The idea for transforming Durham's Downtown Loop began to crystallize last night as as group of developers and urban designers unveiled sketches of what such a metamorphosis would look like.
See related PDF
This version of the Loop plan has been updated, as of May 18.
In March, developers, including Church & Cleveland Partners, urban planners, the city, county and several downtown residents met to discuss the implications
of turning the Loop two-way. (This includes Roxboro and Mangum streets.) The project is estimated at $12 million on the low end
to $35 million for the gussied-up version, paid for by bonds and other creative financing methods.
Developers see possibilities for new buildings. Planners and businesses see a way to integrate the districts outside the Loop with the Central District Business District. The rest of us see opportunities to cross the street without the potential for being crushed by a speeding car.
In the most recent presentation, Cleveland & Church, which is leading the charge, identified five "catalytic projects," dead or comatose zones of bleak surface parking lots that could be revived. (Pages 10-14 of the pdf.)
These are—drum roll, please:
- Roxboro and Liberty streets, which is by the Durham County Public Library
- West Morgan and Mangum streets, near the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (it's eventually moving to West Main Street)
- West Morgan Street and Rigsbee Avenue, near the McDonald's
- West Morgan and Foster streets, near the Carolina Theatre, where a ginormous parking deck could have ground-floor retail
- And finally, West Chapel Hill Street storefronts and Convention Center upgrades, While technically inside the Loop, this stretch from Great Jones Street to Corcoran is one of the architecturally dismal places downtown. The huge Marriott wall, what essentially has become a museum to the Herald-Sun (the paper hasn't been downtown in years, recently moving from near 15-501 to a bank building near Northgate Mall).
Next week, the INDY is publishing a piece about the latest vision for the Loop. Readers, please chime in. Comment on this blog or send emails to email@example.com.
Headed to the Dead Zone of West Chapel Hill Street by the Marriott hotel and Durham Convention Center