks and private undevleoped lots, which will be fewer but still present downtown.

It would be required to have shops and restaurants on the McDowell and Cabarrus fronts, pushing the arena's edges closer to Dawson, the train tracks, and South Street. Infill would provide hotels and parking decks south of South and spark redevlopment in the Dawson/Lenoir/Saunders/MLK area.

In the 2028-2035 timeframe, after the life expectancy of the planned upgrades to the RBC Center, I'd build an arena and stadium complex on the Cargill site and other property inside Hoke/Wilmington/City Farm/Blount. By then, development pressure will have already crossed MLK, or could be spurred by a sports complex. Access to 40 will be as good (if not better, see below) as it has been for the RBC Center.

Rail will (hopefully) be a reality by then and a south spur toward Garner and Clayton could be feasable. I-40 could be reconfigured to have local access lanes (like 40 over 1/64 in Cary) for Hammond, Wilmington, and South Saunders exits. Hammond would be reconfigured as a single point interchange, with the signal *under* 40. Better connectivity for the area just inside the beltine will allow for more one to two start hotels, a "downtown" component to the curent CBD as "midtown" and Glenwood/West/Capitol/Govenment Complex/Blount "uptown".

Walnut Terrace housing project (west of Wilmington/south of MLK) could be another, closer site, but I don't know if that tract will be availble in 20 years.

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Of course, as a disclaimer, the very thought of getting rid of the RBC Center in the next 20 years is totally fiscally irresponsible.

Yeah, I agree and think that was the assumption that Scoundrel made to start this topic... I was also thinking that IIRC, the current RCC site is the location where a downtown arena was proposed in the 80s/90s, but that's now water under the bridge.

I also agree that unless you place it somewhere within the downtown grid, within 1/4 to 1/2 mile of a transit stop, it's not worth doing all over again. I tend to agree that the area up by Peace and West St is prime redevelopment land. A brief aerial view in google... reveals this site (Peace, Capital, Johnson, West) as a good one IMO. Dead-end Harrington at W Johnson, then tie 2 ends of Johnston together and what's left is a larger than normal city block, and perfect for an arena. The only bldgs of any type of historic value would be Rollins Cleaners fronting Peace and Finches, and I'm not sure they are THAT worthy of rehabilitation (apologies to Jones).

This would be one of the most viable sites:

  • hardly disrupts any of the existing street grid (typically a major issue with arenas)
  • only 2 blocks from Govt Ctr transit station (@ Harrington/Lane)
  • direct highway access from Capital Blvd
  • potential to utilize existing nearby State Govt parking decks
  • potential (along with transit) to envigorate the Devereaux Meadows redevelopment site (riverwalk?) across Peace

The only downside would be the likely need to add even more parking (new decks) and almost certainly having to upgrade the Capital/Peace interchange in some way. If we really want to get crazy, build all the rest of the parking under the arena or an adjacent site to avoid more monolithic parking structures DT. Hmm, all of this in ~2030, would probably only cost about $800M. Maybe one of you can run for mayor and try to push THAT through. :P

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I'm certain by the time the RBC Center needs to be replaced though that this could will likely be redeveloped already unfortunately, so I'd say if we do get some sort of sports complex in the area, it would be something designed for another use, such as baseball or football.

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Gang there is really nothing even downtown that would have helped out the crowds that were there this past weekend. Yea yea redevelopment. Nope not here in Raleigh.

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I don't believe the Hurricanes franchise would support a move to downtown Raleigh. They aren't Raleigh's team, they are the Triangle's team (and have a fair amount of support from as far west as Greensboro). the current RBC Center is as close to the center of the Triangle as you are ever likely to get, and there is no way the franchise would want to alienate their Durham/CHill/Greensboro fans by relocating 6 miles further east into downtown. Without support from either of the two primary tenants, any dreams of a downtown arena are just that at this point...

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I don't believe the Hurricanes franchise would support a move to downtown Raleigh. They aren't Raleigh's team, they are the Triangle's team (and have a fair amount of support from as far west as Greensboro). the current RBC Center is as close to the center of the Triangle as you are ever likely to get, and there is no way the franchise would want to alienate their Durham/CHill/Greensboro fans by relocating 6 miles further east into downtown. Without support from either of the two primary tenants, any dreams of a downtown arena are just that at this point...

I think that you are worng about that. When the franchise announced that they were relocating back in 96-97, they clearly said that they were relocating to Raleigh. The name "Carolina" was chosen so that a larger market could be targeted, but all franchises have a base city, and Raleigh is the base for the Hurricanes.

Eventhough an arena is located in the base city's downtown area, that does not stop fans from driving in from other lacations to attend games. That's ludicrous.

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I gotta say that everytime they showed arial views of the RBC last weekend my reaction was always they same, "what a horrible place to go see a game" (based solely on the sea of parking which isolates the arena).

Don't take this the wrong way, I know its a great building on the inside and I love the triangle but the currents setup really screams early 1980s urban design.

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The only thing I don't like about the Peace/Capital/Park Deveraux area is that there would be *no* limited access highway from there to an interstate or loop. Capitol would need to be widened from Peace north to 440 and/or another north/south connector would need to be built to reduce congestion on the Dawson/McDowell pair. To say nothing of the bad east/west connectivity to that area. Wade is ok but Hillsborough Street is going to get tighter with the roundabouts.

Getting tractor-trailers through the ITB grid to this arena for events like the circus, concerts, etc. would be tricky, though it seems to be doable in Charlottte. A moving sidewalk from the state government decks to the arena would open up a lot of unused parking over there, but 510 Glenwood, West at North, the Paramount, and 222 Glenwood are the only other decks in the area, with most of those spaces are spoken for by their buildings' tenants.

I do like the "parking below the arena" concept. The arena could be at Capitol Blvd height (or higher) and the parking could be below, with shops hiding the parking along Peace and the remaining street grid. Though the old folks at Glenwood Towers would be even more unhappy with the neighborhood.

As for drawing people downtown, the Moore Square Easter Egg hunt drew more than 1500 kids and their parents on Saturday. Those aren't NCAA tournament numbers, but is a good draw for the little publicity it had. I didn't notice if they ended up at Marbles, Roly Poly, Subway, etc.

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I gotta say that everytime they showed arial views of the RBC last weekend my reaction was always they same, "what a horrible place to go see a game" (based solely on the sea of parking which isolates the arena).

Don't take this the wrong way, I know its a great building on the inside and I love the triangle but the currents setup really screams early 1980s urban design.

You guys just do not get it! This is a small market!! The NY Giants play off of RT 3 in the meadowlands!!!! There is nothing around there but the turnpike! But guess what you can drive to a bazillion places or take MASS TRANSIT to NYC or anyplace in Northern NJ and have a great time. This area is what it is! A second rate mecca for sports college basketball Big woopie but quite frankly its a bore to the death for sports. Things to do after being at the RBC center?? Catch a southwest flight at RDU to Philly or Islip and play in the big boys towns!

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You guys just do not get it! This is a small market!! The NY Giants play off of RT 3 in the meadowlands!!!! There is nothing around there but the turnpike! But guess what you can drive to a bazillion places or take MASS TRANSIT to NYC or anyplace in Northern NJ and have a great time. This area is what it is! A second rate mecca for sports college basketball Big woopie but quite frankly its a bore to the death for sports. Things to do after being at the RBC center?? Catch a southwest flight at RDU to Philly or Islip and play in the big boys towns!

I wonder if you've ever even been to Raleigh. Maybe you should be the one who catches a flight to Philly or Islip, and hopefully a one-way flight.

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I really like the Peace Street @ Capital idea.

That could tie into a revitalization/remodeling of Peace Street... new sidewalks, light fixtures, street lights, street trees, repaving. That could turn the whole area into a really cool, big city area, because Peace Street needs a lot of work. The only problem is the rail bridge on Peace near Glenwood because trucks can't get under it... that could be fixed, but will be expensive.

Just my vote. Anything outside of Downtown proper (Red Roof Inn idea) is not worth it... still too far from the action (ie. glenwood south, hillsborough street)

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You guys just do not get it! This is a small market!! The NY Giants play off of RT 3 in the meadowlands!!!! There is nothing around there but the turnpike! But guess what you can drive to a bazillion places or take MASS TRANSIT to NYC or anyplace in Northern NJ and have a great time. This area is what it is! A second rate mecca for sports college basketball Big woopie but quite frankly its a bore to the death for sports. Things to do after being at the RBC center?? Catch a southwest flight at RDU to Philly or Islip and play in the big boys towns!

Correction, WE DON'T CARE IF ITS A SMALL MARKET OR NOT. We are going to push our city to keep aiming higher. If you like the northeast so much, go there, since you never have anything good to say about anything related to the Triangle. I'll keep pushing for the "big city" dreams for regardless of what anyone posts. Take your negativity elsewhere.

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I think the abundance of thoughtful ideas here says very clearly that we all do in fact get it. Jojo's Peace to Johnson idea had never occurred to me for an Arena...I always saw a North Hills style redevelopment there. Imagine spilling out after a playoff game onto glenwood south. You could probably sell the condos at 111 Seaboard pretty fast then....the traffic would be hell but that transit stop should be up and running by then to help some. Capital from Peace to 440 is mostly stoplight free now and the synchronized lights on Dawson/McDowell move as many cars each morning as a game would produce. Maybe a 7pm Hockey game would attract some already parked workers and residents too...

Edited by Jones133

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No mass transit, and you want a stadium downtown. How about cleaning up the homeless areas downtown and building mass transit before you waste any money on a hockey stadium.

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Glenwood South is pretty busy *without* an arena two blocks away. When 222 and West at North open, the area will be even more vibrant, and other development will follow. An arena there would be a good fit, but from an economic devlopment perspective, building an arena there would be like pouring gasoline on a fire with little wood left to burn. After the Deveraux Meadows and Seaboard areas (a few blocks each), there is nowhere else for new retail/bars/restaurants/shops/apartments/condos to go unless the state government complex moved out of downtown (possible, but not likely) and/or Glenwood/Brooklyn (already established, historic) was flattened.

There are currently four lights on Capitol from the Wake Forest/Atlantic exit to 440 -- Dunkin Donuts, Raleigh Flea Market Mall (Crabtree Blvd), Hodges Street, and Yonkers Road. Some traffic would take Wade Ave before it gets that far north, though it has a few traffic lights and a fair number of residents. Wake Forest Road could brunt some of the outbound traffic, but the only parallel alternatives to Capitol are Atlantic and Raleigh Blvd. Neither are close to Capitol to limit crossings of the railroad tracks and Crabtree Creek. Having two solid exit routes (this plus south via Dawson) could be enough, but both are prone to traffic snarls if just one lane is blocked. Emergency access would be tricky, but doable.

A lot of people here care about the *quality* of the market, not the size. The New York metro has *three* NHL teams. Using the Meadowlands as an example, the New Jersey Devils moved from the Meadowlands (originally Brendon Byrne Arena, then naming rights were sold) to the Prudential Center in Hoboken, to be incorporated in their downtown and close to transit options. The Nets (NBA) are moving to an urban arena in Brooklyn. NYC was going to build a stadium for the Giants and Jets if they won the 2012 summer olympics, but lost out to London.

Can you identify the "homeless areas downtown" that need to be "cleaned up" and what would be done to clean them? As for mass transit, northern NJ has a regional bus system by necessity -- the towns are too small to justify a bus system only for their juristiction. Their train system is mostly for commuters going to NYC, not as a replacement for personal transportation. There is little to no TOD near stations, as the areas along the tracks developed a long time ago and quality redevlopment is cost prohibitive.

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My site was a 60 second scan at a 10,000 ft view + knowledge of the area + criteria such as near future transit stop and in the DT grid (if possible). If an arena is within the grid and near transit, direct highway access isn't as crucial--see Bobcats Arena and many others--as some trips are dispursed by transit, some by walking (nearby condos, hotels, offices), some by auto, and some just mill around in the bars/restaurants. If trains are rolling thru by 2016, I doubt that site will be open in 20 years, much less 10, but I really don't think there are any better options that satisfy the above criteria.

Of course, if you eliminate one of the criteria that opens up more sites. Hmm, just south of the grid and the RCC is this site, next to the Memorial Auditorium. It's subdivided by the NCRR tracks, but that could be an asset... maybe you build the arena partially over the rail tracks (rail is below grade here) and expand a future DMU rail station right under the arena.

That area between MLK, McDowell, South and Salisbury, is going to take quite some time to redevelop, since it's off the grid and lacks good access, particularly the SW corner, which has only one way in/out. This might be a better long-term viable option, but would present some interesting challenges.

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Actually the Peace Street side would have mass transit. It would be the Downtown/State Gov. stop near the corner of West Condos. Fill the area with bars, hotels, and restaurants between there and Peace Street and the walk is not that far.

Now dreaming, If you wanted to, the rail line that runs along West Street could be a short inside loop and totaly redevelop Presidents streets. Now that is dreaming but do think not having an interstate nearby could hurt that idea.

I still say just over the bridge on Wilmington Street where the housing development is near Washington School would be the right place. That development is huge if you drive back up there along with some of the Government buildings. (BTW, graduate of Wahington 6 Grade Center here )

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No mass transit, and you want a stadium downtown. How about cleaning up the homeless areas downtown and building mass transit before you waste any money on a hockey stadium.

Um. Raleigh has a small homeless problem compared to a lot of cities its size. I wouldn't say there are areas of downtown that need to be "cleaned up." I have never felt unsafe even in Moore Square with the several homeless people always hanging around.

And, if the stadium was downtown, there would be mass transit. The rail lines, plus the numerous bus stops downtown, plus a street grid, all of which the RBC center does not have.

And it wouldn't waste money if it drew people into the city and gave downtown businesses good business.

You seem to be complaining a lot about the city... where are you from and where do you live exactly?

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Glenwood South is pretty busy *without* an arena two blocks away. When 222 and West at North open, the area will be even more vibrant, and other development will follow. An arena there would be a good fit, but from an economic devlopment perspective, building an arena there would be like pouring gasoline on a fire with little wood left to burn. After the Deveraux Meadows and Seaboard areas (a few blocks each), there is nowhere else for new retail/bars/restaurants/shops/apartments/condos to go unless the state government complex moved out of downtown (possible, but not likely) and/or Glenwood/Brooklyn (already established, historic) was flattened.

There are currently four lights on Capitol from the Wake Forest/Atlantic exit to 440 -- Dunkin Donuts, Raleigh Flea Market Mall (Crabtree Blvd), Hodges Street, and Yonkers Road. Some traffic would take Wade Ave before it gets that far north, though it has a few traffic lights and a fair number of residents. Wake Forest Road could brunt some of the outbound traffic, but the only parallel alternatives to Capitol are Atlantic and Raleigh Blvd. Neither are close to Capitol to limit crossings of the railroad tracks and Crabtree Creek. Having two solid exit routes (this plus south via Dawson) could be enough, but both are prone to traffic snarls if just one lane is blocked. Emergency access would be tricky, but doable.

A lot of people here care about the *quality* of the market, not the size. The New York metro has *three* NHL teams. Using the Meadowlands as an example, the New Jersey Devils moved from the Meadowlands (originally Brendon Byrne Arena, then naming rights were sold) to the Prudential Center in Hoboken, to be incorporated in their downtown and close to transit options. The Nets (NBA) are moving to an urban arena in Brooklyn. NYC was going to build a stadium for the Giants and Jets if they won the 2012 summer olympics, but lost out to London.

Can you identify the "homeless areas downtown" that need to be "cleaned up" and what would be done to clean them? As for mass transit, northern NJ has a regional bus system by necessity -- the towns are too small to justify a bus system only for their juristiction. Their train system is mostly for commuters going to NYC, not as a replacement for personal transportation. There is little to no TOD near stations, as the areas along the tracks developed a long time ago and quality redevlopment is cost prohibitive.

The Prudential Center is in Newark not Hoboken.

The towns are too small in North NJ? What are you smokin? I took trains buses, light rail all over central and northern NJ. I was able to even go to the beach by train!!!

Homeless areas downtown Raleigh?? Every green space around!!! I am sick of the panhandlers the homeless sleeping outside the stores near Moore square. Even last evening there were homeless sleeping down the street from Yanceys on the "New Fayettville Street"

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I have never felt unsafe even in Moore Square with the several homeless people always hanging around.

I have.

Like I said before, I think the sites south of MLK would be too far off the grid for transit to be an option, and don't pose any advantages over the RBC Center's site. They would be akin to Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, which requires a bus connector from the Five Points Rail Station - people HATE it.

Sites near the railroad tracks east of the wye are similar to Atlanta's Philips Arena. The Omni complex has always sat on its own over there and never integrated itself into downtown development. If we do something downtown one day, the point is to have the arena as a catalyst/centerpiece for a neighborhood - like the Verizon Center in D.C.

I thought of that Peace/Capital/West/RR site as a possible convention center site. I'm fine with the current site, but access to rail will always be a weakness for the new facility.

Somewhat aside from the central proposition of the thread is when the RBC Center will be updated. Most arenas were kind of outdated when they turned 20 years old...until the United Center was built. That building changed all of the rules and spurred a revolution in building configurations. If not for that wave, we'd probably still be finding our way with many other buildings. With the United Center turning 20 years old next year or so (Charlotte Coliseum and Orlando's arena were the last two built before United) I wonder where the arenas in America story will be.

If there is an undiscovered configuration that is preferable to the current stack style, then the RBC Center should be ripe for replacement then, say 20 years from now. If there isn't a design revolution, then there really will be no reason to replace the building. The Canes by then will probably have built a practice facility out there. Seating and displays will be replaced, and the question will be why we want to replace something that could be renovated.

Point being, I think the only thing that makes this discussion truly relevant is a design revolution. It begs the question, should we reserve a swath in that area for a future arena? It will be mega mega valuable land when rail goes in, and not selling it will cost the state/city a lot of money. Interesting dilemma.

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^ All good points. I sometimes daydream about other places it could be located not downtown or where it is...mostly as an excercise in being creative.....for instance, the Parker Lincoln Building sits at Capital Blvd and Highwoods Blvd and will likely be demolished in a couple of years...there are about 7 mid-grade hotels nearby plus 440.....how would it look pearched on the hill overlooking the beltline from there? Crazier still, plop it inside the beltline between 440 and Peace say just south of where Wake Forest Rd comes in and then tunnel Capital under it and stick a rail stop on whichever set of tracks gets used by TTA. I'm not really suggesting either of these spots, but just running with other oddball ideas...

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