Durham news odds and ends

  • The McPherson Hospital site, which sits on Main Street next to Trinity Park, remains in limbo as the property owners seek $2 million in handouts from the city and the county. This site was to be an extended stay hotel, but they only got as far as tearing down the “modern” hospital additions before the economic downturn halted the project. From a preservation perspective, the only thing the developers intend to save is a portion of the facade, and it’s kind of difficult to see why this company needs $2m in tax dollars to pad the projected 13.77% ROI for investors.
  • Engineers have finished studying the state of the grade railroad crossings on the corridor which runs through Durham, and some of the proposed changes are pretty substantial. This study was commissioned to address safety concerns along the corridor, which is expected to see increased usage if the region’s hypothetical commuter rail system ever takes off. There’s a public meeting on May 22 at the Durham Arts Council to discuss the findings; in theory there’s a document that contains this information available to the public, but I can find no record of it online. This slide deck from December of last year seems to contain some general information, though; potential changes include “consolidation” (AKA closings), new over/underpasses, lighting, signaling, resurfacing, etc.
  • The much maligned Liberty Warehouse marches towards its doom, as not only has current owner Greenfire asked for the removal of its historic landmark status, but a Chapel Hill developer has contracted to buy the parcel and replace the structure with mixed use new construction should that status be revoked. Greenfire originally lobbied for landmark status to reap tax benefits, but under their management the structure suffered a roof collapse in 2011 which displaced all of its tenants.
  • Durham’s ABC head, Emily Page, has “resigned.” The ABC system is known to generally be rife with corruption across the state, and Page’s tenure was apparently no exception; the laundry list of misconduct she was under investigation for includes holding secret meetings, hiring unqualified people, altering documents, nepotism in contractor selection, and improper use of the board credit card for purchases by employees. This is happening as our own Rep. Luebke is aiming to place even more classes of products under ABC control.
  • EdR (previously mentioned here) has finished the demo phase and has begun construction on its hotel project next to the DPDHQ.

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