Work on Raleigh’s $12-million-plus remake of Moore Square will begin this autumn and take about a year, with the reopening of the enhanced landmark planned for the fall of 2018.
Followers of parks, downtown Raleigh, and the city council will remember that the master plan for the park was completed way back in 2011. Since then, projected start dates in several different years have come and gone. But this time, bids for the project have arrived or will show up in less than two weeks, says Grayson Maughan, the city’s parks planner.
“We had our mandatory site visit with the contractors, and bids are due June 5,” Maughan told the INDY Wednesday. “That would put us starting construction in the fall.”
(One note of caution: the city is still completing the permit process with some state and city departments. Just mentioning.)
Moore Square, laid out as the easternmost of Raleigh’s four squares in the city’s original 1792 design, has been under consideration for renovation at least since the city held a design competition in 2009. City council members voted to spend $12.6 million on it in 2014—and that’s still the price, even if the design has to undergo some trims in the process.
The plan as announced will considerably change the nature of Moore Square, which for years has served as a low-key gathering place for homeless people and other daily visitors. That was especially true before the reopening of Fayetteville Street and the opening of City Plaza.
Along with the fancy, newly completed GoRaleigh transit mall, the area is also attracting workers to the Red Hat building and elsewhere, and residents to the Skyhouse, Edison, and Lincoln high-rises.
Planners have taken into account the growing, diverse population of downtown while nailing down details for the park. Moore Square will contain a cafe and public restrooms, as well as three “groves” or public spaces amid the venerable, giant trees; a children’s area; and an open space where a concert stage can be put up.
“I know that, myself included, everyone is ready to see this happen,” Maughan says.