Northgate Mall in Durham shuttered in 2018. Since then plans have called for a new mixed use development. This past week Northwoods Investors shared their plan which included no residential elements. This was rightfully met with much disappointment to the many neighbors who were listening to the information session.
The site sits roughly two miles North of Downtown Durham. Much much of the Triangle, Durham is experiencing explosive growth and is in need of increased housing. Creating a dense mixed-use node that has all the everyday elements for a non car-dependent lifestyle while also falling within biking distance of Downtown would go a long way in achieving the cities’ goals for the future.
The general layout would expand upon the area’s street grid.
The existing sprawling interchange of I-85 and Gregson / Duke Streets would be reconfigured and simplified to reclaim nearly 10 acres of space. Duke Street would see a two-way conversion to Club Drive (and hopefully to Downtown in the future), while Gregson Street would be realigned to continue Northward through the development.
Watts and Dollar Avenues would be extended North through the development to serve as the primary slow streets with similar East-West slow streets completing the grid and providing parking deck access.
The East-West central interior street would be separated with a linear park.
Between the North-South central interior streets would sit the Central Park and event space perfect for events, leisure activity, pop up sporting play, markets and more. It would also be flanked on the corners with kiosk type shops and restaurants.
The use of pedestrian only courtyards would also be used to complete the block structure.
A big component of this plan would be the residential elements. Five blocks of Apartment over Retail and four blocks of Condos / Stacks would be provided creating a thriving 16-hour neighborhood. Nearly all of the residential units would be centered around the greenspace and all of the residential parking decks would be fully wrapped by the buildings.
Special care must be taken to ensure the maximum amount possible is set for varying levels of affordable housing.
Office / Medical / Life Science
The section of the development fronting I-85 and the Northwest Quadrant would be the Office District providing five new buildings.
The main office building would sit in the NE corner adjacent to Duke Street and I-85 and feature two central courtyards. The Northern flank would feature a medical center or additional life science buildings with two more blocks on the Western End.
Retail would feature on the ground floor of all apartment / condo buildings as well as most of the office buildings. Tenants of all sorts would be targeted from small pop-up neighborhood shops, restaurants, grocery, services, entertainment and more.
Dedicated space for start up, Black and other minority owned businesses as well as night / weekend pop up in the park spaces should be provided to give a true neighborhood feel.
Overall, I feel like this plan provides more of what the neighborhood and all of Durham needs as they take the step into tomorrow. Suggestions, comments, ways to make it better? I’d love to hear from everyone. The goal is to start a conversation and have a starting point to bring back to the developers and City Council. Together we can set the table for a better Durham. Explore the interactive GoogleMap here.
Opinions and insights are my own and are not representative of my employer or any organization. Any ideas displayed on this site are purely that – just ideas to help improve the future of the built environment.