While I sat in the massive ballroom at the Raleigh Convention Center last week listening to the impressive statistics about Downtown Raleigh (DTR), its growth, its vision, and the wonderful people that are pouring their hearts and souls into this effort, I had a small panic attack. What will become of Raleigh? Will it get too big (or too big for its britches)? Are traffic and congestion going to be a substantial problem? Will I ever get a chance to eat at a DTR restaurant without making reservations months in advance? Who let the cat out of the bag that Raleigh is where it’s happening?
When I moved here in 2008, Raleigh was just beginning its revitalization in earnest. Since I’ve lived here and experienced this growth organically, I hadn’t quite stepped back to look with fresh eyes at the state of Raleigh today. After I caught my breath and realized I was panicking about CHANGE, I began to tune in to the speakers and was reassured that Raleigh’s growth is intentional, responsible, and ultimately quite exciting.
Here are my Top 10 things I learned from the State of DTR report:
1. Walkability score = 96%
2. 100 new stores and restaurants in the pipeline; 1000 new hotel rooms
3. 322 acres of new park space coming (Dix Park & Devereux Meadows)
4. 47% increase in visitors since 2007
5. Since 2009, 105% growth in food and beverage sales in DTR
6. 39% increase in residents SINCE 2015!!!!
7. 296% increase in co-working space since 2016
8. Publix coming to DTR in 2020 and Weaver Street Market this year
9. 93% of stores in DTR are locally owned
10. The largest outdoor event in Raleigh is the International Bluegrass Music Association convention and music festival (223,320 in 2018) and this year’s event is around the corner (Sept 27-28) and is FREE. See you there~