The Downtown Raleigh Alliance threw its yearly event, the State of Downtown Raleigh, on Thursday morning.
As usual, a surge of new development gave the nonprofit group plenty to talk about. DRA gets city funds and provides downtown services.
The report is available at bit.ly/dtr15.
▪ 11,000: The estimated population of downtown Raleigh and surrounding neighborhoods in 2019.
▪ 53 percent: Downtown’s population increase since 2000.
▪ $700 million: The value of planned development and public projects in downtown. Compare that to an estimated $2.5 billion over the last decade.
▪ 4.1 percent: The projected annual increase in median income downtown, compared to 2.7 percent statewide.
▪ About 55 percent: the share government makes up percent of downtown employment, followed by finance and insurance at 10 percent, and tech at about 8 percent.
▪ The taxes on all those downtown buildings: About 7.3 percent of the city government’s property tax revenues.
A panel of speakers named some of the challenges the city will face in downtown development.
“We’ve got to make sure we have the transit infrastructure. We have to make sure we have the ordinances,” said Bill King, planning and development manager for DRA, calling for “top to bottom” preparations for growth.
Pam Blondin, owner of the DECO Raleigh downtown store, said that the city needed to create a more distinct identity.
“We need to be comfortable taking some risks,” she said, suggesting more public art and high-design buildings.
Other panel members pointed to increasing construction costs and limited hotel space.
▪ Downtown Raleigh Alliance is making an app to help people navigate downtown businesses.
▪ Retail stores top most people’s wish list for downtown.
▪ Raleigh will move away from its one-way street system. Lenoir and South streets are being converted now, and the city will consider changing Jones and Lane streets.
▪ A dozen residential projects will add 1,840 new apartments and town homes in 2015 and 2016.