Development plans for city-owned land around Moore Square in Raleigh to move forward

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Plans to redevelop city-owned land around Moore Square move forward
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The plan is to redevelop city-owned land to the South and East of Moore Square in downtown Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A major development project proposed in downtown Raleigh inched closer to construction on Tuesday.

The plan, which would redevelop city-owned land to the South and East of Moore Square, was discussed by Raleigh City Council Tuesday afternoon.

Last November, the council approved negotiations to begin between the city and real estate developer Loden Properties. Tuesday's discussion served as a refresher -- while the council also voted to include three smaller, city-owned parcels into the development project.

Once completed, the proposed development would include two new hotels, an apartment building with at least 160 units designated for affordable housing, a grocery store, art studios, co-working space and more.

"I can't think of a project that has more checked boxes for win, win, wins. We know we need more hotel rooms, they're proposing more hotels. We know we need affordable housing, they're proposing substantial affordable housing," said City Councilor Jonathan Melton.

The discussion is taking place as the city bears down on crime and homelessness downtown -- in the very area where this development would take place. Businesses in the area say they're supportive, but only if construction comes in tandem with a broader plan from the city to combat those issues.

"Right now, it's a mess. People keep coming in here, and saying they're afraid to come into the park. Beautiful park, but they're afraid," said Mario Longo, owner of Vic's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in City Market.

Longo says the issues with crime have begun to impact his business.

"It's too many people running around, some begging for money. Very aggressive, let's just put it that way. They have to do something about it," Longo said.

For their part, Loden's plans would not only feature affordable housing -- it would include a rebuild of the Raleigh Rescue Mission, the homeless shelter located around the corner from Moore Square on Hargett St.

"We really want to be able to have this type of development that brings more housing, more things like grocery stores downtown, the ability to be near public transit, but without displacing folks that are already there and need those services," said Adam Terando, Chair of WakeUp Wake County, which focuses on sustainable growth.

At Tuesday's meeting, Council Member Christina Jones also acknowledged the need to preserve city services for the homeless.

"We're just wanting to make sure we're having that holistic conversation about what we're bringing to the area, and that we're not pushing people out -- particularly in this area," said Jones.

In the next few months, Loden will begin appraising the land that's been put forth for sale, and start negotiating with the city to buy that land before development can begin.

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