What a Lakewood Redevelopment Might Look Like

Over the summer, I read The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. It was a fantastic read about cities and the policy that surrounds them (but it is light on the technical jargon). I highly recommend it.

I decided that in addition to reading it, I would see if I could apply some of the principles within to a hypothetical Durham project. I thought it would be fun to share that fantasy project on the blog. This post is a bit of daydreaming and a bit of fun. Some might argue that the Lakewood area isn't urban enough for these principles to be meaningful.

Regardless, I think it is fun and useful to dream about the possibilities in Durham. We live in an exciting city and sometimes we need to critique projects and policies, but sometimes it's beneficial to imagine a better Durham (would the Lakewood Center that I outline below lead to a better Durham for all? I'm not 100% sure, but I am open to feedback!)

Enjoy (be warned - it's long. I won't hold it against you if you don't get through the whole thing)!



Also, note, this was written before the exciting Rhythms Live Music Hall was announced.


Comments

  1. Do you know any more about Rythyms Music Hall? Is it supposed to be in Lakewood? The only scuttlebutt I'd heard about a new music venue was the one the owner of the Nana's restaurants had secured a location for a music venue+bar+restaurant, but I thought that it was planned to be over by Ponysaurus, not in Lakewood. And I just moved out of the Lakewood neighborhood too--damn.

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    1. I just signed up for their newsletter and their address is listed is in Lakewood Park, right on Chapel Hill Rd. Interesting. Though, their "website" (a FB page) doesn't seem to be viewable at the moment, and I can't find any more info on them.

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    2. If you are facing the Scrap Exchange's Thrift Store, it is going in just to the right. They already have the sign up. I have heard it described as "MotorCo for an older crowd"

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  2. I'm always curious to see how people want to invest in a place without causing displacement. Call me pessimistic, but I don't see how you can improve a shopping center without causing gentrification. If Lakewood does all these things it will make the shopping center a destination, which will raise the real estate value around the shopping center. Keep in mind that Scrap Exchange only owns the northern half of the center and are unlikely to afford the southern half. I can't imagine any of the business there would turn down a pile of cash. I would be very surprised if Chapel Hill Road isn't completely transformed in the next decade. But, despite all my doubts, I think this is very well-intention and certainly worth doing.

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    1. Thanks Steven - as usual, you make a great point. I don't think there is any way to stop demand from flowing to a place as it is revitalized (and maybe you wouldn't want to). I just wonder is a way to increase supply to a level where price is less affected. The answer may be "in theory, but in practice there is no way to build that fast". It may also be "if you get it wrong, you have a ton of vacant units". There may be other issues as well, and I may just be an optimist, but I feel like there must be good solution that we just haven't come to yet. Or, maybe the answer is on the other side (subsidies directly to people who are priced out so that they can weather the price increase).

      Maybe it is a giant combo. Maybe this plan is not equitable, but 1% more equitable than most, which is worth doing over doing nothing.

      Thanks for engaging!

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  3. Southern half of Lakewood was just purchased with "revitalization plan" scheduled.

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    1. I just heard. Very interesting. I will definitely be following closely as this is a developer from out of town. I will be very curious to see what their plans are.

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  4. You can look at the kind of projects BrodyCo and Northwood has done in the past and aggregate a decent idea of what to expect at Lakewood, and Northgate, respectively.

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    1. Also, the Brodys are well known in Greenville for the many years of support they have provided to ECU...Brody School of Medicine, Brody Scholars, etc.

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