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
3 Existing Conditions
3.1 Planning Area Overview
The Renaissance Area encompasses approximately 220 acres within the heart of Wake Forest. The area is generally bound by the CSX rail line to the west, NC 98 to the south, and the Historic and Central Business Districts to the north and the east. The downtown includes a mixture of retail, service, office, governmental, residential, and light industrial uses. A variety of undeveloped properties and vacant lots are also scattered throughout the planning area.
The Downtown Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, developed to the east of the railroad tracks across from the original Wake Forest College campus. At least two known fires, most recently in 1915, destroyed many of the historic downtown’s first generation buildings. Thus, the majority of the historic downtown’s buildings are post-1915 construction, yet they provide significant architectural examples throughout the downtown. The CSX railroad tracks form the western boundary of the Renaissance Area. Buildings originally fronted the tracks, with the rear of the buildings facing present-day White Street. Elevated sidewalks along portions of the western side of South White Street offer a significant reminder of original building orientation and their importance in relation to servicing the railroad.
The majority of the central and northern sections of the Renaissance Area is zoned Urban Mixed Use (UMX), while the southern portion is predominantly zoned for Residential Mixed Use (RMX) development. Additional zoning classifications include
the Renaissance Area Historic Core (RAHC), Open Space (OS), General
Residential 3–Conditional Use (CUGR3) and Neighborhood Mixed Use (NMX). The RAHC incorporates the Downtown Historic District, while CUGR3 and NMX occur on the eastern edge of the Renaissance Area and serve to transition from Downtown to residential neighborhoods. OS encompasses the urban parks and greenways in the planning area.
Centers of Activity
There are two major centers of activity in the Renaissance Area, the historic core and the Renaissance Plaza shopping center. Numerous specialty retailers, restaurants, and small businesses exist throughout the downtown, primarily along South White
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