Northgate officially closed today “due to Coronavirus impact”. Obviously not a surprise but I wonder how/why Northwood decided to shut it down now. They clearly didn’t buy it with the expectation that it would be a going concern. Perhaps it costs more to operate than I’m imagining? Anyway, we now await the redevelopment plan!
Initial elevation plans posted for Duke's new clinic space at Northgate. Looks like they 're going to tear down the former Mac'y and construct a new 3 story building at 223,000 square feet. Permit submitted to city in July. Sorry I could not get a clearer picture. Hopefully we hear something out of Northwood Ravin on whats going to happen to the rest of the space.
Good find Gib. Not really in love with this (does the Triangle really need more medical office complexes?) but assume that Northwood has been aware of these plans throughout and is crafting their plans accordingly. Would have liked to have one party in control of a master plan for the whole footprint for a variety of reasons — aesthetics, continuity, etc. Hopefully this is a catalyst for kicking off the remainder of the project.
I could be wrong, but I would guess that Northwood Ravin is a long way off from announcing a plan. Development, especially at this scale takes a LONG time in Durham. It is a testament to the strong economic conditions of the area that developers still want to go through the process.
I suspect you’re probably right, Dave, but would love to see them release indicative design plans sometime in 2021 a la CBC for the ATC expansion. Assume this will be phased based on the size of the project so perhaps that could put them on track to start some of the work in 2022.
Been playing around on Google Maps today. This is the current layout
but I think it could definitely be turned into a nice urban area like this
This would require a number of road reconfigurations, including the removal of both exits on the southwest quadrant of the interchange, but these would easily be replaced with slight modifications to the exits on the southeastern quadrant. I think this area could become a nice little development node, sort of like the 9th St area next to Duke East Campus.
Nice visualization, nicholas, thanks for sharing. The property has basically unlimited potential with its size, highway access, proximity to downtown and Duke. The only question is how big a bet Northwood is willing to make. Could easily see this being a “downtown north” type of destination if they have the right vision. In a way it will be easier to access this location than actual downtown once the connector is finished.
Speaking of the connector being finished. What does everyone think about removing 147 between the connector and I-85 (or at least tearing it down and building an urban street)? Seems like it will be redundant to have two freeways running so close to each other.
A lot of people seem to like the idea but I just can’t see it happening with DPAC and the Bulls stadium sitting directly next to 147. If anything, 147 would seem to be a candidate to be expanded as the primary artery into downtown.
The main idea that has been talked about is converting that section of 147 to a boulevard. Something like (probably not as wide as this, even, though):
1. Continue to allow throughput here.
2. Create space for residences, businesses and a whole walkable area along the sides of the boulevard, in space taken up by right-of-way, currently (and increases property tax income for the city in the meantime).
3. Make a better space for pedestrians, cyclists, etc.
4. Still maintain room for emergency vehicles.
5. Provide the potential for greenspace and public art, especially to celebrate Hayti, the community that was gutted by 147 when it was originally constructed.
I think DPAC especially would welcome this because it would create a new commercial district where patrons could go to eat a fancy dinner or get drinks before or after a show (the bulls try to create an all-encompassing experience, so it is less important for them, but creating a more vibrant area is probably also beneficial to bulls games).
In terms of WHERE 147 becomes a boulevard - that can be up for debate. If DPAC and the Bulls want to argue that it should continue to be a freeway all the way to Briggs or S. Alston st to help facilitate people from out of town still coming to events, I would be open to that discussion. After that, it would be only 1 mile to get to the stadium, and if it were a beautiful boulevard, I don't think people would mind a ton - plus it would be advertising for new restaurants along the boulevard as cars drove by.
My gut tells me NCDOT is the primary obstacle to a boulevard conversion. Low speeds and walkability are not high on their design priorities. In fact, I bet CBC would like the conversion with the ATC West development and the potential for more foot traffic and side trips off of the boulevard.
Received an email this morning that Northwood is hosting an update next Wednesday at 5PM and will be sharing preliminary visuals for the first time. While that’s obviously super exciting I was not particularly encouraged by some of the wording in the snippet below. Guess we will wait and see what they present. The website hasn’t been updated yet with the event info but hopefully it will be soon or I can try to repost the details when not on my phone.
“Northgate Mall has been closed since May and the redevelopment plan has changed in response to all that 2020 has brought. We are glad to be able to share the latest information - including some preliminary visual design plans and get your feedback.”
I have heard that the Northgate Mall Neighborhood Council has gummed up the works there. Now, whether that ends up being a good thing and the final result is better for it, remains to be seen, but I find it telling that the email came from a firm called "Engage + Create" - which appears to be an outside community engagement company.
Any elaboration on that comment Dave? Just not happy with what was proposed for the project, wanted affordable housing, more green space?
The timing of this is a bit surprising given that we were just discussing how long the lifecycle is for a project like this. Could read this as either they are very optimistic on the project and charging ahead despite 2020 issues or they just want to scale it back, get something done and sell it off. We’ll know a lot based just on the high level visuals they release.
Edit: Just wanted to point out that these Engage + Create folks have been involved for the community engagement piece even back when they were doing the initial in-person sessions.
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
Yeah, Engage + Create has been in charge of community engagement since the very beginning of the project; this is just another one of those sessions so it doesn't mean anything. They've done a good job facilitating the previous discussions I attended. I do find it a bit strange that there's no representative from the developer at these meetings; it's hard to tell how much impact community feedback actually has.
I too am eager to see how this is going to end up; I really was not encouraged by the last meeting that implied the "mixed use" aspect was being reduced.
Here is the photo I took of the preliminary site plan shared by Northwood. Like elevatoroperator, was very concerned about the talk of this no longer being a “mixed use” project but largely came away feeling good about the project plan.
Things I liked:
—Large central community park.
—Targeting 12 stories for office space facing 85 and same height for a new hotel along Gregson where the current entrance is located.
—Extensive discussion of landing a grocery store as an anchor. Said conversations are slow right now as many folks are paused on expansion but that seemed to be a very high priority. Also mentioned perhaps a Target.
Things I didn’t like:
—City apparently wants to limit the residential height to 50 feet in the first phase?! Ridiculous, developer asked for 75 and that seems beyond reasonable. They are redeveloping a vacant mall not building a tower in a residential community.
—Limited discussion of entertainment options. No movie theater which makes sense given the industry trend but would hope they incorporate something other than restaurants and bars.
Best comment of the night: someone asked whether there would still be a “cafeteria” in the new development.
Unspoken but they plan to leave the existing one story retail strip (Planet Fitness, etc) as is for the time being. Feels like possibly keeping that open as an option for future expansion since that’s one uninterrupted block of land on the outskirts of the footprint. At a minimum would expect some turnover/upgrade in the tenants there.
Look forward to hearing thoughts from Dave and others that were able to attend. Not sure if there was enough substance for Dave to do a post.