Downtown Plan

Experience It!

Last updated Sep. 10, 2019 - 12:38 pm
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The adopted Downtown Plan is divided into four framework themes: (1) Breath; (2) Move; (3) Stay, and (4) Link.

Additionally, the plan designates five geographic areas within which the framework themes operate: (1) Gateway Center; (2) North End; (3) Moore Square/City Market; (4) Nash Square/Union Station; and (5) Glenwood South. See the Downtown Plan for extensive illustrative maps, descriptions, and full list of the Plan’s goals and action items.

Following is an update on the status of the Plan’s action items planned through September 2018 that have been completed, are currently underway, and those slated to be undertaken in the future. This list will be updated periodically to include new information garnered from the efforts of Departments throughout the City and its partners, including residents, businesses, and developers, to complete all actions outlined in the Plan over the upcoming 10 years.


A Greener Raleigh

Create a public open spaces where people can pause and breathe, gather, and relax within the city.


BA-2 Renovations for Exchange and Market Plazas.


BA-1 Implement the Moore Square Master Plan to reposition the park for the next generation of park users and to better attract new development to the district and complete Rosengarten Greenway.

BA-3, 4 Complete a cultural landscape report for Nash Square to re-envision the Square as an urban green that supports the growth the Warehouse and Fayetteville Street districts and strengthens connections. Currently, no funds are available for the Nash Square design study.

BA-6 Inventory downtown public spaces available for public activities and develop a programming strategy for these spaces. [In collaboration with Downtown Raleigh Alliance]

BA-9 Implement the John Chavis Memorial Park Master Plan and invest in the redesign of the Chavis Greenway to better connect the core of downtown to East Raleigh neighborhoods. The plan includes signage and a heritage trail. Do not currently have redesign funds.

BA-11 Implement Devereux Meadows project, including the Pigeon House Branch restoration, which will bring needed green space to Glenwood South and the North End. Consultants selected.

BA-16 Create a plan to create a new, significant open space, with public art, on Dorothea Dix Park.

BA-21 Complete the planned Rosengarten Greenway connection to Rocky Branch. Kimley-Horn, the design consultant for this project, is at approximately 60% complete. After several acquisition and alignment element issues are resolved, plans will be presented to the public [done?].

Next Steps

BA-5 Implement the results of the Nash Square Study.

BA-12 Identify underutilized sites in the Glenwood South and Warehouse Districts that would be suitable for acquisition and conversion into pocket parks. The City Planning Department and Economic Development will identify viable options for the sites.

BA-18 Study feasibility for the creation of a dog park and the accommodation of dogs in downtown public open spaces.

BA-26, 27, 28, 29 Develop a policy document that outlines the system of open and public space in downtown Raleigh. It will establish descriptive criteria including needs, location, funding approach, governance, operations and maintenance, and sustainability practices like recycling, renewable energy, and low impact development as well as amenities including public art and community spaces.

BA-13 Explore underutilized portions of right-of-way for green infrastructure.


Create Connections

Make walking, biking, and transit the preferred ways to get in and around downtown Raleigh.


MA-13 Increase bike facilities throughout downtown esp along Wilmington and Salisbury Streets.

MA-16 Improve biking accessibility throughout downtown, which includes bike corrals as the demand for bike parking

MA-26 Complete the GORaleigh Station.

MA-35,36 In coordination with Public Works and the Urban Design Center, evaluate the demand for structured parking and examine parking policy for efficiencies, revenue, and shared options. The timeline calls for a five-month study including a final report and presentation to City Council in January.


MA-1 Improve east-west pedestrian connections to enhance connectivity to adjacent districts, focusing on trouble spots such as Peace Street, Lane Street between McDowell and Harrington Streets, and Hillsborough-Edenton.

MA-2 Pursue the connection of West Johnson Street between West and Harrington Streets in conjunction with redevelopment [Smoky Hollow].

MA-3 Focus on downtown streets like Hargett and Martin Streets to create a great walking and retail environment from RUS to MS.

MA-5 Establish a dedicated Capital Improvement Program (CIP) funding stream and/or special assessment for downtown streetscapes.[ in Bond]

LA-7 Working with NCDOT, complete the Peace Street bridge replacement. NCDOT and the City will hold a public meeting on August 18, 5 to 7 pm in the Borden Building at Fred Fletcher Park, 820 Clay Street.

MA-6 Fund design and implementation of Peace Street East streetscape from West to Person Streets.

MA-9 Expand the wayfinding system.

MA-10 Implement pedestrian and bicycle improvements along Person, Blount, and Pease Streets to connect dt to planned greenway connectors along Pigeon House Branch and Capital Blvd.

MA-14 Implement the Bikeshare program downtown (See also the Bicycle Plan Update.) grows. Contract executed. Artistic bike racks installed. Change order currently being routed to increase quantity of parking. Installation should be complete by Fall 2016.

MA-18 Fund the implementation of the South Park Heritage Trail and connect the walking route portion of the trail to other planned trails, including proposed Blount/Person Streets Heritage Walk, creating a multiple loop.

MA-21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28 Conduct a follow-up study to the Wake County Transit Investment Strategy that refines and finalizes transit operations and infrastructure investment details in downtown Raleigh and includes service improvements, such as route consolidation, increased frequency, upgraded passenger amenities, and real-time service information. The strategy includes Phase 2 Raleigh Union Station; currently, Phase 1 is funded.

Next Steps

MA-3, 4, 9, 13 Create a complete pedestrian network--with the appropriate wayfinding, and one that is well lit, fully accessible, generously sized, and visually attractive--to make accessing all of downtown on foot as safe, inviting, and convenient as possible. The network includes Blount and Person Streets, Hargett and Martin Streets from Raleigh Union Station to Moore Square to the Warehouse district southwest of Cabarrus Street at the Wye. Currently, sidewalks are budgeted. Downtown streetscapes are under regular assessment.

BA-22 Improve bicycle and pedestrian access points from Downtown to the Rocky Branch Greenway and Dorothea Dix Park.


Revitalization & Redevelopment

Realize downtown’s potential as a dynamic city-center neighborhood anchoring tourism, entertainment, and culture.


SA-7 Establish a clear strategy and guidelines for special events that utilize downtown streets and open space to minimize the impact to business owners and residents.

SA-12 Promote a more efficient use of land by studying appropriate zoning height designations. Amend the zoning map accordingly.

SA-17 Identify a toolkit for retail recruitment, such as a retail-specific fund that functions as a below-market interest loan or grant program that assists with construction and up-fit costs.

SA-5 Update standards for Private Use of Public Spaces (PUPS) to incorporate growing hospitality-related issues.


SA-1 Explore incentives to preserve important architecture.

SA-2, 3, 4 Establish design guidelines for districts, such as the Warehouse District, to guide architectural character of infill development. Use historic and adaptive reuse strategies to expand development while preserving downtown’s historic identity and areas of unique character, such as the Warehouse District. Revisit the local historic Depot District south of Martin Street.

BA- 25 Develop a strategy and funding plan for land acquisition and capital funding. Consider directing the proceeds from the disposition of City-owned sites into acquisition and public realm improvements.

SA-11, 24, 26, 32 Encourage the development of vacant and underbuilt sites in downtown and for each City-owned site that is for sale, refine a vision for future use and develop priorities for development, including the requirement for affordable/workforce housing in the development or provided nearby, identify the most appropriate disposition method, create a program for proactively marketing the site, and deploy necessary incentives.

SA-15 Redevelop Municipal block. Request for Qualifications for Civic Campus Master Plan has been released. A 12-18 month study is anticipated to begin in October 2016.

SA-16, 18, 19, 20 and LA-1, 8, 9, 14, 15 Create a robust retail environment downtown through the design of an economic development strategy that encompasses City Market, Shaw University, William Peace University, and the State of North Carolina that is customized to each district and various entities' needs. For instance, (1) expand the City's retail strategy to incorporate a toolkit for retail recruitment that includes a grocery store and authentic retail services that support downtown's growing residential, employee, and tourist population; (2) assist William Peace University with master plan for Seaboard Station and surrounding properties also owned by the University to maintain a local business emphasis and allow for future growth vitality of the retail area; and (3) work with Shaw University to attract retail development on campus property south of Moore Square. Consider specific locations for retail incentive areas with streetscape improvements and improved wayfinding, public art installations, and parklets. Also encourage galleries, food trucks, and mobile vendors to activate more isolated parts of the retail corridors.

SA-34 Attract additional hotels, preferably full service hotels to meet the demands of expanding tourism.

SA-10 Capitalize on Raleigh Union Station with transit-oriented development in the Warehouse District.

Next Step

LA-20 Partner with local artists groups to brand districts with significant public art in the public realm.

LA-13 Partner with Downtown Raleigh Alliance to update the brand for downtown in a way that is consistent with the vision of the Downtown Plan. [This is after City finalizes its brand.]

Network & Partner

Align with instructional, public, and private partners to bring downtown’s shared vision to life.


LA-11 Provide staff resources that can focus on implementation of the plan.


BA-28 Capture value from parks and public improvements by coordinating disposition of City-owned sites nearby public open spaces such as Moore Square, Nash Square, and Devereux Meadows, and Dorothea Dix Park.

SG-7 Develop Gateway Center to support a major regionally significant mixed-use development, tourist attraction and/or convention center expansion.

Next Steps

LA-1 Create a collaborative city and state partnership to assist NC DOA in developing a plan and program for the Capital District that will transform it into a vital connected mixed-use area.

Downtown Plan Advisory Committee

The Raleigh City Council has established the Downtown Plan Advisory Committee comprised of 28 members. The committee will serve as advisors in support of the new Downtown Plan. The committee consists of a wide range of residents representing a cross-section of interests.

The committee members are:

Chair Scott Cutler, Vice President, Clancy & Theys Construction Company

Co-Chair Anne S. Franklin, Community Organizer

Neighborhoods and Residents
Philip Bernard, Owner, Landscape Design and Consultation, Person Street Partnership
Sarah Powers, Executive Director, Visual Art Exchange
Ed Fritsch, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Highwoods Properties, Inc.
Jason Queen, Real Estate Developer and Founder, Raleigh Restoration Group, LLC
Sally Edwards, Executive Director, Marbles Kids Museum
Ann-Cabell Baum Anderson, President and Sales Manager, Glenwood Agency Real Estate
Greg Hatem, Founder, Empire Properties, Empire Eats
Jim Belt, Co-founder & President, Downtown Living Advocates
Dan Lovenheim, Owner, Cornerstone Tavern
Karla Salgado, Student, Broughton High School

Business, Industry, and Merchants
Pam Blondin, Owner, Deco Raleigh
Ashley Christensen, Chef-Owner, Ashley Christensen Restaurants
Sumit Vohra, Owner, Lonerider Brewing Company
Brooks Bell, CEO and Founder, Brooks Bell, Inc.
Bill Spruill, Founder, Global Data Consortium
Aly Khalifa, Owner, Gamil Design, Designbox
Paula Fryland, Regional President for Eastern Carolinas, PNC Financial Services
John Boylan, President, Spectrum Properties
R.W. (Bill) Mullins, Member, Centennial Authority, President, DSM, Inc.
Gregg Warren, President & CEO, DHIC, Inc.
Ed Wills, Owner/Operator, McDonald's

Harvey Schmitt, President, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
Denny Edwards, President, Greater Raleigh Visitors and Convention Bureau
Charles Lefler, Vice Chancellor, North Carolina State University
Lonnette Williams, Chair, Central CAC
Lloyd Williams, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Shaw University
David Diaz, President & CEO, Downtown Raleigh Alliance

Downtown Plan Sponsors

Downtown Plan Sponsors

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