Wake County

Raleigh will spend $1.1 million to revamp plazas

An artist’s rendering shows the planned revamping of Exchange Plaza that will replace large planters with benches and lighting.
An artist’s rendering shows the planned revamping of Exchange Plaza that will replace large planters with benches and lighting. CITY OF RALEIGH

The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday voted to spend $1.1 million to revamp Market Plaza and Exchange Plaza, the pedestrian passages that connect Wilmington and Fayetteville streets.

Both plazas flank 227 Fayetteville, a tower being renovated by a private developer. The city’s plan is to clear the plazas of their plants and several of their large trees, and rebuild them from the ground up. The idea is to create well-lit, open spaces where people feel safer. They also serve as sites for farmer’s markets and other events.

“Rather than having to shut down Martin Street every time there’s a First Friday, we have some valuable space that could potentially accommodate that,” said Grant Meacci, an urban designer for the city.

Two weeks ago, though, the council delayed the matter. Members said they hadn’t heard enough details of the final design, though the city had solicited and received construction bids.

On Tuesday, the plazas got a better reception and unanimous council approval. Construction could begin as early as February and continue through summer.

“I like the design,” said Councilman Bonner Gaylord. “I like what it does for our city.”

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