Downtown Durham: Fixing the Loop


(Downtown Durham Loop Plan, Cleveland & Church Partners)

Grids, grids grids! City blocks, street corners and east to west, north to south thoroughfares that give our cities structure and have been part of urban layout for +2,000 years.

A Roman Empire perfected system, the city grid has been used extensively in old world Europe and led to the growth of globally acclaimed cities (think different? Look at areas like Spain, where Moslem rule once held and cities sprawled in confusing circles, alleyways and spirals).

Fast forward to 21st Century Durham, NC. A city on the rise both regionally and nationally for an eclectic downtown and tech scene is now hopping with development, new companies and restaurants!

Its layout though has one flaw, an inner city downtown beltway. Consisting of 5 one-way high speed traffic lanes, the beltway is so “anti-grid” that it effectively cuts Downtown Durham in its core and forms a concrete wall through the city.

No need to fear though, for under the leadership of Cleveland & Church Partners & Colliers International, things are about to change.

Earlier this year, Robert Chapman and Rob Dickson of Cleveland & Church Partners devised a plan that would eliminate the loop and restore the grid to Downtown Durham! They got together with Colliers International, the City of Durham and invited all major players in development, architecture and the local community to review their plan (linked here).

Some interesting findings with the loop fix for your compass:

  • Eliminating the loop would yield 18.35 acres, or 20 new development sites

  • Durham would gain possibly 3,500 parking spaces and two way streets in the loop’s place

  • The city tax base would increase by $312 Million, with revenues over $4 Million each year!

  • Fixing the loop would only cost $30 Million

I’ve written a short summary, but I would encourage you to read more here. The report is excellent and needs to continue to gain traction with the local community and government to start implementing the development changes needed to allow Durham to continue to grow.

Please spread the word, and stay tuned for more updates as they come from your real estate and development source!

- Capital Compass

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