Brendan

What Does Cary Need to Do To Reach the Next Level as a City..er, Town?

67 posts in this topic

To go along with our Raleigh topic...

Cary's stuck in a rut. Nothing is happening downtown. Little to nothing new in retail. Waverly Place remains an eyesore.

Do the PTB in Cary have any leadership or vision? What would you like to see in Cary?

A "town" of or approaching 140,000 can do much more, can't they? (See Rockville, MD, Greenville, SC, etc. Hell, Apex's downtown makes Cary's look bad.)

Edited by Brendan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


The first thing I thought of is stop referring to Cary as a town. I honestly don't think Cary will ever be anything besides what it is today, an overgrown and homogenized suburb with cul de sacs out the wazoo and parking lots within parking lots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing I thought of is stop referring to Cary as a town. I honestly don't think Cary will ever be anything besides what it is today, an overgrown and homogenized suburb with cul de sacs out the wazoo and parking lots within parking lots.

Yeah, I agree, it's pretty silly. I think the term hinders people's vision for the town. "A town would never have...."

It's the 7th largest CITY in the state!

But with vision, it could be more, couldn't it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that would require a new charter. There are numerous "Citys" in North Carolina that have only a few thousand residents, but that is how they were chartered. Newton, Oxford, Roxboro, Lincolnton, Southport to name a few....

Oddly enough Morehead City is a Town....

Edited by Jones133

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cary is the product of many decades of bad decisions. They may have seemed benign at the time, or even advantageous, but now what we have is a "city" that really doesn't seem like one. And let's be honest, many other suburb towns/cities have followed similar paths and are in the same boat right now.

Perhaps as a regional rail system is established there will be new-found interest in the property along the rail line and through downtown. If that is the case, such transit oriented (re)developments could serve as a seed for some really clever and contemporary urban growth decades down the road.

Something pretty ground-breaking like that has to occur, otherwise we will continue to see the same development patterns that I've seen since I was a student at East Cary Middle school back in 1989. Cary, like a lot of things, has a catastrophic amount of inertia when it comes to change. It takes a great force to overcome it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incidentally, per §160A‑1 of the North Carolina General Statutes there is no practical difference between "city", "town" and "village" as far as the law is concerned. Nor does it matter which of those terms appears in a municipal charter. It's merely a question of style or history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed CTL. Once chartered though, that is your legal name and all ordinances I assume must contain the legal name of the unit of government. As it is, IMO 110,000 thinly spread out people does not make a city. I would wager that most Cary residents that identify with Cary as their home, are not interested in being anything that resembles a City. I think it is us regional folks who want to lay claim to another City in our midst, and well...we just don't have one.

Just to hypothesize, where would dense commercial development even go in Cary that makes sense? Downtown is small geographically and you would have to rip out many existing residents who have lived their since before the boom. Weston is full of office buildings yes, but very very low density. Maybe the whole area from and including Crossroads and Cary Town Center can be reworked and molded to be a highrise area straddling 1/64. Just a thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wikipedia says that Cary's density is 2,246 people per square mile, not much less than Charlotte's 2,515. And for all the talk about pro-density Charlotte versus sprawling Raleigh, Raleigh has a higher density (2,960). Charlotte's density is indicative of what Raleigh's would be, if Cary and Morrisville and Wake Forest and Knightdale and Garner had been subsumed into Raleigh.

Cary does not have a lot of land tied up for industrial or institutional/governmental use, so its density is higher than one might expect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Cary recently snagged Roses...quite a coup..I'm sure that does wonders for their upscale image :-p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where's the Roses going?

It's already open and at the South Hills Mall...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm gonna have to disagree with some of y'all here---other than Raleigh, no town in Wake County...not even Cary...will ever be called a "City" by me.

OK, if you don't want to call it "town", maybe I'll call it "cancerous tumor on steroids". ^_^ But a city? There is nothing about Cary that feels like a city. It's just a maze of sprawling subdivisions and strip malls.

Heck...Chapel Hill and even Carrboro have more of an urban element about them, honestly.

The difference between a town and a city goes far beyond just population numbers alone.

If Cary wants folks to see it as a city instead of just a suburb of Raleigh, then stop with the never-ending suburbia and build up, creating an actual downtown that people actually know exists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cary is like a menu with only appetizers. Does that make it a bar?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

south hills mall should pull the same type of redevelopment that north hills did

open it up and integrate it with the grid

as for cary... unless they get serious about attracting urban developments to chatham street and the surrounding areas, the malls will be the only activity centers it has

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incidentally, per §160A‑1 of the North Carolina General Statutes there is no practical difference between "city", "town" and "village" as far as the law is concerned. Nor does it matter which of those terms appears in a municipal charter. It's merely a question of style or history.

G.S. 160A-101 through -110 (cursor down through the linked statutes to get to -101) allow a town to change the "style" of its government interchangeably betweem city, town and village by passage of an ordinance after a public hearing, though citizens can force a referendum on the issue.

Edited by staffer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


south hills mall should pull the same type of redevelopment that north hills did

open it up and integrate it with the grid

as for cary... unless they get serious about attracting urban developments to chatham street and the surrounding areas, the malls will be the only activity centers it has

Good idea, though South Hills (and that area) has kind of evolved into a miniature international district, in a way... might be kind of cool and quirky to leave all of that alone and see what happens.

Speaking of malls, Cary Towne Center seems like it's suffering a bit. I went in there for the first time in years and it was kind of dead. I walked in through the Belk entrance and everything had this imminent feel. I don't know... Has anyone else noticed this? This is completely off topic, oops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gotta love the Asian market at South Hills!!

If I recall correctly, Cary Towne Center expanded to its current size when the competition was only Cameron Village, Crabtree Valley, and the old North Hills. Cary Towne Center attracted shoppers throughout Wake County. Even for someone in North Raleigh, it was faster to go to Cary than to suffer Crabtree's congestion from October to December.

I don't think Cary Towne Center has ever recovered from the opening of Southpoint and Triangle Town Center, despite the growth in Cary and points south.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I recall correctly, Cary Towne Center expanded to its current size when the competition was only Cameron Village, Crabtree Valley, and the old North Hills. Cary Towne Center attracted shoppers throughout Wake County. Even for someone in North Raleigh, it was faster to go to Cary than to suffer Crabtree's congestion from October to December.

I don't think Cary Towne Center has ever recovered from the opening of Southpoint and Triangle Town Center, despite the growth in Cary and points south.

I can't believe you left Crossroads out of your post, lol. It's probably one of the bigger contributors to pulling people away from Cary Towne.

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dunno, last time I drove through Crossroads it didn't seem to be doing any better than Cary Towne!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of malls, Cary Towne Center seems like it's suffering a bit. I went in there for the first time in years and it was kind of dead. I walked in through the Belk entrance and everything had this imminent feel. I don't know... Has anyone else noticed this? This is completely off topic, oops.

Does it still have the world's smallest Barnes&Noble?

I loved that thing...

Edited by Spatula

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good idea, though South Hills (and that area) has kind of evolved into a miniature international district, in a way... might be kind of cool and quirky to leave all of that alone and see what happens.

Speaking of malls, Cary Towne Center seems like it's suffering a bit. I went in there for the first time in years and it was kind of dead. I walked in through the Belk entrance and everything had this imminent feel. I don't know... Has anyone else noticed this? This is completely off topic, oops.

South Hills "Mall" has always seemed to be out of place in Cary. Looks like something you'd find in a small town down east. Didn't they "de-mall" it several years back? I'd love to see something nicer here. Not happening.

CTC is going downhill fast. The last time I was there (months ago), it had a "We Buy Gold for ${:content:}quot; store. How embarrassing. CTC definitely got hurt when Crabtree went more upscale with their interior and store mix, and expanded. Southpoint hurt too. How long will it decline before CBL does something with the property? De-mall? A true mixed-use "town" center? Certainly not holding my breath.

Edited by Brendan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really resent Southpoint. Not just the mall itself and its location, but the strip malls around it. They're the most auto-dependent shopping areas in the Triangle. You literally cannot walk from Southpoint to REI or Target, thanks to the way the parking and connecting roads are set up. The mass-migration of shops there is sucking the life out of pretty much every other commercial area. Plus it killed South Square, which is now another horrific strip.

I think CTC is an enclosed mall that's in a lot of trouble. Now, while we may not always like enclosed malls for the business they stole from downtowns in the 70s and 80s, they are starting to gain a bit of historic character. They represent the public areas 2-3 generations grew up with, and they actually have civic value to them, so it will be important to keep a few of the old ones around. Unfortunately older malls like Northgate and Cary Town Center happen to be the most threatened. These malls also have the best chances of being better urbanized and integrated with their surrounding neighborhoods, and supplementing the cultural tapestry of the city they're in. Crabtree will be fine, though without the Capitol Room (on the 3rd floor of Hudson Belk), and Dunderbak's I no longer have any reason to go there. Luckily CR moved downtown.

Southpoint is far away from everyone and everything. There is absolutely no hope it will ever become more urban. The relatively small enclosed space in Southpoint is really just a nucleus for the asteroid of strip malls that will continue to go up around it. Plus it has the worst parking lot in the state. We're getting national retail the Triangle has never seen... and of all the places it could go, it's going to Southpoint.

Edited by Spatula

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After studying a Google map for a bit I think the only solution for the area is 1) turn CTC into a livable/walkable shopping area like North Hills. Buffer existing homes with apartments and townhomes and grid the streets as much as possible between Cary Towne Blvd and Walnut. 2) South Hills is a prime office location with company logos being visible on glass office buildings over 40 and 1/64. 3) add transportation/transit to Buck Jones/Walnut to accommodate the office zoning. First thought is to wrap a road around behind Borders and connect to the ramp by the Exxon.

Edited by Jones133

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^

I think the Cary town council would protest that...

God forbid anything in Cary be walkable or the slight resemblance to anything urban!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.