On Monday, City Council approved a new budget – bringing with it a number of taxpayer-sponsored capital improvement projects. Somewhere among the $754 million in expenditures, the city found the money to fund a number of large-scale, long-awaited capital improvement projects. Let’s take a look at a few of the bigger ones:
The city plans to complete construction on the $55.6 million Downtown Remote Operations Center – which will actually be located just north of the Beltline off of Raleigh Boulevard. Site work for the 174,660-square-foot facility began in October 2013 and is scheduled to wrap up in the spring of 2015.
Another major project, the $71 million Critical Public Safety Facility, is scheduled to break ground nearby at the corner of North Raleigh Boulevard and Brentwood Road. Current plans have the facility opening in March of 2016, which is expected to cost about $900,000 a year to operate.
Work will also begin on the first phase of downtown’s Union Station, planned for West Martin Street. The city is funding $6 million of the $66.25 million project. Phase one will relocate passenger rail service from the Cabarrus Street station to the Dillon Supply Company Warehouse.
While later stages of the project will enable Union Station to also serve as the city’s central bus hub, it is unlikely the facility will be able to replicate the unique beauty and alluring aromas that are synonymous with present-day hub Moore Square.
Drivers should keep an eye out for the 10 major street improvement projects scheduled for FY 2015, ranging from the $150,000 renovation of New Hope Road to the $13.8 million widening of Mitchell Mill Road. Perhaps most significant, downtown denizens will now have the option of heading both west and east on Jones and Lane streets thanks to a $1 million two-way conversion of the roads.
The previously reported upon and long-gestating Lower Longview Lake Dam project is set to receive the $1.8 million in funding required to rehabilitate the area. The project will increase the dam’s capacity and re-open Albermarle Avenue, which was closed due to a structural failure in the dam.
The city issued permits last week for the six-story, 203-unit Link Apartments at Glenwood South, located in the heart of Raleigh’s Hyrulian district. Designed by Cline Design Associates, the wood-framed structure has, oddly enough, not adopted the Triforce as its signature logo. However, a grungy, bearded old man will wait in the lobby, warning residents before they leave that “It’s dangerous to go alone!”
Yes, that was one big Legends of Zelda reference. And no, I won’t apologize.
Updates to the Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins on Capital Boulevard just north of the 440 interchange has led to the store’s temporary closure, forcing its regulars to travel a grueling mile and a half down the road to the chain’s nearest location.
Journeys to the Crabtree Mall made by shoe-shoppers hoping to Payless for some serious Footaction will soon have a new option in the form of Zumiez, a shop that appears to specialize in skater shoes, most of which will likely be found buried in the dark recesses of their owner’s closets and Footlockers upon graduating from high school.
A resident of the Five Points neighborhood is spending about $8,000 for a shingle replacement project; it is unknown at this time whether the shingle damage is related to the bear sighting from earlier this week. Police have set out a series of honeypots and picnic baskets in hopes of capturing the unctuous, urban Ursidae, but to no avail.
A new front has opened up in the never-ending battle between man and gravity, this time in the North Raleigh townhome development of Highland Creek. Taw Development Inc. is paying Sitescapes LLC almost $900,000 to construct a series of retaining walls, which allow for artificial grading of the land by preventing the retained material – dirt, mostly – from giving in to gravity’s seductive ways.
In the shortest Planning Commission meeting of this column’s tenure – it ran for less than 10 minutes – Commissioners managed to address three issues in near-record time.
The first was zoning case Z-12-14, which would allow an existing bail bonds business to continue operating; it is currently in violation of zoning regulations. The case was explored earlier and in more depth by the Committee of the Whole, and after hearing a report, the Commissioners voted to recommend that City Council approve the rezoning.
The second item, master plan amendment TC-2-14, dealt with sign restrictions and the Unified Development Ordinance, both of which have become issues of contention in recent months. The amendment allows for signage amendments at the staff level, and Commissioners voted unanimously to recommend approval.
The final item was Z-35-13, a controversial case concerning the dormitory-style development on Hillsborough Street named Meredith Heights. Commissioners voted to allow for a 60-day time extension on the request.