I never weighed in on this earlier but these plans are a major disappointment. The site plan turns its back on the neighborhood, disregards any opportunity to tie into the existing grid, and seems to encourage everyone to arrive by car. These kinds of completely internalized mixed use developments are such enormous missed opportunities and end up just being somewhat denser suburban-style strip malls with more mixed use, rather than feeling integrated with the existing community, or encouraging surrounding areas to urbanize or expand the walkable district. What a letdown.
I don’t think there really IS a publicly available site plan at this point. Literally the only images that have been shared are the draft site overview from the public engagement session in September 2020 and now the rendering from the Northwood website (which may or may not even be current). So we are pretty much left to grasp at straws and speculate wildly.
I highly value the idea of the community providing input for what the area needs, but I have to imagine that demanding specific thresholds for affordable housing, affordable commercial space, etc gums up the project. If this was a true PPP (Public Private Partnership), then the City of Durham could take these recommendations, help subsidize some of the goals, and Northwood Ravin would move forward. But imposing requirements that hurt the feasibility of the project without a path towards financing those initiatives MAY be slowing this project down.
All of this is pure speculation on my part. I can just imagine the complexity that has been thrown into an already complex project.
This is exactly the kind of thing that will turn developers away from pursuing future projects in Durham. The suggested actions of preemptively rezoning the property or enforcing eminent domain (on what basis?) are extreme. Frankly it seems that the position of the community association will lead to both (i) very few, if any, of their demands being met and (ii) the likelihood that this project will be much less than its potential. I’m actually a bit annoyed that they map out such an impractical ask and then place the blame on Northwood for not accommodating.
This is a fascinating letter. In my mind, these recommendations are so extreme that they could seriously hurt the credibility of the Walltown Community Association with the city. I have no idea how the mayor and city council will end up reacting though.
It's not only that this direction would turn developers away from future Durham projects, but it also makes me wonder about the viability of small, local developers who can't afford long, drawn out battles.
A separate development proposal, case Z2000023 called 'Rosewalk', is planned for the corner of West Club Blvd and North Duke Street, and includes a rezoning for Residential Multifamily on 7.76 acres that would allow up to 275 units. That's 30+ units per acre.
This is one block east of Northgate, on the other side of the Hampton Inn that faces I-85. It includes the entire block of N Duke Street between Club and I-85.
This is the kind of residential density we need to see in Durham, in a place that seems appropriate for it.
It is currently scheduled to go to the Planning Commission July 13.
Good find. Think we will probably see a good amount of development along that stretch with the proposed Northgate redevelopment. Dave posted previously that there is a mixed use building proposed for the empty lot by the bus station across the street. Excited to see what happens here over the next few years.
If memory serves me correctly, this is not the first time Rosewalk has gone to the planning commission. I believe it passed in whatever previous form it was in, so hopefully that's a good sign for this iteration. I don't know what happened to the project after its previous planning commission hearing. It may have even gone to city council and gotten approval, too?
Looks like some things have changed. They've acquired 2 more acres so that the assemblage now fronts Duke St, and they're now seeking triple the density. The previous proposal was for a max of 10 units/acre.
Yeah I imagine the demolition/site prep phase will be a fairly sizable undertaking in its own right. Hub RTP is probably the best comparison locally and they’ve already been working for a year plus. And they were starting from a blank slate without having to deal with a large existing structure.
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
Here is the initial footprint that I found posted elsewhere. I’m not at all skilled in interpreting such things so will have to wait for some actual renderings for it to make sense to me. One thing I’m concerned about is the green space aspect of this project. Hopefully that piece is the narrow rectangle in the middle.
Zooming in, some of that text is too blurry to read, unfortunately. There may be a lot of good in this plan, but this particular image shows a lot of parking lots fronting streets like Club, which I don't love.
There are some cool small-scale developments happening along Club and it is too bad that the actual club corridor will have one side of the street be just parking lots (except maybe on the corner of Buchanan and Club??)
In reply to this post by Dave @ Building Bull City
Yeah I really wish we had a higher resolution version of this. The one I posted was pulled from a Twitter feed and linked to a dead end. Do you know where that would be housed or how to request from the City?
The Club Blvd issue is really challenging because all three of the major pieces of land on that side are already locked in. The existing parking deck and bank are slated to remain in place and obviously Duke is building the new medical center in place of the Macy’s building. If Northwood controlled the entire site perhaps you see a sort of big main entrance running from Club straight through the existing Macy’s footprint. As it stands, their hands were a bit tied.
Anyway there will obviously be some criticism of this project, both valid and not. I’m looking forward to seeing some visual representations of what the project will look like now that the site plan has been established.