Partnerships News

Person Street Partnership (PSP) Winter Meeting, March 9, 2015 - - Minutes

posted Mar 10, 2015, 5:28 AM by Philip Bernard

Philip Bernard welcomed an impressive turnout of 31 people to the meeting. Our quarterly meetings at the NC AIA Headquarters building on Peace Street continue to attract an important mix of business and property owners, City staff, neighborhood advocates, and others interested in the continued positive growth of North Person Street. 

 

New Business Updates and North Person Street News

 

  • Philip reported that City Vet is now open. Owners Jackie and Patrick McCrory thanked the neighborhood for its warm welcome.

 

  • Philip has been unable to make contact with the owners of the tequila bar that is set to open next to Pie Bird. He did talk with the owners of Custom Engraving and learned that the bar is on schedule to open this month.

     

  • Becky Wofford-Waehner has had to close Anvil, her jewelry business, due to health issues. Philip recognized her support of the PSP and her hosting one of the PSP Holiday Open Houses. The space originally contained two stylists in the back who will remain, and the jewelry/gallery area is being renovated to offer additional salon services.

 

  • John Holmes of Hobby Properties has reported that Standard Foods should open in about a month. In addition to the restaurant, there will also be a very affordable neighborhood grocery store. Co-owner Scott Crawford plans to have a butcher who will bring in whole animals, break them down onsite and pass the savings along to the customer. There will also be a fishmonger.  

 

  • Renovations at Person Street Pharmacy have been slowed by a change in the contractor but still on track. Dana Deaton noted that the pharmacy counter update is completed, and the café should reopen this spring. The pharmacy has been moved to the center of the building, and a small clinic will be opened in the back. The owner is also renovating the basement to provide space for small offices.  

     

  • Peace Street Townes are nearing completion.

 

  • The owners of the barber shop building continue to talk with potential tenants.

 

  • Vannity Salon on Wake Forest is offering discounts to Mordecai residents and handed cards out to the group.

 

  • The holiday light ball project was a big success as businesses in the Person Street Plaza were visually joined to those on Person Street. Special thanks go to Philip Bernard and the folks at the Village of Pilot Mill for coordinating the installation.

 

  • All residents are invited to the fourth Tuesday PSP socials at The Station, which provides light refreshments free of charge. This is a great opportunity to network with other PSP stakeholders in a less formal atmosphere. 

 

  • The North Person Street business district continues to be a vibrant mix of locally owned businesses.

 

 

North Person Street Logo Development

 

PSP graphic design volunteer Heather Nixon has developed several logo designs that were reviewed at the PSP fall meeting. Initial feedback indicated that there should be one logo for the North Person Street area and a variation of that logo for the PSP. Philip will seek additional feedback from North Person Street business owners, and Heather will present revised logos at the spring meeting.

 

PSP communications head Dana Deaton will begin to develop a North Person Street web site to provide information for new and ongoing visitors on local businesses, upcoming events, etc. Business owners will also be able to find information on policies and procedures (such as special event permits) and PSP contact information.

 

 

Permits for Food Trucks, Amplified Sound, Signage and Special Events

 

Martha Lobo, zoning inspector from the Raleigh City Inspections Department provided a quick reference guide on permitting for food trucks. (Link to her handout.) She noted that there are different policies for food trucks and food carts. 

 

Martha also reported that there is currently a moratorium on permits for outdoor amplified sound as the city works through some issues with these requests. The Person Street Bar has a provisional permit for amplified sound that will be in effect until a longer-term permit is available through the city. A representative from Governor’s Square noted concerns with the frequency, timing and volume of amplified sound in the business district. Philip encouraged residents to contact business owners or the PSP to discuss these concerns.
For more information about food truck permits or any type of inspection or permit questions, please feel free to contact Martha who will be happy to direct you to the correct source of info. Her mobile number is 919-278-6209. 

 

 

Special Events – North Person Street

 

Martha reported that the city has created a new office to deal with the closure of streets for special events. Philip noted that several years ago, businesses were able to close Franklin Street on a regular basis for special events. As more businesses opened in the Person Street Plaza, any closure of Franklin Street reduced access to the new businesses as well as parking space. At first, the PSP suggested that Franklin Street no longer be closed for any event, but North Person Street businesses suggested that they wanted some flexibility and decided to coordinate with each other to jointly plan more infrequent closures that benefitted all businesses that would be affected by a closure.

 

Recently, the Raleigh City Farm has investigated the possibility of holding a weekly farmers’ market on Thursdays from 4-7pm by closing Franklin Street. Local merchants were reluctant to potentially lose their limited parking spaces to farmers’ market customers. William Peace University had originally indicated some willingness to provide a location for the market on the Delway Street connector but then reconsidered the offer. The fitness center has a large parking lot, but 4-7pm is one of their peak periods and they have been hesitant in the past to utilize their lot for extra events. At this time, the Raleigh City Farm has been encouraged to hold off on closing Franklin Street on a weekly basis. They do, however, want to close the end of Franklin Street on April 18, Earth Day, to provide live music and special events.

 

Philip will put together a small taskforce of Franklin Street businesses, the Raleigh City Farm, Hobby Properties, etc., to look at the future of special events. Could we expand the business district north to include the funeral home, the Mordecai Historic Park and businesses along Wake Forest? The Salvation Army has a large parking lot in that area. When North Person Street becomes open to two-way traffic, that may allow the business district to expand further north.

 

The PSP is continuing to work with the city on the downtown Raleigh plan. Part of that discussion has been to ask for more parking, perhaps through a public/private partnership that could develop a large lot or parking garage.

 

 

Ongoing PSP role in North Person Street: Mission Statement

 

The PSP is beginning its fifth year. Many of the items on the original vision statement written in 2010 have been achieved as stated:
Over the next five years, the Person Street Partnership will actively seek to build momentum for positive growth and change in the Person Street business district by bringing together the area's business and property owners, City Council and staff, real estate agents and developers, adjacent downtown neighborhoods, Peace College, and other interested stakeholders who wish to see Person Street flourish as a vibrant neighborhood oriented restaurant, retail, and residential district with ample parking and an attractive pedestrian friendly streetscape that it connected to greater downtown by adequate transit and pedestrian connections. 

We need, however, to continue to focus on:
  • Providing ample parking

  • Creating attractive, pedestrian-friendly streetscapes

  • Connecting to downtown and other districts by adequate transit and pedestrian connections

  • Branding North Person Street as Raleigh's most popular downtown neighborhood business district

 

The PSP can continue its role as a mediator, a clearinghouse and a catalyst to help business owners connect to each other, City Council and staff, and other entities that can help North Person Street maintain its vibrant, neighborhood-oriented retail, restaurant and residential districts.

 

Philip noted that he met last Fall with Eric Lamb from the City Transportation Office. Making Person Street two-way is now on the drawing board but is part of the city’s extensive “to do” list. Eric has promised to contact the PSP, Mordecai CAC and Oakwood when he’s ready to show some proposals.

 

Kim Gazella and Damon Vaughn were introduced as co-chairs of the Mordecai Citizens Advisory Council. The group meets on the second Tuesday at the Mordecai Historic Park’s Visitor’s Center at 7:30. PSP partners are welcome and encouraged to attend the meeting tomorrow night.

Remarks from Sir Walter Raleigh Awards Ceremony on September 2, 2014

posted Sep 3, 2014, 5:47 AM by Philip Bernard

Following are remarks made during the Sir Walter Raleigh awards ceremony at the Contemporary Art Museum:

This next award is in the Public Service category and goes to the Person Street Partnership for its project titled The Revitalization of North Person Street. Partners in the partnership are:
North Person Street business and property owners
Raleigh City Council and Staff
Mordecai CAC and Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood                                                                                                     Raleigh City Farm, Mordecai Historic Park, and Mordecai Market
Urban Design Center and NC State School of Design
NC AIA Building and Staff and William Peace University
The Village at Pilot Mill and Downtown Raleigh Alliance
 

In just four years, The Person Street Partnership (PSP) has revitalized the North Person Street business district from a lackluster row of sparsely occupied and boarded up buildings to one of USA Today’s “top 10” up and coming business neighborhoods in the country.

In 2010, the PSP began revitalization by conducting quarterly meetings at the Urban Design Center which featured knowledgeable speakers, City staff, and an agenda geared towards building positive momentum in the district. The PSP hosted design/visioning workshops with student and professional architects and annual holiday open houses displaying their results.

With the slogan “Building a Better Person”, the PSP has created a strong North Person Street brand which encourages property owners like Hobby Properties to renovate vacant buildings that now attract trend setting restaurants and shops.  Long neglected, the corner barbershop received a community makeover and is now under contract. The Raleigh City Farm tends new crops on once vacant land and businesses old and new attract new life to the street. The Station restaurant brings a vintage gas station back to life and new live/work spaces at Peace Street Townes are under construction.

Encouraged by the PSP, City Council funded the Blount Person Street corridor study. Phase One has been funded and includes a three block, partial two-way conversion of Person Street which will improve better visibility and safer access for businesses.

The PSP posts updates to its partners, neighbors, and media contacts and updates its Facebook page daily.  Annually, it decorates Person Street with a Holiday Light Ball display, attracting visitors from around the city.

Currently,  PSP meetings at the AIA building address continued revitalization, façade and streetscape improvements and, as part of the new Downtown Plan’s Person Street/Seaboard District, advocates for better pedestrian and bicycle connections to Seaboard Station and the other downtown districts.
No one gave acceptance speeches, but special thanks go to Sarah Roholt, Dana Deaton, and Naudain Machen for their support and expertise in making the Person Street Partnership meetings, outreach, social media, and special events go so smoothly.






Letter Sent to WPU Trustees

posted May 21, 2013, 8:40 AM by Philip Bernard   [ updated May 21, 2013, 8:43 AM ]

The following letter was sent to WPU Trustees:

May 21, 2013

Dear Trustees of William Peace University,

 

We represent the neighborhood organizations surrounding William Peace University (WPU) and the nearby Seaboard Station shopping center. We understand that WPU is attempting to purchase Seaboard Station and are alarmed by this prospect because we believe that such a move could pose tremendous risks for current and future Seaboard tenants as well as for WPU. We respectfully ask that you carefully reconsider your bid to purchase Seaboard Station and join us in a search for a more appropriate owner because:

 

·         We could risk losing our wonderful shopping center!

·         We could see the businesses and jobs of these merchants and their nearly 300 employees put at risk.

·         We could see the City of Raleigh risk losing income from property and sales taxes and privilege licenses that will affect all Raleigh taxpayers.

·         We could see our local university risk making a multi-million-dollar mistake that would compromise its future.

 

In recent years, Seaboard Station has become a vibrant, popular destination for Raleigh residents, visitors, downtown employees and the neighboring communities. As residents who have invested in this neighborhood, we recognize that William Peace University is a vital part of our neighborhood. We have a true interest in the university’s current and future success, but we have a stronger interest in ensuring the vitality of this dynamic downtown shopping center that has contributed greatly to our quality of life.

 

In a recent meeting with President Debra Townsley, we understand that WPU officials have not had conversations with current Seaboard merchants due to confidentiality agreements. But we have listened to the merchants’ concerns and would like you to consider the following points:

·         The combined Seaboard Station tracts have an estimated value of more than $14 million, a significant investment for any purchaser to consider.

·         This land contains a successful shopping center filled with 14 thriving independent businesses and 11 neighboring businesses. It has become a bustling destination that anchors the north end of downtown Raleigh and is not only a boon to nearby residential neighborhoods and downtown employees, but also makes WPU more attractive to potential students, faculty and staff. It would be important for the purchaser to maintain the center’s viability and future growth.

·         The reason Seaboard Station is a success now is because passionate, talented, dedicated business men and women have set up businesses believing they will be there for many years and that their businesses will continue to grow with the downtown area.  The purchaser of the center should continue this passion and dedication.

 

If WPU is the successful bidder, the neighbors and tenants believe this could change. Given WPU’s stated long-term need for dormitories, athletic fields and parking, it would completely alter the character of the center, even if you maintain the retail section as an income-producing investment. If existing parking spaces are eliminated, the stores will be hurt. And without prospects for additional retail growth to attract shoppers, the atmosphere will be one of uncertainty, not of optimism.

 

The tenants have explained to us that serious merchants cannot develop their businesses in temporary quarters. Our fear is that they will gradually look for other locations, and no one will want to take their place. Once the storefronts begin to empty, fewer people will go to Seaboard, and other businesses will fail. The result could cause a rapid downward spiral and consequently, WPU would have a big, empty shopping center that is earning no rent, but is still costing taxes, insurance, maintenance and loan payments. 

 

Obviously, WPU is not ready to develop the Seaboard tracts right now; WPU has undeveloped land and still owes money for building projects recently completed or in the works. We understand that WPU wants to buy Seaboard as an income-producing investment that it will develop at some point in the future. This long-term plan is the reason that WPU apparently would be willing to pay more than the market value for this shopping center. However, this purchase carries great risk for WPU.

 

As trustees for an urban university, you have a leadership responsibility to your adjacent neighborhoods and to the future economic vitality of the City of Raleigh. The City is developing long-term transit plans that include the Seaboard area, as well as revitalizing the Capital Boulevard corridor and the Peace-Blount-Person Street area. We wish that you would join with us and the City of Raleigh in a collaborative spirit which will allow us to all work together to strengthen our community and find solutions that accomplish your goals as well as ours.

 

Again, we ask that you seriously reconsider and withdraw from any attempts to purchase Seaboard Station for an income stream or expansion of the University.  Instead, we ask that you support our neighborhoods in our quest to retain Seaboard Station as a fully functional downtown retail shopping center with the goal of expanding to include more businesses and residential development for professionals who wish to live and shop downtown. We encourage you to pursue other options for your expansion and allow other buyers whose goals are more consistent with the success and expansion of a popular downtown shopping center to purchase Seaboard Station.

 

Sincerely,

 

Philip Bernard and Sarah Roholt, organizers of Person Street Partnership

Brad Carpenter and Kim Gazella, Co-Chairs, Mordecai Citizens Advisory Council

Barry Kitchener, President, and Matthew Brown, Community Development Chair,

            The Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood

Carole Meyre, Five Points resident

 

 

cc:  Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane

        Raleigh City Council

        Seaboard Station Merchants

        111 Seaboard/York Properties

 

Logan’s Trading Company

Downtown Raleigh Alliance

Raleigh Downtown Living Advocates

Raleigh Housing Authority

 

 

       

 

               

 

Special Person Street Partnership (PSP) Report: William Peace University (WPU) and Seaboard Station

posted May 21, 2013, 4:20 AM by Philip Bernard   [ updated May 23, 2013, 4:58 AM ]

The following report is an in depth summary of the PSP’s involvement and analysis of the WPU/Seaboard Station issue. There is a summary at the end of this document that condenses the information contained within this report and provides a final synopsis and recommendation.    

WPU - - A Valued PSP Stakeholder

Since the inception of the PSP over two years ago, we have worked with current business and property owners, stakeholders, and future businesses in the Person Street business district. I have worked with John Cranham, WPU VP of Grounds and Maintenance on several initiatives that would enhance the business and neighborhood environment around WPU which includes both the Person Street business district and shops at Seaboard Station. John and I attended a due diligence meeting with Raleigh City Planning officials to discuss a potential parking area off Blount Street owned by WPU that would be shared by the University and businesses on Person Street. We also discussed the idea of establishing a pedestrian walk-way which would reconnect the Person Street business district and the shops of Seaboard Station. This new walkway would follow the old Franklin Street right of way but connect more directly to the section of Franklin Street leading into the heart of Seaboard Station. A third idea discussed was a special outdoor event hosted by WPU on their back lawn for their faculty, staff and students and the surrounding neighborhoods. Thoughts on the event included having food trucks and a variety of other activities with the idea that a special annual event could begin.


Our Meeting with WPU and Neighborhood Leaders

After the news broke that the owner of Seaboard Station was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and that WPU was keenly interested in purchasing the Seaboard properties, we have attempted to gain as much information as possible about this complex situation. I attended the public hearing at City Council where WPU’s request for tax exempt bonds required a vote of approval from Council. While the bonds were not directly related to the purchase of Seaboard, the timing of the two activities was unsettling to many and we issued a statement from the PSP to ask that WPU explain to neighborhood leaders their plans for campus expansion and intentions regarding Seaboard Station. When Council delayed the public hearing by one month to give WPU and neighborhood leaders time to meet, I worked with WPU’s public relations firm to set up a meeting where President Debra Townsley could openly dialogue with leaders from the Mordecai CAC, The Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood, and the PSP.

I attended this meeting with Sarah Roholt, a PSP organizer and Piebird owner George Duncan as representatives from the PSP. In a brief power point presentation, Dr. Townsley clearly stated WPU’s goals to rebrand their university and what it would require for them to survive in the competitive world of four year co-ed schools. In regard to their purchase of Seaboard Station, she emphasized that WPU has embraced the current model of “campus beyond gates” where colleges and universities purchase retail and restaurant centers adjacent to their campuses. Dr. Townsley emphasized that WPU wanted to purchase Seaboard to “preserve” the shopping center, protect it from being acquired by other less well intended developers, and to provide an income stream for the University.

As our round table discussion began, a primary theme that emerged was that of poor communication and public relations by WPU currently and in the past. Sarah, George, and I agree that WPU has been woefully lacking in their efforts to reach out to concerned neighbors. We all urged President Townsley to issue a statement from WPU that would indicate their sincere desire to work with the surrounding community and the tenants of Seaboard. A simple statement like “We truly value our neighborhood partners and we want to grow the University responsibly with your help and guidance” - - would go a long way in healing long held feelings of

While we felt that the meeting was cordial overall, we did express our deep dissatisfaction with their intent to purchase Seaboard despite their reasons. Our observations regarding WPU's lack of transparency in the past were noted by President Townsley.

After the meeting, Sarah, George, and I all agreed that WPU is not the best entity to purchase Seaboard Station because of the conflict of interests that would arise in growing both a university and a well-loved shopping center at the same time. Even if they were able to discuss the purchase with Seaboard tenants, they would quickly find out how this could hurt rather than help the University and for this reason we feel that their trustees should be made aware of our deep concern.

In the time period since our meeting with Dr. Townsley, no one in our meeting has heard from WPU other than several non-related press releases.

Our Meeting with Seaboard Station Tenants

We encouraged and attended a meeting with several long time Seaboard tenants and our neighborhood leaders one afternoon recently to hear the concerns to which WPU cannot listen because of a non-disclosure agreement. These tenants have invested huge portions of their personal savings into their businesses because they felt Seaboard Station was a long term investment. While they realize that things change, a majority of the tenants do not want WPU as their new owner because they do not believe that a land challenged university is the best owner of a vibrant downtown shopping center. Their hope is that the current owner of Seaboard Station will be able to reorganize under Chapter 11.

More importantly, the tenants believe that if WPU purchases Seaboard, the center could take a downward spiral which will cost both them and the University dearly. With no guarantee of a long term future, these business owners are already postponing any new equipment purchases or expansion plans and many are considering other options to relocate their businesses if necessary. With WPU relying on the income stream from their new investment, they too will suffer financially should the center decline.

Brief Perspectives from Another Potential Buyer and the Real Estate Agent for Seaboard

If the current owners are unable to reorganize and subsequently go into Chapter 7, the tenants feel that their best bet would be a new owner with shopping center expertise and long term interest.

I spoke with another potential buyer who owns other shopping centers and who has looked at the Seaboard property. In a short statement, he simply acknowledged the complexity of the current owner’s bankruptcy and indicated that the center is a unique property with unique challenges. But despite the challenges, they were still interested in the property.

Sarah reached out to the real estate company representing the owners and received this email response:

“Yes, Gregory & Parker is in chapter 11 bankruptcy, which is typically a reorganization type of bankruptcy, rather than a quick liquidation. The family who owns the assets wants to be extremely careful with all decisions as to whether or not to sell, who to sell to, etc. Therefore, we are working very hard to make sure that we conduct any and all leasing or sales of properties in accordance with our attorneys' and the family's wishes.”

PSP’s Current Recommendation

The PSP currently has no formal structure or bylaws. We’ve existed until now primarily as an advocacy group that holds quarterly meetings with knowledgeable speakers who speak on topics relevant to our goals to build momentum on Person Street. So when making a recommendation about any topic related to Person Street or the surrounding business climate, we try to gather facts and relate details about particular issues based on the best information that can be obtained.

After working with John Cranham at WPU, attending the public hearing at City Council, attending a meeting with WPU officials and then a meeting with the tenants at Seaboard, and finally reaching out to another potential buyer of Seaboard and the real estate agent for Seaboard - - I would like to make the following recommendations based on the PSP’s key operative word - - momentum.

For the North End of downtown to grow and succeed in meeting the goals of all its stakeholders, we need to work together in building shared momentum. When one stakeholder seeks to build momentum without proper “buy in” from the other stakeholders, then all lose momentum as a whole.

Therefore, we recommend that WPU exhibit extreme caution in its pursuit to purchase Seaboard Station and work instead with the owner and tenants of Seaboard along with the surrounding neighborhoods to see that every chance of Seaboard Station's survival as a family owned independent downtown shopping center is examined and supported if possible.

If Seaboard Station is unable to reorganize, then we ask that WPU support our subsequent goal of finding an appropriate buyer who will “preserve” Seaboard Station as a fully functioning downtown shopping center with room to grow. We ask that WPU carefully consider whether their “campus beyond gates” strategy approach will not compromise Seaboard Station rather than help it.

Once the current or new of owners of Seaboard Station are in control and the momentum of Seaboard Station is re-established, we recommend that WPU operate as an open and transparent university, one that we will be happy to support and help in their goals of building momentum with the rest of us in the North End of downtown Raleigh.

Summary Recommendation

The PSP values WPU as a stakeholder and our collaborative efforts on parking, re-establishing a pedestrian walkway between Person Street and Seabaord Station, and a neighborhood social event. We greatly appreciate our meeting with President Townsley and other neighborhood leaders and the chance to hear details of their future plans of WPU and their intention to purchase Seaboard Station. We strongly urge extreme caution in moving forward with a purchase of Seaboard because of the financial risks and conflict of interests involved for the University and the current tenants at Seaboard. We ask WPU to help us in our goal of finding the “best” owner for Seaboard. We also strongly urge WPU to issue a statement which helps to put past issues to rest and indicates a willingness work with their surrounding neighbors in a spirit of transparency and openness to build a better North End with positive momentum for everyone.

Spring 2013 PSP Meeting Update - - Corridor Study, Facade Improvement Grants,and Mural Proposal

posted May 21, 2013, 3:58 AM by Philip Bernard   [ updated May 21, 2013, 8:20 AM by Reid Serozi ]

Opening Updates

Twelve people attended the first PSP meeting of 2013 at the Urban Design Center in downtown Raleigh. Philip Bernard opened the meeting with a recap on how successful the partnership had been in only two years of building momentum in the Person Street business district. All three major anchor locations on Person Street have been taken with the opening of Rapid Fitness, the renovation of the Person Street Plaza, and new construction at Peace Street Townes scheduled to start any day.

In Situ Studio and So and So books are leasing the space next to the Person Street Pharmacy with In Situ's architecture studio taking up the bulk of the space and So and So Books occupying the retail space near the store front. The former Rosie's Plate location is seeing some activity with an engineering firm beginning preliminary site planning. Jerimee Richir Outreach is occupying the former bank building - - Richir's company helps progressive organizations implement online strategies that will maximize their community outreach.

Currently, all locations along Person Street are leased and John Holmes indicated by email that the Person Street Plaza is fully leased and he will make an announcement confirming tenant names once all paperwork is complete.

Raleigh City Farm is among three national winners of its first “People & Planet” award, which recognizes America’s best green, small businesses. Each of three winners will receive $5,000. Raleigh City Farm also won the City of Raleigh Urban Stewardship Award for transforming unexpected downtown spaces into nourishing farmland, while serving as an educational tool to demonstrate responsible, intensive, sustainable growing practices.
 

Blount Person Corridor Study

Gerald Daniel, Senior Transportation Planner in the Raleigh City Development Office of Transportation Planning made a brief presentation on the corridor study's final results with particular attention to Person Street Business area and the partial and full two way conversion plans.

The Person Street Partnership has long advocated for two way streets if not along the whole corridor at least in the business district where business and property owners believe that two way traffic would enhance their business exposure and slow traffic down making it easier to park and access shops. But these options may have trade offs which may create other problems with on street parking and other elements of moving along person Street. Business and property owners are urged to attend the final meeting of the corridor study which will be on May 22nd at the AIA building from 6:30 to 8:30pm. The consultants and city staff will be on hand to answer any questions.

Moving forward, the PSP will be crucial in lobbying for the changes necessary to see these that improvements are made to the corridor in our area. As priority lists are created, having the partnership will help increase the level of priority as we act as a unified voice to see that the street and streetscapes that run through our business district receive the necessary funding for capital improvement projects.
 

Façade Improvement Grants

Carter Pettibone, City Planner with the Urban Design Center presented a brief power point presentation about the City's façade grant program which the UDC administers. The program was not funded in the past fiscal year, but the PSP has conctacted City Council members to assure that money will be provided in the upcoming 2013-14 budget to potentially fund façade grants for storefronts in the Person Street business area. Carter showed examples of completed facades in the downtown area including Piebird which took advantage of the grant when opening its popular location on Person Street. With new restaurants like the Market Restaurant and Grocery and their professionally designed façade, the streetscapes in the Person Street area are greatly improving.
 

Barbershop Mural Project Proposal

Local architects Tina Govan and Jeremy Hauch have made a proposal for a mural to be installed on the side of the recently refurbished barbershop building at the corner of Person and Pace Streets (see suggested visual at the top of this article). This is also the location of the barbershop window gallery. Tina and Jeremy were both involved with our Person Street Façade project which was displayed at last years PSP Holiday open house and one of the ideas they presented with was a mural for this key location. Their idea is to feature self portraits of children rendered by children. The theme is to proclaim that Person Street is good place to be for all members of the family including children. The mural idea was well received by the group as presented with one member suggesting that the portraits be displayed against some type of background such as a park like setting. This would add to the "green" outdoor feel of the mural.

Corridor Study, WPU, and Spring Meeting Updates

posted Apr 23, 2013, 6:01 PM by Philip Bernard   [ updated Apr 26, 2013, 3:27 PM ]

Corridor Study Results Available Online
 
Grant Meacci, director of the Urban Design Center attended the April Mordecai CAC meeting and gave a brief but informative synopsis of the Blount Person corridor study. Quite a few PSP stakeholders were present to hear the results of the study. Of interest to the partnership is the optional partial two way conversion of Person Street north of Peace Street in the business district. Meacci explained that changes to the corridor would be made in phases beginning with a basic re-striping of the roads. The official final meeting of the corridor study will be May 22, 6-8pm at the AIA Headquarters on Peace Street. AECOM, the consultant firm hired to conduct the study has finished up the final results of the study and it is available here.
 
 
 
Also, see the following article about the study which appeared in the Midtown News: 
 
 
 

Meeting with WPU to Discuss Future Expansion Plans

Please see the following statement that was released regarding recent developments in the WPU/Seaboard Station issue. WPU is an important stakeholder in the PSP and we look forward to a meeting soon where we can sit down and discuss their expansion plans and their role as a leader in the North End of downtown Raleigh.

The Statement was issued by representatives from the MCAC, SPHOakwood, and PSP. 

William Peace University has decided to withdraw its request for a public hearing on bonds before City Council, citing lack of time to meet with us before the May 21st Council meeting. We had hoped to have an initial meeting with Peace officials next week, but it appears it will be closer to mid-May before we are able to meet.

As background, the bond request was not related to Peace’s stated interest in purchasing the Seaboard property, but the Mordecai CAC had requested that Council postpone its approval of the bonds to give us time to meet with Peace officials to learn more about their plans for the bond proceeds as well as future development plans in the Seaboard area.

On April 16, City Council recommended postponing the public hearing and its approval for the tax-exempt bonds, which would help in refinancing existing debt and renovate and upgrade existing facilities.

The public hearing was postponed until the May 21st Council meeting. Council’s reason for postponing the public hearing was to allow WPU time to meet with neighborhood leaders who requested that Peace explain future plans for expanding its campus. This request was prompted by varied reports that WPU was interested in purchasing Seaboard Station. Reports indicated a range of possibilities, which included WPU purchasing the retail center as an income-producing investment to tearing it down for WPU to expand its campus for future growth. The reports set off a firestorm of neighborhood concerns that were calmed when Council pressed for the meeting between neighbors and WPU.

After the Council meeting, leaders from Mordecai CAC, Society for Preservation of Historic Oakwood, and Person Street Partnership agreed that all three organizations would request to meet together with WPU President Debra Townsley in a neutral location. Philip Bernard, organizer for the PSP, agreed to serve as point person, and began to work with WPU’s PR consultant and representative, Jennifer Fair of MMI Public Relations.

On Wednesday, while continuing to negotiate the terms of the meeting, Ms. Fair announced that WPU had withdrawn its request for the public hearing required to move ahead with the bond. She indicated that WPU would seek other methods of financing and may request another public hearing in the future.  Ms. Fair cited that with graduation approaching, Dr. Townsley would send potential dates for a meeting to take place after the May 11th graduation.

The neighborhoods surrounding WPU continue to have pressing concerns and questions as to how all of this will turn out. Our questions remain: What are WPU’s development plans for its existing campus? What are its intentions, both short- and long-term, if it should purchase the Seaboard Station land and buildings? What should be done now to insure that Seaboard Station remains the vibrant, restaurant and retail shopping center that has become an integral part of our downtown community?   

Because Peace is an integral part of our community and significantly impacts the day-to-day quality of life of those of us who have made this community our home, we urge Peace officials to be transparent and open about their plans. We welcome any opportunity to meet with them at their earliest convenience, and will keep you informed of new developments in the process as they occur.

 

Spring PSP Meeting Set for May
 
Mark your calendar for our Spring PSP meeting Monday May 6th from 5:15-6:15pm at the Urban Design Center. We'll be taking a closer look at the corridor study results as related to the Person Street business district. We will also revisit the Facade grant application process and get an update on funding for 2013-14. And, we'll hear a proposal for a mural to be painted on the side of the old barbershop building and get your feedback. A meeting reminder and agenda will go out before the meeting.
 
Business Updates
  • In a recent email, John Holmes with Hobby Properties said they are nearing completion of the leasing at Person Street Plaza. Once they have all leases signed, they'll update the street sign with the tenants and give the PSP an update as well. 
  • In Situ Studio,http://www.insitustudio.us/, an architecture firm has leased the space beside Person Street Pharmacy and will share their front space with So and So Books, a small independent bookstore.
  • Looks like there is some activity at the former Rosie's Plate location which has been leased by Hibernian owner Niall Hanley. Someone from a local engineering firm was on site this week to complete some preliminary site plan work.
  • Jerimee Richir has moved into former bank building at 619 Person Street. His company helps progressive organizations implement online strategies that will maximize their community outreach and fundraising potential. 

  

 
 
 
 

WRAL Coverage Confirms Success of PSP Holiday Open House and Light Ball Pilot Project

posted Dec 13, 2012, 9:26 AM by Philip Bernard   [ updated Dec 15, 2012, 4:47 AM ]

The Preview

An estimated 75 people attended the PSP Annual Open House this past First Friday at Anvil Gallery Annex. Like last year, there were many business and property owners on hand for the preview reception. The Person Street Facade/ Streetscape exhibit drew much attention and stimulated lively conversation about potential changes for the exterior spaces along Person Street. Many thanks to Tina Govan, Jeremy Hauch, Chad Butterworth, and Philip Bernard for creating such a well received exhibit and for being on hand to discuss their ideas. The exhibit remained on display for the Mordecai CAC Holiday party the following Tuesday night and prompted a visit from Renee Chou from WRAL who produced an excellent piece on the successes of Person Street in the last year. See link to story below.
 
The PSP gratefully acknowledges The Society for the Preservation of Historic Oakwood, The Friends of Mordecai, and Anvil Studios for helping to support this annual event. 
 

The Pilot Project 

The Holiday Lighted Ball Pilot Project has been an overwhelming success according to positive comments from the business and property owners, shoppers, and passers by along Person Street. Volunteers from Pilot Mill and Mordecai helped to make the balls and work out the logistics of installation on a section of Person Street, with the goal of installing them along the whole street for next year's holiday season. Based on postive feed back from everyone, we will proceed with plans for next year. If you have additional feedback re: the project please contact Philip Bernard at jpbernard@earthlink.net
 
Special thanks to Stephan Kiefer, Robert Winchester, Marty Arron, and Dr. Bob from Pilot Mill who introduced the concept of these amazing lighted balls to our neighborhood! 
 

The Press

The primary goal of the Holiday Open House is to celebrate the successes of the Person Street Partnership as it builds momentum in the Person Street business district. Part of this goal is to advertise this success to the rest of Raleigh and confirm that Person Street is becoming a downtown hot spot. See the following press items:
 
Person Street news story featured on WRAL:
 
 
Person Street article featured in this month's The Raleigh Downtowner magazine section, Designing Great Spaces:
 
The Downtowner is available at downtown locations, website link currently not available.  

Building Momentum on Person Street

posted Dec 6, 2012, 11:37 AM by Philip Bernard   [ updated Dec 6, 2012, 12:31 PM ]

At our 2nd Annual Holiday Open House  First Friday, the Person Street Partnership will celebrate two years of phenomenal success in building momentum in the business district of North Person Street. The open house will honor business and property owners in the Person Street area and feature an exhibition of Facade/ Streetscape Improvements by local architects and designers.

 
Despite the sluggish economy, the Partnership encouraged and promoted unprecedented growth in the area including the following:
 
  • Rapid Fitness Downtown relocated to Person Street in the former Super 10 store
  • Person Street Plaza (closed and boarded up) renovates  with Market Restaurant, future grocery store and local bakery
  • Raleigh City Farm breaks ground as first downtown Urban Farm next door to Person Street Plaza
  • Oak City Cycling Project opens as Raleigh premier downtown bike shop and cycling advocacy center
  • Slingshot Coffee opens in the Oak City Cycling Project
  • Nicole's Studio moves into/ renovates old building creating a new retail space on Person Street
  • Anvil Gallery and Studios opens featuring jewelry studio and NC artisan studios annex
  • Hibernian Pub owner leases former gas station for new brasserie/ pub concept
  • Uninhabitable former barbershop features storefront gallery with rotating exhibits
  • Peace Street Townes pre-sells  3 live/work townhomes across from Krispey Kreme
  • Person/Blount Street corridor study kicks off to address traffic calming concerns
  • Person Street Facade/ Streetscape Project conducted by local architects and designers
  • Holiday Street Decoration Pilot Project installed and successful

Open house info:

Anvil Studio and Gallery Annex, 715 North Person Street 7-9pm First Friday December 7, 2012
SPECIAL RECEPTION for Business and Property Owners and PSP Stakeholders 6-7pm.

 

 

PSP Holiday Open House Features Facade/Streetscape Exhibit

posted Dec 5, 2012, 1:47 PM by Philip Bernard   [ updated Dec 5, 2012, 4:11 PM ]

The Premise
 
Local architect Tina Govan lives and works only a few blocks from North Person Street. She has developed a keen interest in the storefronts and outdoor spaces in this "up-and-coming" neighborhood business district. A few months ago, Tina approached the PSP about creating a project where local architects and designers in the neighborhood could begin to envision how our neighborhood business center might be transformed into a series of unique outdoor gathering spaces - - or as Tina calls them in the picture to the right - "Person Street Plazas".
 
The People
 
Architects Jeremy Hauch, Chad Butterworth, and Tom Barrie along with landscape designer Philip Bernard joined Tina in several initial discussions on how best to show Person Street business and property owners ways that other neighborhoods and cities have created vibrant, people friendly facades and streetscapes.  Early on the group embraced a grass roots, "from the ground up" approach advocating short term easy to accomplish projects that would draw people into the shops and restaurants and create a series outdoor rooms where neighbors could gather.
 
The Project
 
At this year's PSP Holiday Open House, Tina, Jeremy, Chad, and Philip will present rough plans, sketches, and a power point presentation that show some examples of how this grass roots approach might be accomplished. For this exhibit, they have focused on a section of Person Street from the former Rosie's Plate location to Nicole's Studio (see below). They are also including some ideas on how the Governor's Square condos across the street can encorporate some of their green space into the streetscape on Person Street. During the open house, the group is interested in feedback and ideas from the businesses on Person Street as well as folks from the surrounding community.   


 
 
 
   
 

A PSP/ Pilot Mill Test Project: Holiday "Lighted Ball" Decorations on Person Street

posted Dec 4, 2012, 12:51 PM by Philip Bernard   [ updated Dec 4, 2012, 2:37 PM ]

The Premise
 
Neighbors in The Village at Pilot Mill have begun a unique holiday tradition with their annual display of holiday "lighted ball" decorations. Drive through their quaint residential village on a December night and you'll see their trees and porches adorned with "twinkling" orbs made from chicken wire and Christmas tree lights.
 
The Project 
 
This luminous tradition has now taken hold in the Person Street business district as part of a PSP test project. Volunteers from Pilot Mill and Mordecai constucted the balls with colored lights and hung them under the business awnings from Wright Electric to Nicole's Studio. If feedback is positive, the PSP hopes to again join forces with the folks at Pilot Mill and organize a workshop next year to decorate the whole business district!
 
The People    
 
Pilot Mill residents Stephan Kiefer, Robert Winchester, and Marty Aaron along with their leader known as "Dr. Bob" are the organizers of this effort at The Village at Pilot Mill. They are also good friends and each year hold a workshop where neighbors join together and make these easy-to construct decorative balls. They have extended the workshop to include Mordecai nearby and, after being approached by the PSP, graciously agreed to help decorate a section of Person Street. So far, the effect has been overwhelmingly positive from the business owners along this busy section of Person Street.

If you haven't seen the lights, stop by the PSP open house at 715B North Person Street (next to Nicole's Studio) this coming December First Friday and let us know what you think!

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