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Will northern Durham County grow to catch up with southern Durham's development?


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Will Northern Durham County grow to catch up with Southern Durham's development?

During the 1970s and 1980s northern Durham County (I-85 north) was where most of the middle class and upper middle class population lived. I-40 in southern Durham was completed in the middle 1980s connecting Hillsborough, Chapel Hill with Research Triangle Park, Cary and Raleigh.

Since the 1990s areas along I-40 north and south are the high growth spots of the city and county of Durham.

Here's a great find on Flickr and the internet



Downtown Durham



Southern Durham development following the NC 751 near I-40 and Streets of SouthPoint Mall












Former site of the demolished South Square Mall


I-40 Southern Durham


I-40 at the Durham County and Orange County line near

US Hwy 15/501



Cheesecake Factory located at SouthPoint


New hotels are growing in southern Durham


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Northern Durham begins north of I-85 which is to the left side of the freeway. Guess Road Exit


Duke Street crossing over I-85 heading to northern Durham


Treyburn is the largest upscale development in northern Durham.

Croasdaile Country Club and Willowhaven Country Club were once the most exclusive communities in suburban Durham.


Images from northern Durham

Photos sources from Endangered Durham and other internet sources.

Northgate Mall located at Gregson Street and I-85 near N. Duke Street and I-85

A Belk department store closed in 2005.





North Duke Mall


Eno Square on Roxboro Road in northern Durham


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Southern Durham has been growing at a faster rate then northern Durham for several decades. This is mainly due to the closer proximity to RTP and I-40 which is a straight shot from southern Durham to RTP/RDU. Plus there's the Southpoint affect, the mega mall that seemed put southern Durham on the radar for developers looking to make a quick buck. Northern Durham, in my opinion is a whole different animal from southern Durham. I personally get an "inner ring suburban" vibe in much of northern Durham where much development along I-85, with a few notable exceptions was built in the 1970's and 1980's. The northern fringes of Durham has some typical new suburban development, just not quite to the extent of southern Durham. I personally would hate to see the northern part of the county, north of the current city limits get pillaged by money hungry developers as has taken place in southern Durham. I'd highly recommend a Sunday drive up Hwy 501 towards Roxboro, even within Durham County there's still some great vistas with rolling countryside, farms and old growth forests.

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Southern Durham has benefited from proximity to RTP much like western Wake has. It's also close to Chapel Hill, and way cheaper, for UNC employees and grad students....so that's another benefit.

The much-needed upgrades recently on I-85 will eventually help northern Durham, as well as the downtown renaissance.

But I really think it will need the construction of the East End connector to truly help northern Durham become the next big bedroom community for RTP. That road is certainly overdue and once it is built, you'll see a building boom in north Durham for sure. :thumbsup:

Plus northern Durham county has some of the most inexpensive land in the Triangle. In much the same way Garner has boomed lately due to cheap land and easy access to both downtown Raleigh and I-40, I think soon northern Durham will see a similar trend.

I even predict Rougemont and Bahama will be looking more seriously towards possible incorporation within the next two decades.

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^I think alot of the growth in the '70s and '80s had to do with growth along the I-85 corridor, manufacturing jobs in and around downtown, and RTP. I don't think that northern Durham has ever really exploded with growth (like Cary/Morrisville/Apex), but even today it is a slow controlled growth. Also we can't forget that what is considered northern Durham used to be the area just north of downtown until the arrival of the automobile and the typical post World War 2 growth pushed the northern boundary further and further north. Then once I-85 arrived in the 60's that helped to spur more development along that corridor. Back when I-85 was built it was on the northern fringes of town, but now I-85 tends to be the current border between northern Durham and central Durham.

btw my computer doesn't like all of those pictures, I dunno if anyone else has issues with them but my computer tries to freeze up everytime I access this thread. Maybe you could downsize the pics? If not no biggie, my computer isn't the fastest thing around anyway :-p

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  • 4 weeks later...

north durham is in a sense developed. it can expand further out, but it is similar to north raleigh in that it is already built. south durham wasn't built and so it was developed in the past 15 years. you won't see growth like that ever again in north durham. you might see pockets of development, but that is about it. i love north durham, especially west of Guess road. You really feel like you are in the country, but you are only 5 minutes from duke and 10 minutes from downtown durham. truly a beautiful area and one of the best places to live around the triangle.

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  • 10 months later...

I stumbled across a few pictures I had taken around 2005 in northern Durham of mainly abandoned storefronts and wanted to post them for nostalgic reasons. This is not indicative of all of northern Durham.

The Avondale Rd K-Mart...I remember it had the old fashion logo on the store up until the switchover to Big K-Mart in the late '90s....the store closed in 2002ish although I think a part of the building may actually be in use today:


This was a Best store up until the entire chain went out of business around 1995 at which time this location off Hillsborough Rd closed. I remember going into this store during it's going out of business sale in summer of '95. This store has been empty ever since although I believe Duke is using the lot for parking:


Even though the store has been closed since '95 the logo of the now defunct chain is still posted on the entryway door:


Here's a pic of North Duke Crossings (formerly North Duke Mall). I remember this Roses actually being one of the more modern ones during the '80's and '90's although I think once the chain became a part of Variety Wholesalers it sort of became a giant dollar sotre and hasn't been remodled since. As a side note the Staples was a Winn Dixie until the early '90s and the Roses opened up into the maill until its demalling in the mid-late '90s:


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