LETTER FROM DRA PRESIDENT & CEO
THE STATE OF DOWNTOWN RALEIGH 2017: BUILDING A CONNECTED AND COLLABORATIVE DOWNTOWN A famous newspaper publisher named Benjamin Franklin once wrote that “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” As a former publisher myself and now Interim President and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, I could not agree more. Investment and knowledge are key words for downtown Raleigh these days. Downtown is currently in the midst of a $1.75 billion pipeline of investment, which includes 3,672 new residential units, more than 1,000 new hotel rooms, and 346,000 square feet of new retail space. Additionally, this community’s investment in a knowledgeable and talented workforce is driving over 1.5 million square feet of new office space, which will add thousands of workers to downtown. As we add more people, retail continues to grow with more than 16 new stores opening in the past year alone. The public sector is also making major investments in this downtown with over $200 million in projects including an upcoming renovation to Moore Square and an $88 million multi-modal center with Raleigh Union Station. In 2016, this community also took major strides towards a more connected and sustainable future by approving both a Bike Share system and the Wake Transit Plan, which will bring Bus Rapid Transit, commuter rail and enhanced bus service to connect downtown with communities throughout the county and region. And near and dear to my heart, the city continues to make great progress on Dix Park, which will be our 308acre destination park and a key to Raleigh’s future as a world class city. In my 17 years in Raleigh and downtown, I have personally witnessed an extraordinary revitalization. In 2000, when I started at The News & Observer, downtown’s population was barely 3,000 residents, most of whom lived along its periphery. Today, though, downtown is home to over 8,000 residents with more coming all the time. As our report shows, this growth and investment show no signs of abating. We continue to attract award winning restaurants, cuttingedge companies, and creative people. Not to mention 3.2 million visitors to our attractions this past year.
ORAGE QUARLES III Downtown Raleigh Alliance, Interim President & CEO
This year’s State of Downtown report aims to provide more knowledge on the many investments being made in this downtown now and in the future. Each chapter provides a detailed look at all of the interrelated aspects of downtown that reinforce each other and make downtown a vibrant and exciting place. We provide both industry-specific data collected by others, as well as original analysis and data from our staff here at DRA on retail, population, density, future projections, and many other areas. Furthermore, this report benchmarks downtown Raleigh to peer central business districts and regional trends, as a way of showing our tremendous success, as well as opportunities for improvement and further growth. This report is a major, multi-month effort led by Bill King, Senior Director of Planning and Development; designed by Stacey Simeone, Marketing and Communications Director; and aided by project team member Tyler Breazeale, Research Analyst. Lastly, at DRA we strive to be an excellent resource for our community and our real estate and economic development partners. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments about how DRA can help you invest or expand your footprint in downtown. We hope this report provides you knowledge on how investment of all kinds in downtown Raleigh pays off and will continue to do so for many years to come.