DOWNTOWN SOUTH Q&A

 

What is Downtown South?

  • A partnership between Steve Malik, owner of Cary-based NC Football Club and NC Courage, Kane Realty Corporation of Raleigh and numerous local partners, Downtown South is an upcoming district centered around the S Saunders / I-40 interchange, creating the “Southern Gateway” into Downtown Raleigh.

 

Where is Downtown South?

  • Downtown South is composed of three main tracts of land encompassing the SW, NW and NE corners of the S Saunders / I-40 interchange.

  • Downtown South is located approximately 1 mile south of Downtown Raleigh, adjacent to the Maywood Corridor and the historic Caraleigh neighborhood, south of historic Fuller Heights and directly west and south of the Bain Water Treatment Facility.

  • Downtown South’s location along I-40 provides easy access to Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, South Raleigh, Research Triangle Park and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

 

How much land is there?

  • The assemblage that constitutes the Downtown South district is made up of approximately 140 acres. Much of the acreage lies in the floodplain or floodway and is undevelopable.

 

How much density will there be?

  • The full buildout density of Downtown South is variable and dependent on many factors. At this point we are projecting the site will be composed of:

    • Area C: 2.1m SF office, 165k SF retail, 2,000 apartment units, 800 hotel rooms

    • Areas A&B: 900k SF office, 75k SF retail, 1,400 apartment units

 

What is the timeline for future development?

  • Warehouse Redevelopment: The redevelopment of existing warehouses will begin Q4 2021

  • Phase I Vertical Projects: The first vertical project construction aims to begin Summer 2022

  • Area C Full Buildout: The district’s core will be developed over a period of 10-15 years

  • Areas A & B: Will begin development later than Area C, but will eventually develop concurrently with future phases of Area C. We are in the master planning process for these areas.

 

What are the Downtown South core tenets?

  • Create a District, Not a Development:

    • Developments are fixed and final. They are planned with a particular person in mind to achieve a particular lifestyle. Districts are living, breathing places. They have permission to change, evolve and grow with the city.

  • Lean into Nature:

    • For some, nature can be seen as a roadblock to building. Not Downtown South. We see the existing natural elements like Walnut Creek, and its surrounding wetlands, as opportunities to define our district. We will work with it rather than against it.

  • Physically Connect to the Heart of Downtown & Surrounding Communities:

    • The district will serve as the Southern Gateway to Downtown, the connection to nature and parks, and the physical integration of communities across the city. Creating the common spaces, roads, transports and arteries that make it accessible to all is paramount.

  • Partner Early and Often:

    • People protect the things they care about. So, we will create the kinds of partnership today that will ensure our mission is achieved tomorrow.

 

When was Downtown South rezoned?

  • Raleigh City Council approved the Downtown South rezoning case on December 22nd, 2020. The land closing was on December 30th, 2020.

 

What are the rezoning conditions?

  • 17 conditions were applied to the rezoning case, including but not limited to:

    • Prohibitions on high impact uses

    • Height limitations in areas close to existing neighborhoods

    • A minimum of 14 acres of open space and parks

    • Density limitations for Areas A & B

    • Quarterly community engagement meetings

    • Heightened stormwater mitigation and analysis

    • Establishment of a stormwater grant matching fund with community partners

    • Affordable housing commitments

  • For a full list of rezoning conditions, please visit: https://www.visitdowntownsouth.com/

 

What was the engagement process like before rezoning, and what will it be like moving forward?

  • Prior to rezoning, Downtown South sough input through various platforms, including:

    • A ULI panel with over 100 stakeholder interviews

    • 2 neighborhood meetings

    • 2 additional virtual town halls

    • An online survey with over 2,000 participants

    • Countless one-on-one meetings and working sessions with community groups and stakeholders

  • We are committed to inclusive conversations throughout the district’s life, continuing to work with community leaders, stakeholder groups and hosting quarterly community update meetings and Q&A sessions.

  • We will publicize updates via the Downtown South website and social media pages.

 

What have you heard from the community? What are their hopes and concerns?

  • Aspirations:

    • New retail and dining options

    • Housing options for all income levels

    • Job opportunities and workforce development programs

    • Stormwater mitigation and education programs

    • Entertainment venues

    • Sustainable parks and open space

    • Connections with the greater Raleigh area

  • Concerns:

    • Increased property taxes and displacement

      • There is no displacement on the Downtown South site.

    • Stormwater Impacts

      • Strong stormwater mitigation practices are in place via the rezoning conditions.

    • Lack of affordable housing options

      • We have committed to affordable housing and aspire to even more.

    • Traffic concerns

      • Two TIAs have been done and we have pledge to run additional TIAs every 5 years. We are working with city staff to design the best infrastructure possible.

    • Lack of MWBE business inclusion

      • We are developing a MWBE program at Downtown South.

    • Lack of engagement opportunities

      • We are conducting one-on-one meetings and are hosting quarterly community meetings.

 

Is there continued community engagement?

  • In addition to partnering with local community businesses/organizations and 1-on-1 stakeholder meetings, Downtown South will host quarterly update meetings and Q&A sessions. The first meeting will be held within 30 days of the first Administrative Site Plan submission to the city.

  • All community meetings will be open to the public. We will advertise the meetings through various channels including stakeholder messaging, mailers, email updates and via the Downtown South website.

  • We encourage anyone who has questions or concerns to reach out: info@visitdowntownsouth.com

 

Was there a Traffic Impact Analysis run? Will there be future TIAs conducted?

  • A Traffic Impact Analysis was run as part of the Downtown South rezoning case.

  • Another, more detailed Traffic Impact Analysis has been run as part of the Downtown South Preliminary Subdivision process and is currently being reviewed by city staff.

  • We have committed to running an updated TIA every 5 years to assess impacts regularly and determine best practices.

 

Will the district be pedestrian-friendly?

  • The district is being designed with an emphasis on pedestrians and walkability.

  • We will include larger sidewalks than are standard.

  • We will include bike lanes and storage.

  • We will include multiple access points to the Greenway Trail.

  • We will include traffic calming measures to limit speed and traffic in the district.

  • We will have direct access to the BRT system.

  • We will design our park space to blend with our district, allowing easy access and transition between open space and the walkable city streets.

 

Is Downtown South tying into the Greenway Trail system? Will there be improvements to the Trail?

  • Downtown South is embracing the Greenway Trail system, which runs through the core of the district. We will introduce multiple access points and allow users to easily enter and exit Downtown South via the Greenway.

  • We will be improving the Greenway Trail system as part of our full buildout.

 

What is the BRT system? Is Downtown South on a BRT route?

  • BRT stands for Bus Rapid Transit. The BRT system is a fast, reliable mass transit system along 4 key corridors in Wake County. The BRT system will connect corridors with Downtown Raleigh and reduce vehicular traffic by promoting transit use.

  • Wake County wants the BRT system to be fully available by 2030.

  • Downtown South is located along the southern BRT corridor, with a BRT station planned on the eastern side of Area C, along Wilmington St. The BRT will connect Downtown South and the neighboring communities to Downtown and beyond.

 

Will there be a soccer stadium?

  • Our hope is to bring a community stadium to the Downtown South district as a home for professional soccer, concerts, community events and partnerships with local schools and universities.

 

How much open space will there be?

  • While we are committed to at least 14 acres of open park space at Downtown South, we anticipate a robust park plan that will embrace the existing natural environment and provide community amenities for generations to come.

 

How are you combating stormwater and mitigating future flooding?

  • We understand the community’s concern with flooding and the devastating impact that it has had in communities along the Walnut Creek Corridor, including Rochester Heights and Rose Lane. Developments along the Creek have ignored downstream impacts for too long.

  • Downtown South introduced stronger stormwater commitments than any development along the watershed has to date, including:

    • “Above and beyond” stormwater retention and green stormwater infrastructure standards for the district.

    • No lot coverage in the floodway fringe.

    • Continued in-depth analysis of stormwater impacts to be reviewed prior to the site plan of any future building, in conjunction with city staff. All analysis will be made publicly available.

    • Limit of the post-development peak runoff to a “fair forested condition” up to the 100-year storm.

    • Establishment of a grant-matching fund to invest in flood mitigation, GSI, water quality and education along the Corridor, the $2.5m Walnut Creek Corridor Fund.

 

What is the Walnut Creek Corridor Fund? Who will be involved?

  • As part of the rezoning conditions and in consultation with the community, Downtown South has partnered with Partners for Environmental Justice to establish the Walnut Creek Corridor Fund.

  • Starting with the third project, Downtown South will contribute $150k per project to the fund, up to $2.5m. The fund will match grants from other sources and invest directly into the Walnut Creek Watershed and its communities, with funds going to education, flood mitigation, stormwater management and GSI initiatives to improve flooding and water quality.

  • PEJ will work with Downtown South to identify a stakeholder group to choose projects, partner with grant programs and distribute funds. The stakeholder group will represent the community and will be in place by December 2021.

 

Will there be affordable housing?

  • We have committed to affordable housing and aim to go beyond our commitments.

 

How much affordable housing will there be?

  • There will be at least 100 affordable units in the first 1000 units at Downtown South. We are working with partners and the city to create even more robust housing to meet the requests of the community and build a more equitable district. We will maintain 10% affordable units beyond this window, as LIHTC regulations mandate at least 15 years of compliance.

  • A public/private financing partnership through a Tax Increment Grant or other platform will include significantly more affordable housing opportunities.

 

What will be the income targets for affordable units?

  • Our income band targets are as follows:

    • 30%-60% AMI: 80% of units

    • 60%-80% AMI: 20% of units

  • We anticipate 1/3rd of these units to be dedicated to senior citizens.

 

Will there be workforce housing? Who qualifies?

  • Our vision includes additional workforce housing opportunities for those in the 60-120% AMI range.

  • The goal is to provide housing for middle income workers such as police officers, health care professionals, retail/restaurant workers, educators and others who may not qualify for LIHTC or Housing Choice Voucher programs.

 

Where can I learn more about housing?

  • We are continuing to build out our affordable housing program with city staff and community partners. We will continue to update our commitments as we develop the program.

 

What will the MWBE program look like?

  • We are working with our MWBE partner, Bridget Wall-Lennon of BLWall Consulting to develop our MWBE program. Bridget has over 25 years of experience in supplier diversity, business and economic development and program development and implementation.

  • Bridget’s team is building a program that will be inclusive and long lasting and we look forward to sharing the program’s details once they are in place in the coming months.

 

Is Downtown South asking for a TIG?

  • We have not requested a TIG from the city or county.

 

Can money from a TIG or other public/private partnership be spent anyway the district desires?

  • No. The City Council and County Commission vote to determine how TIG funds are used.

 

What are the additional benefits a public/private partnership could bring?

  • Substantially more affordable housing

  • Health facilities and partnerships

  • Support for MWBE business opportunities

  • Support for a more robust workforce development program

  • Enhanced Greenway systems and integrated wellness assets

  • Funds to help offset increases in property taxes for residents

  • An Entertainment and Sports Venue

  • Any other benefits community members want to see

 

Will a TIG mean the city/county lose property taxes?

  • Property taxes will not decrease from current levels. Some of the taxes created in the future will be directed to agreed upon benefits, which all parties agree to beforehand.

  • The city/county will still get an increase in property taxes in addition to all current levels of property taxes, but some of the incremental increase will go to benefits in the TIG area.

  • After a certain period of time (30 years is standard), the TIG will expire and the city/county will receive 100% of the property taxes generated from the district.

 

Will these benefits occur without a public/private partnership?

  • There will be many benefits for the community without a public/private partnership, including all of those from our rezoning commitments and the benefits brought by a mixed-use district.

    • Multimodal transit and infrastructure improvements

    • Public art and cultural attractions

    • Green stormwater infrastructure, flood mitigation and environmental education

    • Open park space including public fields and courts

    • Affordable housing

  • A public/private partnership dramatically increases the benefits available to the community by directly investing in benefits the community wants to see, including substantial affordable housing beyond what can be done without public investment.

 

What is an Opportunity Zone? Is Downtown South in an Opportunity Zone?

  • A Qualified Opportunity Zone (OZ) is “an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.”

  • OZs are nominated by a state and designated by the Internal Revenue Service.

  • OZs are designed to spur investment in historically underdeveloped areas.

  • Downtown South is in an Opportunity Zone, as designated by the federal government.