Development Beat: Major Work Wednesday

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The stairwell's interior prior to the construction of the fence

Brought to you by Rufty-Peedin Design Build

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Major/Minor Work Wednesday is a semi-regular feature that takes a look at recently filed applications with the Raleigh Historic Development Commission. 

The City of Raleigh appears to have taken a page from Donald Trump’s playbook.

In an effort to keep out intoxicated bar-goers and other undesirables, the City has built a big, beautiful fence in front of the entrance to the P1 sub-grade level of the Moore Square Parking Deck.

Probably the worst photo I've ever taken for this site, but you can see the fence in the background

James Borden

Probably the worst photo I’ve ever taken for this site, but you can see the fence in the background

According to the application, which appears to have been filed after the construction was completed:

“The purpose of the fence is to deny access to stairs except to customers which park in the P1 level….the stairwell base and surrounding area is often used as a bathroom and for other unwanted activity by bar customers.”

I’m not 100 percent on what they mean by “other unwanted activity by bar customers,” but I imagine it has something to do with putting the “busy” in “Busy Bee,” if you catch my drift.

The application states that the entrance is located between the vehicle exit drive for the parking deck and the Busy Bee Cafe, although we don’t think it’s fair to imply the parking deck revelers come exclusively or even at all from the Busy Bee.

Besides, there’s another bar located between the Busy Bee and the entrance — Slim’s.

Look, I love Slim’s — I don’t even drink anymore and I still like hanging out there — but if someone were to ask “Which bar’s patrons do you think are using the parking deck as a bathroom/”unwanted activity” area, Slim’s or Busy Bee?” I think the answer is pretty obvious.

Either way, the fence got built, and Raleigh taxpayers paid for it. It’s described in the application as a “commercial grade fence and door/gate constructed of T5 alloy, finished in black with an advanced powder coating process.”

It’s eight feet tall, a height that is “required as a safety measure to prevent injuries to trespassers attempting to climb over a fence of less height.”

The fence in place at Moore Square

The fence in place at Moore Square

I’m not sure about this one; if you’re drunk an determined enough to break into the stairwell of a parking garage, of all places, does it matter if the fence is six feet or eight feet?

The real deterrent, of course, is that an eight-foot fence comes up nearly to the top of the brick and concrete entryway. Basically you’d need to be the Chinese acrobat from Ocean’s 11 to make it in there.

The gate itself will be “equipped with a mechanical lock which can be opened with a four-digit code to be provided only to those who park in the P1 level.”

The application didn’t contain a whole lot more information beyond the site photos we included above, and a page from the fence manufacturer, Ultra Fencing & Railing.

As far as manufacturers of industrial, commercial and residential fencing go, they have a pretty decent website and an enjoyable “Why Choose Our Company” section:

The love affair with ornamental fencing began hundreds of years before Ultra was started. Metal fence was beautiful, majestic, and made from a material that was destined to rust and crumble — iron. As good as the coatings technologies evolved through the ages, nothing could protect that fragile metal from deteriorating.

Along comes Ultra Aluminum and their concept for architecturally appealing fence that would withstand the tortures of weather, pollution, chemicals and savage environments. Ultra started with humble beginnings in 1996 and a desire to replicate the intricate details of historic ornamental iron fences, only using materials that would end up being stronger, and stand up to the torturous variations of the environment with long lasting durability. At Ultra, we push everything to the edge, and choose our materials and components in support of that quest.

“Savage environment” is probably a fair description of what sub-level P1 of the Moore Square Parking Deck was like at 2:30 a.m. on a Saturday without the fence/gate in place, so it sounds like the City picked the right company for the job.

The stairwell's interior prior to the construction of the fence

The stairwell’s interior prior to the construction of the fence


2 thoughts on “Development Beat: Major Work Wednesday

  1. The problem comes from the CAT customers. Both Slim’s and Busy Bee have bathrooms. Daylight hours are when the trouble occurs, long before the bars are open. As the owner of Slim’s and someone who rents a space in that part of the deck, I actually see it happening on a regular basis.