2017 R ena i s s anc e P l an U pdat e | T own of W ak e F or e s t
The architects’ concepts are now slated for the Wake Forest Renaissance Plan — a toolbox of guidelines for future developers, investors, and property owners. And if Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones has her way, each of these sketches will one day become reality. “As staff and elected officials go forward, and the private sector comes into downtown, they’ll show the ideas and encourage them to follow through with them,” she says. “If they do that with the architects, that would be great — but to follow through on them is what I anticipate.” That would mean a series of positive eventual outcomes, including that daylit, holy grail of a stream, meandering in a park- like setting through the center of town. Food for Thought Anyone considering the idea of opening a new restaurant in an old building would do well to listen to an expert on the process. That’s the logic that leaders of Wake Forest Downtown — the organization that pre- sented and funded the October architectural charrette — applied when they invited Chef
Matt Kelly, developer and owner of Durham’s Vin Rouge and Mateo restaurants, to brief 12 Raleigh architects studying their town. Kelly spent an hour talking about the restaurant business, then fielded questions about buildings, parking, and funding. As it turns out, Wake Forest may be on the right track. “Right now, small Southern towns are on the upswing,” he says. “Davidson, N.C. has a restaurant that’s in the Bon Appétit top ten. And 10 years ago — a James Beard award in Raleigh? Who would think it?” Kelly’s experienced. He’s opened multiple restaurants in a single year — in Charlotte at SouthPark; in Wilmington; and in Durham at The Book Exchange — spending $2.5 million in the process. He likes corner locations for their visibility and parking. And he likes to be prepared before he makes a move — though intuition does play a role. “It’s a feeling — you look at a space and you know what it is,” he says. “With designers, you have to listen but not give up your vision. As an owner you have to fight for where the budget’s going.”
Fidelity Bank by Robby Johnson and Taylor Medlin.
Fidelity Bank by Robby Johnson and Taylor Medlin. Erin Sterling Lewis, Tina Govan, and Julieta Sherk had already taken one walking tour that morning, during which Lewis had heard about foot paths along a natural stream partially covered by concrete and asphalt. Uncovering it might be an interesting idea, the three
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