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,, 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.