Raleigh, North Carolina (2004)

Client: State of North Carolina, State Property Office

Placemaking Plan for an area of Blount Street.

The Blount Street Neighborhood in downtown Raleigh is a significant historic neighborhood approximately 20 acres in size. The State of North Carolina owns a large amount of land in the area, and has found that rather than use it strictly for office space, it will be more valuable to the city as a redevelopment site. The area represents an opportunity to attract new residents, offices, and retail to a downtown mixed-use neighborhood.

Project for Public Spaces served on the Development Advisory Team that created redevelopment guidelines which will provide direction to perspective developers who will be purchasing the land from the state. HDR lead the advisory team, which also included John Milner Architects and Real Estate Research Consultants. The team worked with the City Planning Department to develop guidelines that reflect ideas from a process that revolved around market research efforts, a community-based “Placemaking” and real estate developer roundtables where the potential for redeveloping Blount Street was looked at through the eyes of the people who live and work there.

During the process, various stakeholders were requested to look at the “ground floor” of the potential neighborhood – streets, sidewalks, parks, buildings, vacant sites, and public spaces – and evaluate how they could invite greater interaction between people while fostering a healthier, more sociable and economically viable place. Stakeholders also presented the types of development and the character of the new infill they would like to see built.

The team developed a set of guidelines that included:

  • General Guidelines overall redevelopment concepts;
  • FoR Guidelines for designated areas that have a common form and/or use;
  • Urban Area Guidelines to be applied to mixed-use, higher density areas
  • Historic Area Guidelines recommendations for the disposition and restoration of historic properties; and
  • Public Spaces Ideas for creating lively community places.

An aerial view of the Blount Street neighborhood.

The guidelines will allow Blount Street to become a mixed-use neighborhood where the former residences are restored and converted to predominately residential use, and the remainder of the land is developed primarily for residential purposes, including a mixture of single family and multifamily.