Raleigh growth, spirit touted in State of City

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Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane delivered her State of the City Address at the Contemporary Art Museum on Friday evening.

"I'll be talking about obviously where we are, a lot of the things we've done over the last year. Obviously Dorotea Dix is a big project we have right now for where we are in that planning cycle, what we foresee in the next couple of years. We did do a citizens survey ... the results were pretty amazing so I'll be talking about that," she said earlier in the day.

READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE MAYOR'S SPEECH HERE (.pdf)

One topic the mayor also addressed is the tense political divide across the nation.

There is no doubt that as a country and as a state, we are very divided," McFarlane said. Some people think that this is an age of wisdom and some very much think it is an age of foolishness. Political conversations seem to be moving farther and farther apart. And it's harder to have thoughtful discussions without triggering emotions that seem to take over any sense of reason or desire to communicate.

"The elections in November have pulled us into camps, often with lines drawn in the sand," the mayor added.

McFarlane said one thing that makes Raleigh special is what she sees as people willing to put politics aside and become more active in their community.

"There are a lot of things we cannot control. But we can continue to work together to find that common thread and create the kind of community that we want to call home," McFarlane said. "And I think that it is even more important in these uncertain times. Clearly, we are doing something right!"

Raleigh's population continues to grow by about 2.3 percent annually. An estimated 7,500 people live in downtown and projections show that number could rise to more than 10,000 people by 2020.

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There are various construction projects downtown, including the "Dillon," a mixed-use project by developer Kane Realty Corporation.

The 227,000 square foot development is scheduled to be completed in 2018 and includes retail space, and two six-story apartment buildings as well as a parking deck.

The project is located around West Street and West Hargett Street.

The Morgan Street Foodhall is expected to open sometime this year on West Morgan Street and West Street.

It touts itself as an urban food hall and market with more than 60 vendors and 20,000 square feet of space.

It is being developed by Hibernian Hospitality Group, the owners of Hibernian Irish Pubs, Xoco Mexican Restaurant, The Station and the Raleigh Beer Garden.
Niall Hanley, owner of Morgan Street Foodhall LLC, said it'll open in late spring.



"There's over 15 different full service restaurant vendors so they're going to be selling great food," he said. "There's 8 to 9 kiosks, which would be coffee, crepes, waffles, things like that and then we're actually going to have 55 to 60 retail vendors."

Hanley said the urban food hall and market not only offers consumers a wide selection of foods, it also benefits business owners.

"It's tough to get into the restaurant business in downtown Raleigh," Hanley said, adding rents extremely high. "We think this is a great opportunity for people who would love to have a footprint downtown to actually get in at competitive rate."

Dollar General's DGX store recently opened on Davie Street under the Edison Lofts apartments. It is a smaller, urban-store concept.

A 55,000 square foot Harris Teeter is also expected at Seaboard Station this year.

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