by Bob Geary
In all the debate over City Plaza (glass boxes? light towers? Jaume Plensa's pavilion?), let's not forget that the main point of the thing for Raleigh was to complete the re-conversion of Fayetteville Street from a mall back to a functioning street that connects the Capitol and the Progress Energy Center. The problem: There's a parking deck under the "plaza" midway down (in the 400 block), and the deck wasn't built -- back in the '70s -- with enough reinforcement for street traffic to run over top of it. And practically the whole block, including where the street used to be, was privately owned. (Why would a city do that? Don't ask.)
But now, it's all settled -- the city will reinforce the deck, finish the street, and the glass boxes "retail pavilions" will be installed and operated by the property owners. Raleigh's cost: an estimated $14.8 million. Groundbreaking today.