Raleigh business community reflects on Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin's decision to not run again

Sean Coffey Image
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Raleigh business leaders reflect on mayor's decision to not run again
Developers and business investors in Raleigh said the work to grow the city must continue.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- In the wake of Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin's decision not to seek a third term -- ending her time as mayor this December -- developers and business investors in Raleigh said the work to grow Raleigh can't stop.

In her four years as mayor, Baldwin developed a reputation as being pro-growth, pro-development and pro-density, showing a willingness to approve rezoning projects and support denser urban and housing development in the capital city.

"Mayor Baldwin worked hard on rezoning a lot of properties and allowing higher density projects," said David Meeker, a Raleigh investor and the son of former Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker. "And that's been a game-changer."

Meeker is a longtime investor in Raleigh businesses -- including Trophy Brewing and Young Hearts Distilling. He's been vocal about the need for Raleigh to grow "up" and not out.

"You're not clear-cutting trees in Apex or Holly Springs, and people don't have to drive 30 minutes to get home, which is bad for the environment," he said. "So it's really important that we become a dense community where people don't need a car to get around."

With Baldwin no longer in the race, the most well-known candidates in the field for mayor are councilmember Corey Branch and Dix Park Conservancy CEO Janet Cowell. Both candidates are known to be pro-growth and development -- and said they're up to the challenge.

"Right now, it's about governing, about helping people with housing, said Branch. "People are struggling as well as with transportation needs, which impacts income. So those are things that we will continue to focus on and bring this city forward."

Cowell is also an early frontrunner, saying transportation and housing will be priorities should she be elected, too.

"The Cowell campaign is focused on building a city that works for all through adding diverse housing options while maintaining the character of our neighborhoods, planning for growth and investing in infrastructure," Cowell said in a statement to ABC11.

Both Cowell and Branch shared thoughts and prayers with Baldwin and her family after the mayor cited a cancer diagnosis and other personal challenges in announcing her decision not to seek re-election.

The deadline for candidates to file to run in Raleigh's upcoming Mayoral election is July 19.