Hotel development plans would close parts of Holland St. pedestrian mall

I first came across this one via a mailing list; apparently the developers of a hotel at 315 E. Chapel Hill St. want to acquire the alleyway by Seven Stars Cycles from the city and convert it to a patio. I’ll let Seven Stars explain:

 Some folks want to turn the building across the alley into a new restaurant and boutique hotel. Which is fine. However, they’ve applied to close this alley in order to construct a private, raised, outdoor dining area that, at it’s highest, will create an almost nine foot retaining wall in the middle of the space. The current space was designed and constructed in the late 1960’s at the same time the fantastically modern 315 E Chapel Hill St structure was built. It is one of the only designed pedestrian spaces in downtown Durham and contrary to many people’s opinions, heavily used and enjoyed and a hot spot for downtown photographers, both amateur and professional. City Council must consider whether this closure is contrary to the public interest in making their decision at their October 7th (7PM) meeting. You can attend this public hearing and voice your opinion about the importance of saving this historic alley.

This is especially relevant to Seven Stars, since their storefront happens to be situated on the alley:

Well, you may have noticed that Oct 7 has come and gone. Prior to the Council Meeting, the city/county planning department stated (quoting an email):

the City Manager’s office is recommending that case SC1300001, the proposed closing of Holland Street, be referred back to the administration, in order to ensure additional public input prior to City Council consideration.

… which the Council agreed to.

So, what’s next for SC1300001? The planning department has scheduled an “Urban Design Studio” for 18:00 next Tuesday, October 22, at 315 East Chapel St.:

The goal for this studio is to provide an opportunity for public input on the future of Holland Street. The event will include brainstorming and visioning exercises to engage stakeholders in identifying goals and alternative designs for the continued use of Holland Street. The results of the studio will be used to develop a plan that ensures continued public enjoyment of Holland Street and balances all stakeholder interests.
So, if you’ve got any particular attachment to this alleyway, you might want to show up and let them know what you think.

4 thoughts on “Hotel development plans would close parts of Holland St. pedestrian mall”

    1. Maybe! But maybe not!

      The Oct 22 meeting was held as scheduled, and the public commentary was heard. I wasn’t present, but it sounds like Seven Stars managed to bring a good crowd in support. The most recent coverage I’ve observed was an article from the H-S immediately following the meeting:

      http://www.heraldsun.com/news/localnews/x2082474748/Cobblestone-street-proving-bumpy-for-hotel

      AFAIK, ceding the alley would require approval from the Council; presumably it was withdrawn from their docket originally since that approval wasn’t assured, and I don’t think it’s back on their agenda yet.

      So the situation as I gather it is that the developers have an opportunity to respond to the concerns by modifying the plan, or the City/County Planning dept can make a recommendation and pass the existing plan on to the Council.

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