Stitch Central: Transforming Raleigh’s Central Prison area

North Carolina’s Raleigh Central Prison and Governor Morehead School currently take up 100 acres of prime land less than 1/2 mile from the core of Downtown.

Google Earth

The City of Raleigh is home to many great parks. One of those parks is the historic Pullen Park which was the first public park in North Carolina and home to the 5th oldest amusement park in the US. Despite being less than a half mile from the core of Downtown Raleigh, Pullen Park is seemingly on an island and car-dependent.

Dorothea Dix Park is a 308 acre park just to the Southwest of Downtown that is slated for a massive overhaul as the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services prepares to relocate. Unfortunately, Dix Park too is seemingly cut off from Downtown by the Central Prison and Morehead School.

Dix Park Master Plan –

Stitch Central would transform this underused land into 100 thriving acres of Greenspace, Apartments, Condos, Townhomes, Shops, Entertainment, Restaurants, and Retail. This would put everything Downtown Raleigh has to offer within walking distance of each other including: future commuter rail hub Raleigh Union Station, Dix Park, Pullen Park and NC State University.

When combined with the Trails over Rails plan: biking, walking, or scooting anywhere in Downtown Raleigh would be an ease.

There are five main components of Stitch Park.

The Northwest Quadrant with mostly Alley Entry Townhomes. The Northeast Quadrant with a mix of Townhomes, Condos, Apartments. The Central Park District featuring a massive Greenspace lined with corner Cafes and Shops. The Southeast Quadrant with Apartments and Condos. And finally, Southwest Quadrant with high density 12 story mixed use towers with ground floor Retail, Restaurants, and Entertainment under Condos, Apartments, Office and Hotel.

Quadrant One: Northwest

The Northwest Quadrant features roughly 200 Townhome lots with alley-entry garages. This makes way for tree-lined streets with wide sidewalks and inviting front porches making a walkable, urban neighborhood environment. To promote some affordability and diversity, a range of townhome types ranging from smaller two-story 1200 sq-ft units to massive four-story units with rooftop terraces.

Inspiration photo of a similar neighborhood in Atlanta.

Google Earth

This quadrant would also feature a seven story apartment building with roughly 100 units.

Quadrant Two: Northeast

The Northeast Quadrant features roughly 120 similar Townhome Lots. Along the railroad tracks, would stand a 150 unit seven-story apartment building and four-story micro condo buildings.

My inspiration of the micro-condo building would be a larger scale of these new build condos from Ashton Woods Homes.

Google Earth

Quadrant Three – Central Park

Quadrant three features a wide greenspace perfect for neighborhood events and concerts. A wide multi-use path leads walkers and bikers down the spine of the park from the Rail over Trail Path and Downtown or NC State. The corners of the greenspace would feature small shops and cafes similar to the setup seen below from Alpharetta, GA.

Google Earth

On either side would be a pair of tree lined streets and park facing Townhomes. Moving South toward Western Blvd and Dix Park, more greenspace is backed by Loft like Townhomes over Retail similar to this setup along the Atlanta Beltline.

Google Earth

Advancing south toward Western Blvd a decorative Pedestrian Bridge invites users to Dix Park.

Quadrant Four – Southwest Quadrant

Quadrant four is home to a trio of seven story apartment and condo buildings with underground parking. The roughly 300 units would have easy access to greenspace and all that Dix Park will have to offer.

Quadrant Five – Southeast

Quadrant five is the epicenter of the commercial side of things. Inspired by the Wharf District in Washington DC, there would be six blocks of buildings ranging from seven to twelve stories.

All of the buildings would feature ground floor retail targeted to Restaurants, Shops, Entertainment venues such as theatres/music halls, grocery, and services. Multiple pedestrian only corridors would give the vibe of an urban environment and underground parking would ensure that space is maximized.

The upper floors of the buildings would feature a mix of Hotels, Office space and more apartments and condos. The buildings would offer sweeping views of Dix Park, Pullen Park, or Downtown depending on the orientation.

In total, my plan would transform the area into a booming district with over 300 townhomes, and 1000 apartments and condos. The added density would be a major win for the future of Downtown Raleigh. Perhaps more importantly however, would be the added connectivity with Downtown Raleigh, Dix, and Pullen Parks.

In the coming weeks, I hope to add some 3-D modeling to the plan as I learn the Sketch-Up software.

Phil Veasley

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