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Exclusive first look: Stakeholders share their vision for development potential.
“I feel more optimistic about the street than I have in a while,” says Bill King—whose vantage point as Downtown Raleigh Alliance president and CEO is clearly in-the-know. “And I really do think you’re going to see Fayetteville Street start to look a bit different over the course of 2023 compared to 2022 and earlier.”
Since our viral story announcing the street’s resurgence last summer, Fayetteville Street has already seen major improvements and an uptick in foot traffic, especially with the addition of Raleigh’s first social district and such mass activations as Illuminate.
And major players like Fayetteville Street stakeholder Thomas “Skip” Hill are working tirelessly toward that goal. “We want to invest and make this the coolest street—certainly in North Carolina, but in the Southeast and beyond,” says the Highwoods Properties senior VP. “We’re all in soup to nuts, and we want to play a role in coordination with the City of Raleigh.”
Now, propelling that vision, a slew of concepts and activations are on deck—from signed leases to master plans. Here, 10 major updates coming to Raleigh’s Main Street.
Ink Is Dry
This colorful mercado-style taqueria ever so subtly announced its second location on Fayetteville Street by placing two ceramic Chido Taco mugs in the window of the former Living Kitchen space. The new 3,000-square-foot restaurant, slated to open toward the end of Q1, will feature the same menu as the original Chido Taco in McNeil Pointe—and, yes, you’ll be able to take drinks to-go.
HUBB Kitchens Partnership
Giving minority and female food & beverage entrepreneurs a leg up is this new training program from HUBB Kitchens, Raleigh Founded and DRA. Expected to start up this summer in a restaurant space at Duke Energy Center before moving to the former Pizza La Stella location Downtown, the concept will train future business owners on cooking skills and the business of running a restaurant, as well as provide mentorship and financing help. It’s also a win-win for those who work/live Downtown, as it’ll add a new lunch option (!). “Being able to provide that, but also make it have an equity impact, is really important to us,” says King.
After DTR’s Plaza Cafe owners announced its closure, two Triangle-transplant business partners out of California snatched up the space to open Nepalese concept Mustang House. Look for the spot to open any day now in a lightly refreshed space.
Mobile TV Screen
Clearly, Raleighites dig live sports viewing—see the throngs of people who descended on Moore Square to watch the live FIFA World Cup Final via giant mobile TV screen. Now, the city has acquired that massive mobile screen and is evaluating the logistics of live City Plaza screenings of the NCAA tournament, ACC tournament, hockey games and the like.
Economic Development RFP
The City of Raleigh is funding an RFP asking national firms to submit proposals for attractions and activations that would promote economic development Downtown (think: retail strategies, position of the DT office market, and supporting minority- and women-owned businesses)—to, in essence, “make Downtown, and Raleigh, great again,” says Hill.
In the Works
Sir Walter Coffee
Owner Kevin Frazier confirmed Sir Walter Coffee is very close to signing a lease for the former B.GOOD space at Charter Square—one of four towers Highwoods owns on Fayetteville Street. In the “hip Panera,” as Frazier calls it, expect a slightly bigger breakfast and lunch menu of fresh salads, sandwiches & soups—plus a separate bar and potential for a light dinner menu. If signed, Frazier hopes to open this year.
Alexander Square Parking Deck
In addition to the rollup garage doors and other upgrades Highwoods is making as part of the redevelopment of the deck’s ground-floor space we intro’d last summer, the company is also planning to upfit with outdoor dining and food concepts (think sushi, sandwiches, ice cream).
Wells Fargo Building Concept
Hill says the lease is very close to being signed for the former Cafe Carolina space—closed since 2017—on a great full-service restaurant from a local hospitality group known for its collection
Visionary Hill’s, well, vision is to “have lights on every tree all the way down Fayetteville Street,” he says. “In fact, we’d love to have it so that the lighting is tied to a sound system and the lights go dancing on and off based on the music.”
Empire Properties Concept
The now-defunct CVS space at 200 Fayetteville St. looks to be a big talker in the near future as Greg Hatem and co. revamp the space with a new concept. Stay tuned.
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