Football season is underway and with State fans traveling back to Raleigh to see a football team that is hopefully going to at least remain in the ACC Atlantic race until late in the season, I wanted to publish another one of these posts on changes and developments in the greater NCSU area for anyone visiting the Triangle for an upcoming home game.
NC State Athletics recently announced a campaign for the renovation of the WBB's locker room at Reynolds. Although Reynolds was fully renovated back in 2015-2016, the WBB locker room space will receive an additional facelift in October of this year. In recognition of their major contribution to the project, the locker room will be named after Gayle and Dwain Lanier.
The renovations will include an expanded player lounge and nutrition area, new player lockers, renovated shower and restroom areas, sleep pods and water massage tables, a salon, and a new sound system and monitors (along with color-changing LED lighting).
Here's the WPC link to where others can contribute to the project.
I mentioned in the last one of these posts from July that the Hillsborough Street Arby's, and its iconic Arby's hat sign, were no more (much to the chagrin of discount roast beef lovers Triangle-wide). It was later announced that local real estate development and investment firm, CityPlat, expanded its Hillsborough St holdings by purchasing the Arby's site as part of a larger land assemblage. While CityPlat is currently looking for a restaurant to move into the space, the plan is to eventually construct a residential development on the site for 275+ units.
There are also multiple lots directly across the street (that formerly housed older fraternity houses) owned by FMW Real Estate / Live on Hillsborough. Back in 2016, the plan was for an additional Live on Hillsborough student apartment complex to be constructed across these lots, but that's yet to occur.
Should these developments ever make it across the finish line, it'll be interesting to see the student/young professional life continue to stretch that direction down Hillsborough St. towards the Gorman St. intersection next to Meredith.
The Axios article linked above details potential changes that have been discussed for Western Blvd. in response to various pedestrian safety concerns. The main focus of these discussed changes involve proposals from both NCSU and the City of Raleigh to have pedestrian bridges and tunnels constructed above and below the road on Western. This issue will grow in importance in the coming years given the redevelopment of Dix Park, as well as NCSU's continued development of Centennial Campus.
The old K-Mart on Western Blvd. closed last year. The entire parcel of land (which also includes a seemingly always empty parking lot and Grand Slam USA) is 14.5 acres and has great frontage/access to Blue Ridge Rd. and Western Blvd.
As the article linked above indicates, the City of Raleigh was hoping to see some kind of new mixed-use "live, work, play" development, which would activate that area of the City a bit more effectively in conjunction with, (1) the newly constructed "Novo Blue Ridge" that replaced the old Blue Ridge discount movie theater, and (2) a soon-to-be-constructed bus rapid transit stop nearby. However, the developer is moving ahead with a Harris Teeter anchored development, along with a few retail shops and a gas station.
I too was hoping to see something a bit more exciting go onto this parcel (along with some kind of hopeful redevelopment of the 8+ acres that the Westgrove Tower apartment/condo building sits on behind the K-Mart), but it sounds pretty certain that there will be a new addition to Raleigh's ever-expanding collection of Harris Teeters.
Hillsborough Street's Face Lift:
The focus of these articles was primarily on the "landmarks" that Hillsborough St has lost over the last 10-15 years (i.e., Pantana Bob's, East Village, The Alley, Velvet Cloak Inn, The Brewery music venue, etc.) and other landmarks farther away from campus that soon will be gone as well (i.e., The circular Holiday Inn, original Char-Grill location, etc.). It's interesting to read these articles with an eye toward the past as a few of the landmarks that were mentioned had virtually fallen into disrepair during my years at State (2009-2013), however, there are others that I also have memories of and miss myself (for instance, I still light a candle each day in memory of East Village).
Personally, I think the issue with Hillsborough's current incarnation isn't that these previously mentioned landmarks have been lost, it's that they haven't been replaced with much of anything notable. I love seeing the increased student foot traffic on Hillsborough St. given all of the newer student housing options directly next to campus, but very few of the retail spaces underneath these student housing projects have added to the vibrancy of the main street that's located directly next to the largest university in the state.
In the U.S. News & World Report college rankings for 2022-23, NC State rose to #72 overall and to #29 of all public universities. These rankings are compiled through the use of various metrics, such as graduation and retention rates, social mobility, class sizes, and graduate indebtedness.
However, this article, also published in the Triangle Business Journal, discusses the inherent issues with these rankings given that many colleges and universities pull whatever levers available to place as high as possible in these rankings. Given how subjective these lists are and how volatile one school's movement might be up or down from one year to the next, these lists all have to be taken with a grain of salt (to be honest, sounds pretty similar to the AP college athletics rankings).
Keep in mind though, if you ever find yourself confronted by a Triangle-area college quarterback attempting to build upon their University's ongoing "Why We Think We're Better Than You" campaign, just point out that NCSU was recently ranked as the top public university in NC by Payscale.com for early- and mid-career earnings.
Other News Items: